These almshouses were put up in 1885 at cost £6,197 to build. The money came from
James Barton who also put up £15,833 6s and 8d to trustees for its continued upkeep
( a seriously large sum of money in those days!) The Bequest Board is on the right-hand
side of the entrance to the church with details of the endowment and bequests to
the almshouses. They were officially opened by the Right Honourable Earl Cowper,
Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, with a special hymn service on Wednesday 24th June
James Barton erected the Homes in memory of his sisters, Mary and Louise Barton.
James Barton died suddenly on 20th November 1886, aged 71 years, following a short
illness. He was interred in Highgate Cemetery, London on November 27th. At the time
of his death he was living at Oaskley House, 196 Camden Road, Oxford Street, London
The Homes were to house 'twenty people of good reputation and character, being inhabitants
of Turvey and Bedford, both in the County of Bedfordshire'.
This was to be 10 married & 10 single Pensioners.
The building was in the Tudor style with red brick and stone dressings. Each resident had two rooms, a bedroom and a little living room. They shared the use of a washhouse with kitchen and scullery. Each single resident received 6 shillings per week and married couples received 8 shillings each. Medical attendance was provided at a cost of 1/6 per quarter for single pensioners and 2/6 for married pensioners. The Superintendent utilized the central portion of the building and a room at the rear was used for meetings of the board.
The roof was oak-timbered and was panelled with pitch pine. Each side had three three-light windows, the upper parts of which were of coloured glass. There was a magnificent organ chamber, the organ having two full compass manuals and independent pedals. It had an oak case with 8 feet long decorated diapason pipes in front. Above the organ was a large circular stained glass window and there were ante chambers either side. The organ was built by Messrs. Gray and Davison of London and was a gift of Sir Frederick Howard. It cost £40 for installation and tuning.
The large hall was heated by tiered hot water pipes, two either side and at the entrance and was lit by gas. On the first floor there was spacious Board Room with open fireplaces and tiled hearths at each end. This was also lit by gas. Water was drawn from a large garden well until 1913 when Captain Higgins of Turvey House had continuous water installed. The large lawn was used for garden parties and at one time had a croquet pitch for the residents.
The Original Turvey Trustees - 1885
W.F. Higgins Esq J.P. of Turvey House
EK Karslake Esq Q.C.
Rev GFW Munby (Turvey's rector)
Rev Samuel Thomas (Minister of Congregational Chapel)
John Rogers (an auctioneer)
John Gasking (a lace manufacturer)
Michael Hinde (A plumber etc)
Rev W. Mills Robinson
Dr WJ Mackie (physician & surgeon) who was later disqualified because of his non-residence
in the village
Caretakers of the Institution
(in order, though exact dates not known)
Mr & Mrs Huckle (from opening until at least 1891)
Mr & Mrs Keech of Turvey
Mr & Mrs H Sargeant of Turvey
Mr & Mrs S Lay of Lavendon (until Feb 1935)
Mr & Mrs L Church (until some time after 1935)
Mr & Mrs Lincoln (1950's?)
Hon.Secretarys to the Trustees until 1935
Mr JC Conquest - until he died in 1909
Alfred Clare - until he died in 1912
James Harold Howard - until he died in 1929
Mr WS Brocklehurst - until after 1935
More History of the Barton Charity Homes A continuous water supply was laid on in 1913 from the Water Supply owned by Capt Higgins of Turvey. The original well was then abandoned. A fire hydrant and hose were also installed. In 1916 the original pensions were increased. Single persons now received 8 shillings a week and married couples 12 shillings. Residents also received Pensions from the Government of 10 shillings a week each. In July 1922 electric lights were installed although the building was not linked to the Public Electric Supply (so the residents were not charged) until 1935. Before this a
Electrical Engine and Plant was installed at the Homes. In October 1922 the large Board Room began to be used by the pensioners as a Recreation & Reading room. A gentleman called Edmund Walker & others donated books & magazines. Unfortunately the pensioners did not seem to like the facility so it was subsequently discontinued. In 1923 the Trustees had to start paying the Rector of Turvey and the Nonconformist Minister so that they would continue to lead the services given for residents on Sundays. 1928 saw the installation of a septic tank and new toilets etc for the residents.
On Monday 24th June 1935 the Barton Charity celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of
A souvenir handbook was produced and invites were sent to all the residents and 'important'
locals for the special service that was held.