Cheshunt

EXPLORING LONDON 2

Next Trips:

ALL SUSPENDED

We meet on the third Friday of the month from 1.00-2.00 pm at Cheshunt Free Church; our next meeting will be on AWAITS.

Please speak to the Group Leaders, Rosemary Trundell at the U3A Cheshunt Monthly Meeting or contact Rosemary on 01992 621155.

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JANUARY 2020

Our January trip was a visit to the museum of the Bank of England followed by a presentation on the Bank, past and present. The Bank of England was established in 1694 and moved to its present location on Threadneedle Street in 1734. It was privately owned by stockholders until it was nationalised in 1946. The Bank became an independent public organisation in 1998, wholly owned by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the government but with independence in setting monetary policy. We had only allowed ourselves an hour to look round the museum before the presentation, but could have done with a little longer as there was so much to see.

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DECEMBER 2019

We enjoyed our Christmas Carvery Lunch at the Civil Service Club, a little early this year, in November. As we had some time to kill before the meal, we had a look at the Christmas Market that has popped up in Trafalgar Square.

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NOVEMBER

Our outing this month was to the Churchill War Rooms. formerly known as the Cabinet War Rooms, construction of which began in 1938 and became fully operational on 27 August 1939. a week before Britain declared war on Germany. The War Rooms remained in operation throughout the Second World War. It was fascinating to imagine all those people working away down there. Key personnel even had sleeping quarters, including Churchill, although he rarely slept there. As well as the operational rooms there is also a very extensive Churchill Museum and so there is a lot to take in on a single visit.

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OCTOBER 2019

In October Jean Brodie organised a tour of Tallow Chandlers Hall which is a hidden gem tucked away on Dowgate \Hill in the City of London. We were met by Richard Kennell, Beadle, who took us round the fine building and was most informative on the history of the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers which began over 500 years ago as a City of London trade guild. It later became a Livery Company. They are no longer directly involved in the tallow trade but support a wide range of charities with particular emphasis on education. Richard lit a tallow candle for us which burnt down in about 15 minutes and so I think we are all grateful that we now have electric lights.

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SEPTEMBER 2019
Our September outing was a tour of Wilton's Music Hall. It is the oldest surviving music hall building in England. It was originally a pub and was taken over by John Wilton in 1858 who ran it as a music hall for thirty years. From 1888 to the 1950s the building was used as a Wesleyan Mission Hall. When it was earmarked for demolition in 1964 John Betjeman led a successful campaign to save it. A variety of shows and performances are put on throughout the year. After lunch we walked to 120 Fenchurch Street to visit the roof garden to admire the imaginative planting and the wonderful views of London.

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JUNE 2019
Our June outing was to Chiswick House and Gardens. Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington designed and built Chiswick House from 1725-1729, inspired by the architecture and gardens of ancient Rome. After touring the house we had lunch outside in glorious sunshine and then strolled around the extensive gardens.

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APRIL 2019
Our April outing was a tour of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre organised by Lesley Galea and June Hodge. We were met by our guide, Nicola, who happens to live in Cheshunt. She told us of the history of the original theatre which was destroyed by fire due to a theatrical cannon set off during a performance of Henry VIII in 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site in 1614 but was pulled down by the Puritans in 1642. The present day modern reconstruction of the theatre was opened in 1997 thanks to the driving force of the American actor, Sam Wanamaker. After the tour we were free to wander round the Exhibition and witness demonstrations of Tudor clothing and stage fighting.

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MARCH 2019
On 5th March Mick Coe led us on another of his City Churches walks. We visited 9 Wren churches this time which was particularly interesting. We started at St Magnus the Martyr which contains a model of the original London Bridge and finished at St Mary Aldermary. Mick has done a lot of research and was able to tell us something of interest at all the churches we visited.

