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The Hurst Consolidated Charity is responsible for the four almshouse properties and grounds. The Charity has 20 apartments across three locations, two sites in St Nicholas Hurst and one in Twyford. Two of the buildings are Grade II listed C17 brick buildings, one is a 1960s terrace of bungalows and the fourth is a purpose-designed terrace completed in 2019.
Sir Richard Harrison of Hurst House, had the almshouse in Twyford built in 1640 with six apartments and William Barker commissioned the Hurst almshouses in 1664 for eight poor persons. In 1985 Miss Effie Barker, a descendant of William Barker, and her team of trustees oversaw the creation of 4 new almshouses on site and the refurbishment of the original 8 two-story one up one down units, that were transformed into 4 single story units. The properties are all maintained to a comfortable living standard for their residents.
In 1999 Anne Peck of Hurst Lodge donated a terrace of four apartments (Lodge Close), Hinton Road, that her mother, Lady Ingram originally built for retired nurses. Anne Peck also gave a plot of land adjacent to this terrace in 2005, on which the Richard Bigg almshouses were built in 2019.
The Charity’s origins began with the two C17 almshouses and over the centuries a multitude of smaller charities have been incorporated many of which had provided cash, bread, coal, blankets and bibles for the inhabitants. Of these, the more significant are the Richard Bigg bread charity of 1677 and the Lady Harrison charity of 1690. Richard Bigg of Haines Hill, left the rent and profits of the George Inn in Broad Street (now New Oxford Street) to provide bread for the poor of Hurst. Loaves were to be placed on his tomb in St Nicholas Church and be distributed to parishioners on Sundays.
In her will of 1690 Lady Dorothy Harrison, wife of Sir Richard, left the rent from land in Binfield to help the poor in Hurst. The beneficiaries were an apprenticeship for one boy and the teaching of six boys to read and write with bibles presented if they succeed within two years. The presentation of bibles to leavers of the local primary school continues to this day. In 2018 the Charity re-registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. For information on finding a vacancy in an Almshouse, click here.