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Million-pound facelift for historic almshouses

Trustees and supporters of the Winsley's Almshouses project cut the ribbon at the Colchester site Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Trustees and supporters of the Winsley's Almshouses project cut the ribbon at the Colchester site Picture: NIGEL BROWN

NIGEL BROWN

Historic almshouses once used by a famous mayor to provide homes for people who had “lived well and fallen into decay” have re-opened after a £1million facelift.

The Bishop of Colchester blessing the refurbished almshouses Picture: NIGEL BROWNThe Bishop of Colchester blessing the refurbished almshouses Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Former Colchester mayor, Alderman and farmer Arthur Winsley died in 1726 – leaving much of his property to a new charity pledging to help 12 men in desperate need of housing.

The 81 Winsley’s Almhouses are now home to more than 100 people.

To mark the end of the 18-month project, Bishop of Colchester the Right Reverend Roger Morris blessed the refurbished buildings.

Nine properties - some of which date back to the 18th century - have been revamped Picture: NIGEL BROWNNine properties - some of which date back to the 18th century - have been revamped Picture: NIGEL BROWN

At the same ceremony Colchester mayor Peter Chillingworth cut a ribbon to re-open the new homes.

“Our founder’s legacy is important to us and we are very proud of the history at Winsley’s, but it is essential to remember this is a thriving, friendly community and a place which must grow and improve,” said acting trustee Irene Kettle.

“In this way, we can ensure the legacy of Arthur Winsley and Others lives on.”

Nine properties – some of which date to the 18th century and are listed – were redeveloped, refurbished, extended and brought up to date.

New wet rooms and kitchens were installed, the properties were made energy efficient, soundproofing was added and landscaping carried out.

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.

Mrs Kettle added: “We would like to thank everyone who lives at Winsley’s for their patience, Bakers of Danbury and Nicholas Jacob Architects for their hard work and trustee Andrew Waters, who led the project for us.”

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