ALMSHOUSES OF LONDON

 

 

Almshouses in EC postcode area


EC1 Smithfield
  • Gallard's Almshouses, Golden Lane, EC1

  • Hammond's Almshouses, Alms-house Yard, Snow Hill, EC1A

  • Ramsey's Almshouses, Home's Yard, Cloth Fair, EC1A 7JQ

  • 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.

  • Quaker's Almshouses, Braidewell Walk, EC1R 0LS


EC1V Old Street
  • Alleyn's Almshouses, 1-10 Bath Street, EC1V 9ET

  • 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.

  • Palyn's Almshouses, Pesthouse Road, Old Street, EC1V

  • 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

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


EC2M Bishopsgate

In his will dated 13th November 1626, the actor and philanthropist Edward Alleyn (1526-1626) requested his executors (his cousins Thomas and Matthias) to found almshouses in the parishes of St Saviour in Southwark and St Botolph in Bishopsgate within two years of his death. Each of the almshouses was to have places for ten poor men and women, who would be transferred to his College in Dulwich when vacancies occurred.

The request was not carried out and, in 1633, to force the building of the almshouses, the parish of St Botolph brought a case against the surviving executor, Matthias Alleyn (Thomas having died in 1631). Matthias agreed to pay £120 if the parish would provide the land. 

The five almshouses were built in Petty France, facing St Botolph's churchyard (later another four houses would be added to the terrace as Underwood's Almshouses - see below). 

By 1732 the area - a dense network of houses and alleys - had become much decayed; the Corporation of London decided to redevelop it and make a new passage to Bishopsgate Street. 

In 1733 the almshouses were forced to move, together with their neighbour - Underwood's Almshouses - to new premises in Lamb Alley, in the same parish of Bishopsgate (see below). 

The main thoroughfare of the area - Petty France - was rebuilt as New Broad Street.

When the almshouses in Petty France founded by Edward Alleyn (1556-1626) were forced to close in 1732 (see above), new almshouses were built in 1733 in Gingerbread Court, simultaneously with Underwood's Almshouses (see below), which also moved from Petty France. The two new almshouses faced each other across a courtyard. 

The front of the building bore an incription stating that the almshouses had been "founded by Edward Alleyn, esq. of God's Gift College, of Dulwich, and rebuilt at the charge of the parishioners in 1733". 

The ten almspeople received an annual stipend of £2 each. Every other year they received a new coat or gown.  As vacancies occurred in his College in Dulwich, inmates would be transferred there.

The building survived until 1901, when the site was sold for the extension of the Great Eastern Railway lines. 

The site of the almshouses is now part of Liverpool Street station, roughly where the Platform 14/15 island is located.

Around 1704 the Dutch Church in Austin Friars purchased a piece of land in Whitecross Alley, Middle Moorfields, in order to build additional almshouses to the ones they already had in White's Alley (see below). 

The new 2-storey building was handsome and commodious. It contained 14 dwellings for the elderly poor of the congregation, either men or women, aged 60 years or more. In addition, there was a large room where the Church elders and deacons met weekly to pay the pensions of the almsfolk or to do any other business relating to their poor. 

Not only were the Dutch poor admitted, but also Englishwomen whose husbands had been members of the Church. Occasionally, the almshouses contained more English people than Dutch. 

In his will of 1733 Egbert Guede endowed two additional tenements, Nos 6 and 7, "for the habitation and maintenance of four such poor men of and belonging to the Dutch Church in Augustine Fryers". 

In 1788 a new street running from Moorfields to Bishopsgate - Crown Street - enabled easier access to the almshouses. (Crown Street was later renamed Sun Street.) 

In 1854 the inmates of the almshouses each received a weekly pension of 8 shillings (40p). 

In 1866 the inhabitants of the almshouses in White's Alley (see below) were transferred to Crown Street. In the same year the site was sold for £7,000 to the London and North Western Railway Company. 

In 1867 part of the Grove House estate in Old Charlton, Kent, was purchased as a new site for almshouses. On completion of the new Dutch Almshouses in 1868, the almspeople were transferred there.  

