Ingram’s Almshouse is named after Sir Arthur Ingram, a wealthy landowner who was also elected the Member of Parliament for the city in 1625, 1626, 1628 and 1629. Some of his business practices were controversial, but he did contribute to charities to help the poorest in the city.
One of the projects he undertook was the construction of Ingram’s Hospital, situated in Bootham, on which work started in 1630. Ingram had purchased from Thomas Sandwich a cottage and one acre of land for the sum of 50 pounds and work began on demolishing the cottage and on building the new hospital, which was completed in 1632.
Although the interiors of the rooms were relatively basic, even for the time, the building itself was well-built. It also incorporated the old Norman doorway which had been purchased from the part ruined Holy Trinity Church on Micklegate.
Ingram intended the hospital to be used to house ten York widows who had no financial support of their own and he also made donations to the widows to ensure that they could continue to afford to live.
Ingram died in 1642 and the hospital buildings had a troubled period. They were seriously damaged in 1644 by a fire which took place during the Siege of York, and the year after the entrances were bricked up to prevent further damage. It is thought that looting occurred and the occupants of the almshouses were moved out to a safer location, still receiving financial help.
After 1649 it was possible to start repairs to the building, the interior was fully repaired with 5,000 bricks and the hospital was re-roofed, which totalled 14,000 roof tiles. The widows returned to the hospital in 1650, but as the arrangements from Ingram’s legacy to help fund the widows were not clear, Ingram’s family often made late or irregular payments to the widows. However after an inquiry took place to investigate the payments, the Ingram family from 1669 ensured that the widows were paid an amount which enabled them to be financially secure.
The almshouses continued to be used until after the Second World War, but the condition of the buildings was starting to cause concern. There was no running water in the buildings and there was only gas lighting. In 1956 the York Charity Trustees obtained Parliamentary permission to merge a series of legacies together to finance better living accommodation, and a new almshouse was built nearby.
In 1957 the building was converted to flats, which unfortunately destroyed much of the interiors, and also led to the large glass window at the rear being bricked up and windows being placed along the back of the almshouses which there hadn’t previously been.