Monthly Archives: August 2016

A Visit to Westminster Cathedral

As Muriel Letman volunteers to give guided tours of Westminster Cathedral she offered to take some of us round. On August 9th. a group of us met Muriel at the back of the cathedral where she gave us some idea of how the cathedral came into being on the site of Tothill Fields Bridewell Prison. The land was acquired by Cardinal Manning in 1884 and the cathedral was open but by no means finished in 1903. There is still ongoing work to be done as funds become available.

Westminster Cathederal

Muriel pointed out the domes of the interior, showed us the Baptistry, after which we visited several of the side chapels, each interesting and beautiful in its own way, rich in mosaic and marble. Before taking us into The Chapel of St Gregory and St Augustine, Muriel reminded us of St. Gregory who, on seeing some enslaved Anglo-Saxon children said they were ‘Not Angles but angels.’

Cardinal Hume is buried in this chapel and good works continue in his name.

We probably need another tour to remember everything we saw and all that Muriel told us but the Chapel of St Andrew and the Saints of Scotland contained very impressive stalls in ebony and bone and a floor decoration with fish and sea life to celebrate St. Andrew’s first occupation as a fisherman. In the richly decorated Lady Chapel, Mary is represented as patroness of London, standing in front of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Our thanks to Muriel for being such an excellent guide to this place that seemed so welcoming and full of life. Sadly we didn’t hear any music from the acclaimed choir but all the more reason to visit again.


Meeting on July 12th. 2016

This was the last meeting of the Summer Term. After a brief introduction by Diane Chorley we read poems by Vernon Scannell and Kathleen Raine.

Many of us were familiar with some of Vernon Scannell’s poems in particular, as they are widely anthologised. What did come as a surprise was his autobiography. Born in 1922 Scannell left school at 14 and at one time in his life was a boxer. This experience is reflected in his poem The Loving Game’ which Jennie Milne chose to read where love, he says, hurts more than being in the ring. Scannell also served in the British Army during the Second World War and in 1947 studied at Leeds University. His poetry was published from the 1950’s right up to the last year of his life. He wrote, it has been said, about life’s ironies, big and small. His poetry is human and accessible and used to be read by him in a gravelly voice.

Kathleen Raine (1908-2003) was a prolific poet and also wrote scholarly works on Blake and Yeats. She was one of the founders of the Temenos Review and the Tenemos Academy.

Raine was attracted to the work of ‘the romantics’ and valued nature and the life of the imagination. Several of her poems are set in the landscape of Wester Ross where she shared a love of the natural world in her relationship with Gavin Maxwell, author of ‘Ring Of Bright Water.’ One of our members read ‘The Ring’ from ‘The Marriage Of Pysche’ ‘He married me with a ring, a ring of bright water/ whose ripples travel from the heart of the sea –‘ Other poems read were ‘Change’ ‘Dream’ ‘Shells’ and ‘Winds’.

SPC Autumn Programme


(Affiliated to Bromley Arts Council)

President Tel. no: 020 8650.8946 Membership Secretary Tel No: 020 8464 9810


Meetings are usually held at Ripley Arts Centre, 24 Sundridge Avenue, Bromley on Tuesdays

at 2.30pm. If unable to attend please notify the hostess.

For further information and confirmation of venue please contact the Membership Secretary


DATE                    SUBJECT                                                       HOST/HOSTESS


13th. Sept.     Open Choice                                                    Jane Knight

27th. Sept.      Elizabethan Poets and earlier                        Mary Louise McGovern

11th. Oct.         Loss and Discovery                                        Monica King

25th. Oct.        Writers’ Group Portfolio Presentation

8th. Nov.         Christina Rossetti and Emily Dickinson           Sezgin Kemal

22nd. Nov.      Leaders and Monarchs                                      Ann Barlow

13th. Dec.       Wine, Women and Song                                 Lesley McLetchie

WRITERS’ GROUP (dates to be agreed by Writers)

Sept. Open Choice
Oct. News
Nov. Clocks
Dec. Links in a chain


Diary dates for the Spring Term 2017

10th January, 24th January, 14th February, 28th February, 14th March, 28th March.

If you cannot find a poem for the topic/poet listed, please read another poem, but not one written by you N.B. We each read 1 long poem and 1 short poem (of about sonnet length)