The Friends of Whitehall
Registered Charity No. 277499
This video features Pat Jackson, one of the original Friends of Whitehall, when the building was first opened to the public. Now her daughter, Eleanor Jackson has written about her memories of that day.
In 2018 the Friends of Whitehall will be 40 years old!!
I can’t believe that after the successful campaign to save the building from development, Whitehall has been at the heart of Cheam Village and in our hearts for so long. It seems like only a couple of years ago that I as a child lined up (and the queue was down to the Crossroads) to see the house finally open to the public, stewarded and supported by Friends, of course. It’s wonderful that the Heritage Department looks after Whitehall, but without us Friends there wouldn’t be a Whitehall to look after. Sol let’s celebrate our involvement over 40 years.
On opening day many of you were involved – and I’d love to have a few of those memories of the day in a forthcoming newsletter and what Whitehall and the Friends have meant to you.
For me, it’s meant friendship and the joy of a common purpose. From conversations with the Thursday Club of Winifred Walker and others, to the excitement of seeing familiar faces at the many events organised over the years. And encouraging so many people to knit for the Yarn bombing of Whitehall just a few years ago too.
So this a request for ideas for 2 things:
One. How you would like to see this monumental events celebrated? Hopefully Whitehall will be open again in time for the Birthday, currently it is on track to be open in the summer so fingers crossed.
It would be lovely to involve local schools, churches and groups, maybe musical performances or dance or fireworks, or massed bands or a parade of elephants or a fly past… or…or…or – The Friends are your organisation so please pass on any suggestions you may have – big or small – and any offers of help too or if you have any connections with groups who would like to be involved.
Two. How shall we move forward as a Friends organisation? More of the same? More one-off events? More talks? More teas? More fairs and stalls? More involvement with other local organisations? More local walks? Organised tripe? YOU DECIDE!
And how do we recruit more Friends and make Whitehall and its Friends relevant for the next 40 years? It would be lovely if we could get some of the newer residents of Cheam and the area involved so they can get as much pleasure as we have had from the Friends over the years.
Please use the site contact form for ANY ideas or memories of the Friends of Whitehall. We can’t promise to act on them all, but your voice in the Friends has mattered so much in making the House and the Friends what they are today, so let’s have your thoughts for the future.
Events shown on this page are only available to Friends of Whitehall.
Sunday 10th December 2017 – 11 am – 2 pm – Friends’ Christmas offee Morning in Cheam Library.
Come and enjoy a homemade Christmas mince pie with Friends. There will be a free raffle, an opportunity to exchange Christmas cards and plenty of good cheer and chatter, The event is free but if you are a member and would like to attend, please use the contact form on this site just so we can make sure we have enough festive cheer to go round!
On Saturday 12th November 2016 over a dozen Friends’ spent an enjoyable afternoon at the Adrian Mann Theatre, NESCOT, Ewell watching the matinee performance of the classic black comedy, ‘The Ladykillers’. The play was produced by the Saints Players, an amateur dramatic group based in Cheam.
‘SOMME 100 FILM PROJECT.
On Friday 11th November 2016 a group of Friends’ joined a packed audience at St. Andrews URC, Cheam to see the film ‘1916 Battle of the Somme’. To mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, a new score created by Laura Rossi, accompanied the film. The music was performed by the Sutton Youth Symphony Orchestra, one of the hundred orchestras taking part in this project around the country.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S HOUSE
November 2nd 2016 was a cold crisp when 24 Friends’ journeyed to London to visit 6 Craven Street, near Charing Cross Station. It was a boarding house in the 1700s where Benjamin Franklin lodged for nearly sixteen years between 1757 and 1775. He was one of the founding fathers of the United States.
Our party was divided into two, while one group spent an hour viewing the interior and being entertained with the story of Benjamin’s life by films and theatre, the remainder were guided by Eleanor Jackson, our resident Blue Badge holder, on a short architectural and literary stroll around the side streets. After a lunch break the two groups changed places for another informative hour or so.
This visit was generously arranged by the Heritage Department, thank you all for attending in such cold weather. The connection of the boarding house landlady, her daughter Polly and Cheam Village will be revealed when Whitehall reopens.
WALK AROUND THE INNS OF COURT
Friends met Ian Bevan at Temple Station on a rather damp Monday morning on the 5th October 2016. We visited two of the four Inns of Court, Inner Temple and Middle Temple. Originally the ground of the Inner and Middle Temples belonged to the Knights Templar who gave it to the Knights of St John. In the 14th century, it was given to the lawyers to provide accommodation for barristers and those training whjo would live with, and learn from the more senior men.
Both the Inner and Middle Temples suffered damage in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and Christopher Wren designed their replacements. During the Blitz again many buildings were flattened but they have been sympathetically rebuilt in the Wren style. We walked through many pleasant courtyards and briefly crossed Fleet Street to study the outside of the Royal Courts of Justice, an extraordinary structure with about 100 courts inside. Our walk ended with lunch in Middle Temple Hall where we lucky enough to see the layout of the Hall from upstairs. Roundels in the window showed the arms of many famous characters – Pepys and Drake among them. The windows also bear the names of Josephus Jekyll and Robertus Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson dined their – did he get the names from Middle Temple Hall?
