19 August, 2013
Here you can find information on the Fulham and Hammersmith Historical Society, contact info, how to join, and a list of the books that we have published and you can buy. We will also be publishing reports on past events (for forthcoming events, you are encouraged to join and receive the Society’s regular newsletter).
The membership rate is £8 full rate and £5 concessions.
6 March, 2014
Museum of the Order of St John
Seven members/guests of the Society visited the Museum in Clerkenwell on Saturday, 22 February 2014. Most of us travelled to Farringdon Station, and negotiated our way around the hoardings above Crossrail’s excavations – part of Europe’s largest infrastructure project.
In the Crossrail Visitor Centre at Tottenham Court Road, for a month only to 15 March, a selection of archaeological finds from across the project are currently on display in its Portals to the Past exhibition.
But, that Saturday, we walked to another Gate, only five minutes away: St John’s Gate was the great south entrance to the Priory of Clerkenwell – founded in the early 1140s – outside the walls of the City of London. Now, it is the only gateway spanning a highway in London.
St John’s Gate taken by J B-D
At 11:30 am we met our Guide for an excellent private tour of the Grade 1 Listed buildings to discover the story of the former Priory and of the Order of St John from the 11th century to today’s role with St John Ambulance and the Eye Hospital in Jerusalem. As well as the 1504 Gate and its Towers, we saw the Tudor-style Chapter Hall, and Council Chamber. Crossing the busy Clerkenwell Road, we visited the Grand Priory Church, beside the herb garden – a quiet oasis. Above ground, the Church is a post-war restoration following destruction of the roof and most of the interior fittings by a bomb in 1941. Beneath, is a remarkable Norman crypt: all that remains visible of the original Priory. Of the effigies, that of William Weston, Prior 1527-1540 – looking completely emaciated – was the most moving. Weston, we were told, was the last Prior of the Order at the time of its dissolution in England under Henry VIII, and died of a broken heart on the very day the act went through. The public Museum Rooms contain displays exploring further the fascinating history of the Order of St John.
This FHHS visit proved really worthwhile; thank you Keith.
Museum of Order of St John Website
By Jane B-D/4 Mar 14
13 February, 2014
The Society will be visiting the Museum in Clerkenwell on Saturday 22 Feb at 1130. This is an interesting Museum in two old buildings that are themselves worth a visit. See Museum of Order of St John Website
St John’s Gate Clerkenwel
Those attending should meet at the entrance to St John’s Gate in St John’s Lane Clerkenwell, EC1M 4DA
The entry to the Museum is £5 (concessions £4) do bring friends who may be interested.
22 January, 2014
A strong audience turned out on Tuesday 14 Jan despite the weather and the Fulham FC crowds to hear Michael Hill give his very detailed presentation of the records he has found in both the London Metropolitan Archive (LMA) and the The National Archive (TNA).
Sadly we exhausted the time available before Michael’s material but it gave us a taste of the history of care for the poor from Elizabethan times up until the beginning of the last century. His presentation included extracts of original documents, instances of individuals in care and the petty political machinations of rival Parishes. Clearly he has a lot more to tell and we hope that he will use the society to publish his work so that we can understand more of the history of Charing Cross hospital site and similarly the Hammersmith Hospital.
Sign up to this blog to be informed of future events and talks about our area of Fulham and Hammersmith and its interesting history.
13 January, 2014
Tomorrow, Tuesday 14 Jan, at St Clement’s Church Hall there will be an illustrated talk on the Fulham Union (workhouse and infirmary) by Michael Hill who has done extensive original research as yet unpublished. So we should be in for an interesting lecture.
These buildings became Hammersmith and Charing Cross Hospitals so subjects close to everyone in Hammersmith and Fulham. Do come to this free event.
1 January, 2014
All members will have received the latest newsletter through the post it gives details of recent events covered in this blog and publishes the forthcoming events and meetings.