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FEBRUARY 2019
Our February trip to Alexandra Palace happened to fall on one of those gloriously sunny days and so we fully appreciated the views of London from there. In the morning we were taken on a tour of the theatre where the decorations and structure have been stabilised, but not fully restored, in order to show the architectural features. In the afternoon we were taken on a heritage park walk and were surprised to discover that there is a mini nuclear bunker in the grounds.

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JANUARY 2019
Our first outing this year was to the Museum of London Docklands on 22 January. Although our visit was self-guided, we were lucky enough to catch a short talk on the River Thames frost fairs. The Thames froze over on a few occasions between the 17th Century and the early 19th Century, during the period known as the Little Ice Age. The most celebrated frost fair occurred in the winter of 1683-84. An enterprising printer sold souvenir cards written with the customer's name, the date and the fact that the card was printed on the Thames for which he charged sixpence

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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

On 29th October we enjoyed a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. We had an excellent and extremely knowledgeable guide but, as it happened to be Budget Day, he had to rush us through the last ten minutes or so of the tour as they were busy making preparations for the Chancellor's speech.

Our November outing was to The Cinema Museum in Kennington which is housed in the remaining part of the former Lambeth Workhouse which Charlie Chaplin entered as a child, when his mother faced destitution. For a small museum they hold a wealth of cinema memorabilia including projectors, uniforms and various other fixtures and fittings. At the end of our visit we watched a number of short films which included an excellent screening from 1910 of the Flooding of Paris.

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OCTOBER 2018
Many thanks to Steve Gollop and Exploring London 3 for inviting our group to join them on their September coach trip to Hever Castle and Gardens. We all had a wonderful day out. The castle was fascinating, the gardens were spectacular and the sun shone all day long.

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SEPTEMBER
Following the wet ending of last year’s walk in Rotherhithe, 13 of us set out to explore the rest of the area on 15th August. After our journey from Cheshunt, we enjoyed a coffee break at Weatherspoons, Surrey Quays before starting our walk. From there we strolled along the north side of Greenland Dock to reach the Thames Path. We had some good views of Greenland Dock which was engineered by James Walker (1781 – 1862). Then turning left along the Thames Path we passed through Surrey Docks Farm which is on the site of a ships quarantine station, before being forced to divert inland around a construction site. After a brief visit to the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, we regained the south bank of the Thames and enjoyed some marvellous views of Canary Wharf and Limehouse before reaching the Old Salt Quay Pub. Here we enjoyed a rather leisurely lunch break before heading back to Canada Water via a delightful path along Albion Channel passing Surrey Water on the way. From Canada Water we caught the 47 bus back to Liverpool Street for the train home.

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JULY 2018
On an extremely hot day in early July we had a most interesting tour of Fulham Palace which is the historic home of the Bishops of London. Since 704 AD the bishops used the property as their country retreat, though there is evidence of much earlier occupation of the site during the Neolithic, Iron Age and Roman periods. There are various architectural styles represented in different parts of the buildings and the 13 acre garden contains many rare species. The last bishop, Bishop Stopford, moved out in 1973, and the site is now managed by Fulham Palace Trust. Although we had a guided tour, the Palace and grounds are free to visit on most days - see their website.

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JUNE 2018

We had a wonderful outing in June to Hampton Court organised by Andy Smith. We were lucky enough to have a guided tour round most of the palace led by Andy's friend, Howard, who used to work there. We visited Henry VIII's apartments and kitchens, the Georgian sector, the Chapel Royal and the gardens. Although most of us had been there before at some time, Hampton Court never fails to impress.

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MAY
Our May trip was a tour of Watermen's Hall, home to the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, which is one of the City Guilds. We had an excellent guide who recounted much of the history and traditions of the Company including the famous Doggetts Coat and Badge race held annually in July

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MARCH & APRIL 2018
Linda Gollop organised our March guided tour of the Jewish Museum in Camden. We were given a good insight into British Jewish history from 1066 to today. Of particular interest was the gallery of Jewish ceremonial art where we learnt of the various traditions of Judaism from Orthodox to Liberal.

