Events

The highlight of our visit to Westminster Abbey was access to the Jerusalem Chamber which is part of the Dean’s private quarters and rarely open to anyone. This actual room, still much as it was, where Henry lV died and which Shakespeare conjured up in Henry lV Part ll. 

After falling ill whilst praying at the shrine of Edward the Confessor in the Abbey, Henry was taken unconscious to lie by the fire. He was en-route for Jerusalem where he was going to atone for his sins.  When he recovered consciousness, he asked where he was and being told "The Jerusalem Chamber", he realised that he was about to end his life according to a prophecy in the Holinshed Chronicles that he would die in Jerusalem.

Shakespeare says:

"It hath been prophesied to me many years,
I should not die but in Jerusalem,
Which vainly I suppos’d the Holy Land.
But bear me to that chamber, there I’ll lie,
In that Jerusalem shall Harry die."

The Jerusalem Chamber was also where the committee met regularly, who overlooked the creation of the beautifully written King James Bible - one of the most influential books ever written and where many celebrated people such as Isaac Newton were laid out before being buried in the Abbey.  

Our excellent guides, Patricia Braithwaite and Avril Gardener weaved us through throngs of visitors, highlighting the story behind the grave of the Unknown Soldier and the spaces reserved for scientific and literary figures irrespective of whether they were religious or not - including a recent arrival, Stephen Hawking.  Other new additions were the David Hockney stained glass window which includes a hawthorn bush in flower.  This is a resonant historical reference as hawthorn bushes almost certainly formed the brambles which gave Thorney Island its name.  At the end of the tour, some members enjoyed the fantasic views from the Triforium and fine exhibits in the Galleries.  Our huge thanks to the Dean and all those who made this tour so special.

Special Tour of Westminster Abbey - July 2019

 

 

Our visits and events are open to all unless specified and we hope non-members will enjoy our programme and consider joining the Society.  To book please go to our Eventbrite page   CLICK HERE.

If you do not wish to book online, please contact us and we will be happy to make your booking (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by post to 10 Old Pye Street, London SW1P 2DG) 


Saturday 27th July, 11am                       SORRY, SOLD OUT!  ‘From Beer to The Bard’ – A Guided Victoria Walk by Anthony Davis,
St James’s Park Station, Petty France, London SW1H 0BD - £15pp/£20pp

Anthony Davis, a Westminster guide and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, will show us some of the city’s most beautiful streets.  We will look Queen Anne in the eye, peer into JS Mill's windows, admire some naked bodies, some Shakespearean characters and also remember one of London's largest breweries.  We will meet at St James’s Park Underground entrance on Petty France, take about one and a half hours and finish outside Westminster Cathedral. Take the exit from the station that is signposted 'Park and Broadway' and we will meet opposite the Old Star pub.


Tuesday 6th August, 1.30pm                   SORRY, SOLD OUT!  Tour of the gardens of Buckingham Palace, The Queen’s Galleries, Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1A 1AA - £15pp (Members Only)

Mark Lane, the Head Gardener, has kindly agreed to show Members around the Palace gardens.  Meet outside the Queen’s Galleries at 1.30pm then, after registration, the tour will commence and take approximately 2hrs.  The paths are generally flat and even but it is some distance to walk so please notify us if you require assistance getting around the garden and provision of a buggy can be made. Photography is not allowed around the private part of the garden but this rule is eased on the exit route.  Since the Palace is open at this time of year, you could then choose to have tea at the Garden Café.  THIS TOUR IS LIKELY TO SELL OUT FAST, BUT PLEASE CONTACT THE SECRETARY TO GO ON THE WAITING LIST FOR CANCELLATIONS (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 

Monday 7th October, 11am             Visit & Tour to the Palace of Westminster and The Jewel Tower, London SW1A 0AA - £15pp (Members Only)

With thanks to the office of Rt Hon Mark Field, MP for the Cities of London and Westminster for sponsoring this Democratic Access Tour for our Members.  Our tour guide will describe how the business and traditions of both Houses contribute to the day to day workings of the UK Parliament. Some of the history of the Palace of Westminster will also be highlighted.  When the Houses are sitting, the full tour route may not always be available and can be subject to last minute changes or cancellation due to parliamentary business.  We will meet at the top of the ramp at the Cromwell Green entrance and pass through security as a group then meet our guide in Westminster Hall at 11.20am.  The tour will last approx 75mins and afterwards you may like to visit the Jubilee Gift Shop and Café which are both accessed from Westminster Hall.  We will then make our way across the road, for a free visit, thanks to English Heritage, to the Palace of Westminster's other surviving Medieval building - The Jewel Tower.

