Retirement home St Edmund's Almshouse in Bungay awarded Grade II listed status
A picturesque almshouse which has supported retired residents of a Suffolk town since the late 19th century has been awarded listed status.
St Edmund's Almshouse in Bungay, which was built in 1895 with funds donated by local solicitor Frederick Smith, has been listed at Grade II on the advice of Historic England.
Melissa Thompson, senior listing adviser for Historic England in the East of England, said: “This charming building has supported retired residents in Bungay for over 120 years, offering comfortable and restful retirement accommodation.
"Listing St Edmund’s Almshouse celebrates its importance to the local community and recognises the philanthropic gesture of Frederick Smith which enabled the building of this beautiful home.”
Mr Smith was also 'Town Reeve' - a unique position to Bungay dating back to the 16th century, and similar in status and responsibility to that of Mayor - for four periods of office between 1885 and 1900.
Building St Edmund's Almshouse cost £2,000 and provided accommodation for six single tenants and two married couples.
It is believed to have been designed by Bernard Smith, a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, who had previously been commissioned by Frederick Smith to design the billiard room at his home - the Grade II listed Earsham House in Bungay, which is now the Town Hall.
A spokesman for Historic England said: "St Edmund's Almshouse is a single-storey building in a picturesque Tudor style with gabled bays, stone mullion windows and finely crafted Gothic detailing."
They added that the character of the building was 'designed to show homeliness and comfort'.
The interior of building was modernised in 1973-74, with new kitchens, bathrooms and central heating fitted.
It was further upgraded in 2012-13 to convert the bedsits into one-bedroomed accommodation for double occupancy.
And more recently, in 2019, external woodwork was restored.
St Edmund's now contains eight of the 13 almshouses owned and is run by Bungay Town Trust for retired residents.
Judy Cloke, Town Reeve and chairman of the Bungay Town Trust, said: “I am delighted the St Edmund’s Almshouse has been classified as Grade II listed.
"Its attractive design is a well-loved and familiar feature of the Bungay townscape and something of which the Town Trust can be very proud, especially following recent refurbishment and upgrading.
"Not only is it good to look at, it offers a vital service to the local community.”
You can share your memories and information about St Edmund's Almhouses for the building's listing here.