In 1657 what is now East Acton had been inherited by the Goldsmiths' Company under the will of John Perryn, an alderman and goldsmith residing in Acton. The Goldsmiths' Almshouses were erected under a benefaction of the Perryn Trust in 1811 to designs by Charles Beazley, initially 12 almshouses, with 8 added in 1838. The forecourt gardens are laid out simply with lawn and shrubs, and originally had two Lebanon cedars, one of which has since died. Behind the Almshouses is a walled garden and allotment garden with service yard, with two old water pumps and a chapel.
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John Perryn left freehold properties to the Goldsmiths' Company and copyholds to individual goldsmiths to be held in trust for the Company. A scheme was drawn up by the Goldsmiths' Company in 1808 to provide almshouses on its land and the site in Acton was chosen in 1810. Initially 12 neo-classical almshouses were built in 1811 to designs by Charles Beazley (c.1760-1829). An additional 8 almshouses were built in 1838. Those able to reside here were chosen from the oldest people on the Settled Pension List. They were given £100 a year in addition to their pension, together with 1.5 or 2 cauldrons of coal, and on the annual visit of the Wardens each resident was given £1. There were strict rules that included attending church twice each Sunday, and the main room was later converted into a chapel.
The forecourt gardens facing onto Churchfield Road are laid out simply with lawn and shrubs, and originally had two Lebanon cedars, one of which has since died. The road frontage has fine railings with spear finials on a low brick wall with a central pair of gates. Behind the Almshouses is a walled garden and allotment garden with service yard, with two old water pumps and a chapel, now stripped of furnishings. The exceptionally high steps to the small lodges either side of the Almshouses on Churchfield Road were apparently a deterrent to intruders whose stumbling would lead to their discovery.
In Acton Park (q.v.), once part of the Goldsmiths' Estate, a number of the mature trees which pre-date the municipal layout may have been planted by the Company to ornament the view across the level land from the Almshouses.
Colvin, H. A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, London 1978 p102; LB Ealing Conservation Area Appraisal (April 1999)