Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

2 Hazellville Road, Hornsey Rise, N19 3RQ


In 1871 the Aged Pilgrims' Friend Society opened its second Asylum in Hornsey Rise. The first Asylum in Camberwell accommodated those capable of independent living, but the second one was intended for the elderly poor who were frailer and needed more care.

The Asylum, on the corner of Hazellville Road and St John's Road, occupied a large piece of land adjacent to the recently built St Mary's Islington workhouse. It had cost £9,345 to build and Mr John Box, an Honorary Secretary of the Society, had bequeathed £12,000 towards the cost of the project.

The buildings consisted of a central block and two wings, all two storeys high, surrounding three sides of a quadrangle. They housed 80 inmates, each of whom had one room and a scullery. There were rooms each for the Warden and the Matron, as well as committee rooms and a laundry. In the centre of the north block was a beautiful chapel.

The central enclosure, because of the steepness of the land, consisted of two or three grassy slopes and terraces, connected to each other by flights of steps.

The almspeople were poor elderly Christians over the age of 60 years, of either sex and of every Protestant denomination. Each received a sufficient supply of coal and other comforts, and medical attendance when ill.

In 1876 the two wings were extended to provide an additional 40 places. A large hall was built on the previously empty south side, in which lectures and festive gatherings took place. The hall was connected to the wings by covered pathways.

By 1881 the cost of maintaining the buildings and gardens was £300 a year.

The Asylum closed in 1973.


Current status

The buildings were demolished, along with the neighbouring workhouse, during the 1970s.

Their site is now occupied by Hillside Park along St John's Way (previously named St John's Road) on the western side, and part of the Hillside Estate and Louise White House on the eastern side.

A road running parallel to St John's Way through Hillside Estate, along the north side of the Asylum site, has been named Pilgrim's Way.

N.B. Photographs obtained in June 2009

Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

Some elderly-looking stone steps in Hillside Park may be the last vestiges of the former Asylum.

Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

Looking up Pilgrims Way, leading into the Hillside Estate.

Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

A plan of Hillside Estate.


N.B. Photographs obtained in June 2021

Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

Louise White House, on the corner of the St John's Way and Hazellville Road, occupies the southeastern corner of the site.

Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

The eastern elevation of Louise White House on Hazellville Road (above and below).

Aged Pilgrims' Asylum


Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

The former Asylum is acknowledged in the street that runs through Hillside Estate.

Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

The northern aspect of Louise White House, seen from Pulgrims Way.

Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

Housing along Pilgrims Way (above and below).

Aged Pilgrim's Asylum


Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

Hillside Park is on the western part of the site (above and below). The old stone steps have been removed and replaced by a ramp.

Aged Pilgrims' Asylum


Aged Pilgrims' Asylum

The layout of the Estate remains the same, but the sign has been replaced.

References (Accessed 3rd June 2021)

Fry H 1881 The Royal Guide to the London Charities for 1881-2. London, D. Bogue. p.345.
Willats E 1987 Streets with a Story: the Book of Islington. London, Islington Local History Education Trust. (1) (2) (1) (2) (3) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Last updated 3rd June 2021

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