Bootmakers Almshouses

Rosemary Gardens, Mortlake, SW14 7HD


The Master Boot and Shoemakers Provident and Benevolent Institution was founded on 17th May 1836 by six master bootmakers. It had been formed in order to provide almshouses in Mortlake for aged and infirm members of the boot and shoemaker trades, and their widows and orphans.

The Bootmakers Almshouses were finally built in Mortlake around 1850. Originally intended to provide 25 dwellings, only part of the scheme seems to have been built by 1854, accommodating 15 people.

By 1857 the residents consisted of 11 men and 7 women.

In 1864 the Institution acquired the funds of the Journeymen Boot and Shoemakers Pension Society, which had been established in 1850.

In 1880 the Almshouses accommodated 15 inmates.

In 1890 the Institution was renamed the Boot and Shoe Trade Provident and Benevolent Institution.

In 1900 it was renamed yet again, becoming the Boot Trade Benevolent Society, to reflect the changes in its scope to admit those engaged in any branch of the industry, including retailers (it is currently known as Footwear Friends).

By 1930 the Almshouses - known locally as the College of All Soles - were considered too expensive to maintain. They were sold by auction the same year.


Current status

The buildings still exist, but their original frontage has been changed. They have been renamed Rosemary Cottages and are now private residences.

N.B. Photographs obtained in September 2020

Bootmakers Almshouses

Rosemary Cottages (above and below).

Bootmakers Almshouses


Bootmakers Almshouses

Just north of Mortlake station, the buildings can be seen from the east-bound platform.

References (Accessed 11th November 2021)

Low S Jnr 1850 The Charities of London. London, Samson Low, p. 285.
Mackeson C (ed) 1880 Low's Handbook to the Charities of London. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, p. 96.
Weale J 1854 The Pictorial Handbook of London. London, Henry G Bohn, p.216.

Last updated 11th November 2021

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