Parlington Hall :: The Estate :: Almshouses

After the death of Richard Oliver Gascoigne 1843

The picture of the almshouses is a lithograph by the architect George Fowler Jones, this copy hangs at Lotherton Hall and I managed to get a half decent photograph of it through the glass of the frame! Following the death of their father [Aged 80] and before him their two elder brothers [Thomas aged 35 & Richard aged 34] all in the space of a year, it is perhaps not surprising that the Gascoigne sisters [Isabella & Elizabeth] decided to commemorate their passing by building the charitable almshouses. They engaged Fowler Jones to design a building to house the less fortunate inhabitants of the estates, an almshouse. The design and construction were carried out with speed that would make todays efforts seem paltry. A neo gothic building was constructed in about a year to accommodate twelve inhabitants, beautifuly designed in stone, the structure to this day is a major land mark in the locality.

Church-like Structure

The Almshouses

The almshouses are often confused by people imagining it is a medieval structure perhaps a church or some other religious building, however it is simply an elaborate victorian building in a gothic revival style, which provided homes for poor people; a chapel for them at one end [south] and a dining hall at the other. The building has four bays each side of the central tower, these were the homes of the people offered shelter by the Gascoigne sisters. In each, although hidden following recent development, is a small stone spiral staircase to get to the upper floor, frankly given the age of the inhabitants it must have been a daunting task at the end of each day to negotiate the staircase!

The furniture that was used in the dining hall is these days at Lotherton, it is probable that Fowler Jones designed the pieces, there is a magnificent drop leaf table in oak and matching benches, it must be more than twelve feet in length. In recent times, post the millenium, some of the metal culinary ware was discovered lying abandoned in the ground to the north of the building, these items, I believe, were displayed at Lotherton during the Maids and Mistresses Exhibition a few years ago.

Martha Emmery, Courtesy of Barwick Historical Society

Martha Emmery collecting kindling wood.

The picture of Martha Emmery is from the publication Barwick in Elmet in Bygone Days, a Wendal Books publication, ISBN 978-1-952057-23-6. The description for the picture is as follows: Mrs Martha Emmery wife of Edward Emmery, originally from Dudley in Staffordshire. Martha was living with her husband, a miner, in Austhorpe in 1881. By 1891 they had moved to Barwick in Elmet and were living in the Boyle with their son John, and his family. Next door to them lived her daughter, Sarah Jane and husband Charles Parker and eight children. By 1901 Martha was a widow and living on her own in the Boyle, She ended her days living in the Almshouses at Aberford.

Martha in this shot is collecting wood for fires, whether this was for sale I do not know, but she has on her head a large amount of kindling, which you may not notice at a chance glance! She is at the rear of the Almshouses at the north end. This area has been extended in recent years.

A visit to the Almshouses a couple of years back enabled me to take some photographs from angles that you normally don't see, they are available here.

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