Actress Brenda Blethyn helps to mark 100 years of Ramsgate almshouse

Lazarus Hart Havens of Rest almshouse Photo Padraic O'Dwyer

The 100th anniversary of an almshouse in Ramsgate has been marked with a tree planting ‘dug in’ by award-winning actress and Thanet arts patron Brenda Blethyn.

The ‘Vera’ actress, and Ramsgate girl, took part in the planting yesterday (June 22) at the Lazarus Hart Havens of Rest Trust almshouse.

Almshouses are a charitable form of self sufficient, low cost community housing that is held in trust for local people in housing need. They are managed and run by almshouse charities made up of local volunteers.

The Havens consists of 10 one-bedroom flats, all of which are occupied, which were provided through a bequest from former Ramsgate mayor Lazarus Hart.

Photo Padraic O’Dwyer

Lazarus, who was mayor for two terms in 1896 and 1897, lived in Albion Place. He died in 1917 and is buried in the Ramsgate Jewish cemetery.

In his will he left £10,000 to provide for the building and maintenance of an almshouse. The Havens was opened in 1923. When it was opened each of the residents received a small monetary allowance  – before the welfare state.

During World War Two the residents were evacuated and the building was taken over by the army. The military left the building in 1947.

The Havens continued to function until the 1970s, when the building and gardens were in need of substantial restoration.

The residents were moved out and the building renovated with bathrooms and kitchens added for each flat. The site reopened in the  late 1970s and continue to provide accommodation today.

The front of the building is Grade II listed.



  1. Beautiful maintained gardens, only problem being, come the fall, they will continue to burn their garden waste polluting the day time air, I back on to the almshouse’s and I have to close my windows and not put washing out during the day. I thought there was a law for daytime bonfires. Gardener needs informing of the law and maybe even having some consideration for other home owners before lighting during the day.

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