Sunday 27th October, 2pm                          Tour of Methodist Central Hall including Organ Recital, Storey’s Gate, London SW1H 9NH - £15pp/£20          (Rescheduled from 16th June)

The tour will explain how and why the Methodist Church came to be here, the amazing story of how the money was raised, what was on the site previously and some of the important events that have taken place in the last 106 years. Between 3pm-4pm we will attend the monthly organ recital and have a chance to hear one of the best organs in the country, played by Mr Peter Stevens, the Assistant Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral. After the recital, light refreshments will be available, then at 4.30pm those members and guests that wish to (and are physically fit enough !) may climb the 166 steps to reach the viewing platform at the top of the dome which provides unrivalled 360 degree stunning views of London. If members and guests wish to have lunch in the café before the start of the formal tour at 2pm, a Sunday roast is around £9.50 a head and there is no need to book. The Thorney Island Society will be making a donation to the ongoing work and mission of the Methodist Church in this part of Westminster but there is also a voluntary retiring collection on leaving the recital.

Tuesday 12th November, 6.30pm            The Society’s 33rd AGM and Talk, Grange Rochester Hotel, Vincent Square (entrance in Vane Street) London SW1P 2PA

 

Tuesday 10th December, 6.30pm             Christmas Party & Raffle Draw, Grange Rochester Hotel, Vincent Square (entrance in Vane Street) London SW1P 2PA - £14pp

 

 TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

  • All bookings must be paid for in advance, either via Eventbrite, cheque or BACS
  • Visits & events are non-refundable unless cancelled by TTIS
  • The Society reserves the right to cancel a visit or event due to unforeseen circumstances
  • The Society and its officers cannot be held responsible for death or injury to members or their guests, or loss or damage to property at any time and however caused
  • If you have concerns about the accessibility of the venue, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to TTIS, 10 Old Pye Street, SW1P 2DG
  • In the interests of others, please be punctual and respect the dress code of the places that we visit

 

 

 

With thanks to Royal Parks arboriculturist, Greg Packman, who shared his wealth of knowledge as we walked the smallest of the Royal Parks.

Due to Charles II getting caught picking flowers here for his mistress, his queen had all the flower beds removed and its current name was born.  At the time of our walk, various hawthorns were in flower and Greg reminded us that we were standing on what had been the banks and marshy swamps of the river Tyburn running towards the Thames and the 'thorney island'.  Suggesting these thorn bushes and trees were decendents of those in the ancient landscape. 

The current design of the park dates back to 1820 when the avenues of planes were planted because of their resistance to smoke and pollution.  Growing tall and straight and now in their prime, with high canopies creating a 'cathedral' effect down the avenues.  Dispite the planes popularity in London, it is actually the hornbeam that is the clay loving native tree of London.  We looked at a rare wild poplar, also native, that was commonly used as an area boundary marker and we learned how the female of the species was now endangered due to its drain-blocking fluffy flowers, being replaced in great numbers by hybrids.  In an enclosed area, the Royal Park's Mission Invertebrate is experimenting to see if by grazing rare breed sheep once a year, the insect and wild flower populations increase.

The Green Park has many different landscapes and moods, from the wooded hills and avenues to secluded thickets of thorns, open close-cropped grassland and wild flower meadows.

Greg described the challenges his team face, juggling the landscape with risk management to keep the park safe and useable for the 15 million visitors each year. 

 The Green Park Tree Walk - May 2019

 

 

 

 

Our member Colin Sheaf, Deputy Chairman of Bonhams, gave a fascinating tour of the Bond Street salerooms and we viewed the beautiful objects in the upcoming sale of Fine Chinese Art. 

Colin, an international authority on Chinese art, explained how the Chinese have been creating works of art for 7,000 years - Before the Egyptians!  The three categories are:  That made for export to the West (a colourful pair of C18th goose terrines), that of archaeological significance (Tang horses for example) and that made for the imperial Chinese market of which we saw examples of beautiful porcelain, jadite and jade (jade having a spiritual significance).  The animal carvings were chosen for their ancient symbolic meaning and the colours ranging from 'spinach' green to pure white, semi-opaque. 

The highlight of the auction will be 'An exceptionally rare and large blue and white 'immortals' double-gourd vase', about 3ft high.  Colin explained that with the rise in the Chinese economy over the last 20 years and the emergence of more Chinese collectors, prices are always on the up!  A bowl with a green dragon embossed into the porcelain was valued between £10,000 and £15,000 but could well reach £200,000.  A very special priviledge visit and many thanks to our expert guide.

 Visit to Bonhams Auctioneers - May 2019

Many thanks to our guides John and Bernie and to the Cardinal Archbishop for the tour of this wonderful 'modern' Cathedral on Victoria Street.  Completed in 1903 in a neo-Byzantine style to be different from the Abbey and St Paul's, we were shown beautiful examples of Cosmati marble floors, Arts and Crafts carved furniture, lanterns copied from the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and of course the famous mosiacs.  The views from the top of the Campanile tower were still wide reaching despite a grey day!

 

 Visit to Westminster Cathedral - May 2019