Ealing and Brentford: Charities for the poor

Pages 170-172

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7, Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1982.

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Early charities divide between those for Ealing parish and those for New Brentford. Some Ealing charities served the whole parish but others, through the donors' intentions or by custom, were limited to Upper Side or to Old Brentford, Lower Side, by 1822. A Scheme of 1904 created a group later called Ealing Charities for the Poor and excluded gifts used solely for Old Brentford, while allowing Old Brentford its share in the common charities. A second Scheme of 1918 created Brentford United Charities out of those for New Brentford, leaving Old Brentford's own charities to be administered separately.

Ealing Charities.

Almshouse charities.

There was a church house in 1492 (fn. 2) which was said in 1547 to have been given for the relief of the poor (fn. 3) and later became the assistant curate's house. (fn. 4)

Almshouses were built in Uxbridge Road, later the Mall, in 1783 out of profits from inclosure of the waste. (fn. 5) Numbering seven by 1840, (fn. 6) they still lacked their own endowment in 1867, when they received the income from the poor's allotments, and were dilapidated in 1870. With the aid of subscriptions and sums from the reorganized Bowman's charity and the sale of Lammas land, the buildings were replaced by ten new houses between 1872 and 1876. (fn. 7) Pensions were paid from £323 stock left by J. S. Prosser, by will dated 1874, and £134 given by John Goodchild in 1884, supplemented from a small endowment which existed by 1899. The almshouses were replaced by shops in 1902. (fn. 8)

New almshouses were built on land in Church Gardens bought in 1900 from Ealing Cottage Dwellings. The number of inmates was fixed at 12, a married couple to count as one, in 1907. From 1904 the almshouses could benefit from the income of other Ealing charities, although they continued to receive separate bequests, including £585 from James William Tidy by will proved 1911 and £650 stock from Francis Garner Gledstanes by gift of 1912. Those and later gifts were regulated by a Scheme of 1971 for St. Mary's church homes, as they were then called. A further endowment was provided by G. F. Browse, whose bequest produced over £1,000 a year for weekly allowances. The building, a twostoreyed range with half-timbering, survived in 1980. (fn. 9)

St. Stephen's Jubilee (later Victoria) homes, Castlebar Park, were opened in 1899 as flats for old couples, with the aid of a fund started in 1887. Near by six single flats, given by Miss M. Wheeler and known as the Wheeler homes, were opened in 1899. From 1958 both sets of flats were managed by Ealing Philanthropic Institution. (fn. 10)

Distributive charities.

Edward Vaughan, by will dated 1612, left the rent from 4 a. equally between Upper Side and Lower Side for meat, coal, and bread at Christmas. In 1822 two-thirds of the income of £31 10s. was spent in Upper Side with money from Bowman's, Taylor's, and Payne's charities, on Christmas gifts to c. 150 families, the other third being reserved for Lower Side. By 1867 £30 was spent on fuel in Upper Side.

John Bowman of Ealing, canon of St. Paul's, by deed of 1630, endowed a lectureship with £40 and also gave rent charges totalling £22 a year for distribution at Christmas and other times. After increases in the rent and further purchases by the trustees, £30 was divided in 1822 between the vicar, for Upper Side, and Mrs. Trimmer, for Lower Side, and a further £11 12s. spent on apprenticing or casual relief. By 1867 £42 was spent on clothing or, occasionally, apprenticing in Upper Side. A Scheme of 1869 allotted 4/7 of the total income from Bowman's property to ecclesiastical purposes and the remainder to general charitable purposes, which might include support of the almshouses. (fn. 11)

Richard Taylor, by will dated 1715, left the rent from the later Lion brewhouse towards coal for 8 poor of Upper and 8 of Lower Side. The rent of £36 was divided equally in 1822, when in Upper Side it formed part of a distribution larger than that intended by the donor. By 1867 the rent was £50, spent on fuel in Upper Side.

Jonathan Gurnell, by will proved 1753, left stock to provide coal for householders in Upper Side. The income of £15 was spent on coal in 1822 and 1857.

Elizabeth Barne, by will proved 1758, left £400 for four widows. The income was £13 os. 7d. in 1822, when paid quarterly to four widows of Upper Side, and 1867.

William Adair, by will proved 1783, left £100 for widows. The income was £3 in 1822, distributed to 24 recipients in Upper Side at Christmas, and 1867.

