ONCE upon a time Almshouses were the foremost option for charitable housing, and though not as well known today it isn’t to say Almshouses are no more - take Newton Abbot’s Mackrell Almshouses, for example, which trustee Dan Farrell-Wright thinks more people ought to know about.
‘It used to be that there was a waiting list, but over the past ten or so years, the waiting list has got less and less and now there is vacancies’ Dan said.
Dan is a trustee of the Mackrell’s Charity; the charity provides social housing through Mackrell’s Terrace, a historic Almshouse located along Wolborough Street, is comprised of some 38 dwellings, including studio, one and two bedroom flats.
‘The flats are reasonably priced and the requirement is that you have lived or been associated with Newton Abbot for ten years and that you are aged 55 or over - that’s it, it’s a really simply critera to get one.
‘It is about letting people know that the almshouse is there’ Dan added.
The almshouses came into being thanks to the Mackrell family, in particular Thomas Mackrell, who was born in Wolborough in 1797 to Thomas and Sarah Mackrell.
A lifelong bachelor, Thomas, after time spent in Barnstaple, moved back to Newton Abbot where he employed a local architect to design and build the almshouses in Wolborough Street, at an expense of around £10,000.
The plans were approved by Wolborough Local Board and the project was completed in 1874, though further buildings were added throughout the remainder of the 19th century.
On November 9, 1883, Thomas died in Barnstaple at the age of 86.
WBW Solicitors handle the administraiton for the Mackrell Charity, and are, therefore, the first port of call for those wanting to apply for a space at the almshouse.