Walk: In the Shadow of St Pauls – Cemeteries & Burial Grounds 7 October 2011

This new addition to the Society’s popular ‘Cemeteries & Burial Grounds’ walks, will take place on Friday, 7 October 2011 starting at 2pm. The walk will last approximately two hours and our group  will meet our walk leader, Alec Tritton, at Postman’s Park, behind St. Botolph Aldersgate. Book early as places are limited.

The walk MUST be pre-booked, price £10.00 (£8.00 SoG members). To book a space, visit our secure website or telephone the events department: 020 7553 3290. Do you have a question? email the events department

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A report of the Society’s visit to the Royal Hospital Chelsea on 15th April 2011

A delightful visit for 21 Members and their guests who were most royally entertained by Tom, one of the in pensioners, resplendent in his red ceremonial uniform which he admitted he avoided wearing outside the Hospital because of the unwelcome attention it attracted.  His 25 years service in the army (Royal Engineers) showed in his cynical and philosophical wit, which shone through.  Knowing when to salute and when to hide came second nature and he left us with the problem of deciding, at times, where truth ended and fiction began!  

The history of the Royal Hospital Chelsea is well documented and need not be repeated here.  Their web site (www.chelsea-pensioners.co.uk) also contains much interesting information including a little about births (?) marriages and burials.  As we went around with Tom many additional interesting facts emerged.  Yes it is true that each pensioner’s ‘berth’ was a six feet by six feet timber windowless hut until relatively recent times but have now been upgraded to …. nine feet by nine feet!  And for every 36 men there are just 4 toilets and 2 showers.  There were other benefits in the past such as their own in house brewery and 5 gallons of beer between four men at dinner every day, served from a leather jug. 

A wooden marquetry alter piece in the chapel which was, allegedly, rescued from the Great Fire of London but its origins have been lost in time.  However, it is believed there is writing on the back which may indicate its history but removing the piece for confirmation would present too big a risk (also allegedly!).  The chapel is also used for private weddings, as a source of income.

There is a large ongoing refurbishment and redevelopment project which will eventually give each pensioner two rooms and an ensuite bathroom.  Some have already been completed and the recent admission of three lady pensioners raised a few grumbles when it was discovered that they were moving straight into the new
accommodation, ahead of men who had been there perhaps 30 years.  Until one gentleman was offered a place in the new wing but decided he was happier staying where he was!  Old soldiers never change.

Part of the redevelopment was a brand new infirmary, opened last year and named after Margaret Thatcher who remains a keen supporter of the Hospital.  The Hospital is still very dependent upon fund raising and Margaret Thatcher is credited with raising millions of pounds through her forceful determination with visiting dignitaries to the UK. The Hospital Chapel remains her regular place of Sunday worship.  The Chelsea Flower Show is held on the Hospital’s land which makes an important contribution to funds, together with other events through the year on the same site.  

An entertaining visit, ably enhanced by Tom’s good humour and I felt it was a privilege to meet him.

Barry Hepburn

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Society of Genealogists wins publishing award

The Society of Genealogists was named Best Book Publisher of 2009 by Your Family Tree Magazine in their annual awards, beating strong competition from the likes of Pen & Sword and The National Archives. The My Ancestors series is described as ‘expertly written, packed with facts and giving pointers to the best sources’. Referring to the society’s 2009 releases, the magazine went on to say ‘Our glowing reviews of the 1911 Census book, plus the Railway Worker and In Service  titles – complete with YFT Seals of Approval – give you some idea of the high standard of these publications’. The society is delighted to receive such recognition and you can buy our award winning books in our online shop at www.sog.org.uk

 Society of Genealogists wins publishing award

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The Society’s successful evening family history skills course begins again with the first fifteen-week series of classes for those who are new to genealogy and family history or who have had a little experience and want to learn more. The team of lecturers will introduce the records and illustrate how they should best be used for the study of family history.

This course provides plenty of opportunity to use genealogical sources in practical sessions in the classroom and as exercises at home. The lectures cover sources in all the major repositories but emphasis is also placed on the extensive collections held in the Library of the Society of Genealogists that can be of help to the beginner. We will look at using birth, marriage and death records, census,  parish registers, wills, the armed forces, how to lay out a pedigree and more.

Thursday evenings 6-8pm,  3 September-10 December. £180.00 (non-SoG members), £144.00 for SoG members.  For more information or booking, contact the events co-ordinator, tel: 020 7553 3290, email: events@sog.org.uk

You can also view a copy of the leaflet

 

 

 

 

 

 

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