Victorian London - Houses and Housing - Housing of the Poor - Almshouses, list of

    Westminster contains several of these munificent foundations as the Red Lion Almshouses, in York-street, founded in 1577, for eight poor women, by Cornelius Van Dun, of Brabant, a soldier who nerved under King Henry VIII., at Tournay. Next are, in the same neighbourhood, the .Almshouses for twelve poor housekeepers of St. Margaret's, with a school and chapel-the boys clad in black: these were founded in 1566, by the Rev. Edward Palmer, B.D., many years preacher at St. Bride's, Fleet-street, and who used to sleep in the church-tower. Emmanuel Hospital, James-street, was founded by the will of Lady Ann Dacre, in 1601, for aged parishioners of St. Margaret's; and in one of its almshouses, on January 22, 1772, died Mrs. Windimore, cousin of Mary - (consort of William III.) and of Queen Anne.
    The Drapers' Company, in 1720, maintained Almshouses at Crutched-friars, Beach- lane, Greenwich, Stratford-la-Bow, Shoreditch, St. George's-fields, St. Mary Newington, and Mile End. Phe Almshouses at Crutched-friars were erected and endowed by Sir John Milborn, Mayor of London, in 1521, for thirteen decayed members of the Drapers' Company (of which Sir John was several years Master), or bedemen, who daily prayed at the tomb of their benefactor, in the adjoining church. The stone carving of the Assumption of the Virgin, over the Tudor gateway leading towards the pleasant little garden, - the shields with heraldic devices,- the old-fashioned roof, and dark, rich, red-coloured brickwork,-formed a picture well remembered; taken down 1862.
    The Almshouses and School-house at Mile End were built in 1735, with the ill- gotten fortune bequeathed by Francis Bancroft, grandson of Archbishop Bancroft, and an officer of the Lord Mayor's Court; and - so hated for his mercenary and oppressive practices, that at his funeral, a mob, for very joy, rang the church-bells of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, where a monument to his memory had been erected in his life-time. The almsmen are twenty-four poor old members of the Drapers' Company; and the School boards, clothes, educates, and apprentices 100 boys.
    The Trinity Almshouses, in the Mile End-road, were erected by the Corporation of the Trinity House, in 1695, for decayed masters and commanders of ships, mates, and pilots, and their wives or widows. The thirty houses have characteristic shipping on their roofs; there is a chapel, and on the green is a statue of Captain Robert Sandes, a benefactor to the establishment; he died 1721.
    The Salters' Company had .Almshouses for their decayed brethren in Monkwell- street and Bow-lane; in 1864, they were rebuilt, at Watford, Harts, at a cost of 8000l., besides that of the site and adjacent grounds.
    Traditionally, we owe the foundation of Dame Owen's School and Almshouses, at Islington, to Archery. In 1610, this rich brewer's widow, in passing along St. John- street-road, then Hermitage-fields, wag struck by a truant arrow, and narrowly escaped "braining ;" and the grateful lady, thinking such close shooting dangerous, in commemoration of her providential escape, built, in 1613, a Free School and ten Alms-houses upon the scene of her adventure. Since 1839 they have been handsomely rebuilt by the Brewers' Company, trustees for the Charity.
    Whittington's College, or Almshouses, founded in 1621, on College-hill, were rebuilt by the Mercers' Company, at the foot of Higbgate-hill, about 1826; cost 20,000l. Upon the old site, College-hill, was built the Mercers' Schools.
    The Fishmongers' Company's Almshouses, or St. Peter's Hospital, Newington Butts, founded 1618, consisted of three courts, dining-hall, and chapel: they were rebuilt on Wandsworth Common, in 1850; cost 25,000l.
