The block of four alms-houses in Wellingborough Road, Rushden were built in 1883 by Frederick Urban Sartoris of Rushden Hall, in memory of his son Frederick Maitland Sartoris.   Frederick Maitland Sartoris was a highly respected diplomat and served in Munich, Buenos Ayres, Paris, Copenhagen, Madrid and lastly Constantinople, where he died in 1883.
Frederick Urban Sartoris
Frederick Maitland Sartoris
Mrs. Mary Ann Sartoris

Photographs of the Sartoris Family are taken from the book Rushden Hall Northamptonshire by kind permission of Mr. Clive Wood.

The alms-houses consisted of a bed-sitting room and a tiny kitchen, and oil lamps were used for lighting.  Photographs of the original cottages were presented by the Sartoris family and hung on the walls, to be handed down from tenant to tenant.  The rent was one penny per week, and was collected annually by Mrs. Sartoris herself.  A bedstead, bed linen, curtains and mats were provided, together with coal, and groceries were a frequent gift from the Hall.  When Mrs. Sartoris collected the rent of 4s.  4d. she would invariably hand back 2s. to the tenant.

Alms-houses c1911 

In 1948 the alms-houses were presented to the town by the trustees and accepted by the Council at their meeting on Wednesday 11 February, together with the benefit of a trust fund, comprising £366 of securities for the maintenance of the properties.  This meant that they would become part of the Council’s housing stock.

By 1951 the Council had decided the alms-houses needed modernising and accepted the tender of Messrs. F. and R. Windsor, at £2,021 for the work to be carried out.  In February 1952 the tenants had moved out to live with relatives, and the work was under way and expected to take about three months.  The living rooms were to be redecorated, the kitchens improved, having a larder and a cooker, and a bathroom with indoor W.C. installed.  They would have constant hot water and radiators in the kitchen and bathroom.  They were to be re-roofed, the walls thickened, and the leaded light windows removed and replaced by new ones of a similar style.

Alms-houses c1972

In 2015 the alms-houses were again due to be transformed and the four bedsits converted into two one-bedroom bungalows, specially equipped for older people.  The bathrooms were converted into wet rooms and all steps, inside and out, removed.  This time the cost of the work was over £115,000.

Alms-houses 2018

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