Edgware: Charities for the poor

Pages 168-169

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4, Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood With Southall, Hillingdon With Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow With Pinner. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.

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Samuel Atkinson, by will proved 1680, left £600 in trust to buy land in Edgware on which to build four almshouses. The almshouses were built on Watling Street at a cost of £240 (fn. 2) and the remaining sum was used to purchase an endowment of 12 a. in the parish of Oakley (Bucks.). Thomas Napier of Brockley Hill, by will dated 1707, left £100 with which were purchased 3 a. in Harrow parish. The rent was to be applied as 4s. every month to each of the four almspeople, and the remainder in annual payments of 1s. 6d. each to the parish poor. By 1897 Napier's gift was represented by 3 a. in Harrow and £60 stock. A man named Watts, by an instrument of uncertain date, left copyhold called Harrods Green in Harrow to the use of the Edgware poor. Until c. 1820 the income was used in aid of the church- and poor-rates, but after that date the proceeds of the gift were added to the endowment of the Atkinson almshouses. By 1823 the almshouses' endowment was worth in all £33. Each of the four almspeople received 10s. a month and coals. The endowment was augmented under the will (dated 1875) of Harriet Hurst, who left the proceeds of her estate in trust for the upkeep of the church, the voluntary school, and the Atkinson and Day almshouses. (fn. 3) In 1897 her gift to the Atkinson almshouses was represented by £977 stock.

Under a Scheme of 1897 the gifts of Atkinson, Napier, Watts, and Hurst were consolidated as the Almshouse Charities of Atkinson and Others. The income of £50 a year, with the exception of 30s. payable under Napier's will to the parish poor, was to be applied to the upkeep of the Atkinson almshouses. Napier's gift was converted to £345 stock before 1915. Under a Scheme of 1932 the almspeople were defined as paupers who were unable to maintain themselves and had been resident in the parish for not less than two years. They were to receive an allowance of 5s. a week from the income of the Atkinson charities, which then amounted to £90 a year. The Atkinson almshouses were severely damaged by enemy action in 1940. They consisted of a single-storied brick range, having a central curvilinear gable on the front with an inscribed panel commemorating their foundation in 1680. (fn. 4) The ruins were demolished in 1955 and new almshouses, built on the same site, were opened in 1957. A Scheme of that year provided that almspeople were to contribute at least 10s. a week towards their own upkeep.

Miss Margaret Abel of Cricklewood, by will proved 1943, left £7,250 stock and £491 in cash in trust to build almshouses in the borough of Hendon. Under a Charity Commission Scheme of 1959 the gift was used to erect two almshouses, to be known as the Abel Homes, at the rear of the Atkinson almshouses. Occupation of the Abel Homes was limited to elderly poor who had been resident in Hendon Borough for at least 5 years, and the foundation was to be administered by the trustees of the Atkinson charities. In 1964 the income of the Atkinson charities amounted to £433, all of which was spent on the upkeep of the almshouses.

Charles Day (d. 1836) built, probably in 1828, (fn. 5) eight almshouses on a 1-acre plot fronting on Watling Street at Stone Grove which he bought in 1829 from All Souls College. During his lifetime Day selected the almspeople; by his will, which was proved in 1840, he conveyed the almshouses and land to trustees, leaving sufficient money to provide an endowment of £100 a year for the upkeep of the property and weekly payments to the almspeople. In selecting almspeople the trustees were to give preference to parishioners of Edgware and Little Stanmore, providing that they did not sell or drink intoxicants, swear, or break the Sabbath. Harriet Hurst (fn. 6) left £1,350 stock for the upkeep of the Day almshouses, and in 1958 the endowment comprised the site of the almshouses and £4,793 stock. One of the almshouses was burned down and rebuilt c. 1886, and the buildings were restored in 1959. They consist of a long single-storied range in an early-19th-century Gothic style with steep gables, pinnacled buttresses and a slate roof. The front is faced with stone ashlar and has Gothic arcading below the eaves and verges. In the central gable, which is flanked by two smaller ones, is a clock and the date 1828. (fn. 7) In 1964 the income of the endowment was £278. Expenditure was limited to the upkeep of the buildings and no payments were made to the occupants.

William Blasson, by will proved 1904, left the income on £200 to provide coal for the Edgware poor. In 1963 the income of £9 was used to buy 2 cwt. of coal for each of the eight almspeople.


  • 1. Except where otherwise stated this section is based on Char. Com. files and 9th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 258 (1823), ix.
  • 2. Geikie MS. vol. iv.
  • 3. See below.
  • 4. Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 17.
  • 5. Geikie MS. vol. iv.
  • 6. See above.
  • 7. See plate facing p. 152.