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Proud Parmiter’s Pensioners

March 29, 2016
by the gentle author

In his will of 28th February 1682, Silk Weaver Thomas Parmiter bequeathed funds for ‘six almshouses in some convenient place upon the waste of Bethnal Green and further for the building of one free school houses or room, wherein ten poor children of the hamlet of Bethnal Green may be taught to read or write.’

Three centuries later, Thomas is remembered as the benefactor of Parmiter’s School and Parmiter’s Almshouses at Clacton, while around a hundred senior East Enders receive Parmiter’s Pensions of £150 annually plus two dinners and a beano.

Contributing Photographer Sarah Ainslie & I joined the festivities at their Easter dinner and took these portraits of a dozen proud Parmiter’s Pensioners from Bethnal Green.

Rita Denison

Valerie Coleman

Peggy Metaxas

Jean Murphy

Jessie Walker

Kathy Clarke

Vi Davis

Irene Longman

Frances Crampin

Eileen Lee

Catherine Henry

Gladys Towns

Photographs copyright © Sarah Ainslie

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12 Responses leave one →
  1. Ellen in NEW England permalink
    March 29, 2016


  2. March 29, 2016

    Thomas Parmiter also owned a house now known as Charity Farm*, in the village where I live – Withersfield, Suffolk, The link to to village was renewed in recent years and the School choir visit the village in the summer to sing at a service in the church which is opposite my studio. It’s so interesting to see his legacy also still giving joy to these lovely ladies.


  3. Libby Hall permalink
    March 29, 2016

    Beautiful portraits!

  4. Linda Granfield permalink
    March 29, 2016

    What a long-lasting legacy!
    And what beautiful women! There’s such vitality in their eyes.
    As a woman of ‘a certain age,’ I would say I’m in great company and should stop complaining.

    May the Parmiter legacy last another three centuries.

  5. March 29, 2016

    Rita denison is goodlooking

  6. Jane permalink
    March 29, 2016

    Had an emotional surge looking at these photographs. The faces of the women looking directly to camera were those of *people*, real people. Women who’ve experienced living and a life. Straight gaze and dignity. Affected me so powerfully because so many photographs, images, selfies are such constructs of how people would *like* to be perceived by others. Obscures our humanity. Here the sitters and photographer has achieved the opposite.

  7. March 29, 2016

    These portraits are just beautiful. Or I should say, these women have clear personalities that beautifully penetrate the photographs. Thank you for including the hands of these women, as well. They add information about the women — their jewelry, their manicures or not, some relaxed, some clenched. this is one of my favorite posts! I hope all the ladies had a wonderful Easter.

    From Louise in New Carlisle, Indiana, USA

  8. Ron Pummell permalink
    March 29, 2016

    Being an Old Parmiterian I am proud that the Foundation has always supported some senior citizens.

  9. pauline taylor permalink
    March 29, 2016

    Sarah Ainslie is a brilliant photographer who always captures the personalities of her subjects so well. These are lovely portraits of all these ladies.

  10. Peter Metaxas permalink
    March 30, 2016

    Lovely women. Thank you for publishing these portraits.

  11. April 16, 2016

    What lovely pictures – and I do hope the lunch was an occasion full of laughter!

  12. Martin Palmer permalink
    September 8, 2016

    I attended Parmiter’s too, when it was on Approach Road. I had no idea the Foundation did this. How nice.
    The grand staircase would put you in mind of Hogwart’s. Sadly, though, it did not move.

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