Henry York, by will proved 1793, left £250 stock in reversion for pensions. After a composition with his heirs, (fn. 12) the income was £4 1s. 8d. from £136 3s. 9d. stock in 1867.

Edward Payne, by will proved 1794, left £100 stock for coal. A further £100 was left by Sir Charles Morgan, raising the income to £9 6s. 8d. by 1822 and £12 8s. 10d. in 1867.

Hannah Harman, by will proved 1795, left £12 a year for coal, which was distributed in 1822 and 1867.

Thomas Denison Lewis, by deed of 1850, left £1,428 11s. stock in reversion to support poor women. No income had been received in 1867.

Ealing Dean common allotments.

The £25 rent from allotments established on Ealing Dean common under the Poor Relief Act, 1832, (fn. 13) was spent on the almshouses in 1867. By 1904 c. 145 holders shared c. 20 a., which yielded £35 a year.

Ealing Charities for the Poor.

All the above charities, including the almshouse ones, were regulated in 1904 as the charities of Bowman and others. The ecclesiastical share of Bowman's charity was continued, small sums from Bowman's and York's charities were assigned to educational purposes, and certain proportions from Taylor's, Vaughan's, and the residue of Bowman's were allotted to Old Brentford. The name was changed to Ealing Charities for the Poor in 1961 and the total income was c. £19,836 in 1974-5, after some of the allotment land had been sold.

Brentford Charities.

Apprenticing charities.

Dame Mary Spencer, by will proved 1659, left a rent of £6, charged from 1668 on the Butts closes, New Brentford, for apprenticing one boy a year. In 1822 apprenticing was effected at irregular intervals by the parish officers, in conjunction with the trustees of Lord Ossulston's charity.

John Bennet, Lord Ossulston (d. 1695), by deed dated 1692, gave £100 to apprentice children whose parents were communicants at New Brentford chapel. The money was lent on interest until 1753, when £140 stock was bought. The amount had risen to £190 by 1822 and £200 by 1867, when the income, like that from Lady Spencer's, was £6.

Almshouse charities.

There were almshouses in 1573, (fn. 14) presumably the queen's seven almshouses at Brentford which were to be repaired in 1576. (fn. 15) It is possible that they were the four old almshouses of 1811 (fn. 16) later called the St. Paul's or Ferry Lane almshouses, at the corner of High Street and Ferry Lane, Old Brentford. Unendowed and of unknown origin in 1867, they numbered seven in 1870 (fn. 17) and were demolished after closure in 1949. (fn. 18)

Four double almshouses, later called Salutation or St. George's, also stood on the south side of High Street, Old Brentford, near the Salutation inn. (fn. 19) They were built in 1794 by the churchwardens of Ealing, probably with the help of a gift from Henry Beaufoy of Castle Hill Lodge, were not endowed, and were demolished c. 1953. (fn. 20)

The almshouses' only income came from rent for land behind St. George's almshouses and from the use of a wall in Ferry Lane for advertisements. Stock was bought after the sites had been sold and a pension fund was established, yielding c. £174 in 1979, when it was distributed monthly among six widows. (fn. 21)

Distributive charities.

Henry Redman, by will dated 1528, left the George and other property to support a minister at New Brentford. A rent charge of £6 was agreed in 1576 and divided equally between the minister and the inhabitants in 1714, although by 1822 the minister again received the whole of it. In 1867 £3 was spent on clothing, bread, and fuel, and in 1980 the entire £6 was distributed in small sums. (fn. 22)

John Middleton, by will dated 1624, left a rent charge of £5 for the poor of New Brentford. The income of £5 was distributed in bread and fuel, with Andrews's and Hubbold's charity and Townsend's and Williams's charity, in 1822 and 1867.

Richard and Mary Need, according to a list in Ealing church, in 1633 gave property in Old Brentford for the poor. In 1822 the income of £78 12s. was distributed in bread and coal near Christmas, together with John Taylor's charity and Old Brentford's £10 10s. share of Vaughan's charity. The Needs' charity was combined with John Taylor's in 1856, to provide £40 for bread and coal and the remaining money for schools.

Richard Andrews left £20 and Ann Hubbold, by will dated 1673, an additional £10 for coal in New Brentford. The income was £1 16s., spent on fuel and bread in 1822 and 1867.

John Taylor, according to a list in Ealing church, left land for the poor which was first let in 1685. The rent came to be reserved for Lower Side and was £4 in 1822, when it was usually added to the Needs' charity.

