London Master Bakers Benevolent Institution

551 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, E10 7EF


The foundation stone for the London Master Bakers Benevolent Institution was laid on 3rd August 1857.

The Institution was being built of the London Master Bakers' Pension and Almshouse Society (later renamed the Bakers Benevolent Society), which had been founded on 13th December 1832 to provide homes for "any respectable member of the baking trade fallen into poverty, eligible according to the rules, or to the widow of such".

The first 18 almshouses were completed in 1861 and the remainder by 1866. The large 3-storey Italianate-style buildings surrounded three sides of a spacious landscaped courtyard. The Institution was considered to be one of the grand almshouses of northeast London, providing homes for 52 elderly improverished bakers and millers.

In December 1894 there were 49 residents.

During WW1 (1914-1918) the almshouses were damaged by bombs dropped from Zeppelins. The first occasion was on 17th August 1915, when bombs fell in the grounds, shaking the buildings and breaking windows. A female resident was seriously injured. On 24th September 1916 some 22 almshouses were damaged by a bomb dropped from the German Navy Zeppelin L31 (shot down a week later over Potters Bar).

In 1924 electric light was installed in the almshouses.

In 1939 gas was installed.

In the late 1960s the GLC compulsorily purchased the property for a road widening scheme.

In 1971 the final remaining resident moved to new accommodation in Bakers Villas, Epping.


Current status

The buildings were saved from demolition by English Heritage and were listed Grade II. They were purchased by Waltham Forest Council, who converted them into 1-bedroom apartments.

From 2012 the property was managed by Ascham Homes, but from January 2016 is once again under the administration of the Council.

N.B. Photographs obtained in June 2020

London Master Bakers Almshouses

The original gates were stolen. These are replicas.

London Master Bakers Almshouses

The blue plaque beside the gates states: Bakers Almshouses, Grade II Listed Building.

London Master Bakers Almshouses

The almshouses surround three sides of a central garden.

London Master Bakers Almshouses

The almhouses are well hidden behind mature trees (above and below).

London Master Bakers Almshouses

References (Accessed 10th January 2021)
Booth C 1903 Life and Labour of the People in London. London, Macmillan & Co.
Castle I 2018 Zeppelin Onslaught: The Forgotten Blitz, 1914-1915. Barnsley, Frontline Books.
Fry H 1881The Royal Guide to London Charities. London, David Bogue.
Low S 1867 The Charities of London. London, Sampson Low, Son & Marston. (1) (2) (1) (2) (1) (2) (1) (2) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (1) (2)

Last updated 16th January 2021

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