Our April outing took the form of a walking tour of a number of the City of London churches. This was organised and led by another member of our group, Mick Coe. We visited 9 churches, most of which were open, starting with St Botolph's without Bishopsgate and finishing at All Hallows by the Tower. Of particular interest were St Margaret Patterns and St Olaves (Pepys' church). We were very impressed with Mick's breadth of knowledge on the subject.

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FEBRUARY 2018
In February we visited the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. Although most of us had been before, some years ago, we were impressed by the improvements to the layout of the museum. It tells the story of London's transport system from 1800 to the present day. In addition to the usual poster exhibition, there is currently a temporary display of the work of female poster designers entitled "Poster Girls" featuring some excellent artwork.

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JANUARY 2018
Our first outing this year, in January, was to John Wesley's House and Chapel in City Road. We had an excellent guide who gave an insight into John Wesley's life, his outdoor preaching, his co-founding of Methodism with his brother Charles and the building of the chapel. Afterwards we crossed the road to visit the Honourable Artillery Company for a tour of their headquarters and museum, led by another excellent guide. This was arranged by Jean, with some difficulty, as they are rarely open to the public. They do, however, usually have an annual free public open evening on a Tuesday in May from 5.00-8.30 pm.

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OCTOBER
Clarice led our visit to Marlborough House on 27th October. An excellent guide took the group around the beautiful 18th Century house, relating the history of the building and also gave an insight into its current use by the Commonwealth Secretariat. It was originally built for Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough and for over a century was the London residence of the Dukes of Marlborough. It was taken over by the Crown in 1817 and became the home to various members of the Royal Family until it was leased to the Commonwealth Secretariat in the 1980s.

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SEPTEMBER 2017
Our September outing was a most interesting guided tour of the Royal Institution. It was founded in 1799 with the aim of introducing new technologies and teaching science to the general public. Amongst the notable scientists who were associated with the RI were Sir Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday. We started our tour in the Lecture Theatre where the famous Christmas Lectures for school children are televised. After being taken round the rest of the building, which has been beautifully restored, we finished the tour in the Faraday Museum.

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AUGUST 2017

On August 2nd sixteen of us walked along the Thames Path from London Bridge to Rotherhithe. On the way we enjoyed a coffee stop at the London Assembly Café at City Hall. Then we continued under Tower Bridge and enjoyed some wonderful views across the Thames at the famous Barge Gardens. On reaching Rotherhithe we visited St Mary's Church and the Mayflower Pub before heavy rain set in. We then dried out during lunch at Wetherspoons "The Surrey Docks" before returning home by bus and train.

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JUNE 2017
Our June outing was a Legal London Walk with the excellent Blue Badge Guide, Diane Burstein. We were taken around the Inns of Court, into the Royal Courts of Justice finishing the walk at Lincoln's Inn. We were again amazed at Diane's breadth of knowledge.
By complete contrast in July we enjoyed a tour of The Grand Order of Water Rats Lodge and Museum. We listened to a most entertaining talk given by comedy writer, Chris Emmett, on the history of GOWR, which is a show business charity founded in 1889, looked around the museum at the collection of memorabilia and watched a DVD of various well-known members telling jokes.

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MAY 2017
Our May outing was to Kew Gardens which were as delightful as ever although some of the plants, particularly the azaleas, had been a little battered by the wet and windy weather. We were really lucky on the day as it only started to rain on our walk back to Kew Station.

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APRIL 2017
In April we visited the Design Museum in Kensington which houses contemporary design in every form from architecture and fashion to graphics, product and industrial design. We were particularly taken with the 3D printer in action. Afterwards, by complete contrast, we walked down Kensington High Street to visit St Mary Abbots Church which was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and built in 1872 and is a fine example of Victorian Gothic style.

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MARCH 2017

Our March trip, organised by Linda, was a Secret History Tour of the Royal Albert Hall. Our excellent guide took us all over the magnificent building from top to bottom. A huge variety of concerts and entertainments take place at the Hall and, as it is built in the round, this often presents practical difficulties as there are no wings to the stage. We were privileged to sit for a while in the Prince of Wales box whilst a rehearsal was taking place and felt like VIPs!

