Hatcliffe Almshouses

Tuskar Road, Greenwich, SE10 9UY


In 1620 William Hatcliff, a London lawyer, then living in East Greenwich, bequeathed to trustees various properties (with a capital worth of £800*) so that half of the annual income from them could be used for the relief of the poor of East Greenwich, and the other half for the support of the needy in the parishes of Lee and Lewisham.

Although money was indeed distributed to the poor, over two centuries would pass before the charity built almshouses in his name - one in Rushey Green and one in Greenwich. Both were erected in 1857.

The almshouses in Greenwich, which accommodated six elderly ladies, were built in open countryside. However, in 1878, the railway line from London and Greenwich was extended through Maze Hill.  By the early 1880s, a completely new town had sprung up on the fields between the almshouses and the railway.

During the 1880s the almshouses were extended, after which there was accommodation for 12 residents.

In 1938 the buildings were again extended and modernised.

In 1978 they were renovated.

Current status

The almshouses contain 12 single bedroom apartments. They are managed by the Greenwich Charity of William Hatcliffe & the Misses Smith, which helps residents of the Borough of Greenwich.

* The equivalent worth of 1620's £800 would have been either £232,000 in 2019 (Bank of England), £105,000 in 2017 (National Archives) or £168,000 in 2019 (Measuringworth).  In 1620 for £800 one could buy 97 horses or 430 cows, or 2,352 st of wool, or 443 quarters of wheat, or pay a skilled tradesman for 16,000 days.

N.B.  Photographs obtained in July 2020

 Hatcliffe's Almshouses

The almshouses from the west (above) and from the east (below). They have been extended over the years.  They have distinctive tall chimneys and a Dutch gable at the central building and at each end of the terrace.

Hatcliffe's Almshouses


Hatcliffe's Almshouses

The almshouses appear to have been rebranded 'The Hatcliffe'.  William Hatcliff originally came from Hatcliffe in East Lincolnshire.  Over the years his name has acquired an 'e', while his almshouses have lost their apostrophe 's'.

References (Accessed 5th August 2020)

Howarth H 1882 Some Particulars Relating to the Ancient and Royal Borough of Greenwich. London, Edward George Berryman, 106.

Jordan WK 1961 Social Institutions in Kent, 1480-1660.  Archealogica Cantiana 75, 24.

Last updated 5th August 2020

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