ALMSHOUSES OF LONDON

 

 

Almshouses in EC postcode area


EC1 Smithfield
  • Sutton's Hospital in Charterhouse


EC1N Holborn        
  • Dyers Almshouses, Dyers Buildings, Holborn, EC1N 2JT

In 1551 almshouses were built in White's Alley, Holborn Hill, by the Dyers Company, using funds bequeathed to it by Mr Henry West. The almshouses contained eight rooms for eight poor women.

By the 17th century White's Alley had become known as Dyers Buildings.

In 1741 the residents of the almshouses each received an allowed of 2d (1p) a week.

The almshouses closed around 1776 when the new Dyers Almshouses opened in City Road (see below).

Their site is now occupied by Pinks Mews, a gated luxury apartment block.


EC1V Angel
  • Dame Alice Owen's Almshouses


EC1V Clerkenwell

In 1775 the Dyers Company purchased a piece of land in the parish of St Luke on which to build almshouses to replace two former ones - the first in White Cock Alley, Thames Street (lost in the Great Fire of London, 1666) (see below) and the second in Dyers Buildings, Holborn (see above). 

The new almshouses consisted of three separate two-storey buildings adjoining each other, arranged about three sides of a square, in the middle of which was a small garden. The buildings contained 16 almshouses of two rooms each to accommodate 8 poor men (freemen or liverymen of the Company) and 8 poor women (widows of such). 

When vacancies occurred in the almshouses, public notice was given and a selection of the new 'objects of the charity' was made on the next court-day from the candidates considered proper to be admitted.

 Before 1812 each almsperson received a quarterly stipend of 3 guineas (£3.15), but this was later increased to 4 guineas (£4.20). 

The almshouses closed in 1851 when the buildings were sold to Dr Frederick Salmon and the residents transferred to new accommodation in the Dyers Almshouses in Islington.

The City Road premises were converted into a 25-bedded hospital, which later became St Mark's Hospital.  The almshouses were demolished when expansion of the Hospital became necessary at the end of the 19th century.  In 1995 the Hospital moved to Northwick Park, but its building remains in City Road and is now Citadines St Mark's Islington - a serviced apartment block.


EC1V Old Street
  • Alleyn and St Luke's Almshouses

  • Amias's Almshouses

  • French Protestant Hospital. off Bath Street, EC1V

  • Lewin's Almshouses

 
EC1V Shoreditch

Established through the will of Judge John Fuller in 1592, the almshouses were erected by his widow on a piece of land on the south side of Old Street (the Weavers Company Almshouses were later built opposite, on the north side of Old Street).

The Almshouses opened in 1598 and provided accommodation for 12 poor widows aged 50 or over. Each women received 7 shillings (35p) a week and an allowance of coal. Another Fuller's Almshouse - for men - opened at the same time in Stepney.

The Almshouses, which were managed by the Shoreditch parish, were repaired in 1683 and rebuilt in 1787.

In 1865 their site was taken over for a new town hall and fire station. There is some evidence that the almspersons were moved temporarily to a nearby site on the west site of Hoxton Street until a new building was completed in Wood Green.

The new Fuller's Almshouses opened in 1866. They later became part of the United Shoreditch Parish Almshouses, which also include Walters' and Porter's Almshouses (see below)  and St Leonard's Almhouses.

  • Walters' & Porter's Almshouses, 335-337 Old Street, EC1V 9LL

Originally established in 1656 through the wills of John Walter, a draper, and his widow Alice, the almshouses were managed by the Drapers Company. They accommodated eight poor widows, two of whom were nominated by the Company and six by the parish of Shoreditch.

In 1826 the buildings were extended and rebuilt by the gift of Thomas Porter, following which an extra eight rooms were provided for poor aged widows.

At the beginning of the 20th century the almshouses relocated to Wood Green as part of the United Shoreditch Parish Almshouses, which also included Fuller's Almshouses and St Leonard's Almshouses.  They were renamed Porter's and Walters' Almshouses.

Located adjacent to the east of the Weavers Company Almshouses (see below), both these almshouses had been demolished by 1903. Their site was used for a new Magistrates Court and Police Station for the Metropolitan Police, completed in 1905. In 2016, this Grade II-listed building was converted into a boutique hotel - the Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch.

  • Weavers Company Almshouses, Old Street Road, Hoxton, EC1V 9LL

In 1669 work began on the building of almshouses in Hogsdon (today's Hoxton) for the Weavers Company, following a donation of £200 from William Watson, a Liveryman. Located opposite Fuller's Almshouses (see above) the almshouses opened in 1670. They had 12 rooms for the widows of weavers.

In 1824 the buildings were in a bad state, but were rebuilt the same year thanks to the generosity of one Charles James Coverley. A large stone tablet was put up in his honour. After his death in 1835 it was discovered that he had bequeathed property sufficient to enable the residents to receive a pension of £4 a year.

In the mid 19th century the Weavers Company decided to amalgamate their two almshouses (the other one was in Norton Folgate) on a new site in Wanstead, near Epping Forest (see Weavers Company Almshouses). By 1861 the Hoxton almshouses were no longer in use.

In 1901 the buildings, located on the corner of Old Street (Road) and Curtain Road, were sold to the Metropolitan Police for £8,400 as part of a site for a new Magistrates Court and Police Station. These buildings in their turn closed and were converted in to the Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch.


