Welcome to St George’s House. As Warden it is my pleasure to wish you a pleasant and productive time in these historic surroundings. You may be with us as a participant in a St George’s House Consultation, as a guest of one of our external partners, or simply as a guest of the wider Community of the College of St George. Whatever the reason for your stay, this booklet should give you all the information you will need to make your time with us as comfortable and safe as possible.
Given our location in the prestigious grounds of Windsor Castle, security plays an important role in everyone’s stay here. I would be grateful therefore if you could take a few minutes to read the relevant information within this booklet and familiarise yourself with our emergency procedures.
The core of our work is of course Consultations and we want each one to be as stimulating and challenging as possible. To achieve this it is important that our hospitality is also of a high standard. We want all our guests to feel that they have been well looked after in St George’s House, so we strive to ensure a high standard of service. We welcome your feedback, so that we can keep every aspect of the House’s work under review. If you have any comments or suggestions please speak to a member of the St George’s House team or email us at [email protected].
You will also find within these pages a brief history of St George’s House, its ethos and working practice. I hope this will set your visit in context and give you a useful snapshot of this unique organisation. You may find too that you would like to support our work by becoming an Associate. Details of our Associate Scheme are outlined on page 15.
At the heart of the College of St George is St George’s Chapel, home to the Most Honourable Order of The Garter and resting place of ten British monarchs, where prayer is said thrice daily, every day of the year, for the Sovereign and the nation.
Our guests, of whatever faith or none, are warmly invited to attend the daily services, details of which are listed within. As the present Dean of Windsor has written:
“Sitting in the Chapel, we see the results of centuries of architectural and artistic achievement. We also experience a deep sense of this nation’s history, and feel as though we come close to some of those who have shaped it. However, it is the fact that, through the centuries, prayer and praise have been offered here each and every day that most contributes to this place’s very special atmosphere. As you join in our daily worship, I pray that you will be richly blessed, and that you will go on your way in peace.”
Let me finish by welcoming you once more. Your time with us will be spent in spectacular historic surroundings but I hope you will leave us aware that the work we do is entirely contemporary.
The Reverend Canon Dr Hueston Finlay
Warden, St George’s House
St George’s House is rapidly getting back to normal, welcoming people back in person as the programme moves into spring and summer. Whilst most Covid restrictions and guidelines have been eased, we are determined to do our best to keep all guests and staff as safe as possible whilst ensuring an enjoyable visit. The information below sets out how we will continue to work and outlines various best practices we would strongly encourage all guests to maintain.
St George’s House was founded in 1966 by H.R.H The Duke of Edinburgh and the then Dean, Robin Woods. Their intention was to establish a safe physical and intellectual space where people of influence from right across society could come together to debate and discuss issues of national and international importance. Then, as now, it was hoped that the Wisdom nurtured through dialogue could be put to use for the good of our society. The House is a constituent part of the College of St George together with St George’s Chapel and St George’s School.
The physical House, located on Denton’s Commons forms part of the fourteenth century foundations of the College of St George. It has been through many refurbishments since then and now provides accommodation for our guests, offices for our staff, breakout rooms for Consultation work, and of course dining facilities. If you eat in the House you will do so under the watchful gaze of our two founders whose portraits adorn the walls of the Dining Room.
The heart of the College of St George is St George’s Chapel, where three times a day, every day, prayer is offered for the Sovereign and the nation, a tradition established in 1348 by King Edward III. It is precisely this tradition that gives the House its impetus and its wider theological context. The offering of prayer in the Chapel finds a practical expression in Consultations, where the House offers space for nurturing Wisdom.
Our Consultation programme has three distinct strands: social and ethical work on topics of national and international importance; Clergy Courses; and Consultations brought to us by external groups who understand and are in sympathy with the ethos of the House. Taken together our annual programme is varied, rich, and intellectually challenging.
We welcome people who are prepared to speak cogently and listen carefully, people prepared to persuade and be persuaded. The essence of a good Consultation is not necessarily consensus, welcome though that is but equally valuable is high quality disagreement, an open, honest interrogation of the issue to hand.
Our hope is that all our visitors will leave a St George’s House Consultation thoughtful, questioning, refreshed and optimistic about their part in enhancing the world they inhabit and influence.
To this end the values of the House are openness, honesty, trust and respect. People from all areas of society, holding diverse views, opinions and beliefs come here to debate freely. The art of Consultation seeks to nurture Wisdom and open up the possibility of a different and better world.
The Vicars’ Hall is the hub of any Consultation and is one of the most beautiful of the several historic buildings in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Dating from 1415, it has over the centuries served many purposes, not least as a refectory for the clergy. That tradition of dining continues to this day whereby the Vicars’ Hall hosts a number of dinners throughout the year.
It is also said that an early performance of Shakespeare’s play ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ took place in a previous manifestation of the Hall in the presence of Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare himself. As you stand on the Look Out with its view across to Eton and beyond it is not hard to imagine the playwright arriving by boat and making his way to the Castle for a Royal performance.
