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Records less than thirty years closed for inspection.
Immediate source of acquisition:
Acc No 1991/7 1991/21
Date of deposit: March 1991 and July 1991.
Deposited by: Mr C.W. Iken
Condition of deposit: Indefinite loan
A short history of the Charities, prepared by the depositor, Mr C. W. Ikin in 1991 has been included in the local history collection
Watercolours, engraving and photographs of the Retreat are included in the visual collection
Administrative / biographical background:
By an agreement of 11 August 1812, Samuel Robinson, then of Albion Street, Christ Church, Surrey, agreed to a trust to administer the income from £5000 of London Dock stocks. The trustees were also given a field on the St Thomas Hospital Estate (previously leased to Dr Rawlinson and part of which had been also leased to Robert Collins and John Scott) and being east of Butt Field. On this land the Trustees built a range of almshouses, with a chapel in the centre for the widows of independant and Baptist ministers. After building was completed in the area, the buildings fronted on to Retreat Place (being on the south side on the corner with Mead Place). There was a small garden on the north side of Retreat Place for the almshouses.
No minutes of the Trustees were kept until May 1832, but a summary of the proceedings of the Trustees and admissions to the almshouses is in the first volume of their minutes. After the construction of the almshouses the main business of the Trustees were admissions and resignations etc of almswomen and the minutes contain some biographical details of applicants. Samuel Robinson died in 1833, aged 83 and he and his wife (who died in 1836) were both buried in a tomb in front of the almshouses.
The Trustees also owned 29-43 Retreat Place and 1-5 (inc) Arthur Street. In 1895 the TRustees considered demolishing the almshouses; it being proposed to house the almswomen in houses in St Thomas Square. Accordingly the almshouses were altered to become artisans dwellings, and the founder and his wife removed and reburied in Abney Park Cemetery; work which was completed by June 1902. The Retreat almshouse buildings appear to have been later acquired by the LCC and the site cleared by 1949. The gardens on the north side of Retreat Place had a factory built on the site.
After the end of the almshouses, the main business of the Charities was the provision of pensions. However under the terms of Samuel Robinson's will, his personal estate and effects were to be sold and the resulting money invested in a fund for poor ministers of Calvenistic and other reformed churches. The minutes of this Trust, Robinson's Relief, are also included in the deposit.