Bookbinders Cottages

St Ninian's Court, Bawtry Road, Whetstone, N20 0SS


In 1843 the Bookbinders Provident Asylum Society had built its Asylum in the Balls Pond Road but, by the turn of the century, the building was proving difficult to maintain and the Society's finances had also begun to suffer. By 1907 the Society was having to let rooms in the Asylum to private tenants so that it would have a source of income.

In 1926 the Society purchased land in Whetstone - a growing region of development - on which to build new almshouses.

The Bookbinders Cottages opened in September 1927, with the Bookbinders Provident Asylum closing in the same year.

The new almshouses consisted of seven semi-detached 2-storey blocks, each containing two dwellings, arranged in a V-shaped formation.

In 1976 the eastern half of the site, including the cottages on it, was sold to the Scottish Hospital of the Foundation of King Charles II (now known as ScotsCare).

In 1981 two new blocks, each containing four apartments (Nos. 21-28), were built at the south part of the remaining site.

In 1984 work began to modernise the older buildings.

In 1995 Nos. 1-4 were improved and modified to provide six apartments.

In 2016 the Bookbinders Charitable Society merged with the Book Trade Charity (BTBS), who also ran The Booksellers Retreat in Abbots Langley.

The Cottages at the time contained 26 apartments - one block with eight apartments, three blocks with four apartments each, and one block containing five single-bedroom apartments and 2 bedsits with shared kitchen and bathroom.


Current status

The Cottages are now managed by the Book Trade Charity (BTBS).

The site is currently undergoing redevelopment by Bellis Architects. Two semi-detached buildings (containing Nos. 5-8 and 9-12) have
been demolished and are being replaced by four 2-storey buildings to provide 17 apartments and an office.

The buildings containing Nos. 1-4 and 21-28 will remain.

In addition to providing sheltered housing for elderly retirees from the book trade, the BTBS also leases subsidised accommodation for six-months to Hachette trainees.

N.B. Photographs obtained in November 2020

Bookbinders Cottages

The entrance to St Ninian's Court, off Bawtry Road.

Bookbinders Cottages

The almshouses are located at the end of St Ninian's Court, a cul-de-sac.

Bookbinders Cottages

The building on the left in the image belongs to ScotsCare. The Bookbinders Cottages are shown beyond.

Bookbinders Cottages

Nos. 21-28 Bookbinders Cottages (above and below) were built in 1981.

Bookbinders Cottages


Bookbinders Cottages

Building work continues on the new apartment blocks.

References (Accessed 28th November 2020)

Last updated 28th November 2020

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