The full list of Past President’s Join Me visits

Here is a list of all the “join me” excursions and visits Terry Brown made when president. They were intended to be very informal Catenians events arranged on an open invitation basis. Even the soul needs stimulation and the spirit can be raised by both new encounters and old experiences revisited in company. This was obviously a very personal choice of venues and without any specific religious connotations. Brother Terry said he would go whether others join him or not, but was delighted to find that quite a few brothers and wives came along.

Visits made:

Dulwich Picture Gallery- took place June 20, 2014
Chelsea Physic Garden- took place on July 20, 2014
Red House- took place on September 5, 2014
Leighton House- took place on December 5, 2014
Magic Circle-took place on January 13, 2015
Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market and the George Inn took place on May 1, 2015
2 Willow Road Hampstead and Fenton House took place on August 14, 2015
Broadcasting House, Portland Place- took place April 1, 2016

Visits in more detail:

Friday, April 1, 2016: Visit to Broadcasting House, Portland Square

IMG_1751A happy band of Balham and Croydon Brothers and Wives enjoyed an entertaining visit to the BBC Headquarters in Portland Place on Friday Aril 1. Certainly not April fools, we were lucky enough to catch one of the last tours for the time being and we were given an interesting insight into “Aunty’s” culture and workings.

a picture of an archaic microphone
One of the old microphones
brothers and their wives pictured in the News studio
Charles and Marianne Marriott and Steve and Jane Palmer at the News Desk
aerial view of Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House from the air, with the original building on the left and the wrap around extension behind and to the right, creating an open air piazza


Sadly, probably due to increasing concerns over security, we were only allowed to see into the state-of-the-art new studio for news from the cafe balcony viewing point. We could get a good insight into the excitement of the new building, but it was still, literally, “behind glass”.

This was all great fun and went a long way to compensate for missing out on the architectural drama the new building. To quote Steve “it was great fun, I haven’t laughed so much for years. Our guide was hilarious and that and the almost monoglot French students making up our party made for a wonderful time.  The news read in a thick French accent was a whole new experience.”

TGB with acknowledgements to Wikipedia

Friday August 14: 2 Willow Road & Fenton House, Hampstead


On Friday August 14 the “Join Me” excursion was organised primarily to visit 2 Willow Road, a private house on the edge of Hampstead Heath built for himself by ‘brutalist” architect Ernö Goldfinger in 1939. Because the house is quite small when compared with others we have visited another building was included in the itinerary, Fenton House, which is probably about as far removed as could be from the C20 modernism of Willow Road. The Balham Brothers assembled for the photo shoot outside Fenton House, but Lucille, Marianne, Bernard & Ken could not be found at this stage.

Matt, Steve, Charles and Terry at Fenton HOuse

WillowRoad_Night2 Willow Road caused quite a stir when it was acquired and opened by the National Trust. It is a 1939 modernist building, designed and constructed by the architect Ernö Goldfinger for his family, in what at the time was a shockingly modern style. It was Goldfinger’s home until his death in 1987 and has been maintained with his purpose-built furniture and fittings, as well as many of his pictures and possessions.

WillowRoad_Interior  Goldfinger later became a wealthy, successful architect, but at the time he was a Hungarian refugee with a family to support – and money was tight. The house has a fascination as a time capsule, a C20 postwar Hampstead architect’s home with everything down to the coffee packets still in place on the kitchen shelves.

The  introductory film gave us a good insight into the architect and we were not sure we liked him that much.

After a swift pint at a nearby pup, we set off to Fenton House, which, due to a bit of mistaken map reading by Terry, turned out to be a good 20 minutes walk (up some fairly steep gradients), not the mere five minutes promised!



Fenton House is a 17th-century merchant’s house, regarded as a hidden gem in London. It has its unique charm and ambience, but is not the site of major historical events and is not marked by any architectural genius.

It was bought by a Lady Binning in 1936 and she filled it with her highly decorative collections of porcelain, Georgian furniture and 17th-century needlework, thus demonstrating the wide gulf in taste in London in the thirties and just how radical the Goldfinger house was. The sheer size of the ‘merchants house’ (occupied by Lady Binning alone- save for six servants) compared with Willow Road says something about how wealth and culture were in flux in the first half of the C20.

There are many early keyboard instruments at Fenton House and these are all still played. The sound of virginals and the colours of early 20th-century drawings are a part of the Fenton House ambience and we experienced both.

Our excursion was rounded off with a pub lunch in the Holy Bush, by which time quite heavy rain had set in and we were pleased to enjoy some food and a beer before heading off to Hampstead station, which was mercifully close. TGB

Friday May 1: Borough Market, the George Inn and Southwark Cathedral

IMG_1608On Friday, May 1 we had the best turn-out yet for our “Join Me” visit to Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market and the George Inn.


