Thursday, 18 July 2013

Old Buckingham Palace, not Old Buckenham

History of Buckingham Palace

The speaker at the June meeting of Old Buckenham Women’s Institute was David Morton who gave a very informative presentation on the history of Buckingham Palace.
From its humble beginnings as an orchard caretaker’s cottage in the reign of James 1, the structure evolved into the present building. The house was re-built several times and was bought in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham (hence its name). George lll eventually bought the house to impress his new Queen and subsequently his son, William IV, spent huge sums of money on the house but never actually lived there. Prince Albert then took responsibility for all royal residences and the first monarch to live there was Queen Victoria.
When Edward VII became king in 1901 the house seemed dingy and old-fashioned and he arranged for the re-decoration of the Palace before he moved in two years later. Subsequently the East Wing (the front of the building) was restored by George V, but the architect, Edward Blore, had chosen Caen stone which proved to be perishable in the London climate. It was therefore decided in 1913 to re-face the East Wing in Portland stone – hence the front of the building as we know it today is exactly 100 years old.
One Old Buckenham member, Barbara Ives, gave a report on her recent visit to the WI Annual General Meeting in Cardiff. There had been much discussion on the resolution about the future of our high streets and town centres. The resolution won the backing of members and calls on every WI member to support her local shops and high streets. The guest speakers at the meeting that day were two prominent Welshmen, namely Griff Rhys Jones and the veteran broadcaster John Humphrys. The former spoke passionately about preserving England’s countryside and the role of voluntary groups in improving communities. John Humphrys said the WI, with its 212,000 members is ‘the essence of democracy‘ and he revealed that reading Superman comics at the age of six years inspired him to become a journalist because ‘Superman was Clark Kent and Clark Kent was a journalist’.
The speaker at the WI meeting on Thursday 22 August will be Alison Hannah who will talk on 'Mental health through the ages'.

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