Summer Catch-up No 1


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Tuesday 1st August – 28th meeting of 2017

Today six of us meet at Coolings for a catch-up. Weather was good and nice to meet up for a chat.

We had a coffee and chat and then ordered and eat our lunch. The food here at Coolings is very good with a nice selection which means there is something for everyone.

Lots of chat about holidays and our comings and goings over the past weeks after which we had a pleasant walk around the garden centre and then home.


Last meeting before Summer Break


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Tuesday 11th July – 27th meeting of 2017

As today was our last official week before our Summer break we opted to have a Ladies that Lunch day at Coolings Garden Centre. If you follow this blog you will know that we like to have a ‘get together’ for a chat and catch up and today we did just that!

Unfortunately I arrived a little late as I hit a diversion in Bromley which put what seemed like ages on my journey, all due to a burst water pipe, but hey-ho no worries I arrived in time to order my lunch! Which I must say was delicious! It was very busy in the restaurant as it always is. I must say it is a very nice place to meet up with friends and enjoy a good lunch.

After lunch we looked at the Railway Children exhibition. This was marvellous. The display of so many different types of flowers along with the fragrance was wonderful. The groups of flowers set in various colour types pink, white, reds etc really looked beautiful and matched up to different scenes from Railway Children story.

After looking at this amazing collection of flowers we had a walk around the plant section and one or two purchases made. After this we said our fond farewells and made our way back to our cars and home.

We have two dates during the Summer break when any of us that are free will meet up. Hoping that the sun shines for us all as we now will be doing things with family and friends during the Summer and back on our walks etc in September!

Lambeth Garden Museum


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Tuesday 4th July – 26th meeting of 2017

Having met up at Waterloo we walked towards the Museum and while crossing Westminster Bridge had a ‘celebrity spot’ as Rupert Maas from Antique Roadshow was waiting on his bike at the red lights so we could cross the road. We then had a spot of retail therapy in St Thomas Hospital shop before reaching the Garden Museum. We went straight to the newly built coffee shop for refreshments. It is very light and spacious with a new varied menu and was quiet when we were there although it did get very busy by lunchtime when we passed it again.

The Garden Museum re-opened in June 2017 and so everything was very fresh and new and was very different from the old Garden Museum we had visited before. The building of St Mary’s church has been kept intact and the refurbished interior attached to it and a series of outbuildings have extended the scope of what can be done there thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding and eighteen months of building work. Previously only 140 objects were on display but now with the new upstairs galleries up to 1000 things can be viewed.

It is now possible to see the Tradescant’s Orchard – pictures of the fruit varieties grown in Britain in C17th which were donated to Oxford University by Elias Ashmole in 1692 and are now on loan to Lambeth, back in London after 300 years. Various other displays included tools used over hundred of years – examples of garden gnomes from abroad as well as Britain, toy gardens complete with trees, flowers etc. In the Wolfson Ark Gallery whilst the work was going on they discovered a vault where five Archbishops of Canterbury were buried. At the moment a glass panel in the floor covers the steps down to it but in September it is hoped archaeologists will be able to go down and do a proper survey and maybe for some public access at some point.

An interesting fact picked up was that 50% of trees in London are Plane trees probably because they have a self-defence mechanism where they can shed some bark if polluted and renew.  The tallest Plane tree on record is 48.5 metres.

A ‘not so’ interesting fact was that Linus Urbance from Sweden holds the current world record for brussel sprout eating in 1 minute.  On November 26th 2008 he swallowed 31!!

There is currently plenty to look at from all aspects of plants, trees, vegetables and their growth and cultivation.  A  new garden has been designed by Dan Pearson to replace the old Knot Garden which had to be built over to make a new learning centre. The garden is smaller but still centred around the memorial to William Bligh.  A lot more gardens at the front of the building are still being developed and it is now possible to climb the Tower of the church building to get a view over the area.

It was very interesting and although there are now a lot more exhibits because they are spaced out in nice bright display cases etc it doesn’t feel too much to see.

Vestry House Museum


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Tuesday 27th June – 25th meeting of 2017

Weather had completely change this week. It was raining so although warm, rainmacs and umbrellas we certainly needed. We met at Charing Cross and then took two tubes, Northern line to Warren Street and Victoria line to Walthamstow Central. Using the Northern makes you realise how low the tunnels go on this line and on Victoria line how fast the trains travel!






