Almshouses can trace their history back to the 10th century, when Athelstan, the grandson of Alfred the Great, was on the throne, but they are not just a relic of the past. They continue to play a crucial role in providing accommodation for those judged to be “in need”, and with an ageing population are arguably more relevant now than ever.
In medieval times almshouses were often associated with monasteries. Synonyms for Almshouse include caravanserai, halfway house, dak bungalows, abode and refuge.
Back in the day, at the Soul Food Cafe, participants responded to the call of the Enchantress, slipped through the portal, and took up residence in the Lemurian Abbey and Riversleigh Manor House. For those who took up residence, the Lemurian Abbey was a safe haven. Their work while in residence was a testimony to the healing power of creativity. The Artist’s Loft at Soul Food was another art space that featured lots of really creative work.
In my mind, a modern almshouse for artists would be a kind of art park, a base camp, like the Dak Bungalows of Imperial India, where a travelling artist might stay. It would be a sprawling place and house a series of shared rooms – a café, cookery school, art rooms, broad verandahs and meeting rooms – supporting both active and sociable use by residents and providing interaction with the wider community. There would be enough land to also house old donkeys and other animals who needed to live in a sanctuary environment.
Meanwhile, in the spirit of watching things Grow by Delay, I have a facebook page dedicated to the concept of an Artistic Almshouse. If you are interested make sure to join me there!
A small group of creatives who have sought refuge in a closed Almshouse group. Membership is limited to 10! Currently, there are five members! If you are interested in joining us you can contact me using this form or at email@example.com.