Spring Cleaning at the Royal Hospital Chelsea
We're doing a bit of spring cleaning at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and discovered some fascinating pictures from our past that highlight how we have stayed true to our original purpose 'To provide succour and relief to veterans broken by age and war' over the past 321 years. Most of our buildings and many of our traditions have remained intact during this time.
The Long Wards haven't changed much over the years, but the berths (the Chelsea Pensioner's rooms) were enlarged from 6x6ft to 9x9ft in the 1900's. More seating and desks have also been added for their convenience.
A major refurbishment programme is now underway to give every Chelsea Pensioner an en suite bedroom with a private study area, whilst still preserving the communal areas that are so important to fostering the community spirit that the Royal Hospital Chelsea is renowned for.
Our tradition of Founder's Day continues to be celebrated annually at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and is a great source of pride for the Chelsea Pensioners and staff. Founder's Day is held as close as possible to King Charles II's birthday (29th May) and the anniversary of the date of his restoration as King every year. Founder's Day is also known as Oak Apple Day as it commemorates the escape of King Charles after the Battle of Worcester (1651) when he hid in an oak tree to avoid capture by the Parliamentary forces.
|Prince Harry reviewing the Chelsea Pensioners in 2011|
The Chelsea Pensioners are usually reviewed by a member of the Royal Family every year.
The original Infirmary was bombed during the Second World War. The new Margaret Thatcher Infirmary (designed by Quinlan Terry) was completed in 2009. It is registered as a care home and can accommodate up to 100 Chelsea Pensioners with en suite facilities.
You can contribute to the work that we do here at the Royal Hospital Chelsea by making a donation to the Chelsea Pensioners' Appeal here.