Paddington: Charities for the Poor

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 9, Hampstead, Paddington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.

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'Paddington: Charities for the Poor', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 9, Hampstead, Paddington, (London, 1989) pp. 271-272. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

In this section


There were 18th-century charities comprising both freehold and copyhold land and the almshouses, besides individual bequests which were mostly distributed in kind. The estates charities were first regulated in 1837, when part of their income was assigned to education, and united in 1934, after the establishment of separate educational funds. (fn. 2) The almshouse charity, which likewise had been divided between the poor and education, and the distributive charities were administered with the charitable estates from 1977.

The Freehold Estates was by 1894 the official name of the Bread and Cheese Lands, c. 5 a. probably acquired between 1665 and 1669 and said to have been given in gratitude by two women who had once received parish relief. The lands consisted of 2½ a. in Bayswater common field, 1½ a. at Westbourne green, and 1 a. by Black Lion Lane, let for a total of £6 in 1693-4 and 1715-16 when called simply the 'poor's land', £10 in 1719, and £40 18s. by 1825. In the early 19th century the chapter of Westminster disputed the boundaries of the Bayswater lands. (fn. 3) Gifts of beer, bread, and cheese were distributed on the Sunday before Christmas, (fn. 4) coal being substituted for beer from c. 1793 and the bread and cheese thrown to large crowds from the church steeple until 1834. A Chancery Scheme of 1837 allotted three fifths of the income to education, one fifth to apprenticing, and one fifth to the poor not receiving other relief as had been recommended by the vestry. (fn. 5) Some land was sold in 1838 to the G.W.R. Co. for £1,200, which was spent on obtaining a building Act, (fn. 6) under which 15 houses were built in Lancaster Gate, 2 in Westbourne Grove, and 28 in Hatherley Grove. The gross rents were £1,697 18s. in 1894, when the poor received £219 11s. 7d. in blankets and coals. A Freehold Estates educational fund was constituted in 1905 and the property was administered with the copyhold estates from 1934, as the Paddington Charitable Estates (q.v.).

The Enfranchised Copyhold Estates was by 1894 the official name of Dr. Compton's and Margaret Robertson's charities. Henry Compton, bishop of London (d. 1713), gave a cottage and land in Harrow Road, for unknown purposes, to which the first trustee was admitted in 1717. There were six houses by 1802, one of them the Running Horse, and rents amounting to £106, which the vestry had recently assigned to the charity school, (fn. 7) in 1825. Margaret Robertson, by will proved 1720, gave property on the corner of Edgware and Harrow roads, to which the first trustee was admitted in 1721. The buildings were to be replaced by five new houses in 1824 and were let for £15, applied to the charity school, in 1825. By a separate Scheme of 1837, the income was allotted in the same way as that of the Freehold Estates. After enfranchisement in 1845, the houses on Compton's land were rebuilt in 1846 and those on Robertson's sold under the Metropolitan Street Improvements Act, 1872. The gross income was £560 10s. 8d., half from rents and half from stock worth £10,201 6s. 11d., in 1894, when the poor received £112 2s. 1d. in gifts. An educational fund was established in 1905 and the property administered as part of the Paddington Charitable Estates (q.v.) from 1934.

Almshouse charities.

