Museum of the Order of St John

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 Clerkenwell

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

Chapter House 12th C

Chapter House






The entry to the Museum is £5 (concessions £4) do bring friends who may be interested.

Latest Newsletter Winter/Spring 2014

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.

Newsletter 132

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.

Tour of the Royal Albert Hall on 16 November

26 November, 2013
The Albert Hall

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.

Visit to Croydon Minster and Croydon Palace

25 November, 2013

Croydon Minster

Croydon Minster from Old Palace CourtyardA 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.

Croydon Palace

Old Palace, Croydon - with fan lightAfter 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.