The site of the Mulberry Court almshouses is now buried in the Broadgate complex, near the Gaucho restaurant.

  • Parish Clerks Almshouses, Clerks Place, Bishopsgate, EC2M 1GT

During the reign of Henry VI, two buildings belonging to the Brotherhood of St Nicholas had been granted to the parish clerks of London for use as accommodation for two chaplains. Both properties were inns - The Wrestlers and The Angel. Near the latter an entry way - Clerks Place - led to the Hall of the Parish Clerks; adjoining this were seven almshouses for old and infirm parish clerks and their wives, or their widows. One of the seven inhabitants, as a supervisor, received a weekly stipend of 16 pence (7p) and the other six nine pence (4p). 

In the reign of Edward VI, all brotherhoods were suppressed. The Brotherhood of Parish Clerks was forced to surrender its Hall and other buildings to the King's courtiers. They were sold, together with the almshouses, to Sir Robert Chester in 1548. 

Today the area is much changed. The site of the almshouses is approximately occupied by 100 Bishopsgate.

  • Underwood's Almshouses, Petty France, EC2M 1JJ

In 1658 the apothecary Edward Underwood founded two almshouses in Boarded Alley in Petty France, facing St Botolph's churchyard. They were added to the terrace of five houses occupied by Alleyn's Almhouses (see above). 

The almshouses accommodated four people - two in each room. When one died, they would be replaced with another person of the same sex as the survivor - so that the rooms always housed two people. 

In his will dated 26th July 1661 Underwood requested that his wife and executrix Jane should, within two years of his death, give £100 to the parish of St Botolph so that land could be purchased and an almshouse built on it for 16 poor elderly people. 

However, it seems that another two houses in the same terrace were added or acquired, so that the almshouses consisted of four houses in a terrace of nine houses. 

Each almshouse accommodated four people - two in each room. Every year on 22nd February (Jane Underwood's birthday), four almspeople received new clothing - the men a cloth suit, a shirt, a pair of woollen stockings and new shoes, the women a cloth petticoat and waistcoat, a smock, a pair of woollen stockings and a pair of new shoes.

By 1732 the area - a dense network of houses and alleys - had become much decayed; the Corporation of London decided to redevelop it and make a new passage to Bishopsgate Street. 

In 1733 the almshouses were forced to move, together with their neighbour - Alleyn's Almshouses - to new premises in Lamb Alley, in the same parish of Bishopsgate (see below). 

The main thoroughfare of the area - Petty France - was rebuilt as New Broad Street.

  • Underwood's Almshouses, Gingerbread Court, Lamb Alley, Bishopsgate Street, EC2M 7PR

When the almshouses in Petty France (see above) were forced to close, the almspeople moved to new premises in Gingerbread Court, along with Alleyn's Almshouses. 

Instead of being side by side, as in Petty France, the two sets of almshouses faced each other across a courtyard. A house belonging to the John Armstrong Charity fronting Lamb Alley occupied a third side of the courtyard; this was used by the parish to temporarily house poor people. 

The almshouse building bore an inscription stating that "they were founded by Edward Underwood and his wife Jane, and rebuilt at the charge of the parishioners of St Botolph in the year 1733". 

The almshouses consisted of eight rooms, each occupied by two almswomen, who had been selected by the churchwardens and common councilmen from among the most deserving poor elderly of the parish. 

The almswomen each received 2s 6d (13p) a month.

The building survived until 1901, when the site was sold for the extension of the Great Eastern Railway lines. 

The site of the almshouses is now part of Liverpool Street station, roughly where the Platform 14/15 island is located.


EC2M London Wall
  • Laurence Camp Almshouses, Wormwood Street, EC2M 1RX

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


EC2R  Moorfields
  • Dutch Almshouses, White's Alley, EC2R 6DA

In 1682 the deacons of the Dutch Church in Austin Friars decided to set up a second almshouse for their elderly poor members, but it was not until December 1683 that a piece of land in Upper Moorfields was purchased, following a gift of £160 from Samuel Shepherd, an eminent Dutch merchant. 

