Almshouses were originally conceived in the medieval period as places where the needy could receive physical and spiritual care and were frequently linked to, or termed, hospitals. Founded by religious institutions, royalty, the aristocracy, professionals, businessmen, even women and foreigners, they have taken many different physical, architectural and social forms over the centuries. Almshouses is a concise history of the origins and development of these charming buildings with lots of colour photographs of surviving examples reflecting the enormous range of architectural types and settings. Anna Hallett also discusses the motives behind the foundation of almshouses, who was admitted, how they were expected to live their lives, and the rules regarding dress as well as behaviour. Whilst some refuges stipulated that only good, quiet and sober people ould be admitted (certainly no drunkards, beggars or harlots), others were designed for a particular regional or social group such as clergymen's widows or retired seafarers. Includes a list of places to visit and additional reading.
Anna Hallett's interest in Almshouses started in the Netherlands, where she was born, and has continued in Britain where she has discovered many fascinating examples to be found in the most unlikely places.
Early developments; Donors and beneficiaries; The Buildings; Life in the almshouses; The modern era; Further reading; places to visit