Norton Folgate Almshouses

Puma Court, Commercial Street, Spitalfields, EC1 9QQ


The original almshouses were built in 1728 in Blossom Terrace, within the liberty of Norton Folgate (a liberty was a small extra-parochial neighborhood outside the control of the City authorities).

However, the need to widen Commercial Street to allow traffic better access to the London Docks required the almshouses to be demolished. They were sold in 1851 to the Commissioners of Works for £2,400.

In 1858 the Commissioners sold a piece of land outside Norton Folgate for £1,500 to the trustees of the almshouses on which to erect replacement buildings. The site, in Red Lion Court (later renamed Puma Court) was conveyed to the trustees in July 1859.

The new almshouses opened in 1860 and consisted of two identical rectangular buildings separated by a narrow gated courtyard. They had cost £1,400 to build. Each 2-storey building contained 8 rooms, accessed by a common stairway.

Each resident (originally from Norton Folgate) received a monthly pension of 2s 6d (13p), as well as a ticket for a quarter loaf of bread a week. On 21st December each year they received 6 cwt of coal and supplies to make dinner on Christmas Day.


Current status

In 2012 the almshouses were renovated and slightly extended. There are now 11 apartments, rented through Tower Hamlets Council.
N.B.  Photographs obtained in March 2020

NOrth Folgate Almshouses

The almshouses comprise two identical 2-storey buildings facing each other across a narrow courtyard (above and below).




On the front of the western block a plaque states "These almshouses were erected in the year 1860 for the inhabitants of the liberty of Norton Folgate in place of those built in 1728 lately taken  down for the new street".

References (Accessed 29th June 2020)

The Gentle Author 2012  At Norton Folgate Almshouses.
https://collage/ (1) (2)

Last updated 29th June 2020

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