United Westminster Almshouses

42 Rochester Row, Westminster, SW1P 1BU


As plans were made in the second half of the 19th century for the redevelopment of Westminster, the Charity Commissioners introduced a scheme, dated 11th July 1879, for Palmer's, Butler's and Emery Hill's Almshouses to be amalgamated as the United Westminster Almshouses on the site of Emery Hill's Almshouses in Rochester Row.

In 1880 Emery Hill's Almshouses were demolished and rebuilt.

The United Westminster Almshouses opened in 1882. The red brick buildings were arranged around three sides of a small courtyard. They provided accommodation for eight elderly poor married couples, 18 single elderly poor people and a Matron and a caretaker. The central building contained a Board Room. There was a separate house for the Warden.

In 1954 the adjacent building at No. 38, the former Western Dispensary, which had been made redundant with the introduction of the NHS, was made over to the Trustees of the Almshouses. It was linked to the almshouse buildings.

In 1962 the almshouses were renovated; private bathrooms and central heaing were unstalled.

In 1974 the buildings were Grade II listed.


Current status

The almshouses are now run by the Westminster Almshouses Foundation, based in Palmer House. The buildings contain 38 apartments, each with a sitting room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.  They provide sheltered housing for people over the age of 60 years with a residential connection to Westminster, who are capable of independent living.

N.B. Photographs obtained in May 2020

United Westminster Almshouses

The central block is now known as Palmer's House.

United Westminster Almshouses

The front door to Palmer's House. The building contains the offices of the Westminster Almshouses Foundation.

United Westminster Almshouses

The northeastern block.

United Westminster Almshouses

The southwestern block.

United Westminster Almshouses

The Western Dispensary building at No. 38 Rochester Row is beside the northeastern block.

Western Dispensary

The Western Dispensary was built in 1879, two years before the almshouses. (Photograph obtained in November 2016.)

United Westminster Almshouses

The gable of the northeastern block contains a bust of Emery Hill from the original almshouses and various plaques.

United Westminster Almshouses

The plaque under the bust states: Mr Emery Hill, late of the parish of St Margaret Westminster founded these almshouses Anno Domini 1708. Christian Reader in hope of thy assistance.

United Westminster Almshouses

On the gable of the southwestern block there is a bust of James Palmer and various plaques.

United Westminster Almshouses

The central plaque states: The Reverend James Palmer founded almshouses in Palmer's Passage for six poor old men and six poor old men. AD 1656. Re-erected here AD 1881.

The left-hand plaque states: Mr Nicholas Butler founded two almshouses in Little Chapel Street near Palmer's Passage for two of the most ancient couples of the best report AD 1675. Re-erected here AD 1881.


United Westminster Almshouses

On both gables, at street level, is another plaque stating: These buildings are the United Westminster Almshouses, erected AD 1882, following a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 11th July 1879 for the consolidation of the almshouses in Westminster founded by the Reverend James Palmer AD 1656, Mr Nicholas Butler AD 1675 and Mr Emery Hill AD 1706. Further particulars of this charity are inscribed upon the stone tablets above.

United Westminster Almshouses

The name of Emery Hill lives on in the side street by the southwestern almshouse block.

References (Accessed 18th May 2021) (1) (2)
www.londonremembers,com (1) (2)

Last updated 18th May 2021

Click here to return to Almshouses of London alphabetical list
Click here to return to home page