    Edward Alleyn, the distinguished actor, and friend of Ben Jonson and Shakspeare, besides founding Dulwich College, built and endowed three sets of Almshouses in the metropolis: in Lamb-alley, Bishopsgate-street; in Bath-street, St. Luke's; and in Soap-yard, Southwark. Of the Bath-street Almshouses, the first brick was laid by Alleyn himself, July 13, 1620; they were rebuilt in 1707.
    Cure's College, in Deadman's-place, Southwark, was founded in 1584, by Thomas Cure, saddler to King Edward VI. and the Queens Mary and Elizabeth, for 16 poor pensioners, with 20d. a week; president, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas for the time being. The College has been rebuilt.
    The East India Almshouses, Poplar, were established at the granting of the first charter, in the 17th century, for widows of mates and seamen dying in the Company's service. There are also houses, with gardens, for the widows of captains, receiving pensions of from 30l. to 80l. yearly.
    In Bath-street, City-road, are Almshouses for poor descendants of French Protestant Refugees, founded in 1708, after the revocation of the edict of Nantes.
    The Goldsmiths' Company have Almshouses at Woolwich, Acton, and Hackney; each house has its little garden.
    The Clock and Watchmakers' Asylum was founded in 1857 at Colney Hatch.
    At Hoxton, are the Haberdashers' Company's Almshouses, founded by Robert Aske, in 1692, for poor men of the Company, and boys; here is a statue of the founder.
    Morden College, Blackheath, was founded by Sir John Morden, in 1695, for decayed merchants, each 72l. a year, with coals, candles, washing-bath, medical and clerical attendance. The chapel has some fine carvings, reputed to be by Gibbons.
    Norfolk Almshouses, or Trinity Hospital, Greenwich, is an Elizabethan building, founded by Henry, Earl of Northampton, 1613. The Trustees were the Mercers' Company; revenue, 12,000l. a year.
    Surrey Chapel Almshouses, erected 1811, were founded and principally endowed by the Rev. Rowland Hill, for twenty-three destitute females.
    The Marylebone Almshouses, built in St. John's-wood-terrace, Regent's-park, in 1836, originated in a legacy of 500l. from Count Woronzow; the site being leased for ninety-nine years, at a pepper-corn rent, by Colonel Eyre, who is also entitled to two presentations to the Charity.
    The London Almshouses were erected by subscription, at Brixton, in 1833, to commemorate the passing of the Reform Bill, instead of by illumination.
    The King William Naval Asylum, at Penge, opened 1849, for the widows of Commanders, Lieutenants, Masters and Pursers in the Royal Navy, was founded by Queen Adelaide, to the memory of King William IV.
    The Dramatic College has its retreat "for poor players," a central hall, residences, and external cloisters, in the Tudor style, at Maybury, in Surrey.
    Recently also have been erected Almshouses for the parishes of St. Pancras, St. Martin, and Shoreditch. For Bootmakers, Mortlake; Pawnbrokers, Forest-gate; Booksellers, King's Langley; Aged Pilgrims, Edgware-road; Butchers, Walham-green; Bookbinders, Ball's-pond; Printers, Wood-green; Tailors (journeymen), Haverstock-hill; and Poulterers and Fishmongers, Southgate; besides many others provided by Companies; and Provident, Trades, and other societies, for decayed members.
    The Almshouses erected of late years are mostly picturesque buildings, in the old English style, with gables, turrets, and twisted chimney-shafts, of red brick, with handsome stone dressings. In Weale's London Exhibited in 1851 will be found a more copious  List of Almshouses (pp. 214-219) than the above.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867 edition

