Join ‘The Thorney Island Society’!
The Thorney Island Society (‘TTIS’) takes its name from the island formed within the winding channels where the old River Tyburn met the north bank of the River Thames; originally a monastic site, for a thousand years the venue for royal coronations at the West Minster. Once literally a protected, thorney thicket, the area is now home to some of the most historic landmarks in London, including Westminster Abbey, The Palace of Westminster (both Houses of Parliament), St John’s Smith Square, and The Tate Gallery. These days the Society’s geographical area of historical research and development monitoring extends along the river to Vauxhall Bridge, and the Society now incorporates the ‘Friends of St James’s Park and The Green Park’.
We are a Conservation and Amenity Society, founded in 1985 when, as a campaign group, TTIS successfully saved from demolition London’s first public library, erected in Great Smith Street in 1893 (and now imaginatively reconfigured as ‘The Cinnamon Club’).
Our three principal aims today are: to preserve all that is best in this historic area; to campaign for sympathetic development that improves the quality of life for all; and to build community interest in our local history. Still acting as an alert and well-informed ‘watchdog’ over local planning and development issues as an official consultee of Westminster City Council, the Society continues to look after the interests of our residents and local businesses, large and small.
Many of the street names in the area evoke the great social, religious and political history that has been made here, such as Old Palace Yard, Abbey Orchard Street, Strutton Ground, Horseferry Road, and Perkins Rents. Westminster’s historic importance continually inspires our members, and we hold regular topical lectures, and visits to specially chosen venues. We also maintain a small archive in Old Pye Street, containing books, prints, maps, plans, postcards and ephemera relating to the ‘Island’ and ‘the Parks’ histories. We are happy to open our archives by appointment for research purposes.
Please browse our website, where you can read our blog about current news, enjoy descriptions of recent visits that we have arranged for our members to many fascinating (and sometimes normally inaccessible) historic venues in our neighbourhood, and be continuously surprised by the novel historical snippets submitted by enthralled members to ‘Thorney Tales’!
We are entirely supported, both financially and administratively, only by volunteers and our wider membership; so we are always keen to welcome new members. Do please consider joining our unusual and active Society.
If you would like to help us preserve and enhance this unique area with its unsurpassed Royal, Parliamentary and early religious associations, please visit our website to complete and submit the Membership Application form. A single person’s annual subscription is £15; joint annual membership is £25 (please enquire about the reduced annual subscription fee we are delighted to offer to seniors, unwaged and students).
If you would find it more convenient to have a Membership Application form sent to you by post, please request one from:
The Secretary, The Thorney Island Society, 10 Old Pye Street, London SW1P 2DG
You may also follow us on Twitter: @ThorneyIslandSo