Bakers of Danbury recently completed a £1 million refurbishment project to improve and extend nine alms houses, some of which date back to the 18th century.

The 18 month project saw nine properties within the Old Square, Colchester, Essex undergo the following improvement works:

  • Demolition of 3 single storey extensions
  • Construction of 3 two storey extensions
  • Reconstruction of 2 existing flat roofs with external patio/balcony
  • Complete new kitchen installation
  • Complete new wet room installation
  • Landscaping to enhance the area - communal gardens and planting areas
  • Substantial internal alterations to improve circulation and space
  • Demolition of old sheds and garden walls
  • Removal of raised walkway and stairs
  • New energy efficiency measures installed
  • Soundproofing
  • efficient and controllable heating
  • enhanced fire precautions
  • Scooter charging facilities

Former Colchester Mayor, Alderman and farmer, Arthur Winsley, who died in 1726, left much of his property to a new charity to house 12 men who had: “lived well and fallen into decay”. The 81 Winsley’s Alms houses are now home to more than 100 people.

In line with the Founder’s wishes expressed in his will, every year the Trustees hold a service in Winsley’s chapel and have their annual meeting and dinner on the same day. Acting Trustee Irene Kettle said:

Our Founder’s legacy is important to us and we are very proud of the history of Winsley’s, but it is essential to remember this is a thriving, friendly community and a place which must grow and improve. In this way, we can ensure the legacy of Arthur Winsley and Others, lives on.

At a ceremony held in January 2019 at Winsley’s Square, off Old Heath Road the renovated properties were blessed by the Rt Rev Roger Morris, Bishop of Colchester and officially opened by The Mayor & mayoress of Colchester. Residents were invited to take a look around.

The architect on this project was Nicholas Jacob Architects, and Trustee Andrew Waters led the project.