Friends Events

Saturday 17th March 2018 – 9.30 am to 3.30 pm


Easter Fair in Cheam Parochial Rooms, Cheam Broadway.

Come rain or shine, visit the Friends’ Easter Fair in Cheam Village. There will be gift and craft stalls and plenty of delicious cakes on sale. When you want a break from browsing the enticing stalls, have a sit down and enjoy the light refreshments on sale.

Thursday 12th April 2018 – 2.30 pm – Cheam Library – Michael Gilbert – Illustrated Talk – A _ Z of Croydon.

Michael will lead us through an eclectic mix of people, places and events of Croydon and kits environs, including London’s first International Airport, entertainment, leisure and public services, a workhouse, hospitals and an Academy, one of the most remarkable Elizabethan buildings to survive and two palaces.

Tickets £6 (FoW £5)
To book: Contact FoW Secretary –

Thursday 10th May 2018 – 2.30 pm – Visit to St Dunstan’s Church

Meet in Cheam Library then Juliet Chaplin, Deputy Director of Music at St Dunstan’s and Friend of Whitehall, will guide us round the church. We will then return to Cheam Library for a cup of tea and  biscuits.

Saturday 12th May 2018 – 9 am – 1 pm – Cheam Charter Fair.

Come and enjoy the celebrations at the 759th annual Cheam Charter Fair. The fair is thought to date back to 1259 when Henry III granted Cheam a charter making it a town.
The Friends will be manning a gift stall at the top of Park Lane just outside Whitehall’s garden.   We invite you to visit the stall and find out how you can support YOUR local heritage by becoming a Friend of Whitehall.

Past Events

Thursday 11th January, 2018
Treasured Memories – Cheam Library

Vintage toys and a Victorian musical album were some of the special items that conjured up memories for Friends at the first meeting in 2018. Personal memories were also recounted, one Friend telling the story about the house where she was born. Altogether a thought-provoking afternoon.

2nd December 2017 – Mistletoe Market in Cheam Parochial Rooms

The Friends annual Mistletoe Market was held in the Parochial Rooms, Cheam Village. With gifts and bargains galore, as well as cakes and refreshments, visitors were able to find some Christmas Presents and say hello to friends and Friends! The Friends of Whitehall Gift stall was popular.  As usual refreshments were available in the kitchen area  and there was the usual Christmas raffle.

The Heritage department were present with the ‘Pop-Up’ creating interest in the refurbishment of Whitehall, and the future re-opening.

9th November 2017 – Talk by Mike Evans of the British Association of Friends of Museums.

Twenty members and friends, some of whom are also Friends of Nonsuch, found the description of the creation and work of BAfM most interesting. It was a group in Barcelona that wanted to meet others in the 1930s which led to the formation of the World Association. Mike Evans co-ordinates Friends’ groups for the British Association of Friends of Museums in the South East of England.

BAfM offers support and help to groups on all aspects of these organisations including production of newsletters(colourful and informative Journals), a handbook, advice on insurance, guidance on grants an d ideas on activities run by other Friends’ groups. Awards are made to volunteers who contribute to the success of their local group whether their museum is owned by their Local Authority or a separate charity.

Mike Evans was particularly in favour of arousing the interest of schools, preferably when pupils are just entering secondary level, and told us how Maidstone pupils are encouraged to study for their curriculum by visiting the local museum. He commended making use of the expertise of the young people to publicise the museum on social media.

30th October 2017 – A Walk Around the Lesser Known Corners of the City of London.

Valary Murphy, London City Guide and Friend of Whitehall, began the walk close to the Monument marking the Great Fire of London in 166. The fire started near pudding Lane – Pudding in fact referring to offal from the butchers’ trade rather than baking.

Passing through narrow Lovat Lane, the rather plain exterior of St Mary at Hill contrasted with the lovely wide-open space and beautiful dome within the church.

From Mincing Lane, ‘mincing’ being a corruption of the word ‘mychens’ used to denote nuns, we turned into Minster Court to view three large horse sculptures, nicknamed Stirling, Dollar and Yen standing in front of the London Underwriters’ Centre. We also visited the public sculpture in Fen Court commemorating the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in 1807. The sculpture consists of 17 columns of sugar cane inscribed with the words of the poem ‘The Guilt of Cain’.

