The Founding of the Royal Hospital Chelsea

Until the 17th Century the state made no specific provision for old and injured soldiers. Care for the poor and sick was provided by the religious foundations. Most of this provision ended following the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of King Henry VIII.

In 1681, responding to the need to look after these soldiers, King Charles II (image right) issued a Royal Warrant authorising the building of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to care for those 'broken by age or war'.

Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to design and erect the building. Sir Stephen Fox was commissioned to secure the funds necessary to progress the build. 

The chosen site, set adjacent to the River Thames in the countryside of Chelsea contained the uncompleted building of the former 'Chelsey College'. In 1692 work was finally completed and the first Chelsea Pensioners were admitted in February 1692 and by the end of March the full complement of 476 were in residence.

 

King Charles II

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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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