Trinity Almshouses, Mile End, 1895 [ILN Picture Library]

Alleyn's Almshouses, Southwark, 1840 [ILN Picture Library]

[Text from Fry's Guide of 1917; format of each entry is
Name of Institution ;  When Founded  ;  Where now Situate and Address of the Office  ; Objects of Information

Aged Poor Society; 1708; 82, Victoria St., Westminster, S.W.; and St. Joseph's Almshouses, Brook Green, W.; Grants pensions of 3s. to women and 4s. to men, per week, 26 each per annum to 34 persons of a superior class, and 20 to each of 12 inmates of Almshouses, and 10 guineas each to the other inmates.

Alleyn's College of God's Gift. Divided in 1882 into two departments - one for the management of the Estates and the Eleemosynary Branch, the other for the Educational Branch of the Charity, with separate Governing Bodies for each.; 1619; recon. 1857 and 1882; Dulwich, S.E.; Comprises 1. Dulwich Coll. (660 boys): Fees 24 or 27 per annum and an entrance fee of 1. 2. Alleyn's Sch. (610 boys); Fees, 11 10s. per annum and an entrance fee of 1. 3. Almshouses and allowances for 16 Almspeople and 25 Out-pensioners. The charitable benefits are restricted to persons belonging to the parishes of St. Saviour, Southwark, St. Luke, Middlesex, St. Botolph, Bishopsgate Without, and St. Giles, Camberwell.

Amias's Almshouses; 1655; Between 87 & 91 Old Street, E.C.; Provides 8 homes for poor respectable women in reduced circumstances, rent free, coals, and medical attendance, and 25 per annum; has also 16 annuities of 30 each for out-pensioners.

Armourers' and Brasiers' Company's Almshouses.;1551; Camden Avenue, Peckham, S.E.; To provide homes for 13 poor men and women of the Company. The Company allow 15s. to each per week out of their general funds.

Bakers' Company's Almshouses.; 1698; St. Thomas's Sq., Hackney, E.; To provide homes and pensions of 20 per annum for decayed freemen, etc., of the Company.

Bethnal Green Almshouses and School, Parmiter's Foundation for.; 1681, recon. 1884; Almshouses, Parmiter Street, Bethnal Green. School (opened in 1887), Approach Road, Victoria Park, E.; One third of the income from endowment is devoted to Charitable, and two-thirds to Educational Purposes. The School furnishes a liberal education to boys from the age of seven and upwards on passing the Entrance Examination.

Brewers Company -  

Owen's Schools and Almspeople* [-* By the new scheme the Almshouses were vacated, and 21 widows are now maintained at their own homes, the sum of 450 a year being set aside for this purpose.-]; 1613, Recon.1878; Schools, Owen Street, St. John Street Road, Islington; A Grammar School for upwards of 400 boys; there is also a girls' school. of 300 pupils, at Owen's Row; and Pensions to 14, to be increased to 20, poor widows of Islington and St. James's, Clerkenwell.

Platt's Charity; 1597; Schools & Almshouses, Aldenham, Herts.; To provide a school at Aldenham, and homes and small pensions for poor.

Butchers' Charitable Institution.; 1828; Office, 61, West Smithfield, E.C. Almshouses, Walham Green.; The relief of distressed master butchers, master pork-butchers, cattle and meat commission salesmen and hide and skin salesmen, their widows and orphans.

Caron's Almshouses (Founded by Sir Noel Caron); 1622; Fentiman Road, South Lambeth; To provide homes for 7 poor women of Lambeth over 60 years old, each of whom receives 7s. per week.

Christian Union Almshouses; 1832; 27 & 28 Crawford Place, Edgware Rd., and 233-235, Marylebone Road, N.W.; For 60 persons above 60 years of age, of the Protestant church, and possessing an income of at least 4s. 6d. per week, independent of Parish Relief. Single men and widowers are not eligible.

Clothworkers Company - 

Heath's Almshouses; 1648; 34, Essex Road, Islington, N.; Homes for the poor freemen of Clothworkers' Company.

Kent's Almshouses and Charity; 1540; Dean Street, Islington; Homes for seven poor freewomen of Clothworkers' Company.

Collard Almshouses; 1859; 195, Hoe Street, Walthamstow; Homes for ten poor and deserving men.

Cook's (Cap.), Dame Alice Row's and Daplyn's Charities; 1673; Almshouses have been pulled down; Assists 8 poor widows of seamen resident in Mile End Old Town.

