Chipping Barnet. Samuel & Rebecca Byford
The gestation period for this almshouse was 80 years. While Samuel Byford died aged 86 in 1898, the cottages he planned to become almshouses were not available until 1978. He left a life interest in various properties to his sister Lydia, which was then taken on by her daughter Isabel, who died in the early 1970s. Even then the way was not clear as some properties were let to protected tenants. This is similar to the case with Alice Coralie Glyn’s almshouses.
It may be the charity was set up in memory of his parents (his wife was Mary). The first scheme with the Charity Commissioners was drawn up in 1919. A further scheme was drawn up in 1978 when the cottages were converted.
Samuel left £3040, his wife Mary and a Plowden Baugham, builder, being his executors. One of his properties was a butcher’s shop at 89 High Street, once known as Essex House. Death records show it was his residence when he died. While its use changed over the next decades, it was a source of income for the charity.
Residents were to be respectable married couples, one of whom must have reached the age of 65. The six cottages in Bells Hill (named Albion Place) were converted into eight, and four more were built behind. 64 Bells Hill was purchased separately to be used as a house for the Warden, then converted into a community room, guest room, office and laundry room in 1993. There now 18 units on the site.
Byford’s charity merged with Eleanor Palmer’s charity in 1999; they already shared trustees. By coincidence they both took a some time from the instigation of the charity to building the almshouses. It was also a case of one of the newest merging with one of the oldest.
Bells Hill, Barnet
Georef: 523906 196237
Grid ref: 51o 39′ 05″N 0o 12′ 38″W
OS 25” map Hertfordshire XLV.7 pub 1914
Barnet & Hadley Amshouses, by W H Gelder
Pages 49 – 50 Also includes a photo of Albion Place before conversion
Barnet Press Group 1979
Websites accessed Oct 2022
https://eleanorpalmertrust.org.uk/ includes a useful history of the almshouses