Forthcoming events include:
Tuesday 14 Jan at 1930
Michael Hill gives illustrated lecture on The Fulham Union 1845-1899 the Fulham Union workhouse and infirmary became Hammersmith hospital and Charing Cross Hospital so lots of local interest. This is a Free talk.
Saturday 22 Feb at 1130
Visit to the Museum of the order of St John, Clerkenwell. There is a small charge for the visit.
Sunday 30 Mar 1430
Walk Around the Moat of Fulham Palace with our chairman Keith Whitehouse who directed the revealing first archaeological dig of 1972-73. A later dig financed by the Lottery revealed the bridge and gothic arch at the entrance in Bishop’s Avenue. The walk should be an interesting taster of things to come as the small charge of £5 will be used to support the new 2014 dig in the grounds. See Newsletter
Do look up the details in the newsletter.
26 November, 2013
The Royal Albert Hall Kensington
14 of us enjoyed a private tour of the front of house with a knowledgeable and amusing guide. Those of us who have been to events there were familiar with the miles of corridors and different levels. However we had never seen the Queen’s private staircase or her Withdrawing Room whose walls were lined with pictures of her relatives past and present.
An unexpected and delightful bonus was being able to sit in a box and listen to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra practicing for the evening’s concert, while on a giant screen was the film of ‘Fantasia’. We marveled at the volcano in ‘The Firebird’ and chuckled at the ostrich and hippo ballerinas in ‘The dance of the hours’. There were no other tours following us so our guide was in no hurry. We actually had an hour and a quarter rather than the 45 minutes we were expecting.
25 November, 2013
A small group of ten society members met up in mid-October , having mostly travelled to Croydon by the convenient tram from Wimbledon to visit Croydon church, dedicated to St John Baptist and now renamed Croydon Minister. Here are buried 6 Archbishops of Canterbury, Archbishop Sheldon, who died in Croydon in 1677 being of particular interest, and Archbishop Warham. Archbishop Grindal,(1576-83) once exiled to Switzerland until Elizabeth I came to the throne of England has a memorial here and there are also brasses, and Clayton & Bell stained glass can be seen.
Following a fire in 1867, which left only the Tower, now housing a ring of 12 bells cast by the Croydon firm of Gillett & Johnston in 1936, the South porch and outer walls remaining, the church, first recorded in the Domesday book, was rebuilt by Sir Gilbert Scott. The minster is in the midst of being restored.
After lunch the group reconvened at the adjacent Croydon Palace ,the home of the Archbishops of Canterbury, until 1824, when they transferred their allegiance to Lambeth and New Addington Palace. The former Palace is now run as a girl’s school under the auspices of the Whitgift Foundation and so consequently the palace can only be visited in holiday times. Having joined some 70 other visitors in the Great Hall, with its massive tie-beams erected by Herring in 1748, and stone corbels with angels holding shields of Bishops’ coats-of-arms, including Laud and Juxon, we were conducted round the buildings which have now been adapted for modern education use, the Guard room being the school library with portrait of Sheldon displayed over the fireplace. Modern requirements of the school means that some of the perhaps more interesting features of the palace, with the exception of staircase balustrades, created by Laud (1633-45)or Juxon (1660-63)had been obscured, although their arms can be seen as bench ends in the chapel pews, whilst Laud’s gallery pew supports arms carved by Laud’s joiner , Adam Brown, who also created these desks and benches. A screen of Morton’s time (1486-1500) has a small barrel or tun carved on it, while stained glass in the chapel donated by the Glaziers company has had unclothed boy figures suitably censored subsequently, and the glass behind the altar (Clayton & Bell)has women of importance designed to inspire young ladies in the school. Further refurbishment of Laud’s work being necessitated by the interregnum when Sir William Brereton changed it into a kitchen. The palace is now undergoing yet further restoration and modification which it has been enduring for many centuries as walls fell down and it expanded to meet the needs and this has resulted in a very complex building with many building styles and unusual extensions. Visit if you can next year when work should be finished.