Almshouses in Southwark, Bradshaw’s Hand Book to London (No.87)

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Bradshaw says ‘.. The quaint old pile opposite [The Elephant and Castle] is The Fishmongers’ Almshouses, built about 1633..’. Many wealthy people tried to help the poor, particularly the elderly, through providing housing – almshouses.

Sir Thomas Hunt, in his will of 1615, gave the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers £20 annually to establish almshouses. The almshouses were founded in 1618 as St Peter’s Hospital and in 1824 housed 42 people. A second group of Almshouses were built in 1719 thanks to a bequest from James Hulbert, another Fishmonger and warden at the Hospital. The buildings stood at the corner of St George’s Road and Newington Butts until 1851 when they were moved to Wandsworth and in 1923 the East Hill site was sold to LCC who built flats, which were again replaced in 1978. The buildings at the Elephant and Castle were replaced by the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon’s Chapel, of 1859.

Fishmongers Almshouses, Newington Butts, c.1840
Fishmongers Almshouses, Newington Butts, c.1840
Fishmongers' Almshouses, c.1850 (
Fishmongers’ Almshouses, c.1840 (
Fishmongers Almshouses, Wandsworth (
Fishmongers Almshouses, Wandsworth, 1878? (
Metropolitan Tabernacle, on the site of the almshouses
Metropolitan Tabernacle, on the site of the almshouses

John Walter, the Clerk of the Drapers’ Company, established almshouses near the junction of Borough Road and Borough High Street in 1650. The almshouses, also known as Walter’s Almshouses, were relocated to Glasshill Street in 1820. The residents were relocated in 1973 and the Almshouses are now private residences. The Draper’s Company maintained almshouses at Walter’s Close, Brandon Street, but these have disappeared under the bulldozers.

Drapers' Company Almshouses, Glasshill Street
Drapers’ Company Almshouses, Glasshill Street

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Building site at Elephant and Castle
Building site at Elephant and Castle

Charles Hopton’s residual will of 1730 left money to build 26 almshouses for ‘poor decayed men’ of Christ Church parish in Southwark.  The buildings went up between 1746-52 and two further houses were added in 1825. There was damage in WWII and the whole complex was renovated and reopened in 1988. Charles Hopton (1654-1731) was a born into a wealthy merchant family and a member of the Fishmongers’ Livery Company.

Hopton's Almshouses, c.1850 (
Hopton’s Almshouses, c.1850 (
Hopton's Almshouses, ground plan (
Hopton’s Almshouses, ground plan (

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John Marshall was a baker in Southwark who died in 1631 leaving money to build a church and appoint a Vicar in the Manor of Paris Garden. The first Christ Church was built in 1671. Southwark is low-lying, marshy ground, unstable for building, and the church was unfit for use by the 1720s and demolished. The second church was completed in 1741 but this was destroyed in WWII. The present Christ Church was built in 1958, with John Marshall’s arms over the door. The Charity continues to support the Church in Southwark, and further afield, with significant annual distributions.

Christ Church, Southwark, 1815 (Wikipedia)
Christ Church, Southwark, 1817 (Wikipedia)
Christ Church, Southwark, 1941 (
Christ Church, Southwark, 1941 (

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Edward Alleyn (1556-1626) was one of the foremost actors of his time and a very wealthy businessman. He built almshouses in Soap Yard, Deadman’s Place, Southwark in 1616. Cure’s College, almshouses for sixteen poor parishioners near St Saviour’s Church (now Southwark Cathedral) in Deadman’s Place was founded in 1584 by Thomas Curea saddler to the Queen and a wealthy businessman. And amongst others, Alice Overman (?) built almshouses.

Bowles Plan of London 1775, with Deadman's Place (Mapco)
Bowles Plan of London 1775, with Deadman’s Place (Mapco)
Alleyn's Almshouses, Deadman's Place, 1881 (British Museum)
Alleyn’s Almshouses, Deadman’s Place, 1881 (British Museum)
Thomas Cure's Almshouses (British Museum)
Thomas Cure’s Almshouses (British Museum)
Alice Overman's Almshouses,1855, north side of Southwark Cathedral (British Museum)
Alice Overman’s Almshouses,1855, north side of Southwark Cathedral (British Museum)


You may be interested in
Gardens of Hopton’s Almshouses
Architectural description of Hopton’s Almshouses
Christ Church, Southwark
Almshouses in London
Almshouses around St George’s Fields
Burial grounds in Southwark
– fascinating article



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