Bungay almshouse awarded Grade II listed status

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image copyrightPat Payne/Historic England
image captionSt Edmund's Almshouse in Bungay, Suffolk, was built in 1895

A 19th Century almshouse which offers "vital service" to its community has been awarded Grade II listed status.

St Edmund's Almshouse in Bungay, Suffolk, was built in 1895 for retired residents.

It cost £2,000 to build and provided homes for six single tenants and two married couples before being converted to double occupancy in 2013.

Melissa Thompson from Historic England said listing the building "celebrates its important to the local community".

image copyrightBungay Museum Trust
image captionHistoric England said the character of the building was designed to show homeliness and comfort

The public body said the single-storey building was probably designed by architect Bernard Smith.

Funds to build the almshouse were donated by local solicitor Frederick Smith, who was also the "town reeve" - a Saxon term for a role similar to that of a mayor.

The almshouse was built in Tudor style with gabled bays, stone mullion windows and "finely crafted Gothic detailing", Historic England said.

"The character of the building was designed to show homeliness and comfort," the public body said.

image copyrightBungay Museum Trust
image captionIt is thought the building was designed by Bernard Smith as solicitor Frederick Smith had previously commissioned him for work at his home

Ms Thompson, senior listing adviser for Historic England in the East of England said the "charming building" had "supported retired residents in Bungay for over 120 years".

Not only did listing the almshouse celebrate its local importance, she said, it also recognised "the philanthropic gesture of Frederick Smith which enabled the building of this beautiful home".

image copyrightPat Payne/Historic England
image captionThe building interiors have been modernised over the years

In 1974 the homes were modernised with new kitchens, bathrooms and central heating. More interior work took place in 2012-2013 and the external woodwork was restored in 2019.

The building contains eight of 13 almshouses owned and run by Bungay Town Trust for retired residents.

Judy Cloke, town reeve and chair of Bungay Town Trust, said she was "delighted" the almshouse had been given listed status.

"Its attractive design is a well-loved and familiar feature of the Bungay townscape and something of which the town trust can be very proud, especially following recent refurbishment and upgrading," she said.

"Not only is it good to look at, it offers a vital service to the local community."

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