Charity begins at homes …
Twenty-four homes for the elderly were opened at Wilmot Close, East Finchley, on Friday by the MP for Finchley and Friern Barnet, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Secretary of State for Education.
The almshouses are for 28 people and have been built by Finchley Charities. Whose work in Finchley spans almost 500 years. There are 20 single units or bed-sitting-rooms and four double units. Together with almshouses built at Wilmot Close in the 1960s, there is now accommodation for 56 elderly people.
The flats are rent-free, and heating and lighting are paid for.
Mrs Thatcher, declaring them officially open, said she was delighted at the use to which money raised by the charities had been put.
“We are always needing more and more housing for our older people.” Mrs Thatcher said. “By the time the Mayor and Mayoress and myself are in need of this kind of accommodation there will be an even greater need. There still remains a great deal to be done in the field of housing for the elderly.”
She added: “It is a pleasure to see architecture which is not all boxy and oblong. These houses have a very cosy feeling.”
The opening of the new house was attended by the Mayor of Barnet, Alderman J. L. Freedman, and the Mayoress, Councillor Mrs Rosa Freedman, as well as members of the Charities Trust, aldermen and councillors from Barnet and residents of the houses.
The buildings were dedicated by the Rector of St. Mary at Finchley, the Rev. Patrick Brock.
Mrs. Thatcher is pictured talking to 70-year-old Miss Kathleen Shail, one of the occupants of the flats.
A housewife living in Silvester Road, which leads to Wilmot Close, was also delighted to see the opening of the houses, but for a different reason.
The woman, who did not want her name published, said that in 36 hours a new surface had been put on the road, which, for the 18 months during the building of the houses, had been called “the rocky road to Dublin” by residents.
She added that it was ludicrous that after months of continuous complaints to the council about the condition of the road, workmen should re-surface the road simply because the Mayor and an MP were attending the official opening.
The woman, who has lived in Silvester Road since 1930, said that heavy lorries going to Wilmot Close had not only coated everything with thick yellow dust in summer and made the road a quagmire in winter, but had also caused cracks to form in the ceilings and walls of her home. The surface in Wilmot Close was so recent, that workmen had sealed around parked cars!