Drovers Almshouses

12-17 North Road, Holloway, N7 9BX 


In 1844 public concern over the welfare of drovers motivated the founding of the Drovers Benevolent Institution.

In 1873 the Institution built the Drovers Hall and Asylum on the north side of the Metropolitan Cattle Market in Islington.

The Hall measured 60 feet (18 metres) by 33 feet (10 metres), and 27 feet (8 metres) high. A raised dais at one end provided the opportunity for the delivery of lectures and other means of improving the education of the working classes. The Hall was also intended to be a Reading Room and a Club Room, as well a place where the men in the adjoining market could hold their meetings. There were also committee rooms and offices.

On each side of the Hall were almshouses, which consisted of 15 apartments of 3 rooms each, on two floors, for aged and infirm licensed drovers.

In 1904 the Institution merged with the London Meat Traders Benevolent Association, which had been formed in 1902, to become the London Meat Traders and Drovers Benevolent Association. The new Association then provided almshouses and other benefits to all classes connected with the meat and live cattle trade.

Until 1924 financial help had been restricted to those drovers or people employed in the London meat trade who had contributed to funds. In that year, however, and again in 1928, the rules were changed to include any member who has worked in any capacity in the meat trade.

During the 1930s the almshouses were increasingly rented out commercially to provide an income for the charity so it could provide nursing home care.

In 1950 the Association invested £3,000 into a new retirement home in Warham Grange, a former residential hotel in Croydon. This enabled it to nominate four people for the home.

The lease on Drovers Hall expired in 1953.


Current status

The almshouses were still shown on a 1960s map, as Drovers Cottages, but were gone by the 1980s. Their site is now occupied by a terrace of six dwellings, Nos. 12-17 North Road, part of the Hyde Village estate.

In 1986 the London Meat Traders and Drovers Benevolent Association merged with the Butchers Charitable Institution to become the Butchers and Drovers Charitable Institution.

N.B. Photographs obtained in September 2020

Drovers Almshouses

Nos. 12-17 North Road now occupy the site of the Hall and Asylum (above and below).

Drovers Almshouses


Drovers Almshouses

The Hall and Asylum were built facing the clock tower of the cattle market.

References (Accessed 6th October 2021)

(Author unstated) 1873 Drovers' Hall and Asylum. The Builder, 31st May, 432.
Metcalfe RS 2015 Meat, Commerce and the City: The London Food Market, 1800-1855. London, Routledge, p.200. (1) (2)

Last updated 6th October 2021

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