Spring 2019 has seen a change in the chairmanship of the Friends, as Sir Marcus Setchell has stepped down after seven years in office, to be replaced by Dr Robert Treharne Jones (pictured together, left, on the Hogarth Stairs).
“The Friends’ Committee met for the first time in March 2012, following a year of inaugural events, which confirmed that there was an appetite to take the embryonic Friends’ organisation forward” said Sir Marcus.
“We embarked on a programme to support those aims, but by the end of the year it became clear that there was a major threat to the future viability of the North Wing from the Maggie’s Centre, which was supported by the Hospital Trust.”
“The Friends became the sole champion of the heritage buildings, and the clear sense of purpose which underpinned our campaign ensured that our efforts in resisting hostile planning proposals resulted in major functional benefits” he added.
“Importantly, a key success was the establishment of a trust – St. Bartholomew’s Heritage – which is now up and running. Personally, I shall never forget that it was the Friends’ passion and support for the Great Hall and Archive that pushed the start button for the Heritage Trust” he concluded.
Robert Treharne Jones came up to Bart’s in October 1970, and during his student career became Captain of the Boat Club, and Editor of the Bart’s Journal (when he interviewed a new consultant named Marcus Setchell), before publishing the last edition of ‘Round the Fountain’ in 1977.
Robert went on to pursue a career in general practice in the West Country before his longstanding interest in IT caused him to start a medical software company, and he left his practice to pursue his interests in health informatics and rowing commentary. Robert is still clinical director of LumiraDx Care Solutions Ltd, and has commentated on rowing events all over the world, including the Olympic Games in Beijing, London and Rio.
“I can still remember the first time I walked into the Great Hall all those years ago and, for me, the ‘wow’ factor remains just as strong every time I walk up the Hogarth Stairs” he said.
“The Friends have done sterling work to preserve the integrity of these buildings, despite formidable obstacles which have been thrown their way, and the support of our Members has been crucial in helping maintain the momentum.”
“Visitors to the Great Hall never fail to be impressed by what is still one of the hidden gems of the City of London, and I look forward to the day when we can help restore the entire Barts Heritage site to its former glory, and allow even more people to enjoy these historic assets” he added.