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18: INSTITUTIONS v Almshouses

Almshouses were built by various City of London institutions to house impoverished elderly people, usually, but not always, members of the institution or their widows. They were built in the City of London and elsewhere in inner London, with others built elsewhere in England. The City of London and some of the inner London almshouses were generally replaced by almshouses in Middlesex or the home counties in the 20th century.

Unless otherwise stated, the almshouses listed below were administered by City of London livery companies, whose records are listed fully in Section 18 (ii). See also Section 21 for two sets of almshouses administered by mutual benefit societies and benevolent institutions.

Full catalogue entries will be found in our online catalogue (use the “Former catalogue”). To find the entries, do a Classification search for the Manuscript number given below in bold, adding leading zeroes if necessary to give the number five digits (e.g. Ms 05193 or Ms 33690).

If the collection consists of a single document, it will be given in the following way in this guide: Ms 11625; if the collection consists of more than one document, the first manuscript reference number only will be given with a dash to indicate further numbers, e.g. Ms 34341-. In order to find the entries in our online catalogue, please just enter the first number in a classification search, without a dash, e.g. Ms 34341. This search will find the collection level description which shows the full range of manuscript numbers for each collection.

Alternatively, entries can be found using an Author Search in our online catalogue. The names below have been given in the form in which they appear in the online catalogue. 

The catalogue is available in hard copy at the Manuscripts enquiry desk. Covering dates only are given here.

ARMOURERS’ AND BRASIERS’ ALMSHOUSES, Camden Avenue, Camberwell. 1895-1947. Ms 33960-

ASKE'S HOSPITAL, Hoxton, Shoreditch. 1689-1894. Ms 15847-

BAKERS' COMPANY ALMSHOUSES, of Hackney Road, Hackney. Site was purchased in 1828 and the almshouses were demolished in 1931. 1828-1931. Ms 5193-


CHRISTOPHER BOONE’S ALMSHOUSES, Lee, Kent. Christopher Boone and Mary his wife bought land in Lee, Kent and built almshouses for six almspeople of either sex, with a chapel. In 1683 they gave the almshouses to the Merchant Taylors’ Company. In 1868 the number of places increased to 12 and in 1874 new almshouses were opened on a new site 500 yards east of the old site, on the opposite (south) side of Lee High Road, with a new chapel (opened in 1876). The old almshouse buildings were demolished (apart from the chapel). The 1870s buildings were disposed of mid 20th century. 1868-1965. Ms 34226- See also Merchant Taylors’ almshouses.


DAME ALICE OWEN'S ALMSHOUSES, by St John Street, Islington. In 1609 Dame Alice Owen gave her almshouses for 10 widows to the Brewers’ Company. The almshouses were taken down in 1879-80. 1600-1889. Ms 5478-


DYERS’ COMPANY ALMSHOUSES, Ball's Pond Road, Islington (1851-1938) and Crawley in Sussex (1938-). 1881-1981. Ms 32847-

EMBROIDERERS' ALMSHOUSES, St Peter's Hill. 1587-1867. Part of the archives of Christ's Hospital - see Section 18 (iii). Ms 13813-



GEFFERY'S ALMSHOUSES, at Kingsland Road, Shoreditch (1712-1910, now the site of the Geffrye Museum), Eltham (1914-1974) and Hook, Hampshire (1974-). 1712-1915 (microfilm only 1911- 15). Ms 17053-

GIRDLERS' COMPANY ALMSHOUSES, of Sherborne Lane and Abchurch Lane in the parish of St Mary Abchurch and, from 1850, of Peckham, Surrey. 1543-1936 (deeds etc. only). Ms 5796 and 5799

GROCERS' COMPANY ALMSHOUSES, Oundle, Northamptonshire.  Established for 7 poor men by will of Sir William Laxton in 1556. Extracts from court minutes 1556-1826, compiled from late 18th century. Ms 11625


HARRIETSHAM ALMSHOUSES, Kent. Mark Quested (d. 1642), Citizen and Fishmonger, bequeathed his estate to the Fishmongers' Company for various charitable uses, including the building of 12 almshouses. The almshouses in Harrietsham, Kent, were completed in 1651. They were rebuilt by the company in 1770 and 1772.1646-1896. Ms 5831-


JAMES HICKSON'S ALMSHOUSES, South Mimms, Middlesex. Six almshouses built by James Hickson, were bequeathed to the Brewers' Company in his will dated 1686. 1881-9. Ms 18360

JESUS HOSPITAL, Bray, Berkshire. Established by letters patent in 1616 from property (in Bray and the City of London) left by William Goddard in 1607. His will stipulated 40 almspeople, 6 to be aged Fishmongers. Circa 1609-1878. Ms 5836-

JOHN BAKER'S ALMSHOUSES, Mile End Road. 1813-1908 (estate records from 1758). Ms 18360-

LEWIN'S ALMSHOUSES, Mitchell Court, Brick Lane. By his will dated 1555, Thomas Lewin bequeathed four almshouses in St Nicholas churchyard to the Ironmongers' Company. After they burnt down in the Fire of London, the Company converted four old houses in the parish of St Luke Old Street into houses for 4 poor freemen. These burnt down in 1785 and were replaced by four almshouses in Mitchell Court, Brick Lane. 1545-1896. Ms 17065-

