Cleave’s Almshouses were founded in 1668, built at the bequest of William Cleave, who left a legacy of land and money to build the almshouses, ‘for the maintenance of twelve poor people of the parish of honest life and reputation, for ever’. Additional homes were built in 1880, 1910 and 2003, eventually creating a quad surrounding a quiet garden. The almshouses remain among the oldest surviving buildings in Kingston. The London Road frontage has a strip of garden with lawn, flower beds and a line of trees inside the low brick wall to the road, with an internal garden overlooked by the houses.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
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The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
William Cleave (1572-1667) was an Alderman of the City of London, a member of the Haberdashers Company, and had a house in Kingston. When he died he left a number of bequests, including a legacy of his property in Kingston, together with £500 to build almshouses for 'six old men and six old women'. Cleave was buried in the parish church of All Saints (q.v.). The twelve dwellings were completed by 1670, constructed of local brick, and each almshouse had an upper and lower room. Central to the range was a communal hall, over the entrance of which were the founder's arms and date of foundation. The inmates were also provided with a silver plate engraved with Cleave's arms to wear on their sleeve. Initially the beneficiaries were to be ‘six poor men and six poor women’ who were aged over 60 years old and single, but in 1889 married couples were able to benefit. In 1880 the Trustees of the almshouses had had sufficient funds to enable them to erect four further houses for additional residents, two men and two women. Kingston Corporation had responsibility for the Almshouse Trust that ran Cleave’s Almshouses, and the residents were selected by the Court of Assembly.
In 1910 10 more houses were built at the back of the site, which created an internal garden area for the residents' use. In the 1990s the C19th houses were converted into single storey accommodation and the original 12 almshouses were refurbished. Finally, in 2003, a legacy from Miss Blanche Audric enabled a plot of land to be purchased and another terrace of 6 houses was built, completing the quad around the garden. Cleave's Almshouses continue to be run by Kingston-upon-Thames United Charities and provide housing for poor men and women over 60 who are residents of the borough.
Tim Everson 'Kingston, Surbiton and Malden' Britain in Old Photographs (Sutton 1995 reprint Budding Books 2000); Shaan Butters 'The Book of Kingston', (Baron, 1995); Edward Walford 'Village London, The Story of Greater London Part 4: South West', (first published 1883/4 and reprinted in 1983 by The Alderman Press). History on Kingston United Charities website