The Boys of the Old Brigade


Christopher Joll delves into the history of a very British icon: The Royal Hospital Chelsea and its instantly recognisable scarlet-clad residents

Chelsea Pensioners give three cheers during the Governors Review in the grounds of the Royal Hospital

What do Tower Bridge, the London Eye and military pensioners in scarlet coats have in common?

They are instantly recognisable London icons. While it is immediately understandable why the bridge and the wheel have such status, it would not be instantly obvious to a visitor from another world as to why 300 or so elderly veterans should share the same regard.

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