Coopers Company - 

Strode's Charity Almshouse and School (administered under schemes of the Charity Commission and Board of Education, dated 22nd September, 1911, and 27th May, 1913); 1703; Egham, Surrey; For education and the benefit of the poor of Egham parish

Davis's Almshouses; 1795; Queen's Head St., Islington, N.; Homes and pensions of 5 or 6 each for 8 poor men and their wives or widows, who are over 50 years of age and members of the Church of England.

Drapers Company - 

Edmonson's Almshouses; 1706; Bruce Grove, Tottenham; For decayed sailmakers or their widows.

Walter's Almshouses, otherwise Drapers' Company's Almshouses; 1651; Drapers Street, Newington; To receive and support 48 almspeople.

Dutch Almshouses; 1580; Charlton, S.E.; Homes for poor aged members of the Dutch Church, Austin Friars, E.C.

Dyers Company - 

Balls' Pond Almshouses; 1775; Ditto; For freemen of the Company and widows of such, homes and pensions.

Edwards's Almshouses; 1717; Burrell Street, Blackfriars Rd., S.E.; Homes, coals, and 10s. per week for 40 aged poor women who have resided 5 years in the parish of Christ-church, Blackfriars Road, who do not receive parish relief; 10s. per week for 18, and 7s. per week for 32 out-pensioners.

Emanuel Hospital (Lady Dacre Pensions); 1594; Formerly James St., Buckingham Gate, S.W.; The almshouses and the site have been sold, and the proceeds devoted to out-door pensions. Pensioners must be members of the Church of England and have been householders or resident for two years immediately preceding election in Westminster, Chelsea, or Hayes, Middlesex, at least 56 years of age and not in receipt of more than 15 a year. Pension 20 to 25 per year.

Fishmongers Company - 

St. Peter's Hospital, or Almshouses; 1618; Wandsworth, S.W.; Homes for 42 poor members of the Company over 50 years of age, and 5 years free of the Company.

Framework Knitters' Company's Almshouses; 1727; Kingsland Road, E.; Homes, etc, for 12 poor freemen or widows of freemen of the Company.

Friendly Female Society; 1802; Committee-rooms at 9, Charterhouse Square. Almshouses at Camberwell and Brixton.; To relieve poor infirm widows and single women of good character, above 60 years of age, who have seen better days, have less than eight shillings a week, and who reside within seven miles of St. Paul's.

Fuller's Hospital, or Almshouses.; 1592; Wood Green, Tottenham.; Homes for 12 poor women of Shoreditch parish, with 7s. each per week, and 9s. 7d. each per annum extra.

Girdlers Company - 

Beeston's Gift, Almshouses; --; Albert Road, Peckham Rye; Provides homes, etc., for poor aged members of the Company or their widows.

Palyn's Almshouses' 1609; Choumert Road, Rye Lane, Peckham, S.E.; Provides homes, etc., for poor aged people.

Goldsmiths Company -

Perryn's Charity; 1656; Goldsmith's Almshouses, East Acton; Bromyard, Herefordshire. Annual payment of 32. Acton, Middlesex. Annual payment of 10. Needy men in residence at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Exhibitions of 50 per annum.

Grocers Company

Almshouses; 1556* (*This date refers to the foundation of the charity - the Grocers' Company was founded in 1345); At Oundle, Northamptonshire;

Hedger's Almshouses; --; Carlisle Street, Lambeth, S.E.; To afford a home to 9 aged women. Preference given to widows and daughters of old tenants of the late James Hedger.

Hopton's Almshouses; 1730; Holland Street, Blackfriars Rd., S.E.; Homes for poor decayed householders of parish of Christchurch, Blackfriars Road, and 13 per annum.

Ironmongers Company - 

Geffery's Almshouses and Charity; 1703; Mottingham, Kent; Homes and pensions for poor.

Lewen's Almshouses; 1555; Ditto; Homes for 4 poor Freemen of Ironmongers' Company, each of whom receives 10

Westwood's Charity; 1878; Ditto; Grants to widows and daughters of freemen inmates of the almshouses.

