Almshouses in N postcode area

N1 City Road

In 1658 Elizabeth Sandys (nee Cornwallis), Lady Lumley (the second wife to Richard, 1st Viscount Lumley) bequeathed funds jointly to the St Botolph's parishes in Aldgate and Bishopsgate in order for almshouses to be built.

Unfortunately, no suitable site could be found for them within either of the parish bounds. 

Eventually, in 1672, a plot of land in the Pest House field in the parish of St Leonard, Shoreditch, was procured, despite this being some 2 km away. 

The land, some 95 feet long and 60 feet wide (29m x 18m) was part of four acres (1.6 hectares) of pasture given to St Botolph Bishopsgate by the apothecary Edward Underwood in 1663. (Underwood had already established his own almshouses in Petty France in 1658). Both parishes contracted a carpenter to build the almshouses, which were to be equally shared by six poor people - three from each of the parishes. 

 A terrace of six single-storey cottages was built. 

In 1781 repairs to the building were undertaken, and a plaque added, which stated: THESE ALMSHOUSES, BUILT IN THE YEAR 1672, ARE THE GIFT OF LADY VISCOUNTESS LUMLEY TO ST. BOTOLPH, ALDGATE, AND ST. BOTOLPH, BISHOPSGATE. REPAIRED 1781. 

By 1820 the almshouses were again in a serious dilapidated state. An architect employed by the Trustees estimated that repairs would cost £800 or more. It was decided to rebuild the almshouses at a cost of £920. 

In 1822 the almshouses were rebuilt on the same site. The plain brick building was of one storey only, with a slated roof. It was enclosed in front by a small area with iron railings on a dwarf wall. There were gardens at the rear of the building. On the front elevation of the almshouses, at their centre, was placed a square stone panel surmounted by a pediment. It contained the inscription: THIS CHARITY WAS FOUNDED AND ENDOWED BY LADY VISCOUNTESS LUMLEY, IN 1657; FOR THREE POOR PEOPLE OF THE PARISH OF ST. BOTOLPH, ALDGATE, AND A SIMILAR NUMBER OF THE PARISH OF ST. BOTOLPH, BISHOPSGATE - THESE HOUSES WERE FIRST BUILT IN 1672; AND WERE TAKEN DOWN AND THE PRESENT BUILDINGS ERECTED IN 1822

The inhabitants at that time were receiving an annual stipend of £11 10s (£11.50). 

The almshouses closed in 1898. 

By 1916 the site had been redeveloped. In the 1950s the entire block became government offices (HMSO). In the 1970s it became a depot for the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. This building still survives and is now in commercial multiple occupation.

N1  Hoxton 

Established by the will of Allen Badger dated 1674 (or 1675), the almshouses were erected in 1698 on a site in Hoxton Street, adjacent and to the north of the Weavers Company Almshouses.

The almshouses consisted of two terraced blocks facing each other across a central yard. Each single-storey block contained three dwellings and were intended to accommodate six men and their wives. Each couple would receive £20 per annum. Later, it seems the almshouses were occupied solely by women.

By the middle of the 19th century the buildings had fallen into such disrepair that they had to be condemned. A scheme to rebuild the almshouses behind the newly built Fuller's Almshouses in Wood Green was rejected.

In 1873 the almshouse funds were applied instead to pensions, while the buildings were demolished and the site let for redevelopment. By 1899 warehouses had been erected where the almshouses had stood.

  • Berman's Almshouses, Almshouse Yard, Hoxton Street, N1 6HQ

Revd William Berman, a 17th century Presbyterian minister, had been the chaplain to St Thomas' Hospital until 1662, when he was removed as part of the Great Ejection for rejecting the Act of Uniformity. He continued as a non-conformist Presbyterian cleric, and appears to have enjoyed considerable prosperity. 

His will of 1700 instructed his executors to purchase property, whose proceeds could be used according to his directions, including the establishment of almshouses. 

Berman died in 1703 and his executors established William Berman's Trust (still active today) to carry out his directions for good works. In 1704 they purchased the Regnier Estate near Berman's own property in Hoxton Square. As best as can be estimated, this lay between Hoxton Street and Kingsland Road, a little north of Hoxton Square itself. 

Almshouses for eight poor elderly women were built towards the west of the property, neat Hoxton Street, probably near the present corner of Fanshaw Street. Each almswoman received half a chaldron of coals a year. 

The almshouses closed in 1813, when new Berman's almshouses were built a little further east, in Basing Place, near Kingsland Road. 

The site of the original almshouses later formed part of the extended grounds of Hoxton House Lunatic Asylum, and then for school and college purposes up to now.

  • Fuller's Almshouses, Old Gloucester Street, N1 6JF

Judge John Fuller, on his death in 1592, left funds to establish two almshouses - one for 12 men in Mile End, Stepney and one for 12 women in Hoxton. Both were to be in the care of the Mercers Company

The Hoxton almshouses formed a terrace, with a small garden to the rear, on the south side of Old Gloucester Street, a little to the west of Hoxton Street. 