Outside Walthamstow Central was a very busy area with a bus garage and the station had three exits so we found it hard to find the street, St Mary Street, that we needed for the walk to get to the Museum. Once we found the correct street we went for a coffee in the McDonalds before the short walk to reach the Museum for our booked tour at 12 o’clock.

At the Vestry House Museum we were greeted by our guide. It is not open to public on Tuesday so it was good that one of our ladies had arranged for a tour after seeing it on one of the antique programmes. Opening days Wednesday – Sunday and entry is free.







The Museum is a history museum in Walthamstow and focuses on the heritage of the local area. It was originally built as a workhouse, later became a police station and also private housing and became a museum in 1931.

Our guide was brilliant. He gave us a clear talk on the House and really made it interesting. He showed us some exhibits such as wooden soled shoes and oakum which the people in the workhouse worked and received pay for. It was made into rope or used to waterproof ships. The life was hard but it seems it was not a cruel workhouse.

Once established as a Museum many local people donated items and on display are Victorian parlour complete with wonderful fireplace, a costume gallery which houses two wedding dresses one from early 1800’s which is brown velvet with lots of material and decoration and one from 1940’s which is hugging the figure and was wore three or four times by different brides on their wedding day. There is a police cell with iron door with sliding peep-hole and a very small barred window. This must have been a grim horrible place to be locked up in.






The most amazing item I believe was the famous Bremer car which was the first petrol car in Britain. It has been lovingly restored to its original state and looks magnificent. It took part in the 1965 London to Brighton race but unfortunately now is not in working order.

There was a wonderful display of toys dating back to the time that there were two thriving toy factories in Walthamstow.

We went out into the beautiful volunteer-run garden which is an oasis in which to relax and enjoy the wonderful plants which are grown.

Our tour finished after just over an hour and we all really enjoyed our time. The guide was fabulous and this Museum is an absolute delight! A real gem of a small but very interesting local museum.



Army Museum Chelsea


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Tuesday 20th June -24th meeting of 2017

Today was another really hot sunny summer day and it seems London is having a heat wave and as hot as Spain! We planned today to go to the newly refurbished and re-opened Army Museum which is next to Chelsea Army Hospital, home of the Chelsea Pensioners. We have been before but wanted to see the changes that had been made.






District line to Sloane Square and a walk to Chelsea Embankment was the plan but as we walked along King’s Road in the heat we decided to stop at the Saatchi Gallery for a drink. This was very welcomed by all and we sat outside in the shade and watched the world go by!

When we arrived at the Museum and went inside, we remarked of how different the area was. Now a very bright light area with seating. The new museum has had a radical transformation and now provides a welcoming and interactive place of discovery. I must say that Museums are now so much improved. They are now much more interesting and interactive making it fun for children and everyone really to learn and enjoy!





We went up to the first floor where there is the temporary exhibition area and the exhibition was ‘War Paint Brushes with Conflict’. This was an interesting area with paintings from way back showing war and conflicts from an artist’s point of view. It included maps, sketches and paintings. Although now much is caught in photographs with the modern camera, war artists are still employed to produce paintings.There was great contrasts from the work of 1600’s showing Colonel’s in fancy red uniforms on horse back in the foreground and fighting soldiers in the background, and modern soldiers all in camouflage uniforms sheltering in dry sandy areas.

We then went into one of the new galleries Soldier. This was well laid out and easy to understand. It gave the plight of the soldier from joining, serving and coming home. It covered all times and it was amazing the differences in size of soldiers, equipment issued and used and how training has changed. Many uniforms from all era on display of special interest Lawrence of Arabia and the Queens uniform. There were lots of activities to take part in and one that I enjoyed was to stand in front of a screen as an ordinary soldier and be taught drilling by an on-screen Sargent Major shouting and telling me off! Great fun!





When we finished this section we decided on another drink and bite to eat in the wonderful new cafe. It was still very hot and possibly one of the hottest Tuesday we have had!

This is a really good Museum and well worth a visit. I feel sure we will return to go round the parts that we missed today.

One of our ladies decided to get a bus to Victoria and train home. The rest of us walked to Sloane Square keeping in the shade as much as possible and got our trains home.