Search the website

Almshouse design for the 21st Century

— 02 Oct 2019


THT have several almshouses in the centre of Taunton already, such as Bernard Taylor


Of THT’s existing almshouses, Grays has the lowest maintenance costs because of its simple form and solid building materials, which informed the brief for the new building


As well as accommodation all THT almshouses, such as Huish Homes, have communal gardens and community rooms for residents

Taunton heritage trust crest Large

Jonathan Rhind Architects are delighted to have been commissioned by the Taunton Heritage Trust (THT) to design and build a new almshouse in the centre of Taunton.

The Taunton Heritage Trust is a charity which provides housing for the over 60s who are in need. The properties they manage provide secure housing for people who want and are able to live alone, but with the benefit of additional support.

Almshouses in Britain date back to the 10th Century, when they were generally run by religious orders for the benefit of the sick and elderly. With the dissolution of the monasteries many almshouses were also lost. The urbanisation of work in the Georgian and Victorian eras lead to an upsurge in the building of almshouses by wealthy philanthropists to counter the appalling conditions in workhouses, and the result is many of the historic almshouse buildings that we see in towns and cities today.   

The Taunton Heritage Trust run several almshouses which are based in such historic properties. With full occupancy and a waiting list for places the Charity is in need of more accommodation to deal with the increase in demand. In 2018 the Trust purchased a site in the centre of Taunton for more housing and new offices to accommodate the increasing requirement.  

Jonathan Rhind Architects were one of four firms of Architects who were approached to submit designs for the proposed site and were delighted to win against stiff competition with a design which was the best fit for the site as well as being a lasting piece of architecture which will become an important part of Taunton’s heritage.

The project had a positive response when presented to the Southwest Design Review Panel and is currently in consultation with the local community and Somerset West and Taunton Council. It is important to the THT that the building respects its surroundings as well as meeting the needs of its residents. The new almshouse will have both one and two person flats, lift access for those with mobility issues, as well as a communal garden, community meeting rooms and improved offices for the Trust.

Karen White, Chief Officer of the THT said ‘The Trust is custodian to some important heritage buildings which are maintained to a very high standard and we feel [this] development opportunity… will complement our existing portfolio and ensure that the Trust remains relevant as a housing provider well into the twenty first century and beyond.’

Jonathan Rhind Architects are excited to be collaborating on a project which will have a positive social impact as well as contributing an important architectural design to the heart of Taunton town centre.

For more information about Taunton Heritage Trust see their website

We will be posting more updates as this exciting project progresses, so watch this space.

Recent posts

From the archive

Social feed

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-11-12 14:21:54)

    Mark and Jonathan are having a great day at the Historic Houses event in London. Interesting people, thought provok…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-11-12 10:24:21)

    If you are visiting the Historic Houses Buildings Parks and Gardens event and AGM today, please come and say hello…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-11-12 09:12:21)

    RT @Ben_CowellDG: The stage is set for our @Historic_Houses AGM at @QEIICentre. A great day ahead, looking forward to hearing from Sue Bigg…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-11-12 09:10:04)

    RT @Historic_Houses: We're really looking forward to seeing many of you at the @Historic_Houses National AGM tomorrow! Follow us on Twitte…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-11-11 16:14:55)

    Directors Jonathan and Mark are heading to London for the Historic Buildings Parks & Gardens Event tomorrow where w…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-11-06 14:47:38)

    Planning approval has been granted for remodelling and internal alterations to this 4 bed house in the Quantock Hil…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-11-06 13:51:09)

    Director Julian Clayton is looking forward to attending the Farm Business Innovation Show tomorrow at the NEC Birmi…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-11-06 12:45:11)

    RT @PCAeng: [Our work] The Farmers Arms in Woolsery is a unique project that PCA has been involved in since late 2015. It’s part of a wider…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-11-04 11:43:33)

    Read about proposed works to improve a tired house in Dartmoor National Park, creating more generous internal space…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-28 16:31:58)

    Due to our ever expanding workload we have vacancies in the Taunton and Barnstaple offices for an Architectural Ass…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-28 14:02:00)

    With almshouses in the press as a possible solution to Britain’s ageing population, read about the almshouse projec…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-28 14:00:28)

    RT @almshousesTD: Fascinating article. What an exciting time to be part of the almshouse movement #almshouses

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-23 15:23:27)

    The linhay is likely to date from the late 18th/early 19th Century, and still contains its original oak A-frame tru…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-23 13:36:05)

    HE research visit looking at work on damp towers continuing 20 years of looking at damp penetration to mass masonry…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-23 09:08:50)

    RT @HistoricEngland: The Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England was established in 1983 and currently identi…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-23 09:08:30)

    RT @historic_parks: Register now using the 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐕𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐨𝐫 source code to gain access to a number of inspiring demonstrations on #stonecarving…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-23 09:06:50)

    Great day at the AABC conference in Coventry #conservation #historicbuildings @AABC_architect

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-23 09:01:18)

    RT @AABC_architect: Amazing day @CovCathedral to celebrate 20 wonderful years of @AABC!

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-15 08:30:14)

    Mark Raby, JRA Director, and Juliet Bidgood in action as RIBA Somerset co-chairs at the design charrette. Photos ©J…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-14 13:38:13)

    RT @PCAeng: PCA provided #structural, #conservation and #civil #engineering advice on the Woolsery village regeneration project with initia…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-14 13:35:54)

    The Taunton Garden Town Design Charrette was a day of energy & enthusiasm for creating a vision for Taunton in the…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-09 10:07:19)

    Read about the great CPD members of our technical team attended @CarpenterOak in our latest blog…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-09 09:36:18)

    RT @hydrocknews: We're excited to be supporting a charrette to explore the creative opportunities of Taunton Garden Town today, hosted by @…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-09 08:24:53)

    RT @historic_parks: This major conservation day has been running for over 35 years and is held annually in parallel with the Historic House…

  • Jonathan Rhind (2019-10-09 08:24:40)

    JRA Director Mark Raby is looking forward to today’s #RIBASomerset design charrette. Read more about the event here…

Get in touch to see how we can help you

Contact us
Scroll up