The almshouses opened in 1688 with accommodation for 28 elderly poor Dutchwomen. 

By 1761 each of the almswomen was receiving a weekly stipend of 3 shillings (15p). Every second year they each received 12 shillings (60p) to buy a new gown. 

In 1866 the inhabitants were transferred to the Dutch Almshouses in Bishopsgate (see above). 

The site of the almshouses is now occupied by No. 20 Moorgate.


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 Cripplegate (now Barbican)

Lady Emma Askew, widow of the draper and former Lord Mayor of London Sir Christopher Askew (Ascue), laid upon the Drapers Company the obligation to build almshouses for eight poor widows of the Company. 

In 1540 the Company built a terrace of almshouses at the northeast corner of Beech Lane, a narrow street, only 20 feet (6.2 metres) wide with a single carriageway. 

The almshouses were built of brick and timber. Each dwelling contained a sitting room, with a bedroom above. In the yard at the back was a privy, the only convenience shared by all the occupants. 

The almswomen, chosen by the Master and Wardens at a Court of Wardens of the Drapers Company, lived rent-free. They received an annual stipend of £3 each and a supply of coal, paid for by the trustees of the Company, who also managed the almshouses. 

In 1594 the almshouses were completely rebuilt, with stone frames for the doorways and windows. On the east wall of the building were the arms of the Drapers Company and a stone plaque with the date 1594. 

In 1691 the buildings were thoroughly repaired. 

By the mid 18th century the almswomen were receiving £4 a year as a pension, but the area had become densely populated and noisy; it was considered one of the most dangerous in London. 

Their income had increased by the mid 19th century, when they were each receiving a guinea and a half (£1.58) a month, as well as sacks of coal, and 2s 6d (13p) at the visitation of the Drapers Company. No medical aid was provided for the women, but they did also receive the dividends on stock bequeathed by Samuel Whitbread, which amounted to £25 a year, divided equally among then. 

By then the almshouses were in a bad state of repair internally, even though the outside appearance did not convey this. The Drapers Company sought to rebuild the almshouses elsewhere, together with Milbourne's Almshouses (see below) in Tower Hill, which were even more objectionable and less well ventilated. 

In 1862 the almswomen moved to new almshouses at Drapers College, Tottenham High Cross. 

The site of the almshouses was sold in 1862 and an ugly 2-storey red brick warehouse erected in their place. During WW2 (1939-1945)  the area was completely destroyed during the Blitz. The site of the almshouses is now occupied by the forecourt of Cromwell Tower, at the corner of Beech Street and Silk Street.

  • Gresham College, Green Yard, Whitecross Street, EC2Y

In 1601 Robert Rogers, a leatherseller and merchant adventurer, bequeathed £600 to the Corporation of London for the erection of almshouses. 

In 1612 six almshouses were built on the north side of Hart Street in Cripplegate. The 2-storey building provided each almshouse with two rooms, one up and one down. The almshouses were occupied by elderly couples - freemen and freewomen - who had no dependent children. 

A plaque above the central door of the building declared the almshouses to be: The Gift of ROBERT ROGERS, Merchant Adventurer of London, and free of the Leathersellers Company. Who, amongst other good Deeds, gave 600 pounds to build and Lay out upon these Almshouses; for the Relief of such Six poor aged Couples, being freemen and freewomen (as have no charge of children). He died in the Year 1601 and these were finished Anno Dom. 1612. 

In the mid 18th century each couple received an annual stipend of £4. 

In 1856 the Court of Common Council decided that the almshouses had to be demolished. New almshouses were built in Brixton, on unused land owned by the Corporation. These new Rogers's Almshouses are now part of the City of London Almshouses in Ferndale Road. 

During WW2 the whole area was lost due to bombing and has since been redeveloped. The location of the almshouses is similar to that of the nearby Clothworkers Almshouses - on the north side of Wallside apartment block in the Barbican estate.

