This year, two of Croydon’s oldest buildings, the Whitgift Almshouses and Old Palace School will be among 800 buildings in London opening its doors to the public for tours on Saturday 22 September.
The Whitgift Almshouses dates back to 1596 and was built by Archbishop John Whitgift to house the elderly, poor and those who had been in his service in their old age. The Almshouses have been described by Queen Elizabeth II as “an oasis of peace and tranquillity” and it is easy to see why when you step off the busy high street into the Almshouses’ calm and colourful gardens. The building is still used for its original purpose and today is one of Whitgift Care’s three care homes.
The Old Palace is a Grade I listed building dating back to the 9th Century and was formally the summer residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury, including John Whitgift, between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries. It has a fascinating history and was visited by a number of monarchs, most notably Elizabeth I. Today the Palace is one of The Whitgift Foundation’s three schools; however, it has kept many of its original features, including the Great Hall dating to the 1400s, and the Guardroom, which is one of the earliest examples of the use of brick in Britain.
Tours of the Whitgift Almshouses are pre-bookable only on 020 8256 1594.
The Old Palace tour at 2pm is run on a first come, first served basis (spaces are now fully booked).
Find out more about Open House London on their website.