Celebration of almshouses’ bicentenary

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A COMMUNITY has celebrated the bicentenary of its almshouses with a special event.

The Philip Metcalfe Almshouses, in Hawstead, were endowed by the Metcalfe family and built in 1811.

Although they initially housed six residents, the building has since been altered to accommodate four local people.

On Saturday, its trustees marked the landmark anniversary with a celebration at the Village Hall.

It featured music by the U3A choir and a talk about the Metcalfe family and early days of the almshouses by local historian and author Clive Paine.

“It was a very special evening because it was 200 years since it opened in 1811 and we thought we ought to mark it with a special event,” said trustee Angela Rushen.

Stan Bailey, the oldest current resident of the almshouses, cut a cake made in the likeness of the building and Mrs Rushen read from a book of poems by Daphne Hammonde, a resident of the early part of the 20th century.

“As a child my father talked about her so it was interesting to read from her book and it gave an insight into what the Metcalfe family were like, in the sense they cared for people in the village,” said Mrs Rushen.