The Retreat

27 Feb


When I first moved to Forest Gate in the late 1980s I lived on Tower Hamlets Road and my walk to the station took me past a small group of almshouses on the corner of Forest Lane and Odessa Road. The buildings are single storey, small, plain and with gabled fronts. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this was known as the Forest Gate Retreat.

The retreat was built by Jabez Legg, who was a Congregational Minister of the Forest Gate church in Sebert Road. He built three almshouses in 1858 and three more in 1863 to accommodate women who had formerly been in domestic service. In 1939 the charity was amalgamated with the Edith Whittuck charity of Wimbledon and renamed the Legg-Whittuck Trust. The Alms-women who live in the retreat can come from any part of the country, but in practice most of them have local connections.

In August 2012 the Legg-Whittuck Trust joined Pathways, a not-for-profit organisation which builds, transforms and supports people and communities to reach their full potential. Pathways now manage the Forest Gate Retreat.


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