In 1720 the first trustee was admitted to a strip of waste on the south side of Harrow Road at Paddington green, where there were six cottages for the poor. The plot was extended to the east in 1779. An inscription in 1825 stated that the parish had built 13 dwellings in 1714, to which S. P. Cockerell had added two more as almshouses and two for the master and mistress of the charity school. The buildings formed a singlestoreyed range, (fn. 8) standing west of the school and separated from it by Church Place in 1842, (fn. 9) by which date their land immediately to the south had been taken for a vestry room, watch house, and infants' school. No compensation was paid towards the almshouses, which were not endowed and were dilapidated by 1853, when the vestry sought a building lease for the whole site. Trustees with powers to let were appointed in 1867, when the M.B.W. acquired the vestry hall for a fire station, and in 1869 the almshouses made way for five shops, (fn. 10) called Romilly Terrace, part of the proceeds being spent on the school and part invested. Almspeople probably had always been chosen by the vestry. (fn. 11) A Scheme of 1871 established the almshouse and schoolhouse charity and allotted £50 a year of its income from ground rents towards hiring accommodation for the schoolmistress and her assistants and the residue to pensions of £10-£15 for the aged poor. In 1893 the rents of £190 and dividends of £5 4s. 8d. furnished payments to 12 pensioners. A separate educational fund was established in 1904. The almshouse charity had an income of under £250 c. 1970, when it was disbursed in pensions of £25, and was included in Paddington Welfare Charities (q.v.) in 1977.

Frances King, by will dated 1845, left £200 towards coal for the inmates of the almshouses. Dividends of £4 8s. from £160 2s. 2d. stock were added to the income of the almshouses and schoolhouse charity in 1894.

Distributive charities.

Thomas Johnson, merchant tailor, left 20s. a year by will proved 1626. The sum was chargeable on property held by John Combes (d. 1711) and in 1825 on three houses on the east side of Paddington green; payments were later reduced, (fn. 12) temporarily and probably because of rebuilding, since in 1858 it was thought that differing sums might be receivable from nos. 15-19 Paddington Green. The donor's purpose not being known, the income was paid into the churchwardens' general account in 1825 but by 1858 applied with Abourne's charity.

George Abourne, by will dated 1767, left £300 for meat and bread twice a year to poor families. The bequest, subject to life interests, was effective from 1792. Gifts worth £9, more than the income, were made in 1825 and £8 5s. in 1894.

Mary Simmonds, by will proved 1842, left £600 stock to provide pensions for 30 women not already receiving relief. The gift, subject to a life interest, was effective from 1890 and provided £16 10s. for pensions of 10s. 6d. in 1894. The income, with those of charities of Johnson and Abourne, amounted to less than £40 c. 1970, when it was distributed to c. 30 old people.

Lady Boynton (d. 1853), widow of Sir Griffith Boynton, Bt., (fn. 13) left £500 for clothes or bedding to the minister of St. John the Evangelist's, Southwick Crescent. In 1894 the vicar spent the income with that of other charities for his own district, although it was later considered applicable to the whole of the ancient parish.

Marion Mayne, by will proved 1864, left the residue of her personal estate for the maintenance of monuments and of Paddington green and for gifts in kind. After litigation a Chancery Scheme of 1872 allotted £35 a year to the vestry for Paddington green and up to £50 for the poor not receiving parochial relief. In augmentation John Barrable (d. 1890) left £1,000, bringing the total assets to £6,427 15s. 5d. stock in 1894. A gross income of £176 15s. then provided £5 for the monuments, £35 for the green, £50 for distribution in money, and £86 15s. for pensions. The income of under £250 was disbursed in pensions of £25 c. 1970.

Augustus Frederick Smith, by will proved 1881, left the residue of his personal estate in reversion to the almshouse charity, to provide pensions of £10 to £20 to women over 60 years old. In 1894 £9,985 3s. 8d. stock yielded £274 11s. 8d. for 26 pensions of £5-£15 a year. The income of under £500 was disbursed like those of the almshouse and Marion Mayne's charities c. 1970.

Harriette Amelia Weecks Andrews, by will proved 1898, left £300, the income to be distributed by the medical officer of health to paupers not in charitable institutions. (fn. 14) The income was under £25 c. 1970.

Alicia Mary Gaselee, by will proved 1886, Thomas Kincaid Hardie, by will proved 1901, and James Toleman, by will proved 1897 and included in a Chancery Order of 1907, left money for the poor of St. John's parish. The total income, with that of Lady Boynton's charity, was under £40 c. 1970, when it was distributed among c. 30 old people.

