Almshouses seeking new residents

John Mackintosh Memorial Homes, Halifax.
John Mackintosh Memorial Homes, Halifax.

Two communities of Calderdale almshouses could become “home sweet home” to new residents.

The vacancies are in Halifax - at Mackintosh Homes, Albert Promenade, where a cottage has become available, and at Waterhouse Homes, Harrison Road, where two flats have become free.

Wardens Carol Bassinder and John Bassinder at the Waterhouse Charity Almshouses, Halifax.

Wardens Carol Bassinder and John Bassinder at the Waterhouse Charity Almshouses, Halifax.

Almshouses’ administrator George Pickles said the accommodation would suit couples or individuals.

“We are looking for people, aged 60 and over, who are reasonably independent but perhaps no longer feel happy living alone in their existing home or who have no opportunity to share with supportive relatives,” he said.

“People may think of the almshouse movement as something archaic but it is very modern in its outlook. Almshouses are still being built and the style of living it offers has never been more relevant to today’s older generations who are in need of care and support.”

The Waterhouse Homes complex, built in 1963 stands on the site of the old Blue Coats School for orphans. They are named in honour of Nathaniel Waterhouse, a 16th merchant.

The Mackintosh Homes were erected in memory of “Toffee King”, John Mackintosh, and were originally intended for ex-Mackintosh employees. They opened in 1925.

John Bassinder and his wife, Carol have been wardens since 1993.

“There is a real sense of community and residents settle in quickly and make friends,” he said.

“Generally they are very independent but I really believe they enjoy having the support and peace of mind of a warden.

“Living in a complex like Waterhouse or Mackintosh Homes takes away the stress for people who otherwise might have worries, such as rising fuel costs or feeling lonely.”

Almshouses are charitable housing provided to enable people (typically elderly people who can no longer work to earn enough to pay rent) to live in a particular community.

They are often targeted at the poor of a locality and often those from certain forms of previous employment, or their widows, and are generally maintained by a charity or the trustees of a bequest.

Nathaniel Waterhouse also set up the Blue Coats School for orphans which operated until 1959, after which time it became disused and eventually derelict until the almhouses - which originally date from 1850 - were given a new lease of life by the almshouses governors and the old school site incorporated.

Applicants for the vacancies at the Waterhouse and Mackintosh homes above should be aged over 60 and living in Calderdale.

For further information and an application pack contact: The Warden, Waterhouse Homes, Harrison Road, Halifax, HX1 2AZ or ring 01422 352386.

Applications should be returned by noon, December 6.