The Arsenal Foundation

Helping older residents to see the sights

The Arsenal Foundation St Luke’s Community History Group

The Arsenal Foundation has helped to fund St Luke’s Community History Group, which organises trips to landmarks and museums for older people. Local resident Jean Chapman tells us about some her personal highlights.

“I was born in St Leonard’s Hospital, Hoxton. I lived on Essex Road for more than 30 years, then moved to Finsbury – that’s the Old Street area – in 1975. My father was a fireman in Clerkenwell during the War, helping to save many important buildings in the City, and I remember him taking us to Parliament Hill to keep us safe.

“As for me, I was a clerical officer in the civil service for over 40 years, and I’m proud to say that I have an MBE and long service medal.

“I have long enjoyed going to St Luke’s, and as well as joining the History Group I used to like line-dancing and I belonged to a walking group. I can’t walk so far now but love to be out and about. The exercise has done me good down the years and I love the social aspect.

“I found out about the History Group when my neighbours Cecil and Jean invited me along. St Luke’s told me that the aim was to support older residents in EC1 to get active, reconnect with each other and benefit from joining a friendly, supportive community group that would help us to make new friends and stay involved in the community.

The Arsenal Foundation St Luke’s Community History Group

The History Group – many of whom are lifelong Arsenal supporters – enjoy a tour of Emirates Stadium. They have also held sessions where they remember the club as it was when they were younger

“We have been on many interesting trips to places such as Sadlers Wells, St John’s Gate Museum and the Imperial War Museum. I think my favourite was Windsor Castle – we had a beautiful day and a great guide who shared all the inside stories. The State Rooms are so impressive.

“I also really enjoyed going to Mansion House – it’s on our doorstep so perhaps we tend to overlook it, but it has a fascinating history. If you haven’t visited you should go. We heard about all the grand receptions held in the banquet halls and famous visitors. And of course it goes without saying that I loved our trip to Emirates Stadium and the Arsenal Museum. Just seeing the clock brought back memories.

“I am a proud Londoner and I love history. It is so nice to have the chance to visit historic places and learn new things. When you are working you never have time for these things. I have been going to the group for over ten years now and have made some great friends who are all interested in the same thing.

“I am an Arsenal fan, of course, and as well as visiting the club we went to two sessions to look back on old times at the Islington Local History Centre. As a child I stood behind the goal at the old stadium. My dad was a fan too – in fact everyone on our estate was an Arsenal supporter. I think it’s lovely that the club is able to give something back to the local community and help such a wide array of people, including me.

“Young or old, we all appreciate the support to make our lives just that little bit brighter.”  

For more information click here, where you can also watch their film After The War: Finsbury Stories, which was made with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to celebrate the history of the London Borough of Finsbury before it merged with Islington in 1965

The Arsenal Foundation St Luke’s Community History Group

Jean enjoys visiting landmarks that she didn’t get time to explore when she was working, and has made many likeminded friends at the St Luke’s History Group

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