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) 


Monday 29th April, Meet at 2.30pm          Visit to The Speaker’s House, Palace of Westminster, SW1A 0AA (Members Only) - £15pp
for 2.45pm start                                               

The Speaker’s Trainbearer will take us on an historical tour of the four rooms that comprise the Speaker’s State Rooms. The tour will last approximately half an hour with time for questions afterwards.  No further details are being given here as the joy of the tour is in the detail of the interior and the history revealed in the objects that will be seen. Please meet at 2.30pm at the top of the ramp to the Cromwell Green security entrance. We will then clear security together and make our way to the Central Lobby reception where someone from the Speaker’s office will collect us.

Thursday 9th May, 11.15am                   Tour of Westminster Cathedral including Campanile Tower, London SW1P 1QW - £15pp

Join us for a guided tour of the largest and mother church of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It is the seat of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and designed by John Francis Bentley.  Completed in 1903 in a neo-Byzantine style, it is made almost entirely of brick.  Its key features its marbles and mosaics.  Admission to the Campanile Bell Tower, dedicated to St Edward the Confessor, is also included in the tour.  The Tower is 210 feet above street level accessed by lift with spectacular 360 degree views across London.

Tuesday 14th May, 3pm                          Bonhams Auctioneers, Fine Chinese Art Preview and Curator Tour, 101 New Bond Street, London W1S 1SR - £15pp

Colin Sheaf, Deputy Chairman of Bonhams and member and supporter of The Thorney Island Society will welcome us in the auction-house’s flagship headquarters in New Bond Street.  An international authority on Chinese art, Colin will give us a private curated tour around the preview of the Fine Chinese Art auction, and explain why the four auction houses which dominated London auctioneering in the 1790s still dominate the global art market today. Refreshments may be purchased afterwards in Bonhams Café.

Wednesday 22nd May, 6pm                     The Green Park Tree Walk with Royal Parks Arboriculturist, Canada Gate,
London SW1A 1AA - £15pp

 Following his popular walk last year in St James's Park, Greg Packman, the Royal Parks Arboriculturist, will take us on a tour of The Green Park.  As well as focussing on the trees, he will talk about the meadow management and new ecological projects.  Please note there are no public toilets in The Green Park, the nearest being either in St James's Park or in Pret across Piccadilly. Please meet on the park side of Canada Gate near Buckingham Palace.

Sunday 16th June, 2pm                          Tour of Methodist Central Hall including Organ Recital, Storey’s Gate,
London SW1H 9NH - £15pp

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 25th June, 6.30pm                    Summer Party, Grange Rochester Hotel, Vincent Square, London
SW1P 2PA (entrance in Vane Street) - £14pp

 Enjoy a light buffet and drinks with members, locals, and meet the Committee in the welcoming surroundings of the Pavilion Restaurant and Bar.  With thanks to Grange Hotels for their kind hospitality and support. Guests welcome.

Saturday 29th June, 11am                      ‘Gems of Thorney Island’, A Guided Local Walk by Victor Keegan, Westminster Scholars War Memorial, The Sanctuary, London SW1P 3PA- £15pp

Thorney Island, where the Tyburn river meets the Thames and where Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster now stand, has more history buried beneath it than anywhere else in the country.  Committee member and London historian Victor Keegan will show that this is only part of the story as he leads a walk around the contours of the island and its less salubrious suburbs unearthing much of its lost past. Meet at the Westminster Scholars War Memorial outside the Abbey Bookshop at 11am and finish the tour at the Thorney Island Society Archives in Old Pye Street for refreshments.

Thursday 18th July, 11am                       Westminster Abbey Special Tour with Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries Option,
20 Deans Yard, SW1P 3PA - £15pp

We are delighted to be back in the Abbey, the centrepiece of Thorney Island!  We will be guided by two official guides who are members of the Society, Avril Gardner and Tricia Braithwaite and we look forward to seeing their specially chosen places.  The tour will last one and a half hours and if you would like to visit the Queen's Diamond Jubillee Galleries afterwards, please book this separately (£5pp), details are also on our Eventbrite page. Meet outside the Cloister Entrance in the corner of Dean’s Yard.

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

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

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.)


