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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David Hinds - Self Portrait
Community, creativity and connection - Chelsea Pensioners and the Soldiers’ Arts Academy

The Soldiers’ Arts Academy links serving and veteran Army personnel and their families with professionals from the creative arts. Through a range of workshops, projects and productions they give participants the opportunity to discover new interests, recover from difficult experiences, transition into civilian life and even find new careers. 

Burial Grounds Thumb
Researching our old Burial Ground gives Chelsea Pensioners a new lease of life

The monuments in the old Burial Ground record Chelsea Pensioners who took part in famous battles, former Governors and other members of staff and their families – and famous figures from the Royal Hospital’s history.

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