Trinity Almshouses

27 Mile End Road,  Stepney, E1 4TP


Trinity Hospital opened in 1685, built in Mile End Road on land bequeathed by Captain Henry Mudd. It had been founded by the Corporation of Trinity House, which also had almshouses in Deptford, to provide accommodation for "28 decay'd Masters and Commanders of Ships or ye widows of such". The residents would also receive a money allowance, coals and other comforts.

The Hospital consisted of two rows of 14 cottages (each with 3 rooms) arranged facing each other across a quadrangular lawn, with a chapel at the rear of the site.

In 1688 the Skinners Almshouses were built on the western side of the Hospital.

By 1730 the Corporation was housing 93 former mariners in its almshouses in Mile End and Deptford.

In 1746 a statue of Captain Robert Sandes, a benefactor who had died in 1721, was erected on the central grassed quadrangle by the Corporation.

During the second half of the 19th century a tall ship's mast was erected at the centre of the green. An additional forty almshouses were built behind the chapel, around another central green. The site then became 'T'-shaped rather than rectangular.

In 1870 the statue of Captain Richard Maples, another benefactor, was transferred to Mile End and placed behind the chapel when the Deptford almshouses closed.

In 1895 the almshouses were threatened with destruction, but there was a public outcry and campaign (the latter eventually led to the current Listed Buildings system). As a result of the objections, permission to demolish them was refused in 1896.

In 1927 a bust of William Booth was installed in front of the site of the Vine Tavern, across from the entrance to the almshouses, where Booth had preached (which had later led to the founding of the Salvation Army). (In 1979 a reproduction of a statue of William Booth was installed on the grass verge opposite the almshouses.)

During WW2 (1939-1945) the almshouses and the chapel were seriously damaged by bombs. The ship's mast was destroyed.

Despite being Grade I listed in 1950, the surviving almshouses and chapel were sold in 1954 to the LCC.


Current status

The LCC restored the buildings and transferred them to Stepney Borough Council to use for rented accommodation. The Council renamed the development Trinity Green. After the renovations had been completed, the Queen visited the site in 1962.

The newer almshouses behind the chapel were demolished and became part of a low-level council housing estate.

The painted glass panes from the chapel windows still survive, along with the ones from the Deptford Almshouses, in the Trinity House Library.

The chapel is now used for Council community purposes, currently leased to Deafplus.

The Corporation opened new almshouses - Trinity Homes - in Walmer, Kent.

By 2018 the Almshouses had become much neglected and Tower Hamlets Council was proposing to sell them off. A local charity - the Spitalsfield Historic Buildings Trust - offered to buy and maintain them. The outcome of this is not yet clear (2020). It is believed that the almshouses are now a mix of Council- and privately-owned properties (one almshouse has been offered
by an estate agent for sale at £600,000).

N.B. Photographs obtained in March 2020

Trinity Almshouses, Mile End

The western end-gable by the entrance gates with a plaque and model ships. The ships are fibreglass replicas made in the 1950s - the originals reside in the Museum of London.

 Trinity Almshouses, Mile End

The chapel is opposite the entrance gates, with 14 almshouses either side of the central green.

Trinity Almshouses, Mile End

The western range (above) and the eastern range (below).

Trinity Almshouses, Mile End


Trinity Almshouses, Mile End

The chapel with its restored roof and clock turret.

References (Accessed 1st September 2020)

Ashbee CR 1896 The Trinity Hospital in Mile End: an Object Lesson in National History. London, Guild School of Handicraft.

Brooke M 2016 Tower Block 'shadow' threat to 1696 Trinity Green Almshouses at Mile End Gate. East London Advertiser, 10th February. (1) (2) (1) (2) (3) (4) (1) (2) (3) (1) (2) (1) (2)

Last updated 1st September 2020

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