The Reform Club grew out of the reform movement in England in the early part of the 19th century which gave rise to the Reform Act of 1932 which extended voting rights to shop owners, small landowners and tenant farmers, but denied those same rights to working men and women. Even with further reforms in 1867 and 1884, only 2.5 million of the 35 million inhabitants of England had the right to vote. It would not be until 1918 that working men would be granted the vote and women afforded that same right ten years later.

The Reform Club became the place where these vital issues could be debated. It also became a haven for writers and journalists who interacted with these political thinkers. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a member, as was Henry James, William Thackeray, Andrew Carnegie, Winston Churchill, and David Attenborough. Its lobby has often appeared in writing and film, serving as the launching point for Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days and the fencing scene in James Bond’s Die Another Day.

We were there at the invitation of Teach Beyond to network with members of the Association of Christian Teachers on England, an umbrella organization that seeks to support Christian teachers in both secular and church schools. We met a number of colleagues with whom we hope to develop a further relationship as our responsibilities with our mission increase.

Following a light lunch, we took a brisk walk to Piccadilly Circus to pay our respects to the famous Eros statue, created by Sir Alfred Gilbert, the leading sculptor of the Victorian Age, to whom the local pigeons pledge their loyalty. Then we took a leisurely stroll along Piccadilly, stopping at Fortnum and Masons for some Christmas gifts for my family before entering Green Park to rest our ears and ears a bit from all of the Christmas bustle.

Suitably refreshed we strolled on to Harrods in Knightsbridge for some more gifts and a bit of a look around at the famous Christmas displays. Paddington Bear seemed to be the theme this year, and he was everywhere. Prominent too were the Disney plush toys and of course the ride-on toy cars for those with more money than sense. The toy Land Rover on display cost $10,000 Canadian, more than I have ever paid for a car myself.

We finished our day at a little bistro overlooking Sloan Square, the site of so many protests in days past. It is quite trendy now and very convenient to Victoria Station where we caught the one-hour train ride back to London. The weather was most kind to us all day, with temperatures in the mid-teens and lots of sunshine. This was our second trip in to London, and I must say we find it to be a most pleasant place to visit, and for us living in Horsham, very doable at very little expense. We will return.