Woolwich Parochial Almshouses

Rope Yard Rails, Woolwich, SE18 6BF


In 1621 four tenements in Rope Yard Rails, facing the ropeyard and backing onto the gardens of Goldsmiths Almshouses, were given to the poor by Richard and Ann Simms.

In 1679 a bequest of Sir William Pritchard gave the old market house at the northeast corner of the ropeyard to the poor. The Vestry rented it out and used the money to acquire adjoining land to the tenements and added another three houses. This assembly became known as the Parochial Almshouses.

In 1731 the almshouses were demolished and replaced by a parish workhouse.

The workhouse closed in 1841 on the formation of the Greenwich Poor Law Union in 1836 but, in 1842, an initiative by the Revd William Greenlaw led to its site being redeveloped as a row of nine parish almshouses. They had been paid for mainly by Thomas Clark of Walworth, a former resident of the town, and Miss Reed of Woolwich Common.

The new building was 2-storeys high and modestly Tudoresque in appearance, with accommodation similiar to that in the Goldsmiths Almshouses. The central almshouse was allocated to the schoolmistress at St Mary's National School.

In the late 1880s the parish purchased the Goldsmiths Almshouses. By this time the neighbourhood had deteriorated and become a slum, dominated by prostitution, although the almshouses managed to stay respectable.

During WW2 (1939-1945) the almshouses suffered bomb damage, as did much of the surrounding area. They were marked as part of the slum clearance area.


Current status

Rope Yard Rails was a street parallel to Beresford Street. It no longer exists. In the 1950s the almshouse buildings were demolished and the whole area was cleared and redeveloped.

The Woolwich Parochial Almshouses were rebuilt in Greenlaw Street.

N.B. Photographs obtained in July 2020

Site of Woolwich Parochial Almshouses

The site of the almshouses is now part of an open space - Maribor Park - seen here from Beresford Street (above and below).

Site of Woolwich Parochial Almshouses

References (Accessed 25th October 2020)

Walford E 1895 Greater London: a Narrative of its History, its People and its Places. Vol. II. London, Cassell & Co., 12-13.

Last updated 25th October 2020

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