Queen's Road 81 & 83, "Park's Almshouses"
Road: Queen's Road, Teddington
Property: 81 & 83, "Park's Almshouses"
These are semi-detached brick built bungalows built in 1900 and modernised in 1966. The roof is clad in composite slate with part ornamental ridges and prominent soffites with ornamental brackets, part stone clad bay windows, side entrances and sizeable front gardens. This compact and charming building is unique in Teddington and adds greatly to the street scene, worthy, perhaps, for consideration as a Grade II listed building?
The Park's Almshouses were built in 1900 by Cornelius John Park (1832-1909) using a £1000 bequest by his father, John Cornelius Park (1805-1887). There seem to have been legal difficulties with the terms of the bequest resulting in a ten years delay before an indenture dated 29 March 1897 was drawn up to set out the agreed terms for the Trust (see Note below). In any case, it was only in 1900 that the Park's Almshouses Trust was able to begin letting "Two almshouses to be occupied as residences by persons being Peculiar or Calvinistic Baptists of good character and above the age of 60 years who have resided in the parish of Teddington for at least 2 years prior to the date of election and are not receiving, and have never received, parochial relief."
When he died in 1909, Cornelius John Park left a further £500 to the Trust for the benefit of the Almshouses' residents. It was invested by the Trust with the income being used for the maintenance of the Almshouses and for the support of their residents.
For many years the Park's Almshouses Trust existed as an independent charity (formally registered as charity number 248015 in 1966) with the trustees coming from Teddington Baptist Church. In the 1990s, it was transferred to the management of the Richmond upon Thames Churches Housing Trust (RuTCHT) and in 2007 was amalgamated with four other small local housing charities to become the Quintus Housing Trust (charity number 265192) still under the auspices of the RuTCHT. The provision giving preference to Baptists for residence in the almshouses remains in place.
The original benefactor, John Cornelius Park, was a prominent builder and land owner. He was born in Wootton-under Edge, Gloucestershire but by the 1851 Census was living in Teddington. He bought the Lordship of the Manor of Sunbury in 1852 and he is said to have built Teddington Hall in 1863. Different records show a variety of Teddington residences: Broom Hall (1856), Broomfield House (1861 Census), Broom Lodge (1863), Gothic Hall (1869), and then, for many years, Auckland House, Hampton Road (ref: 1871 Census, 1881 Census and Probate Registry in 1887). His gravestone in Teddington Cemetery says he died on 4 Jan 1887 aged 80 but his 1823 christening record (St Mary Newington) gives his date of birth as 13 May 1805. His father, Cornelius Park, may have been an independent minister of religion.
Although not a member of Teddington Baptist Church, John Cornelius Park appears to have been sympathetic to that Church and gave it a concessionary rent when it used Craig Hall in the period 1880-1884 before it moved to its site at the junction of Church Road and Walpole Crescent.
Note: The almshouses bequest was not the only legally complicated matter associated with the estate of John Cornelius Park - a case at the Old Bailey in 1891 was described by one newspaper as a "cause celebre" (see the Proceedings of the Old Bailey for 12 September 1892).
This page is part of the Directory of Buildings of Townscape Merit (BTMs) and Listed Buildings in Teddington assembled by the Planning and History Groups of The Teddington Society. Click on any photo for a higher resolution version. Copyright for the material on this page rests with the contributor.