  • Sir Ambrose Nicholas's (Salters) Almshouses, Monkwell Street, EC2Y 5BN

  • Shortly before his death, in 1578, Sir Ambrose Nicholas, a wealthy salter, Alderman and former Lord Mayor of the City, founded almshouses for seven poor elderly men and five poor elderly women in Mugwell (later Monkwell) Street, a narrow street in Cripplegate. The occupants would be freemen or their widows, preferably belonging to the Salters Company, and would live rent-free. Each would receive 7d (3p) a week and, once a year at Christmas, five sacks of charcoal and a quarter of a hundred of faggots (bundled firewood). 

    In his will of 28th April 1578, Nicholas bequeathed the almshouses to the Salters Company. On his death the same year the almspeople were each given a black gown to wear. 

    After the Great Fire of London in 1666 the almshouses were rebuilt by the Company. A large stone tablet above the central door of the terraced building bore the inscription: These 12 almshouses were founded in the year 1578 by Sir Ambrose Nicholas, Knt., Citizen and Alderman of London, in the gift of the Worshipful Company of Salters, who rebuilt them after the Great Fire of 1666, and who have been and are considerable benefactors to the Charity. 

    However, the new building was low and ill-arranged; each almshouse had a large chimney breast in the ground floor room. while the staircase to the bedroom above rendered the space exceedingly narrow. The bedroom too had a staircase to the loft in the roof. The four houses nearest to Hart Street were even worse, being smaller. The 12 almspeople all shared one water closet, which was located in the centre of the terrace, as was the rubbish tip and water supply. 

    Until 1735 both men and women were admitted. After that date the almshouses were given over to women, either widows or daughters of freemen of the Company. 

    In 1862 each almswoman received 14 shillings (70p) a week, as well as 31s 6d (£1.58) at Christmas, and one and a half tons of coal a year. Medical attendance was provided by the Company. 

    The buildings were old and deemed unsanitary. The Company built new Salters Almshouses in Watford and the almswomen were transferred there in 1863. 

    The Monkwell Street buildings were demolished to make way for warehouses.


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


EC3A Lime Street
  • Jehu Hazilwood's Almshouses, Little St Helen's, EC3

  • Skinners Almshouses (Judd's Almshouses), 36 Great St Helens, EC3A 6AP

    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.


EC3M  City

EC4M Cheapside
  • Beamond's (Salters) Almshouses, Bread Street, EC4M 9AJ

By his will dated 24th March 1454 Thomas Beamond, a wealthy salter, Alderman and Sheriff, bequeathed land on the east side of Bread Street (the centre of the salt trade) to the Salters Company on which to erect their first Hall.

 Six almshouses were to be built next door to the Hall to accommodate the most indigent poor elderly men of the Company. If nonesuch could be found, poor elderly men of other City Companies could be admitted. 

Each almsperson received a weekly stipend of 7d (3p). 

In 1539 the Hall was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt in 1559 with six almshouses, but destroyed again by another fire in 1598. 

By 1641 the Hall was deemed too small and, as a replacement, the Company purchased Oxford House in St Swithin's Lane. The almspeople were housed in properties adjoining the gates of the new Hall. 

The buildings burned down in 1666, during the Great Fire of London. In 1695 new Beamond's Almshouses opened in a house owned by the Company in Salter's Court, Bow Lane (see below).

  • Beamond's (Salters) Almshouses, Salters Court, Bow Lane, EC4M 5SB

In 1695 the six almspeople living by the Salters Hall in St Swithin's Lane (see above) were rehoused. Four moved to a house in Salters Court belonging to the Salters Company

The house, divided into four apartments was next-door to the home of the beadle of the Company. The remaining two almsmen were rehoused in rooms above the kitchen of the Salters Hall (one of whom was later removed from his residence for misconduct, but nonetheless continued to receive his allowance). 

By the mid 19th century six almsmen occupied the two houses, each with two rooms. Five were married. Each almsman received 10s 6d (53p) a week, one and a half tons of coal a year, and other benefits. 

By the mid 19th century the houses, supposedly built after the Great Fire of London (1666), were very old and needed constant repairs. 

