Chipping Barnet. Jesus Hospital Charity
By 1925, the period of the Roaring Twenties, interest rates and unemployment were high and the post-War prosperity was in decline. The General Strike would take place the following year. It was also the year in which Jesus Hospital obtained its first scheme from the Charity Commission. It had been founded in 1679 by lawyer and local benefactor James Ravenscroft. Readers are referred the article Chipping Barnet Ravenscroft. While the Charity had run Ravenscroft’s almshouse and supported other local charities, expansion and amalgamation were on the horizon.
In 1927 a new almshouse development of 12 new almshouses was built in Potters Lane, at the bottom of Barnet Hill. 3 more were added in 1954. Nearly half a century later, in 2019, a further 7 almshouses were added, making a total of 22.
Another new site was developed in 1934, also near the bottom of Barnet Hill. 12 almshouses were built in Grasvenor Avenue, with two more in 1954.
During World War II the investment properties in Bethnal Green suffered bomb damage. Fortunately the Rent Act of 1957 increased income from that area. That was until 1970, when the land was subject to a compulsory purchase order from the Greater London Council. The property was sold in 1980 for 1.2 million pounds. Property was purchased in Whetstone the following year.
Garrett’s almshouses in Wood Street had run out of funds by 1949. Jesus Hospital had supported them for many years, but now took them over.
Coe’s Alley is behind Garrett’s almshouses in Wood Street. A house purchased in the 1970s was converted into 2 flats.
Some cottages in Union Street, behind Garrett’s and Ravenscroft’s almshouses, became derelict following a gas explosion in 1975. Jesus Hospital purchased the site and built Ravenscroft Lodge. This is now two almshouses and office space for the Charity.
Pagitt’s almshouse at Monken Hadley came into the fold in 1984.
88 to 90 Wood Street were built in 1985, to the west of Garrett’s almshouses. They were named after Mary, James Ravenscroft’s wife.
Wilbraham’s, the other almshouse in Monken Hadley, was added in 2010. It is different in that It is a linked charity of Jesus Hospital. At least some of its funds are ringfenced for its specific use. A coincidence is that Ravenscroft and Wilbraham have a tenuous family link in that Wilbraham’s grand-daughter married a descendent of Ravenscroft.
As at 2022, Jesus Hospital has 63 almshouses, all for women. The residents have an age range of between 50 and 98. The average maintenance charge is £85 per week, but this varies between sites. In addition there are utilities to pay for. Most of the properties are one bedroom cottages, with a separate lounge, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, plus a small garden. Six of the properties are bed sits with separate kitchen and bathroom, which have a lower maintenance charge.
There are about 170 almshouse places within a mile of Barnet church – quite a dense population, hence Jesus Hospital is responsible for about a third of them. In the Chipping Barnet and High Barnet area, only the Leathersellers, Thomas Watson, Eleanor Palmer and Byford almshouses were outside Jesus Hospital’s orbit.
It will be obvious that the Jesus Hospital in Chipping Barnet charity continues with its activities, and is looking for ways to develop. It is registered with the Charity Commission ref 3957090. The income is nearly 1.5 million pounds a year – but this needs to be matched against current property prices. About a third of this comes from investments, the rest coming from donations and other charity activities. Funds are not raised from the public.
The Charity’s objects are the ‘Provision of almshouses for single ladies over the age of 50 who are in need and who are resident in the area of benefit. Surplus income to be applied for the relief in need to those within the area of benefit’.
There are 10 trustees, or Visitors. They are appointed based on the professional input they can provide. An interesting link is that Lancelot Hasluck was appointed vice chair 1932. He would later set up his own almshouse estate in Barnet.
OS XLIV.8 1947
Georef: 527048 231851
Grid ref: 51o 58′ 15″N 0o 09′ 08″W
Georef: 525398 195371
Grid ref: 51o 38′ 36″N 0o 11′ 22″W
OS map Hertfordshire XL.3
Ravenscroft Lodge 37 Union Street, Barnet
Georef: 524275 196505
Grid ref: 51o 39′ 13″N 0o 12′ 18″W
1 – 2 Coe’s Alley, Wood Street
Georef: 524216 196452
Grid ref: 51o 39′ 11″N 0o 12’ 21″ W
88 – 90 Wood Street
Georef: 524191 196435
Grid ref: 51o 39′ 11″N 0o 12′ 22″W
Barnet & Hadley Almshouses, by W H Gelder
Pub Barnet Press Group 1979
Documents at Archives
DE/Bz/T50-T68. Deeds and other papers relating to Barnet and other parishes in Hertfordshire and Middlesex. Almost all of these are copies of leases, and rather fragile to open for inspection.
London Metropolitan Archives – Collage
Catalogue No k1249842 View of Ravenscroft’s Almshouses at Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire
Lysons’ Environs of London1795
Catalogue No k1249612 Inscription on Ravenscrofts Almshouses on Wood Street, Barnet in Hertfordshire;
Wakefield Collection c1820
Websites accessed Aug 2022