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Apsley House & Wellington Arch Tour - 14th October

The Socratic Club continued our museum event series, with a private guided tour of Apsley House and the world famous Wellington Arch (built 1825-7).

We were extremely fortunate to have expert and historic properties steward at English Heritage - Martin Stiles - provide the most superb tour of Apsley House and the Duke of Wellington's art collection. While little encouragement was needed for the group to explore room to room and level to level, we were presented with outstanding history and history of art, along with politics and military strategy. Of all the remarkable features, from paintings, statues and busts of Napoleon, and sculptures, mementoes of the great architect Adam, to relics of Waterloo - the oldest piano in the UK (from the 18th century) was a particular marvel!

The House showcased the tastes of luxury in the 19th century and of one of Britain's greatest, not only the victor of Waterloo but also a Prime Minister. The art collection includes works by Titian and Van Dyck to name but a few.

The 'museum' of military weapons and gifts from royal houses (Emperors, Tsars and Princes of Europe) astounded the group - with everyone picking out an item they would like to take 'if only they could‘!

The Wellington Arch (and even the smallest police station history that it holds) added an extra special ending to this superb tour and perhaps moved the proposition in our debate as to whether such key locations of Britain's history, and such important monuments should receive more than charitable funding to preserve them. The vote/proposition was carried overwhelmingly.

Well done all on such tremendous concentration and such excellent questions throughout.

We much look forward to our next event.

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