Elizabeth, countess of Derby, by will proved 1717, left property for the poor of Kew and Old Brentford. The income of £15 from £500 stock, bought under a Chancery decree of 1719, provided pensions for 20 widows of Lower Side in 1822.

James Townsend, by will dated 1741, left £100 and Mary Williams, by will dated 1766, left an additional £5, together yielding £3 in 1822. It was then distributed with the charities of Middleton and of Andrews and Hubbold, as in 1867.

John Bennett gave £100 stock c. 1814, of which the income was distributed in cash at New Brentford in 1867.

Elizabeth Pitt, by will proved 1816, left £300 stock for New Brentford and the Half Acre district of Old Brentford. The income of £9 was distributed in fuel in 1867.

George Osborne, by will dated 1843, left £92 8s. 6d. stock, yielding £2 15s. 4d. for bread in New Brentford in 1867, and a like sum for Old Brentford.

Ann Northall, by will dated 1857, left £333 6s. 8d. stock, subject to the maintenance of a vault in New Brentford church. The income of £10 provided bread, fuel, and clothing in 1867.

Henry Chappell, by will dated 1860, left £100 stock, yielding £2 15s. for clothing 6 widows of Old Brentford in 1867.

Henry Meyers, by will proved 1873, left £100 stock, yielding £2 15s. for cash payments in New Brentford in 1899, and a like sum for the parishes of St. Paul and St. George, Old Brentford.

Thomas Layton, by will proved 1911, left the residue of his estate for the poor of St. George's, Old Brentford. (fn. 23) In 1980 the income was c. £620, distributed in monthly grants and at Christmas. (fn. 24)

Brentford United Charities.

A Scheme of 1918, besides establishing a separate ecclesiastical charity with £40 out of Ann Northall's endowment, united the New Brentford charities of Townsend and Williams, Bennett, Pitt, Osborne, Northall, and Meyers. The total income in 1980 was £23, generally dispensed in gifts of at least £3 at Christmas. (fn. 25) The Old Brentford charities of Lady Derby, Osborne, and Chappell stayed separate under a Scheme of 1912, with an income of c. £45 in 1979, distributed at Christmas to 30 widows. (fn. 26) Those of Redman, in 1980 in the sole control of the vicar, Spencer, Middleton, and Layton also remained separate. The Needs' and John Taylor's eleemosynary charity, governed by a Scheme of 1966, in 1979 received £40 a year from the educational branch, which was distributed to local hospitals.


  • 1. Section based on 6th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 12, pp. 347-52, 370-7 (1822), ix; Digest Endowed Chars. Mdx. H.C. 433, pp. 12-13, 28-9 (1867-8), lii(1); Endowed Chars. Mdx. H.C. 306, pp. 4-7, 10-11 (1899), lxx; Char. Com. files.
  • 2. P.R.O., SC 2/189/11, rot. 2.
  • 3. Ibid. E 301/34, no. 156. For furnishings, see T.L.M.A.S. xxiii. 299.
  • 4. Above.
  • 5. Lysons, Environs, ii. 238. Princess Amelia's gift of £500 to be distributed on her death may explain a statement that she founded the almshos.: Jackson, Ealing, 152.
  • 6. M.R.O., TA/EAL.
  • 7. Ibid. D.R.O. 37/A12/1-2, 5.
  • 8. Ealing town hall MS. 155; Ealing As It Was, illus. 26, 29.
  • 9. Ealing As It Was, illus. 5.
  • 10. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1908); St. Stephen's, W. Ealing (jubilee booklet 1976), 7.
  • 11. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/F2/1.
  • 12. Ibid. F1/1/1.
  • 13. Ibid. H7/1-2, 6.
  • 14. P.R.O., PROB. 11/62 (P.C.C. 29 Arundell).
  • 15. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1547-80, 526.
  • 16. Lysons, Environs (Suppl.), 132.
  • 17. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/A12/5.
  • 18. C. Turner, 'Old Brentford Almshos.' (TS. in Chiswick libr.).
  • 19. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/A12/5.
  • 20. Lysons, Environs (Suppl.), 132; Turner, 'Almshos.'
  • 21. Turner, 'Almshos.'; inf. from chief executive's office, Hounslow L.B.
  • 22. Inf. from the vicar of Brentford.
  • 23. Chiswick Times, 10 Nov. 1911.
  • 24. Inf. from the vicar.
  • 25. Ibid.
  • 26. Inf. from chief executive's office, Hounslow L.B.