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


One of the delights of being a member of the Thorney Island Society is that we visit places that are not normally open to the public. On this memorable visit we we were shown around the hallowed crimson-tinted state rooms of the Speaker of the House of Commons. 

The walls are festooned with magnificent portraits of previous Speakers ranging from Lord Addington (the only one to be both Speaker and Prime Minister) to the present incumbent John Bercow who has broken with tradition by having an action/working portrait of himself in the Chair rather than a formal one in state robes.

Among the highlights were an impressive dining room and a magnificent bed which heirs to the throne have the right to sleep in before their Coronation if they so wish but which hasn’t been used since George lll, quite possibly because, as our guide discreetly pointed out, it is not ensuite. However, in the same room, a large standing mirror is used by the Queen when she dresses for the State Opening of Parliament.

These are formal state rooms in which the spirit of Pugin, who designed the interior, is apparent everywhere, though he never lived to see it for himself. The rooms can only be visited with the permission of the Speaker and his family actually live in separate accommodation upstairs. Our sincere thanks to the Speaker and his Trainbearer, our excellent guide Jim Davey.


Visit to The Speakers House - April 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) 


Wednesday 22nd May, 6pm                     SORRY, SOLD OUT!    The Green Park Tree Walk with Royal Parks Arboriculturist, Canada Gate,

 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/£20

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                      SORRY, SOLD OUT!  ‘Gems of Thorney Island’, A Guided Local Walk by Victor Keegan, Westminster Scholars War Memorial, The Sanctuary, London SW1P 3PA- £15pp/£20pp  PLEASE CONTACT US FOR WAITING LIST

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, 20 Deans Yard, SW1P 3PA - £15pp (Members Only)

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 we will 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/£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) WAITING LIST FULL!

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 !  This exciting collaboration with St James's 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.  We are currently working one Wednesday a month, from 10am to 2pm.  Please enquire for dates from now until August 2019.