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Inside Stories

  1. New Collection Launch : Westminster Watercolours

    WESTMINSTER WATERCOLOURS

    Inspired by Alexander Creswell's watercolour paintings

    A new collection designed and produced exclusively for Westminster Abbey

    Our latest collection is inspired by the stunning set of original watercolour paintings by internationally acclaimed artist Alexander Creswell. His distinctive style combines subtle colouring and skilful draughtsmanship with a strong reverence for natural light.

    Creswell was first invited to visit the Abbey in 2011, arriving with his sketchbook to explore its intricacy and grandeur. Between then and 2017, he has painted a collection of works capturing spectacular views, famous monuments and glimpses of moments in the life of the Abbey. Many of these paintings...

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  2. Mothering Sunday Gift Guide

    MOTHERING SUNDAY GIFT GUIDE

    Sunday 11th March 2018

    Sunday 11th March marks Mothering Sunday in the UK. We have pulled together some of our favourite pieces inspired by the life, history, architecture and treasures of the Abbey that we think will make the perfect gift for Mum this year.

    For the lover of gardening and everything 'Spring Time' we have a range of Abbey Garden inspired gardening tools, cosmetic bags and music. A wonderful guide written by our Head Gardener Jan Pancheri has recently been published and recounts the history and the varying horticultural challenges of different spaces around the Abbey gardens. We also have a...

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  3. Poets Corner: Jane Austen

    Born some 242 years ago in 1775, December 16th marks the birthday of cherished novelist Jane Austen.

    Known around the world for her six major novels, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, Austen’s writing is a triumph of clever wit and sparkling dialogue. Famous for her subtle humour, biting irony and her realistic perception of the society in which she lived, Austen was quite unlike anyone else of her time.

    Although her resting place is in Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, Austen was memorialised here at Westminster Abbey on 17 December 1967, with a polished roman stone tablet provided by the Jane Austen Society and placed in Poets Corner, adjacent to Shakespeare’s memorial.

    Jane Austen passed away at the age of only 41, in 1817. Today, Read more »

  4. Christmas Gift Guide

    Now December has arrived, it is time to start thinking about what to buy your loved ones for Christmas. To help people with this task we have put together our Christmas gift guide with our top suggestions for the perfect present this year!

    For those looking for a gift for the special people in their life, we have a wonderful selection of luxury gifts. From jewellery to hand painted chess sets, our collection of...

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  5. Museum Store Sunday

    ‘Black Friday’ is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and is regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season as people take the day off to extend the celebrations or spend time with their family. Most major retailers open extremely early and offer heavily discounted prices to entice shoppers, similar to Boxing Day sales in the UK. It has become the busiest shopping day of the year in the USA and the concept has been slowly spreading worldwide in recent years.

    There are two popular theories as to where the name ‘Black Friday’ originates from. One is that the wheels of vehicles in heavy traffic...

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  6. Christmas Carols

    This week the Christmas windows were unveiled in the shop, featuring a traditional Christmas Carols theme. This theme was created with the use of wreaths decorated with sheet music alongside antique music composition books. Also included are some wonderful Christmas gift ideas with some items inspired by classic Christmas carols such as angels and Jesus in a manger.

    Westminster Abbey Shop Windows

     

    Christmas carols have a long history going back thousands of years when songs were sung by pagans during the Winter Solstice celebrations....

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  7. Remembrance

    Yesterday marked the opening of the Field of Remembrance 2017 at Westminster Abbey by HRH Prince Henry of Wales. The Field is organised by the Royal British Legion and pays tribute to all the brave Service men and women who have served in our Armed Forces since the First World War. The first Field of Remembrance was first set up in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in 1928 and there are now further fields in Cardiff, Lydiard Park (near Wootton Bassett), Belfast, Gateshead, Edinburgh, and the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

    Field of Remembrance

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  8. All Saints

    This is the week of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, two important Christian festivals which are often overshadowed in popular culture by Halloween (which is also known as All Saints’ Eve).

    All Saints’ Day, which is also known as All Hallows’ Day, is celebrated on 1st November by Anglicans and Catholics. As the name of the day suggests this is a day for Christians to remember all saints and martyrs, known and unknown throughout Christian history. Since the 4th century AD saints and martyrs have had specific days dedicated to them; 13th October, for example, marks the Feast of St Edward, the patron saint of Westminster Abbey. However, in 609AD, Pope Boniface IV decided there should be a day to remember all martyrs for the Christian faith whether they were known or...

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  9. Reformation Day

    31st October marks Reformation Day, a Protestant Christian religious holiday in remembrance of the onset of the religious Reformation in the sixteenth century. This day was chosen as it is widely held to be the day that Martin Luther, in 1517, nailed his 95 theses to the door of his church in Wittenberg.

    Wittenberg Church Door

    Wittenberg Church Door

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  10. The History of Christmas Cards

    The sending of seasonal messages of goodwill is an ancient ritual which also had a practical basis. Isolated villages would send seasonal gifts to their neighbours to maintain good relationships in case they needed to turn to them when supplies ran short. In pagan Britain, good luck charms were exchanged at the winter solstice but it took a long time for the custom to evolve.

     The start of greetings cards as we now know them began in the fourteenth century, with the advent of the wood-block printed New Year’s cards from Germany. Even though the greetings card had German origins, the modern day Christmas card is a quintessentially English invention.

    The origin can be traced to...

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