Events

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

This is a really fun project and we are working one Wednesday a month, from 10am to 2pm.  Next dates: 18th Dec '19, 15th Jan '20, 19th Feb, 18th March, 15th April and 20th May 2020.

Go directly to The Royal Parks volunteering website to register CLICK HERE  Then book yourself in on the specific dates under "TRP Conservation Volunteers"

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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

London historian Victor Keegan told the extraordinary story of how Old Pye Street, Westminster and its surrounds (seen here in Gustave Doré’s etching) - were so depraved that Dickens dubbed them The Devil’s Acre.  Following his own recent research, Victor compared old etchings and drawings to some of the buildings and streets we know so well. A fascinating snapshot of extreme poverty and the change that George Peabody and others contributed to the area.