Royal Hospital Chelsea

Visit to the Royal Hospital Chelsea -
home of the Chelsea Pensioners

On 23rd September 2015, 19 members of CREST visited the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the famous Chelsea Pensioners. We were met by Mike Allen, one of the Chelsea Pensioners' tour guides, dressed in his crimson uniform. He gave a very informative escorted tour around the hospital grounds, the dining room and the chapel, finishing at the museum.

Originally, entry into the hospital was for non-commissioned ex-servicemen who had completed 30 years Army service and were aged 65 or over. On entry to the hospital they had to forfeit their military pension and were given uniform clothing. All personal needs and meals were provided.

They were allocated a 9' 6" square box which housed their bed and a small dressing table in which they could keep their personal belongings. These housing boxes were located within a large ward where there were communal toilets and washing facilities. There were no windows in the boxes to give natural light. In the museum there is an accommodation box.

Nowadays entry is open to both males and females who are of retiring age and have completed military service in the Army. Royal Marines are also accepted provided that they have completed Army training. If the entrants do not have a pension then they have to pay £150 per week. The accommodation is being upgraded to individual self-contained flats, which are all en-suite and have windows giving natural light. The updates are nearing completion.

It was a fascinating insight to the work of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and a great day out!