I’m A Celebrity Get Me In Here

Ruth’s got an interesting question, which I guess we’ve all been tempted to ask at some point. She writes:

“My mother in law has been trying to find out how people get to live in Broadbridge Close Alms Houses, in Blackheath Standard opp. Gambardella’s. Or if indeed they are Alms Houses. Her mother used to work for Morden College many moons ago and she was wondering if she would be eligible for one of the places but can’t find out anything about them.”

The Phantom replies:

We have a wealth of almshouses in Greenwich and Blackheath, many of them absolutely gorgeous, some hundreds of years old, pretty much all of them ever so slightly secretive. Trinity Hospital and Morden College especially, seem to be from another era, behind closed doors and high walls.

But I have heard that with some at least, it isn’t as hard to get in as I had always assumed. I can’t remember who told me now, but the Hatcliffe Almshouses in Tuskar St, or so I understand, are relatively easy. And Queen Elizabeths Almshouses, run by the Drapers Company will consider you if you merely live in the borough or Lewisham and need a spot of help. Find them here. But Morden College? I did a little digging…

According to one of the only documents I can find on the web (loads about the history and architecture, very little about practicalities), on the Archives in London and M25 area site, the flats at Broadbridge Close are indeed one of several satellite buildings belonging to Morden College. There are also flats at Kidbrooke Grove, St Germans Place, Vanbrugh Park and Ralph Perring Court.

The original people for whom the almshouses were built were ‘poor Merchants…and such as have lost their Estates by accidents, dangers and perils of the seas or by any other accidents ways or means in their honest endeavours to get their living by means of Merchandizing,’ but the document goes on to say

” After World War One, a shortage of ‘decayed merchants’ led to further changes to membership conditions and the College now provides accommodation for women (as non resident out pensioners since 1908, and residents since 1966) and married couples (since 1951). Since 1700 more than 4,648 people have been College beneficiaries. Provision is also made for a group known as outpensioners, who do not require accommodation, but are in financial need.”

I had some difficulty tracking down Morden College; not, I suspect, because it’s actively trying to be secretive, just that it’s not terribly web-savvy.

I eventually found its entry in the register of the Charity Commission. There is a postal address, telephone number and an email. I tried the old wheeze of using this to find the website – it’s merely a reserved domain.

My suggestion would be to give them a call – the address is:

MORDEN COLLEGE
19 ST. GERMANS PLACE
LONDON
SE3 0PW

Telephone 0208 858 3365

or drop them an email – amanda@mordencollege.org

Let me know how you get on…

http://www.housingcare.org/ is another site you can try – the link’s currently broken though, as I discovered when I tried to find Trinity Hospital.

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