Photographer Jim Grover recently marked the 200th anniversary of Trinity Homes Almshouse in Brixton by exploring its history and meeting some of its current residents. Grover has long been curious about the distinctive Georgian building on Brixton’s busy Acre Lane and was keen to discover the stories of those who lived there. The almshouse was built in 1822 and endowed two years later with £2,000 by Brixton resident Thomas Bailey, a former partner in successful retailer Neale & Bailey. Trinity Asylum, as it was originally named, was intended as a home for “pious aged women” and originally featured 12 apartments.

Successful applicants for the apartments had to be single women aged between 57 and 67, with a small income and testimonials that confirmed their religious faith. Today, Trinity Homes is a registered charity that’s administered by voluntary trustees. There are now 17 residents, seven of whom are men. The residents are able to furnish their rooms as they wish. Guy Hunting, a published author and former footman at Buckingham Palace, has lived in the almshouse for 14 years. Hunting has an impressive collection of artworks, which he’s gathered from local charity shops.

Christine Holding has lived at Trinity Homes since 2004. Her mother was a resident for more than 20 years before her. Holding retired from her job as a dinner lady and housekeeper in a local school in 2020, but has since taken up a voluntary role with The Patients Association at her local GP surgery. She says she’s “worked all her life” and loves meeting people. In 1996, Peter Avery became the first male resident in the almshouse. Now aged 84, Avery is a former senior lecturer at Central School of Art and Design and continues to be an active artist. He eschews a traditional bedroom for a studio, where he’s currently working on a stage set for a south London theatre.

Trinity Homes features a central communal area, which comprises a garden. In the summer, residents often gather under the apple tree for a glass of wine and a chat. Andrew Taylor is the live-in warden, a role he’s held since 2013. He’s now considering arranging more get-togethers for the residents. Trinity Homes resident Wallee McDonnell, who has spent time homeless, believes an Almshouse like this gives people a chance to have their own home, with their own key. McDonnell volunteers for Celebrate Life, a Community Interest Company, and facilitates peace education workshops in prisons

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