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Thursday, 5 January 2017


The Council of The Chelsea Society has elected Dr. James Thompson to be its new Chairman, following the retirement of Mr. Damian Greenish.  
The new Chairman took office at the end of the Society’s AGM on 21st November 2016.
James is an Honorary senior lecturer in psychology at London University, and has lived in Chelsea since 1982. He has been a member of The Chelsea Society since 1983.
He was drawn to Chelsea by the architecture, individual shops, mews houses, bohemian crowds, music, history, river views along the Embankment, and the exciting mix of cultural past and vivid quirky present. 
Within a year of moving to Chelsea he opposed a major planning application in his street, and since then has been Chairman of his local Residents’ Association in the streets between the Physic Garden and the Royal Hospital.
In 2006 James led the “Save Sloane Square campaign, and since 2011 has chaired the King’s Road Association of Chelsea Residents (KRACR) – campaigning particularly against large basement developments. 
He will retire from that Chairmanship in February 2017.
James holds membership card no. 20 at the Chelsea Physic Garden, and would have had an even lower number if he had responded more promptly to the first-ever membership application, hand-delivered by the Garden Curator to nearby streets in 1983.
James taught psychology and held clinics at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, later University College London Medical School. His first job was as a researcher on brain-damaged children.  
He was clinical psychologist at Guy’s Hospital Medical School, and later at the Institute of Psychiatry.  He continues to publish academic papers.
He was depicted as a character in a play at the Royal Court, as a psychologist explaining the motivations of terrorists!
As Chairman of the Society, James, like other Chairmen before him, will not be a member of the Society’s Planning Committee.


  1. James Thomson is a "one off". Every now and again society throws up such a person to fight for our interests and occasionally they have the stamina to stay the distance and understand the processes. It was great to watch James and his wife bash disgraced ex Cllr Cockle and nasty Cllr Moylan to smithereens.

    1. So, Wasp, why are you so rude about the Dame and her Hornets? Without her much of the dishonesty that goes on would never have been discovered.

    2. Every now and again my Queen Bee makes a fuss when the Dame indulges herself with nostalgia. And I feel obliged to genuflect.

      Of course the Dame and her hornets are invaluable and do the job of the opposition (and a magnificent job too) keeping Hornton Street on its toes.

      There is a new climate of opinion in the Royal Borough that is wary of wrongdoing, puffing, excess, corruption and nepotism. Quite simply, this is the Dame's achievement.

      There is still work to be done and trash to be trashed. Hidden forces keep Cllr Palmer afloat and mystery keeps Cllr Mellen in circulation. Campbell (Elizabeth) continues to be a menace and the whole apparatus continues to allow planning permissions for "buy to leave" to thrive which is killing society as we know it. The Hornton Street establishment remains too timid and/or too stupid to recognise the folly of its decisions.

      In the meantime, Cockle (gone). Phelps (gone). Moylan (extinguished), Warrick (extinguished), Weale (extinguished). Under the Dames patronage, new stars have been celebrated: Mackover (basements), Coates (basements), Borwick (now our MP), Mills (now Party Chairman).

      Fripperies are becoming history. Council tax to fund Holland Park Opera, Chelsea Care, tax payer funded feasts post Council meetings, and Cockle's credit card to name a few.

      The Dame is incomparable......

    3. Unfortunately Moylan is not extinguished, he is negotiations with developers to knock down and redevelopment yet another major building on Kensington High Street. Which would be another blow to residents and the local community.

  2. Our community needs more residents like James

  3. No better man for the job . No better Hornet for the nest !

  4. James' work through Kracka was of great help to the 'Save the Sutton Estate Campaign - as was the Dame .

  5. Hope Cllr Weale can 'hear ' us now .

    1. "We agreed to listen but not to hear".

      Cllr Weale, Cabinet Member for Education and enemy of Holland Park School protestors

  6. How good to see the winds of change blowing through the Chelsea Society,
    The appointment of Thompson is not just good because of the man’s exceptional ability, but because, at long last, it breaks the stranglehold Cadogan has had over the Society.
    A viable claim? Relations between the Council and Cadogan are uncomfortably close and the fact that the last three chairmen are closely connected to Cadogan means that the Society was bound to be partisan and unable to represent the interests of members.

    David Le Lay, architect to Cadogan
    Stuart Corbyn, former chief executive of Cadogan
    David Greenish, solicitor to Cadogan

    Which explains why - contrary to widespread local opposition - the CS was in favour of (i) turning Sloane Square into a cross roads, (ii) Cllr Moylan’s scheme for spoiling the King's Road and (iii) having a Crossrail 2 station on the King's Road.

    The newish chairman of the CS Planning Committee Michael Stephen has done an excellent job in changing the way CS behaves, for example, in reversing its support for Crossrail.

    This is the moment when we should all join the Chelsea Society. It could even end up as useful as the Kensington Society

    1. This is a vintage "insider" story for the Royal Borough. Shocking. But James Thomson is his own man. Just like Amanda Frame at the Kensington Society. Obviously a long overdue change at the Chelsea Society.

  7. In Chelsea .....

    The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust was rated as “Requires Improvement” yesterday (10 Jan 17) following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission: This is unfortunate timing for the Trust, as the call to improve systems/audit comes at the same time as a campaign to save heart and lung services:

    1. Not surprised to hear this. In my experience (a sample of only one) the Brompton is over rated. I overheard a surgeon bragging to another surgeon:

      "Botched a pacemaker yesterday and nearly killed an old girl. Making a second attempt today".

      With attitudes like that, there is something seriously wrong with the Leadership.

    2. This is unfortunate news, I suspect partly due to problems besetting the whole of the NHS just too many patients. I have been there when appointments are running 3 hours late, it also has to do with the age and condition of the building too. Of course it may also be due to the value of the land which makes it a very attractive prospect to sell off for development of luxury flats. It is though worth fighting to save and it would be a disaster for it to close down, it is still Considered one of the best in the world,mouth world renowned surgeons and professors.


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