London – Croydon (Borough of) – Elis David Almshouse

This set of almshouses is located close to Croydon Minster and it gives something of a medieval feel to the area. There are two ranges, the south range (on the left of the above photo) and the north range (on the right). They were founded in 1447 by Elias Davy, although the current south range dates to 1887 and the north range to 1875.

The charity who runs the almshouses has put together a comprehensive history of the site, although they moved the residents to a purpose built new centre in 1974 which has 55 flats. Elias Davy (or Elye Davy) saw his name evolve into Elis David over the centuries, primarily through misunderstandings and errors, but his contribution hasn’t been forgotten. Elias had made his money as a draper and it’s thought that he was inspired to create a charitable foundation by Richard Whittington (better known as Dick Whittington), a fellow draper.

Elias purchased the land here in 1443 and his first project was to drain it, as it was on top of the River Wandle and that wasn’t entirely ideal. The charity notes that part of the original north wing is thought to have survived, just behind the frontages which were redone in 1875. There’s also a Second World War air raid shelter on the premises somewhere according to the listed building record.

This was the only modern plaque I saw in Croydon during my two days there, although I’m sure there were more somewhere about….