16 July 2008
Audrey Monk's, "Story of the Hambledon (Surrey) Almshouses"
Review by Steve Maycock
Hambledonians and other travellers pass along Malthouse Lane and hardly notice the Almshouses that sit high above. Audrey Monk's, "Story of the Hambledon (Surrey) Almshouses", is a short but very informative history of struggle, politics, compassion, tenacity, influence and caring for those in need.
Audrey quickly sets the scene during the 17th century when the first Almshouses were built on a bank above what was known as Sandhole Lane leading to Woodlands .She takes the reader through the Social, Legal and Political environment that influenced the impact of the Elizabethan Poor Laws and their 1834 Amendment. With great skill, she then illuminates the "struggle" The Parish Officers had in resisting, "the line of least resistance" in sending the Almshouse tenants to the Hambledon Union Workhouse (Hambledon Park).
Continuing with an informative and exciting style that grips your interest to the end, Audrey brings together the contributions of the Reverand Phillips who struggled in declining health for 25 years to support the Almshouses, Mr Robert Borrowman, Miss Elizabeth Borrowman, the Countess of Radnor and many others.
The Charity Commissioners at the time were acting in accordance with the conditions associated with the land on which the Almshouses were built and as such, were unwilling to allow funds generated from the sale of the land to be used to build or refurbish the properties.
Miss Mary Bonham Carter, whose mother Lady Mary Bonham Carter had fond memories of Hambledon, set out in an attempt to influence the Charity Commissioners and her successful efforts opened the path to the future building of new Almshouses in the village.
Audrey's outstanding brochure explains in detail the two Almshouse plaques on display that recognise and memorialise the significant contributions made by Mary Bonham Carter and Robert Borrowman.
The Almshouses celebrated their centenary last year and continue to be successfully maintained by nine Trustees.
This is a wonderful, interesting and exciting story well worth the £2.00 to further our understanding of OUR OUR VILLAGE HERITAGE and contribute funds to the Hambledon Heritage Society and its research activities.
To obtain copies of the brochure please contact Audrey Monk (01428-682258) or Julie Steele (01428-682853).
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