Aske's Hospital was one of the earliest and grandest almshouses in Shoreditch, taking its name from Robert Aske, who bequeathed money to the Haberdashers' Company in 1689. The original C17th almshouses accommodated 20 single men and a school for 20 boys, but were rebuilt in the 1820s with additional facilities for education, forming three sides of a square. By 1882 there were no longer almshouses and the enlarged school buildings catered for 300 girls and 300 boys. In 1898 the two schools transferred elsewhere and the buildings became the LCC's Shoreditch Technical Institute, the open space in front designated as public open space, which remains today as Aske Gardens, although the buildings are now private housing.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2010
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Aske Gardens are on the site of Aske's Hospital, one of the earliest and grandest almshouses to be built in Shoreditch that took its name from its benefactor Robert Aske, who also bequeathed money for Haberdasher Aske's School. Aske's will of January 1689 left £20,000 to the Haberdashers' Company for the establishment of almshouses for '20 poor single freemen and a school for 20 sons of freemen' and in 1690 a charity was set up by Act of Parliament to carry out the terms of the will, and a site was obtained. The original almshouses were designed by Robert Hooke in 1692 and the building was completed by 1695, consisting of a block set back from the road behind a brick wall with a central gateway. A statue of Robert Aske was set in a niche over the central doorway. This building fell into disrepair and was pulled down in 1822 and rebuilt in 1825-27 by David Riddel Roper with increased educational provision, the new building taking the form of three sides of a square with Greek Doric pillars at the front. In 1873 the Charity Commissioners approved a new scheme whereby the educational element of the Aske's charity's remit was to be extended and the almshouses element changed to pensions. By 1882 the almshouses part of the building had been demolished; the school buildings were enlarged with new wings added and it was in use for the National Schools providing for 300 girls and 300 boys. At this time the charity also established schools at Hatcham.
In 1898 the Girls School transferred to Acton and the Boys School to West Hampstead and the Shoreditch buildings were taken over by the LCC for use as Shoreditch Technical Institute. The open space in front was then designated as public open space. The Institute later became City and East London College but it is no longer in educational use and has been developed for private luxury housing. The gardens in front remain a public amenity, laid out with recreational facilities and some gardens, with shrubs and a number of fine old plane trees. The boundary with Pitfield Street retains the C19th railings on stone coping and stone gate piers. The gardens have some shrub planting around the tennis courts and the perimeter, and an area of grass with seating between the two sports facilities.
Robinson, Lost Hackney; Parks and Open Spaces in Hackney, A Report by the Hackney Society, London 1980; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972); 'The Geffrye Almshouses' (Geffrye Museum) 1979