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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/1844
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1837-1961
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 4.9 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Parminter's School and Almshouse Foundation
Parmiter's Almshouse and Pension Charity
Parminter's School
Parminter's Estate Charity
Bethnal Green Philanthropic Pension Society
R Voss and Son | solicitors


Administrative/Biographical history:

By his will dated 29 February 1682, Thomas Parmiter, silk merchant of Bethnal Green, directed that, after the death of his wife, his property should be vested in trustees who were to build six almshouses and a free school on the waste of Bethnal Green. Elisabeth Parmiter died in 1702 and on 7 April 1705 an order in Chancery instructed the trustees to carry out the provisions of the will. Unfortunately the income of the charity, which derived from farms at Withersfield and Clare in Suffolk, proved insufficient. A bequest from the first treasurer, Thomas Lee, of 100 and of a 10 rent charge to be paid each year by the Dyers Company, together with the gift by Mrs Elizabeth Carter of a site in St John Street and an annual rent charge of 10, allowed for the erection of the almshouses and school. The first almsmen were admitted in 1722 and the school opened in the same year. By 1730 thirty boys were being educated.

The financial position of the charity was assured by the purchase in 1722 of four and a half acres of land on Cambridge Heath with a loan from Edward Mayhew. The rents from this land provided the greater part of the charity's income until the sale in 1870 of most of the land to the Great Eastern Railway Company for 27,000. Part of the remainder was occupied by Chandler's Wiltshire Brewery in Hackney Road. The Governors subsequently purchased freehold land in Lewisham, which was sold again in 1921, and ground rents in Ilford.

The original school and almshouses were compulsorily purchased by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1838. A new school and almshouses designed by Sir William Tite were built in Gloucester Street, later renamed Parmiter Street. The charity benefitted from several bequests at this period, most notably from a legacy of 500 from Peter Renvoize who was Treasurer of the Charity from 1794 with one short break until his death in 1842.

By the 1870s 70 boys aged between 8 and 14 were being educated at Parmiter's School. The trustees decided to rebuild the school and purchased a site in Approach Road, near Victoria Park. The Charity Commissioners insisted that there should be a new scheme to regulate the Charity whereby two thirds of the income should be allocated to the school. The school was to offer a wider education for boys aged mostly from 7 to 16. There was to be an entrance examination and fees would be charged, but forty foundation scholarships were to be reserved for boys from Bethnal Green. Despite strong opposition from the trustees, the scheme was approved on 13 May 1884. The Charity Commission hoped that when funds permitted a girls' school should be provided, but this never happened.

The old school closed in 1885 and the new school opened in Approach Road in September 1887, initially for about 150 boys. From 1889 it received grants from the London County Council who in 1894 secured the right to appoint representative governors and from 1913 awarded scholarships to the School. The School was extended in 1898 and in 1920 land was purchased in Highams Park, Walthamstow to provide a sports ground.

In February and March 1913 fresh schemes for Parmiter's Foundation were approved by the Board of Education and the Charity Commission. These split the Foundation into three, the School Branch, the Almshouses and Charities Branch, and the Estates Branch. The trustees of the Estates Branch were representatives of both the other two sections and, as before, two thirds of the income were to be paid to the school and one third to the almshouses and pensioners.

On the outbreak of war in September 1939 the school was evacuated to North Walsham in Norfolk. From there it moved to Leek in Staffordshire in June 1940. Meanwhile the school buildings were used to accommodate the NE London Emergency School for Boys under the headship of a teacher from Parmiter's School. The school reopened in Approach Road on 8 September 1943. After the passing of the 1944 Education Act the governors applied for and were granted Voluntary Aided Status.

From 1965 to 1968 the Governors were involved in a fierce and successful fight against proposals to amalgamate Parmiter's School with St Jude's Church of England Secondary School and to make it comprehensive. In 1981 Parmiter's School moved out of London and is now situated at New High Elms, Watford. The school buildings in Approach Road are now occupied by Raine's Schools Foundation, the records of which have also been deposited here (Acc 1811).

When the school moved to Approach Road in the 1880's, the almshouses in Parmiter Street remained in use. The old school house was converted to an additional alsmshouse. From the early 19th century pensions were given to elderly residents of Bethnal Green as well as to the occupants of the almshouses. At one time only men were admitted to the almshouses and, on the death of their husbands, widows were forced to leave and lost their pensions. To alleviate this hardship Mrs Jemima Thomas left 200 in 1854 to establish a Widows Fund.

The almshouses were destroyed by a V2 bomb in February 1945 and the site was sold to the London County Council in 1959. Pensions continued to be paid, and in 1952, the trustees of Parmiter's Almshouse and Pension Charity were made responsible for administering the Bethnal Green Philanthropic Pension Society.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Parminter's Foundation and associated charities, including constitution, governor's minute books and estate records for Parminter's School and Almshouse Foundation; records of Parminter's Estate Charity including trustees' records, financial accounts, rent accounts, insurance and war damage contributions and papers relating to the Hackney Road Estate; records of Parminter's School including governor's records, financial records and correspondence; records of Parminter's Almshouse and Pension Charity including trustees' records, financial accounts, and records of almspeople and out-pensioners.

Also records of the Bethnal Green Philanthropic Pension Society, including directors' minutes; annual reports, lists of subscribers; rules; correspondence; financial accounts; and records of pensioners.

Papers of R Voss and Son, solicitors who kept the records of Parminter's Foundation, including papers of Thomas Watson Francis, Governor of Parmiter's School and a Trustee of the Almshouse and Estates Charities and papers relating to court cases.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

ACC/1844/A: Parminter's School and Almshouse;
ACC/1844/B: Parminter's Estate Charity;
ACC/1844/C: Parminter's School;
ACC/1844/D: Parminter's Almshouse and Pension Charity;
ACC/1844/E: Bethnal Green Philanthropic Pension Society;
ACC/1844/F: R Voss and Son Client Papers.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The records listed below were formerly in the keeping of three generations of the Voss family, Robert Voss, William Voss and G P Voss, who were solicitors in Bethnal Green and who acted successively as Clerk to the Governors from 1884 to 1960. After the retirement of G P Voss in 1960, the records were stored in the tower of St Matthew's Church, Bethnal Green. From there they were transferred to the Greater London Record Office in April 1983. The loose papers were stored in two deed boxes marked 'No 107'. One contained numerous copies of Charity Commission and Board of Education Schemes and miscellaneous papers. The other contained papers and plans relating to Parmiter's School sports ground at Rowden Park in Walthamstow. The records of Bethnal Green Philanthropic Pension Society were stored in two separate deed boxes. Minute books and account books dating from before 1884 referred to in the histories of Parmiter's Foundation have not been deposited here.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in April 1983.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The records of the LCC Education Officer's Department include files relating to Parmiter's School 1884-1943 (reference EO/PS/3/270-277). See also the minute book of the School Board for London Education Endowments Committee for 1872-1877 which includes the minutes of the Select Committee on Parmiter's Charity Schemes 1874-1875 (reference SBL 156).

Publication note:

For further information, see Some account of Parmiter's Foundation for Almshouses and a School (reference Acc 1844/A4), The Endowed Charities of London Vol 1 1897 (LMA Library reference 20.205 CHA) and The History of Parmiter's Foundation M J Fletcher 1971 (LMA Library reference GLHL 22.13 PAR). The LMA Library has copies of The Parmiter Magazine for December 1937 and of The Parmiterian for December 1949-December 1950. It also has a school prospectus for 1969 (reference 22.13 PAR).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
June to August 2010.

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