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mors - friendship for all

Meets: 1st Tuesday of each Month in the Church at 19:30.  Contact: Tony King

MORS is a Church Social Group open to “Methodists of Rose Street”, and to all other friends of the Church.  Our main aims are to encourage friendships to grow and to welcome everyone into the overall Church family.

We try to meet these aims by arranging:
  • A Monthly Programme of talks followed by refreshments
  • Visits and Excursions to places of interest
  • Concerts
  • An Annual Dinner and Anniversary Service

A further aim is to raise funds in support of Church activities and Local Charities.

Future Programme

 4 June
Japan - its Landscape & Wildlife
        Nigel Glover-Wright

18 June
Outing to Hever Castle
        Booking required

 2 July
All you wanted to know about Dowsing
        Michael Haxeltine

 6 August
Outing to Frogmore House and The Savill Garden
        Booking required

Monthly Review
Event Reports

Our May meeting welcomed Mr Ian Black to expound on 'The Queen's Other Houses'. The first point he highlighted was that the Queen only owns one in her own name, Balmoral in Scotland, and that the others really belong to us, the people, in the name of the Crown Estates. Ian explained that his talks are usually undertaken on cruise ships for the information of American visitors prior to their trips to the UK. Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are obviously in this local area and known to many of us, so the 'others' would concentrate on those in more rural areas and those where relatives and past monarchs have lived.

Sandringham House in Norfolk was acquired in 1862 as, to put it bluntly, a means of restricting the high-life of Prince Albert, the future Edward 7th. Monarchs ever since have used the house as a regular haven-of-peace away from London. Similarly, Queen Victoria and her love of Scotland led to the purchase, in her own name, of Balmoral Castle and estate on Deeside. Birkhall, a house on the estate, is now owned by Prince Charles. Another of the 'main' residences is Holyrood House in Edinburgh but this is only used on brief visits for Scottish garden parties in the summer – possibly on account of its gory past!

Ian then went through a list of other buildings around London and the southeast with continuing royal connections:- Clarence House (previously the Queen Mother), Highgrove (Charles and Camilla), Kensington Palace (split into flats), Gatcombe Park (Princess Royal, used for riding events), and St. James' Palace (still the Court to which foreign ambassadors relate). Finally, Bagshot Park is where the Duke and Duchess of Wessex live and Sunninghill Park, the former home of Prince Andrew and family.

Previous palaces and royal residences included the enormous Whitehall Palace of which only the Banqueting House, boasting a magnificent painted ceiling, remains opposite Horse Guards after a fire in 1698. Indeed, Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross Station were originally part of the palace gardens, and Charles 1st was executed there in 1649. Hampton Court is another, acquired by Henry 8th from Cardinal Wolsey in 1529, and where William and Mary had twin staircases built for their combined lives. Many forget that the Tower of London was a royal house in its early days as was the Palace of Westminster, of which only the Hall remains. Fleetingly, Kew Palace (where George 3rd was confined latterly), Osborne House on the Isle of Wight (again for Victoria's peace of mind!) and Somerset House ended this list.

Returning to the Main Houses, Ian took us through the grounds of Windsor Castle via Frogmore House (originally named because of a covering of frogs, believe it or not), the Royal Mausoleum (Victoria and Albert) and Burial Yard outside (Duke and Duchess of Windsor), Royal Lodge (now Prince Andrew, prev. Queen Mother), Fort Belvedere (the Windsors before abdication), Cumberland Lodge and Cranbourne Tower.

Future Events

Our next meeting is on 4th June, with Nigel Glover-Wright and 'Japan – its Landscape and Wildlife'.  We are also looking forward to our visit to Hever Castle and Royal Tunbridge Wells on 18th June which is almost fully booked.

Andrew Honeyman

Annual Review  (February 2019)

M0RS has had yet another successful year in the life of Rose Street Methodist Church.  Most meetings have seen upwards of 50 people in attendance while topics have ranged from 'Training to Become Cosmonauts in Star City, Russia' to 'Lies and Excuses' put forward by those coming through Customs at Heathrow.  A stained-glass maker explained his expertise and a Chocolate salesman had us eating out of his hand just before Christmas.  The Reading Male Voice Choir gave us a concert in March and the BA Band returned in October, both helping to boost our charity fund.  After a committee apology and some re-arrangement, our morning Anniversary Service in February was conducted by the Rev. Martin Turner, recently of Central Hall, Westminster.

This hiccup only goes to highlight a matter which many church groups may have to face up to in the near future – the continuing increase in the average age of those involved in maintaining these groups.  The MORS committee have already decided that there should be a 'football-like' winter break for meetings, since recent numbers indicate a reluctance to come out on a cold winter's evening.  With that in mind, we intend to have no Tuesday meeting next winter, i.e. November, December 2019 and January, February 2020.  More on this subject over the next few months.  Other decisions still need to be made but, suffice for now, we need more willing and, dare I say fitter, people to help organise.

Andrew Honeyman