The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for some 300 veterans of the British Army. It is a 66-acre site located on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, London. It is an independent charity and relies partly upon donations to cover day-to-day running costs to provide care and accommodation for veterans.
King Charles II founded the Royal Hospital in 1682 as a retreat for veterans.The provision of a hostel rather than the payment of pensions was inspired by Les Invalides in Paris. The site for the Royal Hospital was an area of Chelsea which held an incomplete building “Chelsey College”, a theological college James I founded in 1609.
The Royal Hospital opened its doors to the Chelsea Pensioners in 1692 for “the relief and succour” of veterans. Some of the first soldiers admitted included those injured at the Battle of Sedgemoor.Wren expanded his original design to add two additional quadrangles to the east and west of the central court; these were known respectively as the “Light Horse Court” and the “College Court”. Due to mismanagement by Lord Ranelagh, the Hospital Treasurer, the building was not completed until 1692.
Since 1913, the Royal Hospital Chelsea has hosted the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show which continues to captivate audiences and is one of the most eagerly anticipated horticultural events on the gardening calendar.
Britain’s most prestigious flower show
First held in 1913, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is an annual horticultural exhibition organised by the Royal Horticultural Society and held in the beautiful grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Renowned designers and nurseries from around the world exhibit the latest trends in horticulture, often seeing the exclusive unveiling of new plants. From the science of urban gardening to exotic crops there’s something for everyone at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.