QUESTER 5 - Report on visit to the Royal Hospital Chelsea 30 October 2019
The Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC) offers tours to the general public. They are very popular and we had to book 3 months ahead. One of our party knew a Pensioner and, during discussion, it became clear that the State Apartments, not included in the tour at the time, were due to be added to the itinerary and the Pensioner offered to act as a guide for that part of the visit.
So we, 14 of us, were lucky to be able to view a significant part of this marvellous establishment which was established by Charles II in 1682 and which has been providing a home for Army Veterans ever since. The very personal briefings we received from our guides brought the place, and their life in it, alive. All the places we visited were used as originally planned such as the splendid Great Hall where each pensioner has his or, nowadays, her, special place for dining. We were shown the modern individual accommodation for Pensioners, far better than the original, 6 ft square, which barely housed a bed. The current accommodation includes a study area, en suite bathroom and bedroom such that spaces for Pensioners have had to be cut from the original 600 to 300 now.
The State Apartments proved to be fascinating and filled with a huge number of very old (and expensive!) portraits the histories of which were covered by our knowledgeable guide.
In all a fascinating visit with transport provided by the New Alresford Community Minibus driven by an Alresford Volunteer. Much appreciated.