IMG_1606We met for coffee in the Cathedral refectory and then we were treated to an excellent guided tour of the cathedral. Our guide, Sophie Wheeler, was very knowledgeable and seemed passionate about the cathedral, but she also sustained our interest throughout one and a half hours.


After a little time to wander through Borough Market with its wonderful and tempting sights and scents of food of all kinds, we arrived hungrily at the George Inn. We had a pleasant table in the upper bar and rounded off our visit with a pint, lots of chat and some enjoyable pub grub!

More pictures in the full post post on this.

Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Southwark which encompasses South London and East Surrey. The church has borne continual witness to faith in Jesus Christ for the last 1400 years. Described as a place which is open to all and from where the Good News of God’s love for all is proclaimed and lived out.

Our interest might be more in the architecture, which is Gothic and looks rather beautiful. Added to this there are some very well done modern extensions which include offices and the tearoom, called the refectory. Thus, today in old and new buildings the Cathedral continues to serve the people of its parish and the people of the diocese as a centre of teaching, worship, prayer and pilgrimage.

Borough Market
Borough Market

Borough Market styles itself as London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and international produce.

The George Inn
The George Inn

The George Inn is a public house established in the medieval period on Borough High Street. Dating from the 17th century, it is London’s last remaining galleried inn. The galleries that front the building were once common on inns. Many other surviving examples were lost during the Second World War. The original George Inn was destroyed by fire in 1676.

Charles Dickens visited the site when it was a coffee house and it’s mentioned in Little Dorrit. The first map of Southwark (Duchy of Lancaster ca1543) clearly shows it marked as ‘Gorge’. It was formerly known as the George and Dragon, named after the legend of Saint George and the Dragon. It is a thriving, popular and busy pub.

Tuesday January 13: Magic Circle

Magic Circle

A regular evening of mystery and wonder featuring some of the club’s top magicians in  “At Home with The Magic Circle”. This event features History, Close up and Stage entertainment and happens throughout the year and lasts for a full evening.Doors open at 7.00pm and The Club Room Bar and museum is open. The event finishes at approx 10pm. Parlour magic begins at 7.30pm. During the interval, the Magic Circle Museum and the Club Room Bar is open once again and you’ll have a chance to explore our fabulous Headquarters. Then it’s time for a dazzling show in The Magic Circle Theatre to finish off your evening. Tickets £34.00 each. SUIABLE FOR 14 and above. Under 14’s will not be admitted.There is a lift and wheelchair access to all public areas.
Friday December 5: Leighton House Museum
Interior view of Leighton House
Interior view of Leighton House

Charles and Marianne Marriott and Steve Palmer joined me at Leyton house and we all enjoyed the splendours of this Victorian studio house with its Moorish details and impressive north-light studio. The ” Victorian Obsession” exhibition of paintings by Lord Leighton and contemporaries including Pre-Raphaelite painters John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse and Edward Burn-Jones added much to the enjoyment of the visit. Leyton house is certainly one of London’s hidden gems.


Friday September 5: Red House, Bexley Heath

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.19.35

Though perhaps not the easiest place to get to, I do believe the red house is well worth a visit (I
hadn’t been there before personally), as it is one of the most important houses of the Arts and
Crafts movement. It was built for William Morris and designed by architect Philip Webb.
Commissioned by William Morris in 1859, Red House is considered one of the most influential
buildings in domestic architecture history. Among the features to look out for are:
  • Previously undiscovered pre-Raphaelite Genesis wall painting in Morris’s bedroom
  • The recently conserved Burne-Jones paintings and the astonishing newly revealed decoration around them
  • The bright colours of the hall ceiling decoration which was cleaned recently
  • Exhibition of the original Philip Webb house plans
  • The ‘smiley face’ painted on the ceiling during Morris’ time
Sunday July 20: Chelsea Physic Garden

In July the “JoinMe” visit was to Chelsea Physic Garden.


We met for coffee in the café at about 11:00. It was a small party comprising only Bill Gallagher and Terry Brown! We roamed the garden and then returned to the café for lunch together. The café is very popular for Sunday lunch, but we got a table without much trouble and enjoyed a delicious portion of salmon en croute and salad! We agreed that the garden is a lovely haven in central London with a host of interesting plants all well described and enjoyed a pleasant hour or so absorbed by the fascinating variety of forms and colours and the uses to which plants are put.

IMG_0809 IMG_0806

Friday June 20: Dulwich picture Gallery


The first visit was to the Dulwich picture Gallery. The gallery has a broad range of exhibits and was built in a delightful setting to a design by Sir John Soane, earlier architect of the Bank of England, and most original interpreter and developer of classical design. Soane is sometimes considered the first of the moderns and the building has an interesting modernist extension.


2 thoughts on “Past President’s “Join me” excursions

  1. Terry – an excellent place to visit and very accessible. The wife and I will be on a small holiday on that date but we will accompany you on other trips.

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