For many years now the Hall has housed the Library of the Dean and Canons. As you look at the book cases you will find an eclectic collection of literature. Theology, history, biography, science and fiction are just some of the subjects covered while above the book cases hang various art works. Look out for the painting of the Garter Day procession and the matching portraits of a young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The Vicars’ Hall has been recently restored and equipped to the highest modern standards, including a state-of-the-art sound system. Apart from its role in Consultations, the Hall is also used for concerts, receptions, lectures and dinners.
You will find toilets, in addition to those in the House, under the Terrace outside the Vicars’ Hall. Disabled toilets are also available. Please ask a staff member if disabled facilities are required.
In addition to the Vicars’ Hall the House has a number of breakout rooms which accommodate up to 12 people.
The Patricia Hotung Room, ground floor of St George’s House.
The Iveagh Room, 1st floor of St George’s House.
The Adams Room, 2nd floor of St George’s House.
The Sitting Room, ground floor, No 25 The Cloisters.
Located half way up Denton’s Commons (opposite the North Door Chapel Entrance), is No 25 The Cloisters. This provides St George’s House with a further breakout room as well as a space for drinks receptions and a small dining room capable of seating twelve people for private lunches and dinners.
No 25 dates from the 12th century. The boardroom on the first floor is thought to have been a royal withdrawing room originally. The fireplace dates from the 14th or 15th century. On the wall above it are the remains of painted musical notation supposedly dating from the time of Henry III.
St George’s House is a physical and intellectual space set in the narrative of history but focused firmly on the future. You will find here an environment receptive to new ideas, to taking risks, to thinking through challenging topics in imaginative ways. The House is a sanctuary, removed from the pressures of everyday life, where the topic to hand takes precedence. It is this focus that encourages creative thinking, informed debate and sustained engagement. Participants look to the future. They are in a place where a real contribution to society can be made, where personal enrichment and social progress are mutually compatible, a place where Wisdom is nurtured.
In order to offer a safe and secure intellectual space our Consultations are run on the understanding that all debate and conversation takes place under the House Protocol.
In the event of the fire alarm sounding please evacuate the building as quickly and calmly as possible. The assembly point is the path way by the North Door of the Chapel. Please close all doors behind you. Do not stop to collect personal belongings. Do not re-enter the building until authorised to do so.
Please familiarise yourself with your nearest escape route and fire procedures located on the back of your bedroom door.
If the alarm has not already been activated, break the glass on the nearest fire alarm call points.
There are two Emergency Phone Points; one outside the service entry at the front of the building and one in Canons’ Cloister. These go straight through to the Windsor Castle Fire Brigade. Please state ST GEORGE’S HOUSE.
Evacuate the building in line with the instructions above.
If you require any of the Emergency Services (Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance) call 999. For non-emergency calls, dial 01753 493118.
Weekly testing of the fire alarm system is carried out at 09.00 every Wednesday.
Staff have access to a number of First Aid Boxes, please ask if you need assistance. In case of illness, we will make an appointment with a local doctor, or arrange for one to call.
If there is an emergency in the night (Fire, Medical, Gas or Electric) please contact The Fire Station, on 01753 493118.
If you require any of the Emergency Services (Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance) call 999. For non-emergency calls, dial 01753 493118.
For non-emergencies please feel free to contact any of the services listed below but always contact a staff member so that we are aware of any situation and can assist if required.
Call the NHS 111 service if you need medical help fast, but it’s not a 999 emergency
Wexham Park Hospital (Accident & Emergency) 6 miles, Slough, West Berkshire SL2 4HL – 01753 633000
Upton Hospital (Walk in Centre, 7days a week 8am-8pm) 3.5 miles, Albert Street, Slough SL1 2BJ – 01753 635505
Security at St George’s House is imperative given our prestigious location.
Please ensure that you wear your badge at all times during your stay. On your departure please leave your pass with either a House Team member or the Police on the Henry VIII Gate.
The Castle precincts outside Denton’s Commons are open to the public from 10:00 to 16:00 (17:00 in summer). Please be prepared to identify yourself if requested to do so by the Police or sentries. Outside these times please stay within Denton’s Commons and the Horseshoe Cloister unless you are intending to leave the Castle.
The main Castle gates are closed at around 23:30. If, exceptionally, you wish to enter or leave after that hour you may do so through the Advance Gate (next to the Visitor Centre) and the Moat Road. The Henry VIII Gate reopens at 07:00. The front door to St George’s House will not be locked during your stay.
Wi-Fi connections are available throughout the main house, No 25 The Cloisters and the Vicars’ Hall. Select the wireless network from the list (Wifi Guest) and enter the Network Key as WifiGuest
St George’s House and surrounding areas of the College constitute a no-smoking environment. Should you wish to smoke there is a designated smoking area located along from the North Door of the Chapel. Please dispose of your cigarette ends responsibly.
The lift in St George’s House services the three floors of the House on which the majority of the bedrooms and two of the Breakout Rooms can be reached. The lift carries a maximum of four people. In case of an emergency, please follow the instructions inside the lift.