They survived through much of the 19th century, but were gone before 1900, replaced by several large houses. By this time, Old Gloucester Street and New Gloucester Street had become Crondall Street. 

While those houses appear to have survived the Blitz, much of the district did not, and there was wholesale redevelopment after the war. The almshouse site is now at the back of some brutal council housing.

In 1794 William Fuller (1705-1800), a banker, founded six almshouses in Hoxton Street, some 500 metres off Old Street Road, and on the opposite side of the street to the nearby Badger's Almshouses (see above).

A few weeks before Fuller died in 1800 the foundation of another six were added to the site. (At his death, he was reputed to be one of the richest people in the country.) 

The inmates were 'poor dissenting females of his own persuasion', that is, rigid Calvinism. 

The almshouses survived until at least the 1860s. By the end of the century the area had been completely redeveloped.

In 1749 Mrs Mary Westby, a widow of Linton, Cambs., together with her sister, purchased land in Hoxton. They erected ten almshouses for poor elderly women, and established an endowment together with a body of trustees for the Mary Westby Trust

Regulations, established later in 1770, specified that the almswomen - widows or spinsters - should be drawn from the Independent, Presbyterian or Antipaedobaptist communities. 

The almshouses formed a terrace on the east side of Pitfield Street, north of the present Crondall Street; they faced east onto a small garden. They were known locally as the Old Maids' Almshouses

They remained active until 1881, when the premises were purchased by the School Board for London, who compensated the almswomen for the loss of their homes and their removal expenses. 

The funds received were invested and the Trust became the Mary Westby Pensions Charity, providing pensions for poor Protestant Dissenters in the Hoxton area. In 2010 the charity was wound up and the remaining funds redistributed to other charities. 

The almshouse site became part of school and college premises until recently. The current modern structure - iQ Will Wyatt Court - provides student accommodation.

N1 Islington
  • Heath's Almshouses (Clothworkers), Queen's Head Lane, N1 8NG

  • In his will of 23rd January 1640 John Heath, a clothworker, bequeathed £1,500 to the Clothworkers Company, directing that £300 should be spent on erecting five brick almshouses and the remainder used for land purchase to provide a yearly income for the almshouses. 

The almshouses, each with two rooms. were built midway along the north side of Queen's Head Lane around 1649. They accommodated 10 poor men of the Clothworkers Company, either clothworkers or dressers of cloth, aged 60 years or over. If none could be found, then ten other mechanics or handicraftmen, freemen of the Company, could be selected. Each almsman was provided annually with a stipend of £20, a chaldron of coals and a suit of clothes by the Company. 

In January 1656 the Company carried out the first repairs to the buildings, namely mending broken windows. Improvements were made in 1681 and, in the following year, the Company's arms, carved in stone, were erected on the front of the buildings. 

By 1818, however, the almshouses had become derelict. 

In 1825 the residents transferred to the ten new Clothworkers Almshouses built by the Company adjacent to Lambe's Chapel in Monkwell Street. The old almshouses were demolished in 1826. 

(Queen's Head Lane was renamed Queen's Head Street in 1866.)

In 1770 the Clothworkers Company built eight new almshouses, on the east side of Frog Lane, to replace the Whitefriars Almshouses, which had been bequeathed to the Company in 1540 by Margaret, Countess of Kent. (In 1560 Lady Anne Packington had gifted the Company lands and properties in Islington.)

The almshouses had been built as one 2-storey block. The central part had a pediment, with the arms of the Company mounted on it above the two central doors. Also known as Kent's Almshouses, they were occupied by the widows of Freemen of the Company, each of whom had two rooms and a garden of their own.

In 1835 each widow received an annual stipend of £20, a gown and 24 sacks of coal, as well as being entitled to medical attendance.

In around 1855 the Company built new almshouses adjacent to the Frog Lane ones. The latter were demolished and became the courtyard of the new Clothworkers Almshouses, which now faced Dean Street.

(Frog Lane was renamed Popham Road in 1872.)

N1 Kingsland

N6  Highgate

N7  Holloway

N9 Edmonton
  • Knight's Almshouses

  • Style's Almshouses

  • Wilde's Almshouses

N11 New Southgate

N13 Palmers Green               

N15 South Tottenham/Stamford Hill

N16 Stamford Hill

N16 Stoke Newington
  • West Hackney House

N17 Tottenham
N19 Islington

N19 Hornsey Rise

N20 Whetstone

N21 Winchmore Hill
  • Esther Doe Lodge

N22  Wood Green
  • Fishmongers & Poulterers Institution

  • Fuller's Almshouses

  • Porter's and Walter's Almshouses, Nightingale Road, N22

  • Printers Almshouses, 245 High Road, N22

  • St Leonard's House. Nightingale Road, N22

  • Shoreditch Almshouses, Nightingale Road, N22

Last updated 24th August 2023

Click here to return to Almshouses of London alphabetical list
Click here to return to home page