Thomas Philipot's Almshouse Charity
Philipot Path, Passey Place, Eltham, London SE9 5DJ
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The History of Thomas Philipot's Almshouse Charity

Thomas Philipot died in 1682. He owned land in Eltham and in his will he wished an Almshouse to be established for six poor people living in the parishes of Eltham and Chislehurst. The bequest was to be administered by the Clothworkers Company but they declared it to be too burdensome. After a court case, it was agreed that the Charity would be run by independent Trustees who would be residents of Eltham and Chislehurst and so it has continued to the present day.

The first Almshouse for six residents was built in Eltham High Street in 1694. Each terraced house contained a living room and scullery downstairs, a W.C. with an outside entrance, and one upstairs bedroom. An additional terrace for three residents was constructed in Blunts Road, off the High Street in 1872, and a further building for three more residents built on the corner of Roper Street in 1887.

In 1926 the then Woolwich Borough Council wished to purchase the original almshouses and the Roper Street property in order to widen the High Street. The Trustees accepted in order that they could purchase the present larger site behind the High Street off Philipot Path. A scheme was drawn up by the Architects Wratten and Godfrey for two blocks, linked with a colonnade, to a central Nurse's House. Each resident would have two bedrooms but still no bathroom. By 1930 nine units had been built on the new site in separate terraces of three and six houses. No rent was charged but those wanting a bath had to go to a local Health Centre.

The houses in Blunts Road were sold in 1968 and remain in residential use to this day.

In 1974, the Trustees obtained planning permission to provide additional units by infilling between the two existing blocks and building a new three storey block of 12 flats suitable for disabled occupation. The existing accommodation was also upgraded to include bathrooms. Work was phased and, together with a small communal hall for residents use, was completed by 1983.

In 1988 a legacy from Mary Spears, an Eltham resident, allowed the building of a bungalow in the grounds for a warden who was previously housed within an almshouse. The total number of residential units has now increased from the original six to thirty six, surrounded by gardens, yet tucked conveniently behind Eltham High Street.

(For a more detailed history of the Almshouse refer to the booklet written by John Kennet in 1997 and available to purchase from the Clerk's office.)
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