The impetus for this study came from William Kaye Sessions who in 1946 was commissioned by the Nuffield Foundation to report on York almshouses and charities for a survey of poverty in old age in the UK. Seebohm Rowntree was the chairman, and it was published as Old people in 1947. Bill Sessions’ report appeared as an appendix. He commissioned this history and his original report is reprinted at the end. Part One defines almshouses, and is a brief history of poverty, and social and charitable responses to it, since the 10th century. Part Two is a gazetteer of 50 named almshouses established in York since about 936 AD, the possible founding date of the first English almshouse, St Leonard’s Hospital in York. The most recent York almshouse was founded in 1983. Carole Smith came to York in 1972, and worked in public and university libraries in York and, recently, in Cambridge. She is now working for the Trustees of Wandesford House, an 18th-century almshouse. William Sessions is a member of a long-established York family. In the 1930s he studied economics under John Maynard Keynes at Cambridge. During the war he worked in London for the Friends War Victims Relief Service. In 1946 he reported on York’s almshouses and charities for the Nuffield Foundation survey of poverty in old age, before resuming work in the family firm. He continues to be an enthusiastic publisher.
ISBN: 978 1 904446 30 9
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