EC2 Bishopsgate
  • Armourers & Brasiers Almshouses I

  • Edward Alleyn's Almshouses, Lamb Alley, EC2

 
EC2A Shoreditch
  • Hillier's Almshouses, 96a-98a Curtain Road, EC2A


EC2N Bishopsgate
  • Gresham College, 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N


EC2R  Bank

In 1413 the Merchant Taylors Company erected almshouses on the west side of St Martin Outwich, next door to its Hall in Threadneedle Street. These are believed to be the earliest such foundation in London, financed by charitable grants from John Churchman and the Bishop of Norwich. The almshouses accommodated 7 poor elderly tailors and their wives. 

Although they may have survived the Great Fire of London in 1666, their use was discontinued soon after. 

The site in Threadneedle Street is now occupied by a branch of Lloyd's Bank.


EC2V London Wall
  • Sion Hospital


EC2Y Barbican
  • Drapers Almshouses, Beech Lane, Beech Street EC2Y

  • Gresham College, Green Yard, Whitecross Street, EC2Y

  • Rogers's Almshouses, Wallside, Barbican Estate, EC2Y

  • Salters Almshouses, Monkwell Street, EC2Y

  • St James Almshouses


EC3 Aldgate
  • Drapers Almshouses, Coopers Row, Crutched Friars Grove, EC3

  • Spanish and Portuguese Jews Almshouses, Cocks Court, Jewry Street, EC3


EC3A Lime Street

In her will of 1543 Dame Elizabeth Hollys (c.1492-1544), the widow of Sir William Hollys, Lord Mayor of London, bequeathed funds that her Executors - her brother Thomas Scopeham and her cousin Andrew Judd - should use to build six almshouses for poor elderly men and women, and also purchase land to provide an annual income of £10 to provide relief and maintenance for the almspeople.  

The Great St Helens Almshouses opened in 1551, having been built in the ward of Bishopsgate, a parish with which Dame Elizabeth was associated.  They had been founded by Andrew Judd, who was an important member of the Skinners Company.  The building accommodated six poor elderly freemen of the Company. In his will of September 1558, Sir Andrew Judd directed that each of the almsmen should receive 8d (3p) a week, and also £1 5s 4d (£1.27) annually for coal.  

Some 50 years later Judd's daughter, Dame Alice (Judde) Smythe, bequeathed money to buy land, placed in trust with the Skinners Company, so that the pensions of the almspeople could be increased.  

The almshouses were rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666.  In 1729 the almshouses were rebuilt again by the Company, to the west of the original site.  A plaque on the front elevation declared:  These alms-houses were found by Sir Andrew Judd Knt, citizen and skinner and Lord Mayor of London, Anno Dom 1551.  For six Poor Men of ye Said Company.  Rebuilt by ye Said Company Anno Dom 1729.  

The almshouses closed in 1895, when the new Skinners Almshouses opened in Palmers Green. 

Their site is now occupied by the Great St Helen Hotel.


EC4M Cheapside
  • Salters Almshouses, Salters Court, Bow Lane, EC4M


EC4R Cannon Street
  • Dyers Almshouses, White Cock Alley, (Upper) Thames Street, EC4R 3AD

The first Dyers Company almshouses were built in 1545, on part of the estate conveyed to the Company by Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, M.P. He had given the Company his mansion - The Three Stars - and its grounds in Thames Street on condition that it build and maintain seven almshouses on the land.

The almshouses were intended to accommodate four poor men and three poor women, all unmarried. Each almsperson received 8s 8d (43p) quarterly and 16 shillings (80p) at Christmas in lieu of charcoal.

The Three Stars became the Dyers Hall, but it was lost in the Great Fire of London in 1666, as were the almshouses. (The Hall was rebuilt on the same site, but burned down again in 1681, after which it was rebuilt in Dowgate Hill.)

Riverbamk House, an office development, now occupies the almshouse site, with a street address of No. 2 Swan Lane.

  • Whittington College, College Hill, EC4R


EC4 St Paul's

On his death in August 1587 David Smith, embroiderer to Queen Elizabeth I, bequeathed his six newly built almshouses to the Lord Mayor of London and the Commonalty. He had commissioned the almshouses following the death of his wife Katherine.

The almshouses, variously known as 'Widdowes Alley', 'Poor Widowes Inne' and 'Smith's Almshouses', had been built in 1584 on the west side of St Peter's Hill, Doctors Commons, at the back of Woodmongers Hall, which fronted St Paul's Wharf Hill (later renamed Bennett Street).  

The buildings, according to Smith's will, were "to be occupied by widows suche as shall love to serve God aboue all other things.  Also they shal be no swearers not blasphemours of the name of God, nor no drinkards nor skouldes, nor disquieters of other people, but shal be of good and godly conversacion to the better example of others.  Also they shall most usually use the parrishe of St Bennett's nere Powle's Wharfe and especially vppon the Sabbothe, except they goe to a sermon in some other place.  Also I woulde haue them to be of good and sounde religion, lovers of the gospell of Jesus Christ".

The 2-storey buildings, maintained by Christ's Hospital, had fireplaces in their ground floor rooms, but none in the upper rooms.  Each widow received an annual pension of 20 shillings (£1).

The buildings were destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666, but were rebuilt later by Sir Thomas Fitch, knight and baronet, and formerly a bricklayer.

In 1867 the almshouses were sold and the proceeds used to support poor widows as out-pensioners.

Their site, just south of the College of Arms, is now taken up by Queen Victoria Street.

Last updated 4th October 2020

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