Maldon U3A

The Wellington Trail Coach Outing with Great Baddow & Galleywood U3A.

Pauline Bowen organized a Coach Outing London on Thursday, 24th February 2005 to visit the National Army Museum, Apsley House & the Wellington Arch and invited Maldon U3A Members to join the party.


On the evening before the trip, Mr Lodge phoned Pauline to say that Stanstead Airport had just phoned him to enquire whether he could provide a number of coaches as the Met Office had forcast that everyone would have to be bused to Heathrow as 5 inches of snow was on its way. Not deterred we were still going as we have a microclimate - the last good snow fell in 1991.

Lodge's Coach driver Paul phoned to say that he was on the way and ignoring the bad weather forecast put out by the Met Office and arrived before time at Danbury where the Maldon U3A Members joined. Once off Danbury Hill we left the snow behind, picking up at Great Baddow & then set off for London discussing the poor weather forecast.

After being overtaken by Tony Blair's Range Rover, we arrived at Chelsea to the National Army Museum where after the introduction by Sam Boty, Education Officer, most persons had a cup of tea.

Julian took a party into the Crimea Section and explained why the British Army were there, what they achieved (or not) and what battles were fought. It was not a well run campaign with many soldiers dying off the battle field. John Bowen saw his Great Grandfather's 4th Irish Dragoon Guards Helmet which was worn in the Charge of the Heavy Brigade & and his medals on display.

Helmet worn by Timothy Marks,
4th Irish Dragoon Guards.

Crimea Medal with clasps for Balaklava, Inkermann & Sebastopol.
Turkish Crimea Medal - Sardinian issue.

The Museum is on 3 floors and showed the British Army Soldier from 1700 to the modern day. The Waterloo floor provided many personal exhibits of both Wellington & Napoleon. The skeleton of Napoleon's horse, Marengo (Ali) which was sold to Lt Gen Angerstein after the Battle of waterloo who put the horse to stud at Newmarket.

After lunch we travelled to No 1 London, Apsley House where we marvelled at the splendour of the gifts given to Wellington by grateful Monarchs for stopping Napoleon in his quest for European dominance.

Apsley House

The Spanish Silver Gilt table centre in the Dining Room was just breathtaking. Others looked at the first double-glazing in England using mirrors. The matching chandeliers and candelabra were simply stunning both in their beauty & size.

Candelabra in Apsley House.

Every room was covered in paintings of gentlemen who Wellington had met either as a Soldier or as Prime Minister.

In the basement were the death masks of both Wellington & Napoleon which brought it home that they were simply human!.

We then walked under the road, up the lift to the top of the Wellington Arch to a nice cup of tea. It was gently raining so one could not spend as much time watching the traffic as was expected - but it did give a good vantage point to the centre of London - Big Ben could be clearly seen.

Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch looking from Apsley House.

After a clear run using the A13/A130 we were all having tea at home by 6.15pm.

Thanks to Di Angel for assisting with the trip.

Write-up by Pauline & John Bowen.

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Last revised 12th February 2010