As we walked, Valary pointed out the curious figure of a woman on many buildings and explained that the figure, known as the ‘Mercer’s Maiden’ was to show that the property had belonged to the Worshipful Company of Mercers.

Our walk took us to the outside of the Jamaica Wine House in Cornhill, where the first coffee house in London was located and where Samuel Pepys visited in 1660. Passing other places of interest on our way, we finished the morning at the Royal Exchange founded by Sir Thomas Gresham.

14th September 2017 -Cheam Library – National Garden Scheme.

Thirty-one Friends assembled for a talk by Margaret Arnott, Volunteer Assistant Surrey County Organiser for the National Garden Scheme.

The story of the NGS started in 1859 when William Rathbone, a Liverpool merchant and philanthropist, engaged Mary Robinson to nurse his sick wife. When Mrs Rathbone died, William continued to employ Mary and encouraged her to go into the poorest areas of Liverpool to try to relieve suffering and teach the basic rules of health. Although Mary found the work almost unbearable, she eventually realised the difference she could make and decided not to return to private nursing.

William Rathbone then extended his idea by dividing parts of Liverpool into districts, and with advice from Florence Nightingale, provided nursing staff for each district. This was the beginning of District Nursing which, within a few years, spread throughout the UK.

To fund pensions for retiring nurses, gardens were opened to the public at a shilling admission, thus forming a pension pot. This system evolved into the establishment of the National Garden Scheme in 1927, and with the advent in 1948 of the National Health Service, donations from the National Garden Scheme were then directed to major charities.

Towards the end of the talk, Margaret showed illustrations of some of the beautiful gardens that are opened to the public during the year. A most interesting afternoon.

13th July 2017 – Cheam Library – The Great Unwatched: Wit and Wisdom on the Wireless.

In his second talk to the Friends. Bob Sinfield recalled his early interest in ‘the wireless’ when he would listen to a large valve radio with mysterious sounding stations on the dial such as Hilversum, Athlone and Normandy. Bob’s lively talk included amusing anecdotes and interactions with the audience about programmes and presenters over the years.

One of the first commercial radio stations was the United Biscuit Network which broadcast to the company’s factories around the country and became the training ground for many radio presenters. Bob’s talk was well received by a full house of Friends and guests.

5th June 2017 – Alison Weir – Eleanor of Aquitaine – St Dunstan’s School, Anne Boleyn’s Walk.

As something different for the Friends’ Birthday celebration this year, an evening talk was arranged to take place at St Dunstan’s School Hall in Cheam. Publicity officer, Trish Carey, worked hard to publicise the event and on the day over 60 people came to hear local historical author, Alison Weir, talk about Eleanor of Aquitaine.

There was a good mix of local residents and Friends who enjoyed the fact-filled talk. One lucky visitor went home with a prize for the best question put to Alison and another visitor, picked at random wen t home to a copy of Alison’s latest book ‘Anne Boleyn – A King’s Obsession’. Very appropriate as the school is in Anne Boleyns Walk.

Saturday 20th May 2017 – CHEAM VILLAGE CHARTER FAIR.

In spite of the prospect of rain, the weather was kind, and visitors and Friends were able to stroll around the stalls in the dry to look at the diverse range of items for sale. The Friends of Whitehall stall was in Park Road, in the driveway of one of our members who provided those manning the stall with welcome cups of coffee during the morning. The Heritage department was also on hand with their pop-up Whitehall publicity stall.

11th May 2017 – Exhibitions 1862 – 1924

Michael Gilbert’s talk covered the growth of exhibitions to promote industry and culture during the 10th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Many of the exhibition halls built during this period are still familiar to us today, Alexandra Palace, Olympia, Ears Court and White City. In 1908 the Olympics were held in Britain and the marathon was run from Windsor Castle to the great stadium built in White City, setting the standard length of marathons to this day.

In 1924 the British Empire Exhibition opened at Wembley, with fifteen miles of streets, and included a reproduction of the Niagara Falls, a garden contained 100,000 tulips and the popular Amusement Park promoted by Billy Butlin.