Mary Ann Lewis left money for the poor of St. Jude's by will proved 1898. The income of £10 was paid towards the salary of a church worker c. 1970. George Haines, by will proved 1867, left £150 for his family monuments and bread and coals; it was later applied only to St. Mary's parish, as was a gift of Sarah Beach, by will proved 1899. The combined income of less than £55 was distributed among c. 10 old people c. 1970. Julia Margaret Scott, by will proved 1900, left money for the poor of St. Mary Magdalene's parish. The income of under £10 was spent on gifts and parochial expenses c. 1970.

The distributive charities were combined in Paddington Welfare Charities (q.v.) in 1977.

Paddington Charitable Estates were constituted in 1934 when trustees for both the Freehold and Enfranchised Copyhold Estates were to be appointed by Paddington metropolitan borough and the incomes reapportioned. The total income was then c. £3,000 from dividends and rents, including c. £1,400 for nos. 75-89 Lancaster Gate. Three fifths of the rents were allotted to the education funds, one fifth with half of the income from stock to apprenticing or training, and one fifth with the remaining dividends to the poor. A single education fund was set up in 1959 to receive four fifths of the income, the remaining fifth being allotted by a Scheme of 1961 to the Paddington Charitable Estates' Poor's Branch. The Lancaster Gate houses were sold in 1959, a charge thereafter being payable by Park Court Hotel Ltd., and in 1967 the total share of the Poor's Branch was £4,887 15s., spent on grants to welfare organizations and on vouchers worth 10s. 6d. distributed through the trustees, hospitals, and churches. Although the Charitable Estates were administered with Paddington Welfare Charities (q.v.) from 1977, their income was accounted for separately, amounting to a gross total of £56,963 in 1978.

Paddington Welfare Charities, under a Scheme of 1977, united the Charitable Estates with the almshouse and the distributive charities. Seven trustees named by Westminster and three by the vicars of five churches were to administer the welfare charities in two groups. Paddington Relief in Need charities were to receive a fifth of the estates' rents and some dividends, forming the Paddington Charitable Estates Non-Educational fund, with the income of the almshouse and all the distributive charities except that of Mary Ann Lewis. Paddington Relief in Sickness charities were to receive the income from Lewis's, with that of Kilburn, Maida Vale, and St. John's Wood Aid in Sickness fund, as regulated by a Scheme of 1956. In 1982 the Relief in Need charities had an income of £14,904 and the Relief in Sickness charities an income of £519. (fn. 15)


  • 1. Section based on Char. Com. files; 14th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 382, pp. 180-4 (1826), xii; Digest of Endowed Chars. H.C. 433, pp. 42-5 (1867-8), lii (1); Endowed Chars. Lond. H.C. 261, pp. 3-45 (1894), lxiii; McDonald, 'Paddington', cap. 12. 19th cent. accts. for most chars. are in Marylebone libr. Incomes c. 1970 are from list supplied by deputy clerk to trustees, Paddington Welfare Chars.
  • 2. Above, educ.
  • 3. Vestry mins. 8 Apr. 1806; select vestry mins. 14 July 1828.
  • 4. Expenditure was noted in the chwdns. accts. from 1669: chwdns. acct. bk. (1656-1736), ff. 17-18 and passim.
  • 5. Select vestry mins. 13 Feb. 1837.
  • 6. 1 & 2 Vic. c. 32 (Private).
  • 7. Above, educ.
  • 8. McDonald, 'Paddington', cap. 9; B.M., Crace xxx. 35.
  • 9. Lucas, Plan of Paddington (1842).
  • 10. N. & Q. 4th ser. iv. 407.
  • 11. e.g. vestry mins. 20 Oct. 1801; select vestry mins. 3 Dec. 1839.
  • 12. Robins, Paddington, 70.
  • 13. G.E.C. Baronetage, i. 116.
  • 14. Inf. from deputy clerk to trustees, Paddington Welfare Chars.
  • 15. Idem.