The almshouses closed in 1863 and the residents were transferred to the new Salters Almshouses in Watford. 

Bow Lane was a narrow street running north from Mansion House to Cheapside, by St Mary-le-Bow. It is now a pedestrian passage, just east of Bread Street. Salters Court was a tiny alley on the west side of Bow Lane, between Nos. 13 and 14 - halfway between Watling Street and Cannon Street. The Court was still shown on a 1975 map, but has since disappeared in one or more building sprees.

  • Richmond's Almshouses, Goose Alley, Seacoal Lane, EC4M


EC4M Fleet Street

EC4N Tower Hill

In 1535 Sir John Milbourne, a draper and former Lord Mayor of London, erected and endowed almshouses on land adjoining the Church of the Crutched Friars that he had purchased from the Friars in 1534 prior to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. (The Crutched, Crotched or Crossed Friars - Fratres Cruciferi - was a Roman Catholic order which settled in London in 1249. The order was suppressed during the Dissolution).

Built of brick and timber, the almshouses accommodated 13 elderly poor freemen of the Drapers Company, and their wives, if any. If none could be found, residents from the local parish of St Olave could apply.   The Drapers Company managed and maintained the buildings and their inmates.

Over the gateway leading to the garden was a square stone carving depicting the Assumption of the Virgin Mary supported by six angels and, beneath this, an inscription stating: Ad laudem Dei & gloriose Virginis MARIE, hoc Opus erexit Dominus JOHANNES MILBORNE Miles & Alderman, hujus Civitatis, A.D. 1535. (By the mid 19th century, the stone plaque had vanished and had been replaced with an English version painted on board, stating: THIS EDIFICE WAS ERECTED BY Sr JOHN MILBOURNE Kt ALDERMAN of this CITY A.D. 1535 - the spelling of Sir John's name varied from Milbourn to Milbourne to Milborne.) 

The almspeople had to be of good character with no record of criminality. They were forbidden to sell ale, beer, wine or "and other things concerning tippling". On the first day of each month, beginning on 1st May 1536, they each received a monthly stipend of 2s 4d (12p). 

Sir John had stipulated in his will of 10th June 1535 that his body was to be buried in the centre of the middle aisle of the Church of the Crutched Friars. The almspeople, known as 'bedemen', were obliged to attend the Church daily at 8 o'clock in the morning to hear Mass and to pray for Sir John and his family at his tomb. 

 In his will Sir John left the almshouses and various properties to William Dolphin, a fellow draper, who in turn left them to the Drapers Company. The almshouses were later enlarged to 14 dwellings, then 16. 

In the early 19th century Woodroff Lane was renamed Coopers Row.

By 1858 four inmates received two guineas (£2.10) and 12 received a guinea and a half (£1.58) from the Drapers Company, as well as 18 sacks of coal a year and 2s 6d each at the committee's annual visit. Medical attendance and medicines were free. 

By the mid 19th century, however, the houses were considered to be very small and in need of thorough repair. The ventilation was poor, as the small windows were all in the front and the back wall of the building was a party wall to other buildings, so no through draught could be obtained. Many of the sitting rooms were lower than the road. Each dwelling had a water closet in its very low, dark underground cellar; these were considered unsanitary. The staircases were extremely narrow and difficult and several occupants were unable to use them, to either reach the small bedroom on the first floor or the loft above that, nor to get to the cellar. The Company's surveyor considered the houses were incapable of efficient repair. 

The Company decided to build new almshouses elsewhere and rehouse the almspeople, together with those in Lady Askew's Almshouses in Cripplegate (see above).

In 1862 the Drapers Company built new almshouses - Drapers College -  in Tottenham High Cross and the almspeople, now numbering 16, moved there. 

The almshouses were sold by auction and were demolished shortly after they had been vacated. Extensive warehousing was built in their place. 

Their site is now under the east end of Fenchurch Street station, very close to the former Bierschenke Bierkeller. 


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.)

