Charity Ref. 400/379/98


May 12th 2003

The new Chairman, Anne Gould, opened the meeting of SPIRE U3A on May 12th giving notice of various outings and information. The group co-ordinator, Peter Edginton, said he would soon be sending the forms out regarding group activities for members to put their chosen courses down in preparation for September. Many Groups do not stop and start at any given time but signing up to join a group has to be co-ordinated.

The speaker was Gillian Nolan who gave us a fascinating talk on Almshouses. She started by telling us that they can be traced back to soon after the Norman Conquest. Monasteries looked after their inmates in hospitals or infirmaries. They also handed out Alms to the poor and educated the people.
After the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th Century wealthy individuals and even Royalty built and ran Alms Houses for the poor and needy. They were built with their own chapel in which inmates had to attend regularly and often can be seen with a courtyard or garden at the centre. It is these we see in Salisbury today, though not in their original form as the Victorians demolished and rebuilt them. Apparently the height of the chimneys indicated the wealth of the donor! The higher the richer!
Gillian Nolan then told us about the houses in her care and gave some interesting facts about each one as she showed slides to illustrate her talk.
Now they have sheltered accommodation for the young as well as the elderly and a staff of 23 in Salisbury.

The next meeting is on June 9th when Inspector Matt Johnson will speak on Crime Prevention.
For membership information please contact the Membership Secretary.

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