Shortly after passing under the footbridge in Burgess Park, look out for a group of buildings towards the right-hand edge of the park and make your way towards them.
In 1821 the Friendly Female Society, founded in 1802 ‘for the relief of poor infirm aged widows and single women of good character who have seen better days’ opened its almshouses for 20 occupants in Chumleigh Gardens, the north and south sides built in the early 19th century, the west side c.1840. They were occupied until World War II, when they were bombed.
After remaining derelict for many years, the almshouses were renovated and now house meeting rooms, offices for Park Rangers and the Art in the Park team of artists. There is an English Garden in front of the buildings and a World Garden with four different styles of garden – Oriental, Mediterranean, African and Caribbean and Islamic – at the back. There is a café round the corner on the north side of the buildings.