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

  • Whittington College, College Hill, EC4R 2RP

In 1409, when a plot of land was acquired at Le Ryole, Richard Whittington (1354-1423) paid for the rebuilding and extension of St Michael Paternoster Royal church. He later founded the College of St Spirit and St Mary within the church, so that it became a collegiate church, i.e. it was administered by a college of priests rather than by a rector. The College became known as Whittington's College. 

In his will of 5th September 1421 Whittington left the residue of his estate in trust with the Mercers Company for the foundation and endowment of almshouses for 13 poor, honest elderly men and women, one of whom would be the chief, with the appellation of 'tutor'. This last would receive a weekly pension of 16d (7p) and the others 14d (6p). All were required to wear clothing of a dark brown colour. 

The almshouses were built just to the north of Whittington's home, which lay adjacent to the north side of the church. They were called God's House or Almes House or Hospital of Richard Whittington. The almspeople were required to pray for the good estate of Richard Whittington and his family and relatives as well as for King Richard II (who had made Whittington Lord Mayor of London). 

The church, College and almshouses were all destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, but were all rebuilt in 1668. 

By the beginning of the 19th century each almsperson received a weekly pension of 3s 10d (19p). 

The Mercers Company had moved its School to College Hill in the early 19th century, renting premises for the purpose. It wished to expand both the School and the almshouses. A plot of land was purchased in Highgate Hill for the latter and the inmates were transferred there when the new Whittington College opened in 1824. The almshouses in College Hill were then occupied by the Mercers School. The building was rebuilt in 1830 at a cost of £4,500.  

Today the site of Whittington's house at  Nos. 19-20 College Hill, adjacent to the church, is occupied by the Grade II listed Whittington House, now an apartment block. The site of the College and almshouses is at Grade II*-listed Nos. 21 and 22.  No. 21 contains The India restaurant and law offices, while No. 22 (behind) is a serviced apartment hotel - Go Native.


EC4V 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.


EC4Y Blackfriars      

In 1537 Margaret, Countess of Kent, the daughter of James Finch, a clothworker, founded almshouses for poor elderly women. They were built in the Scholar's Garden, part of the Whitefriars estate leased to her and the Clothworkers Company for 99 years. 

The 2-storey almshouses accommodated seven poor elderly women over the age of 50 years, with preference given to the widows of Freemen of the Company. An honest poor man was hired as a gatekeeper and porter, receiving an annual wage of 20 shillings (£1). The almswomen each received a weekly stipend of 7-1/2 pence (3p). Each resident had a single room, furnished with a fireplace and chimney. Each also had a private toilet. There was a walled courtyard outside. 

In her will of 2nd December 1540 the Countess bequeathed all her lands and properties to the Clothworkers Company, on the understanding that it would continue to maintain the almshouses and its occupants. The Company would have the power to remove any of the latter in case of misconduct. 

These were the first almshouses to be managed by the Company. (The second were founded in 1568 by William Lambe in Sutton Valence, Kent, and the third in 1640 by John Heath in Islington.) 

The Company continued to maintain the almshouses and kept a firm hold over the replacement of candidates following death or eviction due to misbehaviour. In 1649 three widows were evicted for not actually being 'Free of the Company'. Company pensioners could also be admitted, but forfeited their pension on entering the almshouse. Old and infirm almswomen were permitted to bring in outside help to care for them. 

In 1654 the Company bought the property. In August 1655 a carpenter and bricklayer were hired to do the necessary repairs and, in January 1656, a plasterer was engaged to amend several rooms in the almshouses. 

It is unclear whether the almshouses survived the Great Fire of London in 1666 or were rebuilt. 

In 1681 the weekly stipend was increased by 4-1/2 pence (2p). By the mid 18th century the building was much in decay.

In 1770 the Company built new Clothworkers Almshouses in Frog Lane in Islington, and the tenants at Whitefriars were transferred there. 

The premises at Whitefriars were presumably demolished and replaced with workshops. During the 19th century the site become the Whitefriars Glassworks until it moved to Harrow in 1923.  

The approximate location of the almshouse is Natural Kitchen, a restaurant at No. 26 Tudor Street.

Last updated 28th February 2022

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