Theme Week London – Greenwich

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 - 01:08 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Architecture, General, London, UNESCO World Heritage

Great River Race, Royal Naval College in the backgorund © Motmit

Great River Race, Royal Naval College in the backgorund © Motmit

Greenwich is a district of South East London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. The town became the site of a Royal palace, the Palace of Placentia from the 15th century, and was the birthplace of many in the House of Tudor, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The palace fell into disrepair during the English Civil War and was rebuilt as the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors by Sir Christopher Wren and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor. These buildings became the Royal Naval College in 1873, and they remained an establishment for military education until 1998 when they passed into the hands of the Greenwich Foundation. The historic rooms within these buildings remain open to the public; other buildings are used by University of Greenwich and the Trinity College of Music. The town became a popular resort in the 17th century with many grand houses, such as Vanbrugh castle established on Maze Hill, next to the park. From the Georgian period estates of houses were constructed above the town centre. The maritime connections of Greenwich were celebrated in the 20th century, with the sitting of the Cutty Sark and Gipsy Moth IV next to the river front, and the National Maritime Museum in the former buildings of the Royal Hospital School in 1934. Greenwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created. To mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, it was announced on 5 January 2010 that in 2012, the London Borough of Greenwich is to become the fourth to have Royal Borough status. The three others being The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough. Due to its historic links with the Royal Family, and its status as home of the Prime Meridian and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Riverfront
The Cutty Sark (a clipper ship) has been preserved in a dry dock by the river. A major fire in May 2007 destroyed a part of the ship, although much had already been removed for restoration. Nearby for many years was also displayed Gipsy Moth IV, the 54 feet (16.5 m) yacht sailed by Sir Francis Chichester in his single-handed, 226-day circumnavigation of the globe during 1966–67. In 2004, Gipsy Moth IV was removed from Greenwich, and after restoration work completed a second circumnavigation in May 2007. On the riverside in front of the north-west corner of the Hospital is an obelisk erected in memory of Arctic explorer Joseph René Bellot.

Near the Cutty Sark site, a circular building contains the entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel, opened on 4 August 1902. This connects Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs on the northern side of the River Thames. The north exit of the tunnel is at Island Gardens, from where the famous view of Greenwich Hospital painted by Canaletto can be seen.

Rowing has been part of life on the river at Greenwich for hundreds of years and the first Greenwich Regatta was held in 1785. The annual Great River Race along the Thames Tideway finishes at the Cutty Sark. The Trafalgar Rowing Centre in Crane Street close by is home to Curlew Rowing Club and Globe Rowing Club.

The Old Royal Naval College is Sir Christopher Wren’s domed masterpiece at the centre of the heritage site. The site is administered by the Greenwich Foundation and several of the buildings are let to the University of Greenwich and one, the King Charles block, to Trinity College of Music. Within the complex is the former college dining room, the Painted Hall, this was painted by James Thornhill, and the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, with an interior designed by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart. The Naval College had a training reactor, the JASON reactor, within the King William building that was operational between 1962 and 1996. The reactor was decommissioned and removed in 1999.

The Royal Observatory © Steve F E Cameron The Queens' House © Green Lane The Cutty Sark © geograph.org.uk Royal Naval College © Charles Black Greenwich railway station SilkTork Greenwich power station from Royal Observatory © Mtcv Greenwich_Park-Gryffindor Cutty Sark © geograph.org.uk Coat of arms of Greenwich Avery Hill Park Winter Gardens © geograph.org.uk View from Greenwich Park with the Queens House and the wings of the National Maritime Museum in the foreground © Bill Bertram Great River Race, Royal Naval College in the backgorund © Motmit
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View from Greenwich Park with the Queens House and the wings of the National Maritime Museum in the foreground © Bill Bertram
To the east of the Naval College is the Trinity Hospital almshouse, founded in 1613, the oldest surviving building in the town centre. This is next to the massive brick walls and the landing stage of Greenwich Power Station. Built between 1902 and 1910 as a coal-fired station to supply power to London’s tram system, and later the London underground, it is now oil- and gas-powered and serves as a backup station for London Underground. East Greenwich also has a small park, East Greenwich Pleasaunce, which was formerly the burial ground of Greenwich Hospital.

The O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome) was built on a disused British Gas site on the Greenwich Peninsula. It is next to North Greenwich tube station, about 3 miles (4.8 km) east from the Greenwich town centre, North West of Charlton. The Greenwich Millennium Village is a new urban regeneration development to the south of the Dome.

Greenwich park
Behind the former Naval College is the National Maritime Museum housed in buildings forming another symmetrical group and grand arcade around the Queen’s House, designed by Inigo Jones. Continuing to the south, Greenwich Park is a Royal Park of 183 acres (0.7 km²), laid out in the 17th century and formed from the hunting grounds of the Royal Palace of Placentia.

The park rises towards Blackheath and at the top of this hill is a statue of James Wolfe, commander of the British expedition to capture Quebec, nearby a major group of buildings within the park is the former Royal Observatory, Greenwich and the Prime Meridian passes through the building. Greenwich Mean Time was at one time based on the time observations made at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, before being superseded by Coordinated Universal Time. While Greenwich no longer hosts a working astronomical observatory, a ball still drops daily to mark the exact moment of 1 p.m., and there is a museum of astronomical and navigational tools, particularly John Harrison’s marine chronometers.

The Ranger’s House lies at the Blackheath end of the park and houses the Wernher Collection of art, and many fine houses, including Vanbrugh’s house lie on Maze Hill, on the western edge of the park.

Town centre
Georgian and Victorian architecture dominates in the town centre which spreads to the west of the park and Royal Naval college. Much of this forms a one-way system around a covered market, Greenwich Market and the arthouse Greenwich Cinema. Up the hill, from the centre there are many streets of Georgian houses, including the world’s only museum dedicated to fans, the Fan Museum, on Croom’s Hill. Nearby at the junction of Croom’s Hill with Nevada Street, is Greenwich Theatre, formerly Crowder’s Music Hall – one of two Greenwich theatres, the other being the Greenwich Playhouse.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on Greenwich Council, Visit Greenwich, Greenwich Market, VisitLondon.com – Greenwich Market and Wikipedia Greenwich. Learn more about the use of photos.




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