Wild's Charity; 1846; Ditto; Grants to inmates of the Almshouses not free of the Company.

Leathersellers Company -

Leathersellers' Almshouses; 1544, 1838, 1851; Barnet, Middlesex; Almshouses for 7 poor aged freemen and 13 aged widows of freemen of Company.

London Almshouses; 1832; Ferndale Road, Brixton; For householders who have been householders 7 years in the City of London, and over 60 years of age, and their wives; also for their widows and unmarried daughters over 55 years.

London Meat Trades and Drovers Benevolent Association; 1844; Cattle Market, Islington, N. Office, 2,3,4, Cheapside, E.C.; To provide almshouses and other benefits for all classes connected with the meat or live cattle trade.

Master Bakers' Pension and Almshouse Society, London; 1832; Almshouses at Lea Bridge Road; To provide homes and pensions in and out of doors for aged and decayed master bakers, or the widows of such.

Mercers Company - 

Gresham College Lectures and Almshouses; 1575; Ditto; Four lectures, for 8 almshouses, 50 a year for relief of poor prisoners, and 20 to each of 5 hospitals.

Lady Mico's Almshouses.; 1670; Stepney Churchyard; For 9 widows of freemen of the City, over 50 years, each of whom receives 30 per annum.

Whittington's College Almshouses; 1421; Highgate; To receive and support in- and out-pensioners appointed by Mercers' Company. Inmates receive 30 per annum.

Merchant Taylors Company -

Merchant Taylors' Almshouses; 1593; Lee, Kent. (Removed to Lee in 1825); To support 30 poor widows of deceased members of the Company over 54 years of age, and two widows of the parish of St. Botolph, Aldgate.

Metropolitan Tabernacle Almshouses; 1832; Elephant Road, Walworth, S.E.; Homes for 17 aged females, members of the Church worshipping at the Tabernacle, Newington.

Monoux Almshouses; 1527; 195, Hoe St., Walthamstow; Homes for 9 poor men and 4 women.

Parish Clerks' Widows' Almshouse Institution; 1829; Denmark Road, Camberwell, S.E. Office, 24 Silver St., E.C.; For the widows and daughters of parish clerks, who were members and subscribers of the Institution.

Porter's Almshouses; 1826; Nightingale Rd., Wood Green, N.; Home for 8 poor women of Shoreditch parish, and 7s. each per week.

Printers' Pension, Almshouses, and Orphan Asylum Corporation; 1827; Almshouses at Wood Green. Office, 20, High Holborn; To maintain and educate orphans of deceased members of the printing business, and to pension (10 to 31 10s.) aged and infirm printers and their widows. Has also the Westminster Abbey Pension Fund, which assists aged unmarried daughters of printers.

St. Clement Danes' Holborn Estate (*This Estate also contributes to the assistance of the poor of St. Clement Danes by subscribing 300 to King's College Hospital, 100 to the Public Dispensary in Drury Lane); --; Office, Houghton Street, Strand.

Almshouses; 1849; Garrett Lane, Lower Tooting; Homes for 20 aged men and 20 aged widows or spinsters who have been ratepayers in the parish of St. Clement Danes, Strand, for 5 years.

St. Giles and St. George (Bloomsbury) Almshouse Charities; 1656; 10, Smart's Buildings, St. Giles-in-Fields, W.C.; Homes and 8s. weekly for 10 poor widows of these parishes. Also 25 per annum each for 24 aged pensioners, male or female, married or single.

St. Joseph's Almshouses; 1824; Brook Green, Hammersmith, W.; To provide homes for Catholic aged poor, and give pensions of 30 to as many of the inmates as the funds will permit, and gratuities to others.

St. Joseph's Catholic Almshouses; 1850; Cadogan Street, Chelsea; To provide homes for 18 poor aged women.

