The Whitgift Almshouses Croydon

"An oasis of peace and tranquility" - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11
North End Entrance

George Street View

Chapel Window
For several hundred years The Archbishops of Canterbury had a residence at Old Palace in Croydon, and there they would spend the summer months resting from their travels between Canterbury and Lambeth. Seeing the suffering and poverty caused by war and bad harvests, Archbishop John Whitgift (c.1530 - 1604) sought and received permission from Queen Elizabeth 1 to build a hospital and school in Croydon and, on March 22nd 1596, he laid the foundation stone for the Hospital Of The Holy Trinity, now known as the Almshouses. On the 22nd of March each year, the laying of the foundation stone is celebrated as Founder's Day.
Chapel Entrance

Resident's Flats
Today, this beautiful old building sits nestled, in the centre of Croydon, as if oblivious to the nearby, relentless construction of high rise office buildings, multiplex cinemas, trendy restaurants and shopping centres which Croydon prides itself on, and ironically, the Whitgift Shopping complex and business precinct is built upon the site of the old Whitgift Middle School. Indeed, in 1923, after many years of threats of demolition on account of Croydon Corporation's road widening schemes the Whitgift Hospital was saved by the intervention of the House Of Lords.
George Street Archway

North End Archway
Many quaint customs from the olden days are still retained at the Almshouses and the loveliest of all takes place every Friday morning at 10am when the resident who has lived in the Almshouses the longest rings the Chapel bell for the stipend ceremony. Each of the residents receive a small amount of money from the Clerk to the Foundation, ladies 70p and men 65p, as a token representation of John Whitgift's original stipend. An extra stipend is paid quarterly when the men receive 3 and the women 1. Other traditions include the annual Founder's Day service at the Parish Church and the new residents' swearing in-cermony.
Click HERE for An Outline History Of The Whitgift Foundation.

For information on visits please ring 020 8688 1753

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