What is Thorney Island ?
Opportunity to Join Us
We are looking for a Volunteer Events Coordinator for our Visits programme
Please contact Chris Beddoe for further information and how to apply
Millbank Tower grows taller
New Scotland Yard, 10 Broadway
UPDATE - 10th DECEMBER 2015 (See our response on the Planning page)
Thorney Tales (7) - Storey's Gate
The Garden Bridge Controversy
UPDATE - February 2016
Objection to proposed cycle stands in Queen Anne's Gate
We have written a formal objection to the siting of cycle stands in front of some of the best preserved and attractive early eighteenth centry houses in London.
Please see our letter in full on our Planning page. FM Conway Ltd is the service provider carrying out the consultation on behalf of Westminster City Council.
Thorney Tales (6) - St Margaret's Church, the amazing history of a window
Courtesy of The British Museum
The beautiful stained glass window which dominates the east side of St Margaret's Church can best be described as ill-timed. It was created in Holland around 1526 to celebrate the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon. But by the time it had been finished Henry had become besotted with Anne Boleyn. Henry is depicted in saintly contemplation in the panel at the bottom left of the window while on the right hand side of the window Catherine, against an almost identical background, is also deep in prayer. Both appear to be looking at the Crucifixion which occupies the whole of the central panel of the window.
Annual Review 2014-15
Our AGM was held on Wednesday 18th November 2015 at the Grange Rochester Hotel.
After the official business of the meeting, Dr Caroline Shenton,
an archivist, historian and writer, gave a fascinating and
humerous talk about her book The Day Parliament Burned Down.
Please go to the About Us page to view the Minutes of our AGM and our Annual and Financial Reports.
A visit to the hidden archives of Westminster Abbey, 4th November 2015
The Thorney Island Society came into being as a result of saving London's first public library in Great Smith Street in 1985. So it was with a double reverence that we made our much anticipated visit to a far older library only a few hundred yards away in Westminster Abbey. Our objective was the Muniments Room where ancient documents, particularly about Abbey transactions, are stored. But to get to it you have to go through a library that Time has told to stand still. Matthew Payne, Keeper of the Muniments, had us enthralled as he explained the history all around us dominated by the overpowering hammerbeam oak roof dating back to 1450. Only three books survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1540s - probably because they were about coronations and not associated with the old religion - but the library has since acquired a book of 1477 and has a fragment of the History of Troy printed by William Caxton (c 1422 - 1491) at his press mere yards away from where we were standing.
A wooden spiral staircase took us up to the Muniments room itself where we enjoyed a spectacular view of the inside of the Abbey - at least when we could take our eyes off the ancient memories around us including a long oak chest dating back to 1159, million believed to be the oldest in the country. Among other treasures shown to us were the beautiful prayer book of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry V11, who died in 1509 and what seemed to be a document of Offa - yes, he of Offa's Dyke - dating back to 693 though it turned out to be a 12th century reproduction. However, the Abbey does have an authentic document that can be traced back to 959, which is long enough ago for most of us.
With that we bid our farewells to a remarkable part of the Abbey beyond the reach of most visitors. Our thanks to Matthew Payne for showing us around and to Pippa Parsons for organising the trip.