St. Martin-in-the-Fields Almshouse and Pension Charity; 1686; Bayham Street, Camden Town. Office, 5, St. Martin's Place, W.C.; To provide homes and pensions of 9s. to 10s. per week for poor women of good character, residents in the Parish* (*A scheme which came into operation in November 1886, provides that certain charities bequeathed to the poor of the ancient parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, prior to the severance of the parishes of St. Paul, Covent Garden, St. Anne, Westminster, St. James, Westminster, and St. George, Hanover Square, shall be enjoyed by the several parishes in common with the parent parish) not less than five years - also out-pensions of 10s. and 7s. 6d. per week.

St. Marylebone Almshouses Institution; 1836; St. John's Wood Ter., St. John's Wood. Office, 49, Upper Baker Street, Marylebone, N.W.; For aged and decayed householders of St. Marylebone, above 60 years of age, who have seen better days. Besides coals, and medical attendance in sickness, each married couple is allowed 15s., and each single person 9s., weekly.

St. Pancras Almshouses; 1850; Maitland Park, Haverstock Hill, N.W.; For respectable parishioners of St. Pancras in indigent circumstances, past the age of 60.

Salters' Company's Almshouses; 1454 & 1571; Watford, Herts.; Homes for 17 poor freemen or freewomen of the Company, who receive an allowance, coals and medical attendance.

Sion Hospital (Founded by Dr. Thomas White, then rector of St. Dunstan-in-the-West); 1630; Office, 66, Gresham House, Old Broad St., E.C.; Allows pensions not exceeding 50 per annum to 20 poor men and 20 poor women. The Almshouses were down away with some years ago, and the sum realized by the sale of the valuable site supplies the means for the larger grants now paid to the pensioners in the stead of free-rented homes.

Skinners Company - 

Almshouses for Men and Women; *(*These Charities are administered under a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners 1891, called the Skinners' Consolidated Almshouses and Pension Charities Scheme. The Almshouses are at Palmer's Green, N.) 3rd Feb., 1891; Skinners' Hall, Dowgate Hill, E.C.; Homes for 6 poor men and 12 poor women, with pensions.

Pensions; 3rd Feb., 1891; Skinners' Hall, Dowgate Hill, E.C.; Out-Pensions for deserving poor. For these Almshouses and Pensions and the Out-Pensions, poor Freemen of the Company, their widows and children (adult) have a preferential claim.

Squire's Almshouses; 1796; Walthamstow; Homes for 6 Widows of Tradesmen.

Stafford's (Alexander) Charity (Formerly Almshouses, in Gray's Inn Road, W.C.); 1651; Secretary's Office, 8, Gray's Inn Square, W.C.; Pensions of 25 each to 77 poor residents in parishes of St. Andrew, Holborn, or St. George the Martyr, Queen's Square, also Convalescent Home letters for like persons and children of the said parishes* (*The Trustees have also secured permanent beds to Convalescent Homes for the poor of the parishes above named.)

Tylers' and Bricklayers' Company's Almshouses; --; King Henry's Wlk., Balls Pond, N.; To receive poor freemen and liverymen of Company, and their widows. They receive about 25 a year each, and coals.

United Westminster Almshouses (Comprise Palmer's, Butler's, Emery Hill's, and Hannah S. Chadwick's Almshouses, amalgamated in 1879 by the Charity Commissioners); United in 1879; Rochester Row, Westminster, S.W.; These Charities provide almshouses for 9 married couples and 18 single persons, with pensions of 42 each to the former, and 27 each to the latter, and coals - also out-door pensions, at present 42 of 20, 14 of 15, and 13 of 10 - and 100 per annum for apprenticing children.

Walter's Almshouses; 1658; Nightingale Rd., Wood Green, N.; Homes for 6 poor women of Shoreditch parish, receiving 7s. each per week.

Weavers Company - 

Almshouses; 1725; Wanstead; To receive and support 12 poor men, freemen of Weavers' Company, or weavers by trade, and to receive and support 12 poor freewomen or widows of freemen of Weavers' Company, or widows or daughters of weavers by trade.

Herbert Fry's Royal Guide to the London Charities, 1917