You may have seen them on parade, on TV, at the Cenotaph or around the the streets of Chelsea, but who are - and why are they known as - the Chelsea Pensioners?

From 1692 until 1955, all Army pensions were administered by and paid from the Royal Hospital Chelsea, which is why all Army pensioners were often referred to as Chelsea Pensioners.

Those who lived 'Out', in the UK or abroad and received their pension in cash from agents around the country were known as Out-Pensioners. All records for Out-Pensioners are held by the National Archives at Kew.

Over time, the term Out-Pensioner fell out of common usage and, in more recent times, it's only those Pensioners who retire to and live within the Royal Hospital who are now offically known as Chelsea Pensioners. These eligible veterans of the British Army surrendered their Army Pension and were admitted as residents of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

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Two Chelsea Pensioners opening the gate to the Soane Stable Yard
Royal Hospital Chelsea joins the Chelsea Heritage Quarter and Chelsea History Festival this September with special previews of the Soane Stable Yard

We are delighted to announce that the Royal Hospital Chelsea will be part of the Chelsea History Festival once again this year, from Wednesday 25 to Sunday 29 September 2024 and part of the new Chelsea Heritage Quarter – London’s new heritage destination. 

King's Birthday Honours 2024
Royal Hospital Model of Care recognised in two awards at King’s Birthday Honours

The Royal Hospital Chelsea’s model of care for older veterans has been recognised through awards for two members of staff in The King's Birthday Honours list this year.