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FEBRUARY 2017

Our February outing was a guided tour of Fishmongers' Hall, London Bridge. As one of the most ancient of City Guilds, the Fishmongers' Company has enjoyed an unbroken existence of over 700 years. The present fine building was completed in 1835 with wonderful views of the Thames. It contains many beautiful art works including Annigoni's famous portrait of the Queen which was commissioned by the Company in 1954. We were particularly taken with the chandelier in the entrance hall consisting of lots of dangling golden fish, appropriately enough!

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JANUARY 2017

Our January trip was to the V&A Museum's exhibition "You Say You Want a Revolution" about the 1960s. This covered the politics, music, fashion, TV, advertising etc. of the period and the excellent displays brought it to life. We were given headphones to wear as we walked round the exhibition playing '60s music which was fab!

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NOVEMBER 2016

Our November outing was to Walthamstow to visit Vestry House Museum and the William Morris Gallery. Vestry House Museum is only a 10 minute walk from Walthamstow Central and is in the heart of Walthamstow Village where there are some quite delightful old houses clustered around the church. We had a guided tour of the museum which started out as a workhouse and was later a police station before eventually becoming a museum. Amongst its many exhibits is the first British petrol driven motor car. After lunch we had a tour of the William Morris Gallery which gave an insight to Morris's life and work through some of his key works.

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OCTOBER 2016

Our October outing to Goldsmiths' Hall was arranged by Clarice.
The Goldsmiths' Company was founded to regulate the craft or trade of the goldsmith and has been responsible since 1300 for testing the quality of gold and silver and there is still an assay office within Goldsmiths' Hall, hallmarking precious metals. It has been located near St Pauls since 1339. The present magnificent hall, designed by Philip Hardwick, was opened in 1835.

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SEPTEMBER 2016

Our September visit was to the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon. The 16 participating members would probably endorse the words in the Souvenir Guidebook – “the site is vast and it is really impossible to see everything in just one visit”. The Museum houses an extensive collection of aircraft, both very early models and more recent, including a wartime Sunderland flying boat, which the visitor can board and wonder at the kitchen and lavatory crammed in among all the crew, guns, bombs etc.
The Battle of Britain exhibits gives some impression of the effect on civilians as well as displaying planes which have become household names. Another display brings the visitor to more modern times, highlighting the RAF’s association with the Air Force of the Sultan of Oman. The Museum includes both a restaurant and a café plus extensive parking (small charge) and admission is free. If you missed this trip, consider a private visit to this comprehensive history of the RAF. (Visit led by Mick Coe)

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JULY 2016

In June we enjoyed a walking tour of the Kings Cross/St Pancras area led by an excellent Blue Badge Guide. We met her at the "Meeting Place", appropriately enough, in St Pancras Station. The walk was an interesting mix of old and new as the area is undergoing a great deal of redevelopment whilst retaining many beautiful historic buildings.
Our July outing was a tour of Spencer House which overlooks Green Park. The building of the house was begun in 1756 by John, First Earl Spencer in the neo-classical style and is the only great eighteenth century town house in London to survive intact. It has been very sympathetically restored in recent years with many highly skilled craftsmen employed.

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MAY 2016

Our May trip to The Geffrye Museum was arranged by Sonia. The Museum was founded in 1914 and housed in the 18th Century almshouses of the Ironmongers Company built in 1714 thanks to a bequest by Sir Robert Geffrye a former Lord Mayor of London. We had a guided tour of one of the original almshouses, which has been restored, giving an insight into the daily lives of those who lived there. Afterwards there was time to wander round the period room displays in the galleries and the beautiful gardens.
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APRIL 2016

Linda organised our visit to Apsley House on 20 April. It was agreed that we have a cup of coffee at the nearby café before going into the house. Imagine our delight as, while we were sitting outside in the sun, the Queens' Life Guard rode past on their way from Hyde Park Barracks to change the guard at Horse Guards Parade.
Apsley House is a beautiful building which was designed and built by Robert Adam in the 1770s. The Duke of Wellington bought it in 1817, after his victory at Waterloo, and transformed it into a palatial residence to befit his status. It is filled with works of art and gifts from grateful rulers across Europe.

