Almshouse photography by Deryck Obray | Website design and production Logitex IT Solutions

Reeves House

Number 1 Watts Avenue, now known as Reeves House, was built for Mr George Church of Chatham on land leased in 1882 from Watts Charity for 99 years. The house, designed by architect John Drake of High Street, Rochester was to be called Avenue House.

The building plan shows that the house was to be on four floors and designed with a family in mind. As was common then children and servants were to be accommodated in the top and the bottom of the house with adult members of the family on the ground and first floors.

 

The Church family remained at Avenue House for many years but by 1920 the house was occupied by physician and surgeon, Dr. Russell Edwards Palmer and his family. The house was also used as Dr. Palmer’s surgery. Dr. Palmer was succeeded by Dr. John Duguid and his family. Dr. Duguid was later joined in his practice by his daughter Anne and Drs. John Pretty and Ray Blake. Upon Anne’s retirement in 1974 the surgery was transferred to the newly built medical centre in Delce Road. From 1920 until 2011 doctors in the practice acted as medical advisors for the Watts Charity.

In 1980 after the death of Dr Duguid Avenue House returned to Watts Charity and was converted into seven flats. Renamed Reeves House in honour of Mr Tommy Reeves who was a senior trustee at that time, it was officially opened in 1983 by Mr Reeves as an addition to the Watts Almshouses.

 

Tommy Reeves served as a trustee for 50 years and made an exceptional contribution to the work of the charity. At one time he was a trustee of both Watts and St Catherine’s and initiated the merger of the two charities in 1975. Even in retirement Tommy Reeves continued to be involved in an unofficial capacity as a mentor until his death in 1999.