Framework Knitters' Almshouses

Pages 132-133

Survey of London: Volume 8, Shoreditch. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1922.

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Description and date of structure.

Thomas Bourne, by his will of 14th August, 1727, provided for the erection and maintenance of an almshouse, within five miles of London, for twelve poor freemen of the Framework Knitters' Company, or part freemen and the other part freemen's widows. (fn. 1) On 29th June, 1734, Joseph Ingram, son and heir of William Ingram, the owner of the "Roger Haryong" lands, (fn. 2) sold (fn. 3) to the Bourne trustees, a piece of freehold ground, part of his field, "scituate on the east side of the road leading from Shoreditch towards Kingsland . . . containing in length, from south to north, fronting the said road, 200 feet, and in depth from west to east . . . . 100 feet, adjoining north on certain almshouses belonging to the company of Ironmongers (?) . . . abutting south on the said almshouses, west on the high road."

The almshouses, which were erected in the same year, (fn. 4) consisted of twelve cottages, each of one storey and basement, forming three sides of a parallelogram (Plates 56 to 58). The space between the buildings and Kingsland Road was occupied by a garden, and there was also an allotment garden in the rear. The cottages were constructed of red brick with gauged brick dressings, with a moulded deal modillion cornice to the eaves, and were covered with a tiled roof. The two central cottages were slightly advanced to form a projection in the general facade of the main block, and formed a central feature under a low-pitched pediment containing a large commemorative panel. An elliptical-arched passageway through the centre gave access down a flight of stone steps to the back gardens, which, being at a lower level than the front, thereby afforded light and access to the basement storey of the main block. The north and south wings obtained their light to the basement by front windows placed high up in the room and overlooking the garden.

Except in the case of Nos. 1 and 12, which had two rooms on the ground floor, the interior of each tenement consisted of one room in the ground floor, (fn. 5) with staircase leading down to a washhouse in the basement. Nos. 6 and 10 had also attics with dormer windows in the rear.

The premises were partly demolished in 1907, after new almshouses had been erected in Stoughton Lane, Oadby, near Leicester, and the remainder was removed a few years later.

In the Council's collection are:—

(fn. 6) General view of almshouses, circ. 1854, taken from water-colour of T. Hosmer Shepherd in British Museum, Crace Collection (photograph).

(fn. 6) General view of centre-block before demolition (photograph).

(fn. 6) Elevations and section through No. 10 (measured drawing).

(fn. 6) Ground plan (measured drawing).


  • 1. City of London Livery Companies Commission, V., p. 150.
  • 2. See p. 45.
  • 3. Common Plea Recovery Rolls, 7–8 Geo. II., Trinity, No. 605 (7).
  • 4. Elmes's Topographical Dictionary of the British Metropolis, p. 76.
  • 5. This was the case just before the demolition, but the fact that Elmes in 1831 (op. cit., p. 76) and Hare in 1866 (City of London Livery Companies' Commission, V., p. 150) state that there were two rooms in addition to basement, suggests that the premises were no longer in their original condition.
  • 6. Reproduced here.