Explore the history of the Chelsea Pensioners

Royal Hospital Chelsea is currently engaged in building a suite of cross-curricular learning activities with strong links to the National Curriculum in England. Join us for one of our tailor-made learning sessions or events to learn about over 300 years of history and the role that Royal Hospital Chelsea has played in British society. Unable to visit? Why not let the Chelsea Pensioners come to you? We offer outreach to local London schools and institutions. Take part in a themed workshop or book a talk with a Chelsea Pensioner.


Investigating Uniforms (Ks1- 2)

Subject area (English, history, PSHE)
Workshop overview

Pupils get the opportunity to learn about the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the people who reside here through interpretation of their uniform. The workshop facilitator will guide pupils through an overview of military dress and what it is used for, before allowing the children to investigate real pensioners and their pasts.

Students will use their skills in historical investigation to work out what uniform a pensioner would be wearing in different circumstances and will even have the opportunity to dress as a pensioner.

Kids trying on WW II  uniform at an RHC workshop

  • Welcome to the hospital and information on the history and purpose of Royal Hospital Chelsea
  • Military dress over the years and open questions about why it has changed and why we have different uniforms
  • Use of sources to correctly dress a soldier and videos to tell stories and give correct information
  • Emotion boards to gain an understanding of some of the emotions of being an army veteran
  • Chance to try on pensioner uniform
Learning outcomes

Pupils will use comprehension skills to pick out facts from a piece of written prose and apply them to a series of tasks.

Historical investigative skills will allow pupils to gain an understanding of uniforms and what the parts of them mean.

Children will develop an understanding of the emotions of being a soldier and with that the relevance of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in supporting veterans.

Blitzkrieg- Local history of London (KS2)

Subject area (English, history)
Workshop overview

Children use real sources and replicas of artefacts to conduct their own historical investigations into the use of the Royal Hospital Chelsea during the blitz, connecting them to events on an emotional level and realising the extent of damage caused by the blitz. The workshop explores the roles that people at the hospital took on and the loss to property and life as 37 bombs landed on site.

School kids discovering WW II artefacts in a RHC workshop

  • Brief history of the Royal Hospital Chelsea
  • Description of the blitz- Pupils will use artefacts, photographs and investigative skills to gain perspective of what happened during WWII
  • Learning through collections- Artefact handling will allow pupils to gain an understanding of what equipment was used during the blitz and make the connection to people of London
Learning outcomes

To develop an understanding of local history through historical enquiry of sources and artefacts.
Gain an emotional connection to the past through the description of events using onomatopoeia and adjectives.
Understand what the Royal Hospital Chelsea is, what it stands for and its relevance within society.

Billy the Kid- Walking tour (KS2-3)

Subject area (English, history, science, drama, PSHE)


For all schools enquiries or to book a workshop, please contact the Education and Learning Coordinator via phone or email.



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Art Room
A Creative Connection Across the Generations

Although Chelsea Pensioners Rick Graham and Ernie Boyden are separated by a generation, they bond over the hobby they share. Both are keen painters and enjoy working together in the Royal Hospital’s art room.

Tom Jones - Live at Chelsea
Live at Chelsea, Magnificent Music and a Magical Atmosphere

For the last few nights, the tranquil setting of the Royal Hospital has come alive as three main acts and their supporting artists took to the stage for Live at Chelsea. The South Grounds had a festival vibe with stalls selling food and drink and guests picnicking before making their way to the auditorium.


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