Celebrate Peabody's 150th anniversary
Created to coincide with Bike Week (June 16-24), Peabody CEO Stephen Howlett, together with Peabody employees, have devised a whistle-stop bike ride around Westminster.
The Peabody Cycle Tour is a fun, healthy, and sustainable way for people to explore several of the distinctive Peabody buildings and estates in the area.
It will familiarise you with some of the architecture that makes Peabody buildings such a unique and important part of London’s rich cultural fabric.
George Peabody makes an appearance in the film on his penny farthing; however, if you wish to use a more modern cycle and don’t have your own bike, then get on a TfL bike — there are loads of docking stations around London.
Here is Stephen with Tessa Barraclough and Ralph Lucey touring a handful of Peabody sites that can be found on the Peabody Cycle Tour:
They visited: 80 Eaton Square – this is the first stop in the Westminster Cycle Tour, and there is a docking station close by if you wish to hire a TfL bike - Peabody Avenue, Bessborough Place, Abbey Orchard and Westminster Abbey.
History note: George Peabody (1795-1869) was born in Massachusetts, USA. One of eight children, he left school at the age of 11 to work and help support his family. He made his money importing and exporting wool, linen and dry goods and then moved into merchant banking.
George Peabody first visited Britain on business in 1827 and ten years later took up residence in London, where he remained for the rest of his life.
He became acutely aware of poverty in the capital and was keen to help. Lord Shaftesbury suggested he could do so by supporting low-rent housing.
In 1862, he set up The Peabody Donation Fund and the first dwellings for the “artisans and labouring poor of London” were opened in Commercial Street, Spitalfields in February 1864. The flats housed 66 low-income families and included provision for shops and laundries. This marked the beginning of his – and our – work in London.
George Peabody’s philanthropy was not restricted to the UK. In America, he founded and supported numerous institutions in New England and elsewhere, including Baltimore, the city in which he achieved his earliest success. He is known to have provided benefactions of more than $8million, most of them in his own lifetime.