Colin Wilson

There is a single newspaper reference to an almshouse by Radlett station. There was an inquest into the death of Joseph Kiff in 1884. He was generally in good health – ‘doing well for his age’ of 78 years. He previously worked as a gardener for Capt. Phillamore (who provided him with a pension), but hadn’t worked for 6 years. He had trouble walking, and was showing signs of dementia. Unfortunately he got too near the fire one afternoon and caught light. He survived initially thanks to his wife’s prompt action, then rallied¬† Not long after his two sons arrived. It seems he died the following evening about 9 o’clock;¬†the doctor’s report said the burns looked worse than on the previous day. The verdict was he died as a result of his injuries.

The article gives us a little information about the almshouse. It was ‘by the station’. It had two storeys. Joseph and Elizabeth lived there rent free, indicating that married couples were catered for (many almshouses had provision only for females).

Almshouses accepting married couples were built by Francis Wigg in Frogmore, about a mile and a half to the north, but that would seem too far to be ‘by the station’. Frogmore has no station.

Unfortunately no further information has come to light, and it is not clear if the reference is to Wigg’s almshouse or to one in Radlett itself. The proximity to the station would put the balance of probability in favour of Radlett. The 1897 OS map does not annotate an almshouse near the station – but then the OS maps did not annotate all almshouses.


Herts Advertiser 29 November 1884 page 7 col 6. This article can be accessed on-line on the British Newspaper Archive website at https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

This page was added on 14/07/2022.

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