Thomas Watson Cottage Homes

Leecroft Road, Barnet Underhill, EN5 2TJ


Following his death in 1910, Thomas Watson's daughters Annie and Florence decided to build 12 almshouses in his memory. He had been the general manager and, later, proprietor of the hauliers Sutton & Company, and the almshouses would be for the benefit of "old and loyal employees of the firm".

In 1914 eight single-storey buildings were erected on the west side of Leecroft Road, arranged around three sides of a large grassed quad. The western side of the quad - facing Leecroft Road - contained a central community hall with a single bungalow either side of it. On the north and south sides of the quad two semi-detached faced each other, with a single bungalow flanking each of the eastern pair.

A warden lived in No. 1, while the remaining dwellings housed 11 couples or single people. Each property had individual and shared back gardens.

The central hall was built in a Queen Anne style, while the bungalows were in a Home Counties vernacular. In the centre of the quad was a bronze sundial set in a large stone.

In 1996 Colgate Court, an apartment block, was built on the east side of Leecroft Road, opposite the quad.

In January 2002 the sundial in the centre of the quad was stolen.

In 2011 eight more single and semi-detached bungalows were added to the north and south of Colgate Court. These were named Jubilee Cottages and were numbered 13-17 and 18-20.


Current status

The almshouses now consist of 30 dwellings, including that of the resident manager. Accommodation is allocated to those retirees who worked in the freight carrying industry (or their spouses) and are in need.

N.B. Photographs obtained in December 2020

Thomas Watson Cottage Homes

The main entrance to the gated almshouse complex, with the original cottages located on the right (just seen) and Colgate Court on the left (not seen). Leecroft Road abruptly ends here.

Thomas Watson Cottage Homes Thomas Watson Cottage Homes

Signage on either side of the gates.


Thomas Watson Cottage Homes

The first cottage by the main gate, with others just visible beyond.

References (Accessed 17th December 2020)

Burchall K 2002 Residents shocked at valuable sundial theft. Watford Observer (16th January)

Cherry B, Pevsner N 2002 London 4: North. New Haven & London, Yale University Press.

Jones N 2014 The generosity of Barnet's benefactors. The Barnet Society (4th July).

Jones N 2014 Milestone for the almshouses. The Barnet Society (26th July).

Jones N 2016 Right-to-buy almshouses put to rest. The Barnet Society (8th February).

Slater A 2014 People celebrate 100th anniversary of Thomas Watson Cottages, Barnet. Barnet & Potters Bar Times (3rd August).

Last updated 17th December 2020

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