Harman Atwood Almshouses

23-31 Leas Road, Warlingham, Surrey CR6 9LN


In 1673 Harman Atwood (1608-1677), the local Lord of the Manor of Sanderstead, Warlingham and Chelsham, built four almshouses for deserving poor widows - two from Warlingham, one from Chelsham and one from Sanderstead. Also included on the site was a house for the curate of Chelsham.

In 1675 Atwood conveyed the great tithes of Warlingham and Chelsham, with other sums of money, to trustees in order to provide for the local churches, for the better payment of the curate and for the maintenance of the almshouses.

By 1824 the curate had moved into the Vicarage, finding it more comfortable. His house then was used as the village school. In the early 1830s a new school building was erected as an attachment to the old one.

By 1839 the almshouses were known as "The College at Warlingham".

The original Curate's House was demolished in 1857 and a replacement 2-storey building erected in a central position between the two almshouse cottages.

The village school closed in 1874 when the new Board School opened on the corner of School Common.

The old village school building then became a laundry until 1878. The laundry was dismantled and the premises were refurbished for church services while All Saints Church was being extensively repaired. It became known as the Mission Room. From 1903 it was used as a lending library until 1954, when the new County Library was built on the corner of Shelton Avenue.

In 1951 the almshouses were re-endowed by the local community.

In 1958 the buildings were modernised. The existing single outdoor communal toilet was replaced with individual bathrooms and WCs built on to the almshouses.

In 1989, in order to upgrade the facilities to modern standards, the four almshouses were converted into two self-contained units, while two new almshouses were added to the site. The Mission Room and the Curate's House were refurbished.

In 2000 the almshouses were awarded the Millennium Marque for environmental excellence.


Current status

The Harman Atwood for Almshouses and Curate's House Charity continues to manage the almshouses for the benefit of elderly people, as well as the cottage and the Mission Room.

N.B. Photographs obtained in April 2021

Harman Atwood Almshouses

The original almshouse buildings and the Curate's House are accessed from Leas Road. The 2-storey Curate's House is now know as Atwood Cottage, a residence for the warden.

Harman Atwood Almshouses

The buildings were Grade II listed in 1984.

Harman Atwood Almshouses

The building on the right bears a stone plaque which states: These almshouses built by Harman Atwood in 1675 were re-endowed by the people of Warlingham in the festival year 1951 AD.

Harman Atwood Almshouses

The Millennium Marque is mounted on the building on the left.

Harman Atwood Almshouses

The award was given to the Harman Atwood Charity in recognition of the successful modernisation of the old almshouses and the building of the additional ones.

Harman Atwood Almshouses

The Mission Room is now used as a community space and meeting place for many local organisations.

Harman Atwood Almshouses

The Mission Room and the new almshouses are accessed from Chapel Road.

References (Accessed 22nd July 2021)

(Author unstated) 1839 Reports of the Commissioners, Vol. 33. London, House of Commons, Parliament. Pp 548-560, 590, (1) (2) (3)

Last updated 22nd July 2021

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