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MARCH 2016

For our March outing, Clarice organised a most interesting tour of Southwark Cathedral. The fine building you enter nowadays was extensively restored in the 19th century and only became a cathedral in 1905, although it is believed that there has been a church on this site since the 7th century.

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FEBRUARY 2016

Our February outing was to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. This took us on a nostalgic trip down memory lane looking at the exhibits of toys and childhood memorabilia. There is also currently a temporary exhibition telling the true stories of Britain's child migrants who were sent to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries. The children's stories were very moving. On our way to the museum we passed the memorial to the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster of 1943.

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DECEMBER 2015

We enjoyed a festive Christmas Lunch at the Civil Service Club in December, after which some of us went on to the nearby Banqueting House to take a look round whilst others went to a show or braved the crowds to do some Christmas shopping.

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NOVEMBER 2015

In November members from Explore London 2 & 3 Groups visited the Hindu Temple in Neasden. After an early start and torturous coach journey through rush hour traffic we arrived to a warm welcome from members of the temple. After a short video about the building of the temple and an explanation of the meaning of their gods, we were taken to the shrine to view the sacred images dressed in their finery. The temple is built from Italian marble that was carved in India before being assembled by volunteers on site. Some of the group attended the Arti service whilst others visited the exhibition of Hinduism. Following this we all enjoyed a pleasant lunch and an easier journey home.

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OCTOBER 2015

We had a most interesting tour of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 29th October. It is a magnificent Victorian building designed by George Gilbert Scott. We were particularly impressed by the Grand Staircase and the Durbar Court.

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SEPTEMBER 2015

Our September outing was a visit to Highgate Cemetery. It was a rather cloudy and showery day, which added to the atmosphere of the location, and our guide explained the history of the site. The West Cemetery contains a refurbished chapel, still sometimes used for funerals, and the Egyptian Gateway flanked by two large obelisks that leads to the Circle of Lebanon. At the centre of this is a massive Cedar tree dating back to before 1839 when the cemetery was first opened. Another area of interest was the catacombs, a vaulted gallery 80 yards long that could contain up to 825 coffins. We finished our visit in the East Cemetery at the tomb of Karl Marx.

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AUGUST 2015

In August, we travelled to Blackheath for a walk through Greenwich Park to Greenwich. After a coffee stop near Blackheath Station, we enjoyed a wonderful stroll across the Heath and down through the Park visiting The Secret Garden and One Tree Hill. Here there was a marvellous view over Greenwich College towards the towers of Canary Wharf. We descended past Greenwich Royal Observatory to Greenwich for lunch, finally the day was rounded off with a walk through the foot tunnel to Island Gardens before returning home.

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Our June visit to HMS Belfast was very interesting and informative. We discovered what life on-board was like for the crew and how the variety of weaponry was utilised. We had the added bonus of arriving just in time to see Tower Bridge being raised to allow a tall sailing ship through.

Exploring London 2 has had a successful year with many varied visits, including Royal Chelsea Hospital, Strawberry Hill House and Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

We recently had a most interesting tour of Charterhouse, located just outside the City of London. Although there are some remains of the original medieval building, it is mostly Tudor. It was bought by Thomas Sutton in 1611 to establish a school and alms houses. The school moved to Godalming in 1872, but there is still a residential community of retired single men known as the Brothers of Charterhouse.

Please note due to demand we would ask that you only join one of the Exploring London groups. All Groups will visit places of interest in and around London and it is quite possible that all will visit the same places during the year so please don't feel like you're missing out on anything by only belonging to Group 1, 2, 3 or 4! Please also come along to your relevant Group's planning meetings to suggest places to visit.

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