Item: A VILLAGE IN CHELSEA - AN INFORMAL ACCOUNT OF THE ROYAL HOSPITAL by David Ascoli.
1st Edition First Printing
224 page hardback book (22cm x 14cm) published by William Luscombe 1974.
Content: This is a 1st edition of A Village in Chelsea - An Informal Account of the Royal Hospital by David Ascoli.
On December 7th, 1681, Charles II issued his Royal Warrant appointing a Treasurer for his Hospital `for the relief of such Land Souldiers as are or shall be old, lame or infirme in ye service of the Crowne', and on Christmas Day that year he gave Ez,ooo of his `more particular private mony ... to begin so exelent a worke.' The grand design of the Royal Hospital was entrusted to Sir Christopher Wren, but it was not until ten years later, in the Spring of 1692, that the first InPensioners took up residence. Today, after three centuries and many vicissitudes, the Hospital still honours faithfully the purpose of its `pious Founder'.
The Royal Hospital is, in effect, a self-contained village centred around its own chapel, its communal dininghall, its infirmary and its social club - a community of old gentlemen with similar backgrounds and like experiences. And like any self-respecting village, it thrives on the gossip of the parish pump. But A Village in Chelsea is much more than an old soldiers' tale. Throughout the years the Hospital has attracted the great - and the humble - from all walks of life. Its story is one of drama and of high comedy. It has survived criminal mismanagement and several attempts to close it down. In two world wars it suffered grievous damage and many casualties. To-day it stands high in the affection and regard of the public, and the famous scarlet coat has become a singular and exclusive badge of honour.
This informal account of one of the best-loved (and least known) of our national institutions is a tribute to the honourable profession of arms and to the British genius for survival. And last but not least, it is a tribute to the memory of a King who, though he may never have said a foolish thing, certainly did one wise one.
With 13 illustrations by Andrew Farmer.
Additional information: The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for British soldiers who are unfit for further duty due to injury or old age, located in the Chelsea region of central London. There are just over 300 soldiers (310, as of June 10, 2004) resident in the Royal Hospital, referred to as "in-pensioners" (or more colloquially, as Chelsea pensioners). The grounds of the Royal Hospital have been the site of the annual Chelsea Flower Show since 1913. The Royal Hospital was founded by King Charles II, who issued a Royal Warrant authorising the building of the Hospital on December 22, 1681, in order to make provision for old or injured soldiers. Many of these soldiers, who were no longer fit for service, had been kept on regimental rolls so that they could continue to receive payment, because there was an inadequate provision of pensions for them. Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to design and erect the building. His design was based on the Hôpital des Invalides in Paris.
Condition: Dust-jacket good condition; very minor wear front top right-hand corner, minor crease/wear/ split (5mm) rear top left-hand corner, very minor dulling/handling marks to rear, not price-clipped (inside removable protective sleeve). Hardback very good condition; very minor bumps/wear top/bottom of spine, very minor bump rear, very clean & bright. Pages very good condition; minor dust-marks when pages viewed collectively top-on (page faces unaffected), page faces very clean & bright.
Additional photographs available upon request.
Collectable 1st Edition