This year the outing will be visiting Smithfield, site of a fair since 1133, and Charterhouse Square a little-known corner of the City of London that survived the great fire of 1666 and the worst of the world war II bombing. The visit will include guided tours of two places only recently opened up to small arranged group visits.
The Charterhouse was built as a Carthusian Priory in 1371 which flourished throughout the later medieval and early Tudor period. With the dissolution of the monasteries, the Charterhouse became a mansion for wealthy noblemen and a refuge for royalty. Elizabeth I met the Privy Council there in the days before her coronation in 1558 and James I used the Great Chamber to create 130 new Barons before he was crowned. In 1611 Thomas Sutton bought the Charterhouse to provide a home for eighty male pensioners and school for forty-five boys. The school moved to Godalming in 1872 but the alms-houses remain and the original buildings can now be visited. (About an hour)
St. Bartholomew's Hospital was founded in 1123 and as a world class centre of excellence is still treating the sick on the same site. The visit includes the hospital museum displaying many of the archives as well as the progress of medicine over the past nine centuries, the grand staircase with beautiful Hogarth murals, the Great Hall, the Gibbs Square and the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Less which is unique as a parish church bounded by the Hospital. This tour is also only available by special arrangement and lasts about an hour.
Coffee on arrival and a ploughman lunch will be provided and there are many other sites of interest within a few minutes' walk including the Church of Bart's-the-Great, also founded in 1123 and the oldest of the city churches, immediately recognisable from the many films made there; houses in Cloth Fair built c. 1670; St John's Gate which houses the Museum of the Order of St. John (entry free); The Old Bailey and St Sepulchre's (the Bells of Old Bailey); Smithfield Market, covering 10 acres the largest meat market in the world; the Postmen's Memorial Garden; and a little further are the Museum of London, The Guildhall, St. Paul's etc.
The cost, including return coach fare, coffee on arrival, lunch with beverage, the two guided tours, and entrance to St Bartholomew-the-Great is £55 per person.
We are sorry to say that this is now fully booked
If you need further information, contact Kay Turvey on 01323895115.