St Clement's Heights

26 Sydenham, Hill, Sydenham, SE26 6AA


In 1966 the St Clement Danes Holborn Estate charity built new almshouses at 165 Wells Park Road to replace the ones in Garratt Lane, which had been sold to the London Borough of Wandsworth.

The new almshouses consisted of 50 bed-sitting rooms contained in low-density, flat-roofed blocks.

By the second decade of the 21st century, however, the trustees of the charity felt that the buildings had reached the end of their economic life, and that bedsits were unsuitable for modern residents. It was decided to rebuild the almshouses at the same site, with the project being funded by the sale of the 6-acre site to private housing developers. The terms of the deal with the developers was that the almshouses were to be built first at their expense before the private housing.

Work began in April 2015, with the residents in the southwest wing moving into the main building, which was then sealed to make it water-tight.

The new almshouses - St Clement's Heights - opened in 2016 at a cost of £7.2m.

The 4-storey block contains 49 almshouses, of which 48 have one bedroom and one has two. All are to mobility standard and five are to wheelchair standard. A 3-bedroom apartment is provided for the scheme manager. The building has a lift. Almost all the upper floor apartments have private balconies, while the ground floor apartments have direct access to the gardens. As well as offices, communal facilities are also provided - a lounge and a kitchen.

The almshouse block has its own private courtyard; the gardens contain a pond and woodland, with views to the City of London and the Kent countryside. There is a separate entrance from the road and private parking is provided for the residents, staff and visitors.

Current status

Once the existing residents had moved into the new almshouse block, the old buildings were demolished and work began on the rest of the development.

The almshouses occupy the back of a new square, the other three sides being taken up with private residences - 26 apartments and 20 townhouses.

The St Clement Danes Holborn Estate charity caters for inhabitants of any London borough over the age of 60, with limited income but capable of looking after themselves.

N.B. Photographs obtained in July 2020

St Clemernts Heights

The entrance off Wells Park Road, with the new development Exeter Place in the foreground and the almshouses at the rear.

St Clements Heights

Exeter Place, with its townhouses and apartment blocks, leads to the almshouses.

St Clements Heights

The northern elevation of St Clement's Heights.

St Clements Heights

The entrance to the almshouses off Sydenham Hill.

References (Accessed 8th February 2023)

Pannell J, Pooley A 2020 Almshouses: a model of community housing for an ageing population. London, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Pp 39-41.

Last updated 8th February 2023

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