The Society formed in 1985, saving from demolition, London's first public library in Great Smith Street (above right).
We respond on behalf of residents and businesses to local planning applications. Our 300+ members enjoy local visits of historic and other interest, social events and an archive of books, prints and ephemera.
June Stubbs 1927 - 2016
It is with great sadness to the Society that June Stubbs passed away on Friday 14th October, suddenly after collapsing at her nursing home.
June was a co-founder of the Society and for over 25 years was its Chairman and driving force. From her flat in Westminster Mansions, Great Smith Street, she was in an excellent position to keep a close eye on Thorney Island, and never missed an opportunity to represent the Society in public. She presided over many meetings, Christmas bazaars, parties and dinners. She was honoured with the award of an MBE in 2011 for services to conservation in the City of Westminster. June moved several years ago to an excellent nursing home in the New Forest, close to her family and enjoyed her final years in comfort and rest.
To send condolences to June's family, please write to info@thethorneyislandsociety.
Henry V's Chantry Chapel Visit, October 2016
Events - Autumn/Winter 2016
HENRY V's CHANTRY CHAPEL
9.30am 17th & 21st October 2016 SOLD OUT!
We have been granted a rare opportunity to visit Henry V's Chantry Chapel in Westminster Abbey which is being opened for a very brief period to mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.
The steps to the Chapel are not suitable for anyone not steady on their feet. Tickets are limited in number and only available to Members of The Thorney Island Society. The visit lasts half an hour.
TATE BRITAIN, BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR OF THE LIBRARY & ARCHIVES
12.30pm - 2pm 4th November 2016
Tour followed by a talk given by the Gallery Records Manager and opportunity to see and hear details about the Tate Gallery's relationship with The Thames. Afterwards, refreshments in our Archives at 10 Old Pye Street. Admin Fee £5
To book please visit:
THE SOCIETY's AGM - DATE CHANGE
6.30pm - 8.30pm 9th November 2016
To be held at the Grange Rochester Hotel, followed by a talk & film on the fascinating Panorama of the Thames project which encompasses the restoration of Leigh's 1829 drawing, a modern photographic panorama and social changes along our stretch of the river.
THE SOCIETY's CHRISTMAS PARTY
6.30pm - 8.30pm 7th December 2016
To be held at the Grange Rochester Hotel, including the Grand Raffle Prize Draw. Members may bring guests. £12 per person.
To book please visit:
If you would prefer NOT to book via Eventbrite, please complete and send us the form below with your cheque, or you may make payment directly to our account at Lloyds Bank, 30-99-50, A/C 00355214 :
Thorney Tales (10) - Oliver Cromwell v Charles I
Most Westminster walkers are familiar with the statue of Oliver Cromwell peering imperiously from his plinth on Cromwell Green, in front of Westminster Hall. It was erected in 1895 at a cost of £500 against furious opposition from Ireland. But not many people are aware of who is looking at him from immediately across the road. It is none other than a lead bust of Charles I, who was executed on Cromwell's orders. It is affixed to the side wall of St Margaret's Church. One of two busts of him found in a Fulham salvage depot in 1945 by Hedley Hope-Nicholson, secretary of the Society of King Charles the Martyr, one of which he donated to the church in 1950. The other is now at the Banqueting House further up Whitehall, where Charles was executed. Curiously, the statue of Charles I on horse back at the southern tip of Trafalgar Square is looking towards both his place of execution and the second bust of him. Cromwell is not being allowed to forget.
The Victoria Tower Gardens & The National Holocaust Memorial
In January 2015, David Cameron made an announcement on behalf of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation that there was to be a new Holocaust Memorial and associated Learning Centre built in central London.
At that stage three particular sites were proposed: the Imperial War Museum, near London City Hall, and the Millbank Tower podium. In July of this year we were approached by a PR company about a proposal to site the memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens (VTG). This, we assumed, would combine with a Learning Centre at the Millbank Tower, which now has planning permission for conversion to mainly residential use with a cultural/arts complex in the podium.
Various meetings were arranged and then postponed by the Foundation. It was therefore with considerable surprise that we learnt that the announcement was to be made imminently and, when it came, that it was in the form of an announcement of an international competition, that the site had now been selected, and that it was proposed that the whole project was to be built in the VTG. The Learning Centre is to be underground, with a prominent monument somewhere on the central grass area of the park.
The Society is obviously very concerned at the loss of this valuable small park, because it is very difficult to imagine that a project of this size and importance would not dominate the space and transform it from a tranquil local park to a busy civic space. We do not object in any way to the building of a memorial, but we feel that there are more appropriate sites, already proposed as well as not yet considered.
For more details:
The Holocaust Memorial Commission Report is https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prime-ministers-holocaust-commission-report
The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation's webpage is at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-holocaust-memorial-foundation
The document inviting expressions of interest from tenderers is at
The draft design brief itself is at
Fundraising Gala Dinner September 2016
Many thanks to all who attended and supported us on Monday 26th September at The Cinnamon Club, The Old Westminster Library. With special thanks to the Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP for his speech, describing growing up in Smith Square, using this building as a public library and the huge refurbishment project planned at the Palace of Westminster. Also many thanks to Colin Sheaf, Chairman of Bonhams UK & Asia who auctioned some unique lots and raised an excellent amount for our Archives refurbishment. Finally, thank you to all those who donated items for the auction, as follows :
Belgrave Communications - Tour of the Old War Office, Whitehall
Bonhams UK - Lunch and a glass of champagne for 2 at Bonhams Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair
The Cinnamon Club - Champagne breakfast for 2
Claudia & Nobuko Bespoke Hair @ Headonizm, Page Street - 2 ladies or gents haircuts
M Wines, Victoria Street - £50 private wine tasting voucher
Joanna Moncrieff - Westminster guided walk
Catherine Slater - An illustrated history of your London house/flat and street
St James's Theatre, Palace Street - 2 tickets to 'The Pianist of Willesden Lane'
St John's Smith Square - £100 voucher for a SJSS Concert
Taj St James's Court Hotel, Buckingham Gate - The Shakespeariance Dinner for 2
The Royal Parks - Rare opportunity to feed the pelicans in St James's Park, a tour of Duck Island, Cottage & Duke of York's Column.
Old War Office, 57 Whitehall
Although, slightly out of our area, this prominent building may be of interest to many. The proposal is for conversion by 57 Whitehall Sarl to a hotel and apartments.
A public exhibition was held on 5th & 6th September. If you were unable to attend and have any questions, please contact Nick Dines