Joseph Crossley's Almshouses
Joseph Crossley's Almshouses were built in 1863, and consisted initially of a single east facing block. Two side wings were added within a short time, and the site as it now appears was completed in 1869, by Joseph's son Edward, Joseph having died before the building was finished. Included in the south wing is a chapel for the use of the residents, and weekly services continue to be held there for the residents on Thursday afternoons. Residents are expected to attend whenever possible!
An annual Founder's Day service is held in the chapel on the fourth Saturday in June, at which a 'special' preacher is invited. Following the service a tea is provided, and is served to the residents by the Trustees.
Joseph Crossley was the son of John & Martha Crossley, who founded the Crossley Carpets empire at Dean Clough. Joseph's brother Francis (later to become Sir Francis Crossley, and eventually Baron Somerleyton) also built almshouses in Margaret Street, only a short distance from Arden Road. These almshouses also continue in existence.
The dwellings at Arden Road were originally designed for retired Crossley employees, and, on appointment, residents were given a table, a chair, a bed, a Bible, and a small pension from Crossley funds. As time has gone on, the conditions have changed. In the early 1980s the dwellings were upgraded from the original standard, and were also enlarged, by making two new flats out of three original dwellings. A pension is no longer paid, but the Trustees maintain a small fund which has helped to pay for an annual summer coach trip for the residents.
The Almshouses is a registered charity. Management is by a volunteer board of Trustees, who have the services of a part time paid warden who resides on the site. There is also a Clerk, a Treasurer, an Architect, a Chaplain, and a Solicitor.
To qualify for residence, applicants have to be of limited financial means, be retired from all employment, be in good health at the time of application, and be members of or adherents to a recognised protestant church which subscribes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Residents occupy the dwellings as licensees of the Trustees, and pay a weekly maintenance contribution towards upkeep/improvements. Residents are permitted to make their own improvements to the flats, with the consent of the Trustees' Architect, on the understanding that such improvements become the property of the Trustees.
Although times have changed since Joseph Crossley built the Almshouses, the work goes on and the flats provide safe, convenient, and congenial accommodation.
For further information on the Crossley family, Halifax Antiquarian Society has a series of articles in its journal, from the 1960s, in which the family's legacy to Halifax is told.