Mary Squires Almshouses

Mary Squire's Almshouses

During 1795, Mrs. Mary Squire, a widow then residing in the parish of St Mary Newington in Surrey, erected and endowed six almshouses in the parish of Walthamstow ‘for the reception from time to time for ever of six poor widows’. Located on the western edge of the churchyard and bordering on the workhouse garden and the present day church path, the almshouses were built on part of a field belonging to John Conyers of Copped Hall. The rules devised, printed and distributed by Mrs. Mary Squire directed that each widow on her appointment as almswoman be provided with ‘a bedstead, a stove, and a large water-tub’. To supplement their stipend, the widows might take in ‘one nurse-child, but no more’ or ‘small washing and clear-starching, but on no account any heavy washing, nor are they to hang out any article whatsoever in front of their houses’.

The plaque at the front of the building reads, rather quaintly:

These Houses are

Erected and Endowed

For Ever

By Mrs. Mary Squires Widow

for the Use of

Six Decayed Tradesmens Widows

of this Parish and no other.

Anno Domini 1795

There would have been various improvements and alterations to the almshouses over the years. In 1975 Mary Squire’s almshouses were provided with internal bathrooms, central heating and damp proof courses. The rear extension was reconstructed to include a small bathroom and wc and fully equipped kitchen.

By 1995, the six bed-sitters had been converted into four properties, which provided a separate bedroom, and overall, more spacious accommodation.


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