Cork City

Skiddys Alms House

Skiddy’s Almshouse: The Skiddy family is believed to have come to Cork in the later Middle Ages and established themselves as traders. The Almshouse was established as a consequence of a bequest left by Stephen Skiddy, or sometimes known as Stephen Scudmore, in his will in 1584. His will directed that ‘that the Master, Wardens and Freemen of the Vintners and their successors do paie yearly for every after the decease of his wife, of the ent and profit of his land , the sum of £24 of lawful English money, at the common half of the said company within the City of London, to the Mayor for the time being of Cork in Ireland, wherin he was borne and to be bestowed to the said Mayor of Cork, with the consent of his brethren, the Aldeman of the said city, upon ten of the hones test, poorest persons of the said City of Cork, men or women, aged 50 years at least.’

This annuity of £24 was to be distributed by Cork Corporation. The Mayor and Corporation of Cork were appointed trustees of Skiddy’s Charity. The original intention of the bequest was to divide the bequest equally amongst the inhabitants equally. However as more poor people were being admitted than was stipulated in the will the Corporation took a decision in 1630 to reduce the numbers being admitted.

An almshouse had existed on the site since 1602. By 1702 the Almshouse accommodated 16 men and women. In 1717 Cork Corporation proposed that the ‘Trustees of the Green Boys Hospital to take from them a sufficient piece of ground adjoining their hospital for building and carrying on so pious a work’.

Re-built by Cork Corporation between 1718 and 1719 the Almshouse eventually housed over 70 people. The cost to the Corporation amounted to £1,150. The almshouse is a neo-classical L-shaped building. The building was nearly destroyed in 1967 when the Board of Management of the North Infirmary Hospital decided to demolish the almshouse and build a nurses home on the site. A local campaign to save the building was successful and a preservation order was issued by the Board of Works. Restored by architect Frank Murphy it was awarded a Europa Nostra Award in 1975. The site now contains self-contained apartments for older people.

Skiddy’s Charity still provides housing for twenty elderly people in ten homes in the Pouladuff Road in Cork.

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