The Fishmongers’ and Poulterers’ Almshouses, Wood Green High Road

This image is one of the postcards which the late Hugh Garnsworthy gifted to the Society. Postmarked 1904, the large, impressive building is softened by the presence of the two little girls in their clean white pinafores in the foreground.

The Fishmongers’ and Poulterers’ Almshouses, Wood Green High Road
The Fishmongers’ and Poulterers’ Almshouses, Wood Green High Road, postmarked 1904

The trades and the almshouses

These almshouses lay just north of St Michael’s Church. The Archive also holds a photocopy of The Illustrated London News for 22nd February 1862 which shows an engraving of the building and an account of this almshouse, celebrating its 27th anniversary that year. The account begins, ‘Upon a gentle rising ground at the northern extremity of the Green Lanes stands the noble edifice … a standing monument of the great good which may be accomplished by the encouragement of even feeble efforts for the alleviation of human suffering’. It goes on to say, ‘A site was purchased in a delightful situation at Wood Green, near Hornsey, both healthful and picturesque’.

The newspaper explains that the fish and poultry trades involved their journeymen in exposure to the wet and cold, leading, ‘to the most virulent forms of disease’. It goes on to say that the Company wished to provide, ‘permanent relief and residence for their aged and destitute brethren’. The foundation stone had been laid in June 1847 by Lord Morpeth (by 1862 the Earl of Carlisle). The Tudor-style, two-storey building with a central turreted gateway, designed by Mee and William Webb, provided accommodation for 12 married couples. However, the anticipated generosity of all those associated with the two trades was not forthcoming and two houses remained unoccupied in 1861 due to lack of funding. Nevertheless, the charity sustained 12 married couples until 1955 when the building was demolished to make way for Wood Green Civic Centre, opened in 1958, which became Haringey Civic Centre in 1965, currently being refurbished.

Image credits

Hornsey Historical Society

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