October date and time to be confirmed  Visit to the Palace of Westminster (Members Only)


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



  • 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




ONGOING !  The Duck Island/Thorney Island Society Project, St James's Park     This exciting new collaboration with the park is calling for volunteers from TTIS to help restore and revitalise Duck Island. If you are interested in helping clear brambles and paths, raking and tidying the meadow area and lake edges, making log and deadwood piles, sorting and documenting artefacts in the barn or helping in the cottage garden, please get in touch to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or post us a note to TTIS, 10 Old Pye Street, SW1P 2DG   



The Society's AGM was held on 13th November 2018 at the Grange Rochester Hotel.  The meeting was pleased to welcome Ptolemy Dean, architect of the new Weston Tower leading to the Queen's Jubilee Galleries and 19th Surveryor of the Fabric of Westminster Abbey, who gave an excellent talk with slides on the background, design and construction of the tower and explained some of the future plans and challenges facing the Abbey in order to improve the overall visitor experience, ticket hall, security check and storage areas.

Please click below to view:

Annual Report

Financial Statements




More than 30 members enjoyed a delightful visit to the new Queen’s Jubilee Galleries (or Triforium) in Westminster Abbey.  We have already reviewed the opening in June but this took nothing away from a remarkable experience. We were welcomed in the Chapter House by Tony Trowles, Head of the Abbey Collection.  He described the work of Ptolemy Dean Architect and exhibition designers MUMA that made the new external access tower and exhibition space possible.  He thanked the Society for their valuable contributions at design and planning stages in 2014.
The new spiral glass staircase did not disappoint with stunning close up views of the Chapter House windows, rows of gargoyles and beyond to the Houses of Parliament.  The materials and craftsmanship in the construction and finish was of the highest quality befitting the Abbey and shards of medieval stained glass, found by cleaners under the floor, had been incorporated into the new glass panes. Once in the Triforium the space is calm and gently lit behind huge carved leaded arch windows.  We walked on the wooden floor put in by Sir Christopher Wren who, we have recently learned, appointed a woman, Elizabeth Gregory to be head carpenter there to finish his work, circa 1700.
The views down onto the Abbey floor are magnificent and it is easy to imagine it as a popular viewing gallery at many coronations and funerals. 16 metres below, a perfect view of the normally inaccessible Henry V Chantry Chapel and Poets Corner.
The Galleries show over 300 objects belonging to the Abbey and collected over centuries.  Including, several carved wooden royal funeral effigies including of Henry VII and also Nelson, an early Roman sarcophagus (which had been re-used down the centuries), ancient illuminated books and documents including what was known as the Westminster Domesday Book of the 1300s which was compiled by the monks as a record of major grants and the travelling filing chest of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, who inherited the vast House of Lancaster and was a very shrewd businesswoman who kept a very close eye on the management of the estates.
Our thanks to the Dean and Chapter for putting this special visit into place.  For those who missed it, you will have to pay £22 entrance fee to get into the Abbey and another £5 to visit the Galleries but armed with a (free) Westminster residents card and a secondary proof of identity such as a driving licence, you can get into the Abbey for free, then just pay £5 and also you do not have to queue !
Photographs with the kind permission of Westminster Abbey.


We were privileged to be taken on the first ever official tour of The Church House, Westminster, the headquarters of the Anglican church - temporal and spiritual, which sits proudly between Dean’s Yard and Great Smith Street.

We soon learned of a special link between us as when Church House acquired buildings on the Abbey side of Great Smith Street to build their new HQ, they demolished the public library and moved it to the other side of the road. This is the 1893 public library that was saved by a campaign group in 1985 which then became The Thorney Island Society.

Our host, Chris Palmer, chief executive of The Church House, gave us a fascinating tour of the building, starting on the outside, where Tufton Street meets Great College Street, he pointed out the equisite flintwork of the building.  Amongst the flints were notched stones from a pile of 14th century stones found in the Abbey ditch when the nearby gatehouse was excavated. Some stones also contained traces of fossils and builders’s personal trade marks.  I was lucky enough to also view in the basement almost immediately beneath the wall, remains of a pillar in situ believed to be part of the ancient gatehouse leading onto Thorney Island and dating back to the 14th century.  At first glance you would miss the intriguing images within the flint, a dove to represent the name of the builders and a partridge for a dignitary of that name, a cottage loaf, an eye, a wheel, an 'N' and there must be more !


Our visit took in the beautiful oak and marble (sourced from all over the UK) chapel to the large circular hall which has held over 600 people and survived a bomb during the Second World War so well that Churchill took it over as an alternative site for the House of Commons.  It was here that the first meeting of the United Nations took place after the war, the preliminary meetings prior to the Nuremburg War Trials and where numerous inquiries have been held including the Brixton Riots, the Kings Cross Fire and leaks of information from the Bank of England.  It now uses some of the most modern hi-tec audio-visual equipment for global and local conferences amit beautiful plaster icons on the walls representing Anglican communities around the world.

We are very grateful to Chris Palmer for this memorable visit.


 Visit to The Church House - August 2018