Individual rooms are not equipped with telephones. You will find a telephone on each corridor which has pre-set buttons for the Fire Emergency department and the House Manager.
Post-boxes are located under the Horseshoe Cloister archway, by the Middle Ward shop and outside the Castle opposite Queen Victoria’s statue.
The House Manager is responsible for domestic arrangements and for all the domestic staff. Any reports of defects or breakages should be made to the House Manager. There is no Night Porter or equivalent, so please turn out the lights in the reception rooms if you are the last to retire in the evening.
In our attempt to reduce single use plastics within the House, we have removed the amenity packs from bedrooms, however, should you require some please ask at reception.
The temperature in your bedroom can be adjusted by turning the thermostat on the side of your radiator.
Most of the lights in St George’s House are energy saving. Even though this is the case, please turn your lights out when you are not in your room to help conserve power.
If using chargers and entertainment equipment, please turn these off when not in use to avoid using unnecessary electricity.
St George’s House cannot accept any responsibility for valuables. Any personal property left at St George’s House must be claimed within a month of departure from the House. To enquire please telephone 01753 848848 and it will be sent to you (postage to be reimbursed please). Any property not claimed within that period will be donated to charity.
Please let us know if you wish to use an iron and ironing board and we can arrange for one to be taken to your room. When finished with please place outside your room.
No arrangements can be made for visitors’ personal laundry for residencies of less than five days. If you are staying longer than five days please speak to a member of the domestic team.
On the day of your departure please vacate your room by 9.00 a.m. at the latest. Please bring your luggage to either the Sitting Room or the Vicars’ Hall.
Windsor & Eton Central
Located in the Windsor Royal Shopping Centre situated on the High Street, almost opposite the main entrance to Windsor Castle. The station is served by a shuttle service of trains from Slough operated by First Great Western and is the terminus of its Windsor Branch.
Windsor & Eton Riverside
Windsor’s other station Windsor and Eton Riverside is the terminus for the South West Trains service from London Waterloo. Located on the Datchet Road the station is a 5 minute walk. On exiting keep the Castle on your right, walk down the hill to a set of traffic lights. Turn right onto the Datchet Road the main entrance to the station is opposite the Royal Oak Public House.
From Windsor you can access Heathrow Airport by Bus. Take the First Group Route 77 bus from Windsor Parish Church (see 20 on map) to Heathrow Terminal 5. The journey time is approximately 60 minutes and runs approximately every 30 minutes. For current bus times, please visit www.firstgroup.com.
We recommend Windsor based taxi firm 5 Star Taxis. They are familiar to the Police and have access to the Castle Grounds for pick-ups. Their telephone number is 01753 858888. Approximate cost from Windsor to Heathrow is £20. A journey by Black Cab will be considerably more expensive.
Please advise a member of staff if you have ordered a taxi to collect you from inside the Castle so that the Police can be informed.
Boots pharmacy is located half-way down Peascod Street on the left. Exiting the Castle at the Queen Victoria Monument, Peascod Street is opposite.
There are a number of major banks located just outside the Castle Walls, including HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds.
A main post office is located at the bottom of Peascod Street. Exiting the Castle at the Queen Victoria Monument, Peascod Street is opposite.
The Royal Windsor Information Centre is located in the Old Booking Hall, Windsor Royal Shopping. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are waiting to help visitors to the information centre with enquiries about Windsor and the Royal Borough.
The Long Walk runs south from Windsor Castle to the 1829 Copper Horse statue of King George III, where there are impressive views of the Castle. The route measures 2.64 miles in length. To get to the start of the Long Walk exit the Castle, turn left and then right onto St Albans Road, bear left onto Park Street on which you will find the gate that enters the park. (see 23 on map)
Out of Hours Medical Assistance: 01753 868286, please ask for the on call Doctor.
For the Emergency Services please call the Windsor Castle Fire and Emergencies Department: 01753 493 118.
House Manager: Catherine Morgan, Mobile: 07759 137023
Maintenance: Mr Darren Cave, Clerk of Works, Mobile: 07766 083303
The College of St George is, at its heart, a community of people who live and work together to offer worship to God, prayers for the Sovereign and the Order of the Garter, service to society and hospitality to visitors.
The College was founded in 1348 at the same time as the Order of the Garter and now consists of St George’s School, St George’s House, the Military Knights of Windsor, the Chapter Library & Archives and the Choir as well as, at the centre, St George’s Chapel itself.
The buildings, owned and occupied by the College, take up a quarter of Windsor Castle together with the school buildings outside the north wall.
10.45am Choral Mattins
11.45am Sung Eucharist
5.15pm Choral Evensong
Monday – Saturday
08.00am Holy Communion
5.15pm Choral Evensong (Wednesday, Said Service)
Guests are welcome to attend all services in the Chapel. We advise you to be in the Chapel ten minutes before the stated time. The Virger or Sacristans will show you to a seat.