NOSTALGIA: Almshouses at Hawstead – from the Spanton Jarman collection

Almshouses at Hawstead. From the Spanton Jarman collection

These almshouses in Hawstead were provided for the village by Philip Metcalfe, a prominent village landowner.

A frieze beneath the cornice in the central bay has the inscription: “These Alms Houses were erected and endowed for the benefit of the Aged, and Deserving, Poor. Anno 1811.”

-- This picture is part of a remarkable collection of 4,000 photographs in the care of Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society which offers a glimpse into the town’s history.

Taken by two families of professional photographers, the Spantons and the Jarmans, the images span a period from the 1860s through to the outbreak of World War Two. The fragile glass plate negatives were donated to the society in 1997 and in recent years many of these have been ‘digitised’ thanks to a Lottery grant and donations. They can be viewed at where you can also find details about membership and the group’s programme of events and lectures. The Spanton-Jarman collection is held at the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Record Office. For more details about the Record Office, including its programme of talks and courses, visit

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