Merchant Taylors Almshouses

Brandram Road, Lee, SE13 5RX


In 1825 the residents of the Merchants Taylors Almshouses in Tower Hill transferred to the newly opened buildings in Lee.

The new almshouses had been erected on land previously owned by Christopher Boone, whose first almshouses had been built on Lee High Road and for which the Merchant Taylors Company acted as trustee. While Boone's Almshouses had been built for the benefit of the local poor, the Merchant Taylors ones were intended for poor widows aged 54 years or more, whose husbands had been members of the Company. Two places were reserved for poor widows from the parish of St Botolph Aldgate.

Despite the two Almshouses belonging to separate charities, they shared the same chapel.

The almshouses were completed in 1826. Located slightly northwest of Boone's Almshouses, the main block - the north wing - faced Lee High Road. It was flanked by a smaller block either side, with the western one running parallel to Brandram Road. All were 2 storeys high, built of gault brick with stone dressings, and arranged around a large courtyard with an extensive garden in front. The residents looked after the small borders between their house and the path.

The 30 almshouses were arranged in pairs and entered through a double door. On the ground floor of each dwelling was a living room and a kitchen, with a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor.

Around 1850 another block of similar style, containing 4 almshouses, was built at the southeast of the site, immediately behind Boone's Almshouses and Chapel.

In 1855 an elaborate entrance gate and Porter's Lodge were added to the site.

In 1875 the Company bought the neighbouring Boone's Almshouses after their residents had moved to new buildings half a mile away in Lee High Road. The old almshouses were demolished and their site became part of the garden of the Company's almshouses. The chapel, however, was spared and was used as a Reading Room by the Company's widows.

In 1928 the almshouses were made available to men as well as women.

The buildings were Grade II-listed in 1973.

In 2010 the Company decided to sell the almshouses in order to raise funds to redevelop the Boone's Almshouses site in Belmont Park.


Current status

In December 2010 listed building consent was granted for the Company to amalgamate the 34 almshouses into 19 larger dwellings.

However, in 2020 the buildings remain empty and are occupied by property guardians Ambika Security.
N.B. Photographs obtained in March 2020


The north wing faces south towards Lee High Road.


The Porter's Lodge and pedestrian gate were built in 1855.


The coat of arms of the Merchant Taylors Company, featuring two dromedaries, is above the pedestrian entrance. An entrance gate for vehicles is further south on Brandram Road.


The western wing.


The additional almshouse block built around 1850.

References (Accessed 19th August 2020) (1) (2)

Last updated 19th August 2020

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