Happy new year 2011! I am delighted to be back in the blogging saddle after a manic December 2010 full of house history research for clients. As part of the research process I needed to visit The National Archives in Kew, and whilst there I found the time to look up just one or two little Clarendon Park history things. One of which was an index of trust deeds, containing five references to planned buildings in Clarendon Park. In case anyone else fancies looking them up, they are listed at the bottom of this article.
The one that particularly took my fancy was an 1893 conveyance of land adjoining Lorne Road and Clarendon Park Road, “together with the messuages thereupon,” to the Trustees of Leicester Aged Pilgrims Homes. I hadn’t heard of the Aged Pilgrims Homes but a little light googling revealed that it is an undenominational society founded in 1807 by evangelical christians. There is an Aged Pilgrims Home in Evington, which opened in 1954. The homes provide sheltered accommodation and home support for elderly christians. If only I had the time whilst making my last visit, I would have ordered the trust deed. Bah. When I get back to the NA in February, I will post here.
So, the 1901 census shows ten Aged Pilgrims Homes from number 115 Clarendon Park Road onwards. They were lived in by the “inmates of Aged Pilgrims Homes,” and also by one of the people who helped to look after them; a nurse, Ellen Simms. The inmates were all women except for a gardener, Samuel Mathers, who lived with his wife at number ten. Their ages ranged from 66 to 88. Their names were Isabella Coleman, Sarah Ingram, Sarah Woolley (who still lived there in 1911), Sarah Yarrow, Elizabeth Davies, Ellen Holland, Rachel Orton, Mary Pallett and Charlotte Wash. All but one were widows and most of the women had been born in Leicestershire. Being an elderly widow in Victorian Leicester was not good in terms of material wealth or status, but living in almshouses like these women suggests that only their faith kept them out of the workhouse.
Not all the elderly people helped by the society lived in almshouses. Kelly’s 1916 directory for Leicestershire informs us that “Aged Pilgrims’ Friend Society (Leicester Branch) – to give pensions of 5, 7 & 10 guineas a year &c. to aged poor persons of every Evangelical denomination. During 1915 the 25 pensioners in this district received pensions amounting to £191, inclusive of gifts from the Morton Trustees. President A S Gimson; Hon Sec Wilfred Tyler. In 1891 ten almshouses were erected in Clarendon Park Road at the cost of J T Morton, a London merchant, as free homes for the pensioners in Leicester & district.”
The 1911 census tells us that each of these “homes” consisted of just one room, perhaps with a fireplace for heating and cooking. They were occupied by Samuel Cheney Pebody, Sarah Woolley, Emma Ball and her daughter Sarah Ann who did sewing at home for money; Elizabeth Davis, Sarah Dalston, Jane Brice, Louisa Smallbones, Eliza Clarke and Maria Wills. Again, all were widows or in Samuel’s case, a widower. Clarendon Park Road having been built up considerably since 1901, the address had changed to 200 Clarendon Park Road.
All this is really interesting and I promise to report back after I have been to the National Archives in February. But for now, here are the trust deeds I came across in December. No doubt they will inspire further research! Happy new year, Elizabeth.
1895 Trustees for the Wesleyan Methodists to build a chapel (PR84 M36 C54/19999)
1894 Trustees for the Baptists to build a hall or chapel to be called “The Clarendon Hall” (PR22 M27 C54/19835)
1893 Trustees of Leicester Aged Pilgrims Homes, conveyance of land adjoining Clarendon Park Road and Lorne Road (Pt38 M8 C54/19747)
1895 Peterborough Diocesan Trustees, conveyance of school (Pt81 M39 C54/199996)
1904 Trustees of the Clarendon Park Congregational Church, site for a school and outbuildings (Pt83 No 1048 J18/24)