venerdì 10 febbraio 2017

Royal Hospital of Chelsea

Royal Hospital of Chelsea

King Charles II founded the Royal Hospital in 1682 as a retreat for veterans. The provision of a hostel rather than the payment of pensions was inspired by Les Invalides in Paris. The site for the Royal Hospital was an area of Chelsea which held an incomplete building "Chelsey College", a theological college James I founded in 1609.
The Royal Hospital opened its doors to the Chelsea Pensioners in 1692
for "the relief and succour" of veterans. Some of the first soldiers admitted included those injured at the Battle of Sedgemoor. Wren expanded his original design to add two additional quadrangles to the east and west of the central court;
these were known respectively as the "Light Horse Court" and the "College Court". Due to mismanagement by Lord Ranelagh, the Hospital Treasurer, the building was not completed until 1692.

Sir John Soane, who was clerk of work in the early part of the 19th century, designed and constructed a new infirmary building which was located to the west of the main building on the site of the current National Army Museum and was
destroyed by bombing during the Second World War. It was replaced by a modern infirmary which was located to the east of the main building and opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1961.[3]
The 1960s infirmary was demolished to make way for the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary which was designed by Sir Quinlan Terry and was completed in 2008, providing a state-of-the-art care home.
In 2002, the Sovereign's Mace was presented to the hospital – up until then, the hospital had had no colours or distinctive device – the Mace is now carried at all the ceremonial events at the Hospital.[5] The Mace was designed by Charles Webb and Aubrey Bowden and was made by Master Goldsmith Norman Bassant. The bowl of the Mace is decorated with acorns and is surmounted by the St Edward's Crown.
In March 2009, the first women in the Hospital's 317-year history were admitted as In-Pensioners. Winifred Phillips and Dorothy Hughes were the first. Phillips trained as a nurse and later joined the
Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1948 before enlisting in the Women's Royal Army Corps in 1949 while serving in Egypt. After 22 years service she retired with the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2. Hughes had joined the British Army in 1941 aged 18, later working as part of 450 Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery in the London Division. In 1945 the Battery was deployed near Dover to defend against V1 flying bomb attacks. She retired with the rank of Sergeant.

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