Colours revered at the alter in the Chapel Royal at the Tower of London, during British Legion commemorations. Veterans are so important for us all to think about- most families have or know someone older who has been in the armed forces and maybe had to fight an enemy during their career, risking life or injury and even losing colleagues while doing their duty. These people deserve a special place of affection and respect in our communities; many veterans and their relatives pass through the Tower of London and join services there; the chaplain, yeoman warders and other officials always ensure a warm welcome.
Poppies, Pomp and People Book Celebration and Signing Event At The Army And Navy Club, Pall Mall, 18th July 2017, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Great opportunity to visit this prestigious venue. I will open with a short presentation of how the book was achieved, with some of the pictures for which the book is highly praised. Then my guest speakers will be introduced, including Major Kirsty Baxter, who was key in organising the phenomenal 'Poppies In The Moat' event in 2014. There will be a full bar in the room and plenty of time to meet the guests and ask questions. I will be pleased to sign copies and sell as many as you want. 'Earlybird' ticket holders may purchase at £9.95, others will be at the published price of £12.99. Most of the book profits will be donated to the appropriate charities.
To purchase tickets, click here.
More About The Venue: The historic Club Library offers a fine aspect over St James’s Square Gardens and is decorated with pictures showing glorious scenes from Britain’s naval and military past. The Army & Navy Club, often known by its nickname, ‘The Rag’, is situated in the heart of St James’s, London. The Club prides itself on offering a unique combination of traditional ambience and, modern facilities in the style of an officers’ mess. 36 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5JN
I have taken this text from a report in a local newspaper. I was not thrilled with the organiser- following the original booking, she hadn't answered my several emails and phone calls and I haven't received any apology!
'Thankfully, the lovely audience that arrived for Christopher West's talk on Friday morning managed to enjoy the presentation about his new book Poppies, Pomp and People. It was about a year at the Tower of London and included explaining how the phenomenal ‘Poppies In The Moat’ was achieved. What they hadn’t known was that the organiser didn’t turn up with a projector and screen to enable him to dazzle them with great photos of rarely seen goings on at the Tower! He had to quickly adapt from a carefully prepared powerpoint presentation to an ‘amusing chat without illustrations!’ The people were marvellous and Churchill would have been proud, though no thanks to the organisers- a less experienced speaker would have been gutted. He says he was exhausted but delighted because everyone enjoyed themselves and many bought the book (profits will go to appropriate charities) + he specially wanted to thank the excellent caretaker and Pauline House who organised the coffees.'
This State Service is one of three during the year and shows off the best in pomp and ceremony at the Tower; yesterday's blog shows the scaffolding against the Queen's House- the renovation work has now finished and we have a new Chief Yeoman Warder and Yeoman Gaoler.
Happy Easter everyone. This extract from Poppies, Pomp and Poppies shows the importance of the State Parade and services at the Tower. The picture shows the Governor reviewing the Yeoman Warder escort, prior to marching to the Chapel Royal.
April 5th: Easter Day (2015). State Parade, Saint Peter ad Vincula
Morning Service. Today’s state parade was led by the Governor, Col. Harrold, bringing a great end to Easter Week at the Tower. Special guests were members of the British Korean Veterans Association.
The font (c. 1350) made an impressive vessel for the Calvary scene and floral displays were excellent. Easter eggs were offered as the congregation filed out of the chapel.
This font was discovered during the 1876 restoration, when the Cholmondeley sarcophagus in the centre of the chapel was opened. It contained no bodies, but found inside was the font which now stands by the west door. It appears to have been hidden there by the then-chaplain to preserve it during the Commonwealth (when Cromwell ruled the country as a republic), but the priest presumably didn’t tell anyone prior to his The Governor death, so the hiding place was unknown for over 200 years.
This is one of the busiest days for visitors and most important for the Chaplain and his staff. This extract from Poppies, Pomp and People, features Sacristan Bernard, a most remarkable character.
April 3rd (2015): Good Friday. Liturgy of the Cross: Faure Requiem and Good Friday Reflections.
A fine performance at St Peter ad Vincula at 7 pm, deeply appreciated by the audience for this solemn occasion.
Sacristan Bernard Jackson (on the right in this picture, talking with Lord Dannatt, has been associated with the Tower since 1968 and he is responsible for keeping safe the vestments, furnishings, sacred vessels and records. Currently, for state service occasions, the ‘Salver and Flagon’ (normally displayed in the Jewel House) are placed on the altar. The Sacristan used to use the Salver regularly to hold the filled collection plates, prior to presentation to the officiating priest; it is very beautiful and he regrets its removal.
Deeply respected, Bernard has an incredible memory and eye for detail and is an accomplished expert on the furnishings and he noted that on one of the Queen’s visits, she was wearing the brooch that Prince Albert had given to Queen Victoria on their wedding day in 1840. Bernard recalls the Constable being fascinated by his collection of Maundy Thursday coins and this picture shows them in deep conversation. One important recollection was when Prince Charles attended a private communion service in St John’s on his twenty-first birthday, accompanied by the Queen Mother and his sister, Princess Anne.
He regularly cycles to the Tower from his home in Euston; unfortunately, his previous bicycle was stolen, but the authorities presented him with a replacement.
These ravens are fascinating- world famous, legendary and well looked after by devoted Ravenmaster and supporting group of Yeoman Warders- admire from a distance, they can give a hard nip.
Splendid Procession across the Broadwalk and then into St Peter ad Vincula led by the Yeoman Warder bearing the Abyssinian Cross, followed by the Chaplain of the Chapels Royal, choir and congregation.
To read more about Poppies, Pomp and People, click here.
To purchase, please click here.
This excerpt from the book helps to better appreciate the significance today of the ancient Chapel of St John, high up in the White Tower, at the Tower of London.
April 2nd (2015) Holy Communion was at seven o’clock in the ancient St John’s Chapel, with the Bishop of London, as Dean of the Chapels Royal. He says:
It is a very atmospheric place, high up in the White Tower. The acoustics are marvellous and our choir, of course, sings to extraordinary advantage. It has great spiritual density. It is the most wonderful Romanesque ecclesiastical structure, I think, in the whole of London, and ought to be much better known. This was the private oratory of the ruler. And so we go there after dark every Maundy Thursday. Roger introduced the risky custom of getting people to take off their socks and shoes and washing some feet, which of course is a very powerful way of recalling the events of the first Last Supper. It couldn’t be a more resonant and haunting place in which to recall the night in which He was betrayed, where He ate supper with his friends. And so around that stone altar we gather and sing a hymn, as they did, of course, at the Last Supper. And then in preparation for Easter the altar is stripped and Psalm 22 is chanted, which includes so many of the pictures and images which are then incorporated in the crucifixion story. One of the great climactic experiences of the year is to go there, to the Chapel of St John. And I’m very glad that after some period of controversy as to whether St John, like St Peter, was in fact a Chapel Royal, we have managed to establish that it is.