LICENSED VICTUALLERS' ASYLUM see Section 21                                   

MERCHANT TAYLORS’ ALMSHOUSES, Threadneedle Street, Rosemary Lane and Lee, Kent. In 1413 the Company built seven almshouses (for men and women) in Threadneedle Street, discontinued sometime after 1666. In 1593 the Company also built almshouses for 14 women on Tower Hill, on the north side of Rosemary Lane (now Royal Mint Street). Increased in 1637 to 26 places, and in 1767 the almshouses were rebuilt. In 1825 they moved to Lee in Kent where 30 almshouses were built. Opened to men as well as women in 1928. See also Christopher Boone’s almshouses. 1892-1965. Ms 34341-


NEWLAND ALMSHOUSE, Gloucestershire. Established in 1619 by letters patent for 16 men and women under will of William Jones. 1613-1894. Ms 15852, Ms 15874, Ms 15897, 24719

RATCLIFF ALMSHOUSES, Ratcliff, Stepney. Nicolas Gibson established almshouses for 14 men and women in 1536 and responsibility was passed by his widow Avice to the Coopers’ Company in 1552. They were demolished in 1894. 1821-89. Ms 5604-

RICHARD PLATT'S ALMSHOUSES, Aldenham, Hertfordshire. Richard Platt founded almshouses at Aldenham in 1596 by letters patent and conveyed them to the Brewers’ Company in 1599. 1599-1889. Ms 5485-

ST PETER'S HOSPITAL, Newington, later at Wandsworth. The hospital was founded in Newington in 1618 by letters patent. It housed 42 almspeople in 1824. 1629-1899. Ms 7262-

SION HOSPITAL. Sion College, established in 1630, was a society of Anglican clergy at London Wall. In 1875 its Hospital for the care of almspeople was formally separated from the College and named Sion Hospital. Pensions were granted and there was no almshouse accommodation. 1871-1958. Ms 10552A.  Earlier records of Sion almspeople will be found in the Sion College archive - see Section 18 (i).

SKINNERS’ COMPANY ALMSHOUSES, parish of St Helen’s, Mile End and Palmers Green. In 1558 Sir Andrew Judd bequeathed an almshouse in the parish of St Helen's for 6 freemen of the Skinners’ Company. Lewis Newberry by his will of 1683 gave money for land at Mile End for almshouses for freemen’s widows. The Mile End building was sold in 1895 and replaced with almshouses in Palmers Green, Middlesex. Circa 1700- circa 1970. Ms 30818-

TRINITY ALMSHOUSES, Deptford and Mile End. Trinity House had almshouses at Deptford since 1608. Later Deptford almshouses were in Church Street. Almshouses were built in Mile End in 1695. In 1714 Robert Fisher left the almshouses he had built at Dog Row, later Cambridge Heath Road, to Trinity House. These almshouses were taken down in 1843 and replaced by four additional almshouses in Mile End Road. The Mile End almshouses were bombed in 1941 and the site was sold in 1954. New almshouses, Trinity Homes, q.v., were built at Walmer, Kent in 1958.1729-1953. Ms 30209-

TRINITY HOMES, WALMER, KENT. Opened in 1958 to replace Trinity House’s bombed almshouses at Mile End (see Trinity Almshouses). 1955-95. Ms 30218/8-

TYLERS' AND BRICKLAYERS' ALMSHOUSES, King Henry’s Walk, Ball's Pond Road, Islington. Opened in 1836 for 8 liverymen of the Tylers’ and Bricklayers’ Company or their widows. The site was sold in 1937. 1836-1937. Ms 4860-

VINTNERS' COMPANY ALMSHOUSES, Mile End Road. Vintners' Company almshouses in Queen Street left to the Company in 1446 by Guy Shuldham were destroyed in the Great Fire; in 1676 the Company erected 12 almshouses in Mile End which were rebuilt in 1801. They were bombed in 1941 and replaced by new almshouses, “the Vintry”, at Nutley in Surrey in late 1950s. 1830-1960. Ms 15358-

WATERMEN AND LIGHTERMEN'S ALMSHOUSES, Penge, Kent, and Ditchling, Sussex. Almshouses for 60 retired freemen were built in 1840-1 on land in Penge presented to the Watermen and Lightermen's Company by John Dudin Brown. They were closed in 1973. Almshouses at Ditchling in Sussex were founded in 1888 through the gift of William Vokins. 1838-1956. Ms 6596- 

WEAVERS’ COMPANY ALMSHOUSES, Shoreditch and Wanstead. 12 almshouses were opened in 1670 with a bequest from William Watson (d. 1673). 6 further almshouses were built at Elder Street, Porter's Fields by gift of Richard Garrett. They were sold in 1851 and 24 new almshouses (for men and women) were erected at Wanstead in 1859. 1807-1963. Ms 4648C-

Last updated 3rd April 2008

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