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Trinity House

The origins of Trinity House
Ballast and buoys
Charitable activities
A military role
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Charitable activities

A history of caring

Plan of Trinity Almshouses.
View full size imageTrinity Almshouses, c. 1871. © NMM
Throughout its long history, Trinity House has cared for the welfare of mariners and their families.

When the Corporation received its Charter from Henry VIII in 1513, they were already managing several almshouses near the Royal Dockyard at Deptford. These were for retired sailors and their spouses and they were later named Rose Cottages.

Trinity Hospital

Entrance to Trinity almshouses.
View full size imageEntrance to Trinity Almshouses. © NMM
In 1672, Trinity Hospital was added to the existing community. It was built in Church Street on land donated by Sir Richard Browne, the then Master of the Corporation. A plan of the hospital is shown above. The hospital consisted of 56 almshouses for old seamen or their widows. It was pulled down in 1877.

The Gate House was built of reddish-brown bricks and is shown in this 1871 photograph.


Mile End almshouses

Trinity Almshouses on Mile End Road.
View full size imageTrinity Almshouses on Mile End Road. © NMM
Trinity House also maintains several almshouses on Mile End Road in East London. The almshouses 'wherein 28 decayed Masters and Commanders of Ships or ye widows of such are maintain'd' were built in 1695 by the Corporation on land provided by Captain Henry Mudd of Ratcliff. Bombed in 1941, the redbrick cottages were later modernised by the London County Council.

Sailors' homes

Trinity Chapel Sailors Home, East India road, Poplar - Part of Green Blackwall Collection
View full size imageTrinity Chapel Sailors Home, East India Road, Poplar. © NMM
This image shows the Trinity Chapel Sailors Home on East India Road in Poplar, London.

In the picture, two old sailors can be seen talking to two women and a young girl. Perhaps the men are entertaining them with their tales of adventure on the high seas!

Even today, the Corporation still maintains 19 retirement homes at Walmer in Kent.


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Find out more
GalleriesMasters and Deputy Masters of Trinity House
StoriesThe Tudor and Stuart port
London becomes a gateway to the markets and products of the world
StoriesThe 18th-century port
London becomes a centre of finance, commerce and industry
StoriesThe 19th-century port
Docks and industry transform the Thames
StoriesThe 20th-century port
The changing fortunes of Docklands and the port
Fact fileHenry VIII
The king who had six wives
Fact fileSir Thomas Spert
The first and longest serving Master of Trinity House
Fact fileElizabeth I
Queen of England, 1558-1603
Fact fileSamuel Pepys
Diarist and Master of Trinity House
Fact fileDuke of Wellington
One of the finest soldiers in British history
Fact fileGrace Darling
A Victorian heroine
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
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