FISH AND CHIP SUPPER
24 Friends gathered hungrily at 7 pm on Friday 22nd January 2016, for the fish and chips supper, ably arranged by Jenny Lugton, and a team of Friends, in the Whitehall tea room.
Whilst waiting and chatting over the odd glass or two, we were kept busy and entertained by a fiendish quiz, set by Eleanor Jackson. This took the form of a collection of rebuses / pictograms depicting the names of London mainline and underground stations.
The entertainment didn’t stop there. One replete with fresh, tasty fish and chips from Superfish, we had our memories, knowledge and ingenuity thoroughly tested by Eleanor’s second quiz. This consisted of several sections on history, royalty and Surrey, to name but a few. Fortunately, this was all conducted in a light-hearted spirit and no honour was at stake! Thank you so much Eleanor. A truly enjoyable evening.
A WHITEHALL MUSICAL VALENTINE
On Tuesday 9th February 2016 John White, a staunch supporter and Friend, presented a selection of popular vocalists ranging from Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, singing “like the beat, beat, beat of the tom-tom”, to Marlene Dietrich breathing her way through “You do something for me”. As well as the varied music played. Thank you John.
THE STORY OF WHITEHALL
On Tuesday 16th February 2016 The Heritage Department arranged a talk by Val Murphy and many Friends attended to find out more about the history of the building and the people who lived there over the centuries. The talk was very informative and highlighted the fact that Whitehall has undergone many changes over the years.
A MYRIAD OF LONDON CHURCHES
On Monday 7th March 2016, on a very cold morning which did not deter ten Friends journeying to London to meet Colin Evans in Trinity Square Gardens on Tower Hill, for a guided walk towards St Paul’s Cathedral, passing 20 sites of the 40 churches on the north and west side of the original Roman City of Londinium. After a brief history of the are, we visited the site of Tower Hill execution scaffold, before briskly making our way to visit St Olave’s Church. Then onwards to graveyards, and to churches, many rebuilt or repaired by Sir Christopher Wren after the fire of 1666, others that suffered during the blitz and one bombed in more recent history by the IRA.
Continuing the Roman theme, we lunched in an Italian restaurant, after which our guide led us to a viewing platform behind St Paul’s. The view of London, once a sweep of spires, now has a sight of tower blocks, angles and glass. The walk was well received by the Friends and a profit was made towards Whitehall funds.
GROWING UP AT CHEAM SCHOOL’
Have you bought your copy of Jimmy Taylor’s book yet? It has been selling well, is very interesting and makes a perfect gift. Selling to the public at £4.95, but Friends may purchase copies for £4.50. Available from Whitehall or via the Cheam School page on our website. This book is a real Whitehall exclusive, so make sure you have your copy.
‘BELMONT: A CENTURY AGO’
Local historian Roland Sparkes has just published his book ‘Belmont: A Century Ago’ If you are interested in local history copies of this book can be purchased via the website http://belmonthistory.org.uk. or it is available on Amazon.
The website statistics show that the number of unique visitors since 21st May 2007 has been 353,336.
The site has been re-designed and brought up-to-date with more information available. A lot of the additional material, Tudor food and Tudor clothes, has been made available to help schoolchildren with information for their homework, the site statistics show that Tudor Food and Drink and Tudor Costumes are the most viewed pages and Tudor Food, Drink and Costumes the most used search phrases. If we keep them interested in Whitehall’s history they may even grow up and become Friends themselves. The site often receives emails from children thanking us for helping them with their homework.
The website statistics also show that the Nonsuch Palace model has generated extra interest in the site since Nonsuch Palace follows interest in the Tudor period in the most viewed pages list.
The statistics also tell us that the site is used worldwide, with visitors from nearly all the European Countries and Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Ascension Island.
We also receive quite a lot of emails from visitors who use the Contact page. These have included visitors wishing to book children’s parties or a stall at one of our events. But the site has also received some quite interesting emails.
A lady emailed from America to say that she was visiting the UK and wanted to book a ticket for an Alison Weir talk. This was arranged and some of us had the opportunity to meet her at the talk and she was given a guided tour of the house.
Another email was received from America from a gentleman who said that when he lived in the area he often admired Whitehall from the outside and having left the UK over twenty years ago he was delighted to discover that the house was still thriving and asked us to keep up the good work.
A gentleman who lives in Lesotho e-mailed to say that he was born in Cheam and was educated at Sutton County (now Sutton Grammar) School, and visited and studied at Whitehall and used to know the Misses Muller who lived at Whitehall. His parents were married at St. Dunstan’s church in 1931 and he remembers well the late Rector of Cheam, Canon W S Hayman, MA.