Almshouse Entrance 01-b_


The Company administers The Merchant Taylors’ Boone’s Charity, which came into being at the end of 2010 as a result of the merger of the Christopher Boone’s Charity (founded in 1683) and the Merchant Taylors’ Consolidated Almshouse Charities (whose antecedents date back to 1413).

The Charity currently operates two sets of Almshouses in Lewisham, offering a total of 61 homes to needy people: the Merchant Taylors’ Almshouses, built in 1824, and the Christopher Boone’s Almshouses, built in 1963. The estate includes the Grade I listed Christopher Boone’s Chapel; key-worker accommodation managed by Crown Housing Association; and significant freehold property currently leased to London and Quadrant Housing Association. There are also two nursing homes which are operated by the independent Ranyard Charitable Trust: Mulberry House, built by the Charity in 2003, and Dowe House, converted in 1997 by the Merchant Taylors’ Consolidated Charities for the Infirm, which owns the freehold.

After an exhaustive strategic review into what was a struggling operation, with an uncertain longer-term prognosis, a project to develop state-of-the-art, fully-accessible and fully-adaptable almshouses is well underway. Despite their consolidation onto one site, these new homes will be significantly more spacious, and suitable for people with serious mobility difficulties, who will (sometimes with care provided by outside agencies) be able to remain comfortably in their own homes for far longer than they can at present. The project is also designed specifically to present options for renewal in the medium and longterm, and the resources to pursue them.

The Almshouses are currently occupied by a number of almspeople appointed in recent years in accordance with the terms of the previous charitable trusts, which are substantially unchanged by the merger. No new appointments are being made until the project is complete, although vacant properties are being let on a short-term basis to carefully screened key-workers in partnership with Crown Housing Association.


The two groups of Almshouses owned and administered by the Company comprise:


32 houses, provided ‘for poor persons of good character’ but with preference being given to Freemen of the Company, or the dependants of such Freemen.

29 one-bedroom houses and bungalows provided for applicants who have lived for at least five years in the Borough of Lewisham or Greenwich with preference given to applicants from the ancient parishes of Lee within Lewisham. Both of the Almshouses are serviced by a peripatetic Co-ordinator.