Tailors Benevolent Institution

Queen's Crescent, Haverstock Hill, NW5 3QH


The Benevolent Institution for the Relief of Aged and Infirm Journeymen Tailors was founded on 10th February 1837 by John Stultz, a wealthy West End tailor, who became its first President.

The Institution provided a fund for elderly journeymen who were incapacitated from work by age, debility or blindness. It was intended eventually to provide an asylum for them and their wives. Masters and journeymen, as well as firms, could become members by taking out an annual subscription. After three years of membership, journeymen became eligible to claim an out-pension. No journeyman over 35 years of age could become a member.

At one of the anniversary meetings Stultz announced to those present that he would present the Institution with a piece of land on which to build an Asylum. In due course, on the sale of the Southampton estate, he purchased a plot of land of some one and a half acres for about £1,000.

The foundation stone for the Asylum was laid by the Marquis of Salisbury on 31st May 1842.

Built in red brick and stone in the Gothic style, and standing in the middle of a large garden, the Asylum consisted of ten almshouses, four of which had been paid for by subscription and the other six by John Stultz. Stultz had also built and endowed the chapel, located in the centre of the almshouse blocks, which was consecrated by the Bishop of London, Charles James Blomfield, on 24th June 1843.

The Asylum accommodated 40 pensioners and their wives. Each almshouse consisted of eight rooms, with two rooms allowed to each pensioner, who had been selected by the Board of Directors following a ballot by members. Aged tailors of every nation of the world, regardless of creed, were eligibie. At the opening of the Asylum there were 36 pensioners and their wives, with the remainder due to be elected later in the month. The dwelling at the south end was appropriated for the chaplain.

In addition to free accommodation, each pensioner received an annual stipend of £20 16s (£20.80), plus coals, medical attendance and medicines.

However, by 1937, the cost of maintaining the outmoded building had become so great that the Institution decided to sell the site.


Current status

The site was purchased by either the LCC or St Pancras Borough Council. In 1939 a large council block was erected - Montague Tibbles House, named after the local Labour politician Henry Montague Tibbles.

In November 1937 the Institution opened new Nursing and Rest Homes in Pampisford Road, South Croydon.

In 1950 the property was sold and, in July 1952, a new home was opened in North Drive, Wandsworth. This in turn closed and was rebuilt as Tailors Court by the Shaftesbury Housing Association, which allowed the tailoring trade to use it as necessary.

The Benevolent Institution for the Relief of Aged and Infirm Journeymen Tailors still exists and has been renamed the Bespoke Tailors' Benevolent Association.

N.B. Photographs obtained in December 2013

Tailors Asylum

The main frontage of the apartment block on Queen's Crescent, which now occupies the first site of the Asylum. Once known as Montague Tibbles House, it has been renamed Penshurst.

Tailors Asylum

The main entrance.

Tailors Asylum

The apartment block from the northwest. During WW2 (1939-1945), in 1941 a landmine exploded in Queens Crescent next to it. One wing was destroyed and 15 people were killed.

Tailors Asylum

The southwest corner from Prince of Wales Road.


Tailors Asylum

The second site of the Asylum in South Croydon has since been redeveloped and is now Chancellor Gardens.

Tailors Asylum

Chancellor Gardens, as seen from the east.


Tailors Asylum

The third site of the Tailors nursing home in Wandsworth is now occupied by Tailors Court, a council-owned sheltered housing apartment block managed by Sanctuary Housing.

Tailors Asylum Tailors Asylum

Tailors Court.

References (Accessed 19th September 2021)

(Author unstated) 1844 The Metropolitan Charities. London, Sampson Low, p.84
(Author unstated) 1846 Second Report of the Directors. London, Metropolitan Association for Impoving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes, p.36.
(Author unstated) 1850 The Tailors' Benevolent Institution. Penny Illustrated News 1 (17), 129.

Last updated 19th September 2021

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