Report on Probus Club of Basingstoke visit to Royal Hospital Chelsea

A party of retired professional and business managers and their wives from the Probus Club of Basingstoke supported by members and wives from Deane Probus had a day’s outing to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the famous Chelsea Pensioners.

The visit was organised by Tony Atchison of St Gabriel’s Lea, Chineham who has been a member of Basingstoke Probus for nine years who commented “we were split into two groups each with a guide for a tour lasting over two hours. We were impressed with the size and grandeur of the hospital. The wonderful dining hall which has featured in Harry Potter films was complemented by the chapel which the architect Sir Christopher Wren insisted had clear glass windows. The statue of the founder, Charles 11, was glorious in gold leaf and the two guides were resplendent in their scarlet great coats”

“We also saw In Pensioners, as they are called, going off to the Albert Hall to rehearse their part in the televised Festival of Remembrance.”

There is an extensive refurbishment programme underway to provide enlarged berths, as each In Pensioner’s room is called, that will include a study area and an en suite wet room. There are 300 In Pensioners but only six are women. The majority are army veterans, with a few from the Marines, Royal Navy and Air Force.