It all started with an exploratory walk to update the Irthlingborough On Foot booklet which included a very brief item on the almshouses. There are six in the town and fourteen in Wellingborough. All were built in the early 1930’s according to the bequest in Louisa’s will, originally signed in 1923. Various codicils were added, the latest in May 1929, which changed legacies left to members of her family and some local institutions. The bequest of the bulk of her property to fund the almshouses never changed.
We now have not only a copy of Louisa’s will but, thanks to the help of the current trustees, a framed photograph of her and a framed copy of the original ‘Rules and Regulations’. These included ‘…lodgers will on no account be permitted’, ‘Broken windows are to be repaired at the expense of the Occupant’, ‘ No pigs, poultry or pigeons to be kept on the premises’. Electric light was installed ‘for the free use of the occupants’, but ‘strict economy must be exercised’ – they were required to provide themselves with ‘Price’s Candle Nightlights’ if light was necessary overnight.
Today, residents are responsible for their Council Tax, Gas, Electricity and Water charges; and pay weekly contributions, which include buildings insurance and property and garden maintenance. Residents are encouraged to plant their own small gardens and may keep domestic pets but always ‘having regard to the peace and comfort of neighbours’.
Thanks to some research by our Secretary Jean Rowland, we also have information on Thomas Lilley (Louisa’s father) who started manufacturing in the East End of London in 1825. There is also a very informative obituary and description of Thomas’s funeral at Irthlingborough from the Kettering Guardian of the 28th April 1899.
Work will be continuing on this subject…. Watch this space.