Posts Tagged ‘Greenwich’

Corridor under chapel leading to the skittle alley

In a cellar under the Chapel is a skittle alley. Created in the 1860s to help entertain the retired seaman who lived there. The balls used were practice canon balls.

You can still use it today and Keith and I had a game whilst we were there, which Keith won with a strike (some people are just lucky!).

The Chapel was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was redecorated in 1779 following a major fire.

The hall was originally designed to be the dining room of the home for retired seaman founded on the site by Queen Mary in 1694, but soon became reserved as a place for ceremonial occasions. The painting took 19 years (1707 -1726) and was overseen by James Thornhill. The work includes pictures of the 3 monarchs: Queen Anne, who had built the Hospital; William and Mary, whose reign saw the beginning of the painted hall project and George I in whose reign it was completed. In fact, 2 other monarchs can also be seen as Princes George (later George II) and William (later William IV) are shown in the family group surrounding George I. It was likely with the political changes that the design was changed on a number of occasions during the painting. The theme is ‘Triumph of Peace and Liberty over tyranny’.

The hall was used for many important events including the lying-in-state of Nelson after the Battle of Trafalgar. The queues are reputed to have stretched for miles.

When the Hospital closed and the Royal Naval College took over, the hall was used as a dining room for the officer cadets until the college moved in 1997. It is now maintained by a charitable trust and the Hall reopened in 2017 following a two-year refurbishment project. During this remains of the old Tudor palace at Greenwich were discovered below the hall

Keith and I took a trip to Greenwich recently to visit the Old Naval College.

The Naval College was built around 1700 as a home for retired and destitute seaman from the navy. However despite its grand surroundings life was pretty rough and ready in the college. It also included a specialist hospital for treating sick or injured seaman. The buildings were designed by sir Christopher Wren but he had to change his design to allow for there to be a river view from the Queens house in the adjacent palace of Greenwich.

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The design had to incorpaorate an uninterupted view of the river from the Queens house (seen between the two wings)

The design had to incorporate an uninterupted view of the river from the Queens house (seen between the two wings)

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The seaman’s home closed in 1869 and the buildings passed to the Royal Navy to use as a training college. They occupied the site until 1998, when it passed to a trust charged with preserving the buildings. The current tenants of the site are the University of Greenwich and Trinity College of Music.

Cutty Sark.

Posted: September 18, 2019 in History, Ships
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Cutty Sark. Photo by Paul Hudson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/

Cutty Sark is the last surviving example of a Clipper. The ships got their name from the American expression ‘to go at a clip’ meaning to go fast. It became a term applied to any boat with a long narrow hull, a yacht like appearance and a large sail area. They were built for speed.

Hull of an East Indiaman (Top) and of Cutty sark (bottom)

Hull of an East Indiaman (Top) and of Cutty sark (bottom)

In the 1860s the big profitable cargo was tea from China. There was a large premium to be made for the first consignments back in London. From 1860-1870 there were about 280 British ships involved in the tea trade. The fastest passage from Shanghai to London was made by the Harlaw in 1869 at 89 days.

Cutty sark was launched in November 1869 and first set sail to Shanghai in March 1870. She was one of 9 ships owned by John ‘White hat’ Willis a Scottish businessman, who got his nickname because he always sported a white top-hat. She was designed for the tea trade with maximum capacity in the ideal shape for speed. She was made of iron frames. wooden planks and brass sheathing which was believed to be the ideal construction for speed and transporting tea.

Hull construction of metal frame. wooden planks and brass sheath

Hull construction of metal frame. wooden planks and brass sheath

In fact Cutty Sark made only 8 trips to China and her fastest time from Shanghai to London was 109 days. She would carry general cargo’s out to China and then on the return leg could carry around 600,000 kg of tea on each journey.

Tea chests in hold

Tea chests in hold

The opening of the Suez canal in 1869 was to mark the end for sailing ships in the tea race. They were unable to navigate it and so they were at a great disadvantage to steam ships which could now do the journey in around 60 days.

The two routes from Shanghai to London once the Suez canal opened in 1869

The two routes from Shanghai to London once the Suez canal opened in 1869

Cutty Sark was switched to transporting Wool from Australia and for many years she was the fastest ship in the wool trade. On every trip she could carry 5,000 bales of wool, each bale containing the wool from 60 sheep.

Wool bales

Wool bales

In 1895 she was sold to Ferriera and Co of Lisbon, who renamed her ‘Ferriera’. She carried general cargo to South America, Africa, the USA and Britain. In 1922 she sailed into Falmouth harbour in the south west of the UK. She was recognised by a retired Captain, William Dowman who set about raising the funds to buy the ship. She was moored in Falmouth and restoration began, She was used as a sail training ship and as a visitor attraction. In 1938 she was moved to Greenhithe on the River Thames where she became part of the Thames Nautical Training College. Eventually in 1954 she went on permanent display at Greenwich. In 2007 during renovations she was damaged by a fire. Thankfully all the artifacts and fittings had already been removed and the only thing that was seriously damaged was the decks (which were mostly 20th century anyway) although some buckling of her metal framework can be seen today. The ship re-opened to the public in April 2012.

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Greenwich Re-visited

Posted: October 31, 2017 in History, London, Ships, UK
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Model of Cutty Sark

Last Friday went to Greenwich with Steve Evans to see the Cutty Sark.

 

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Greenwich Heritage Centre

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Looking towards Canary Wharf and Docklands

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Greenwich foot tunnel (under River Thames) with City in background

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Old Royal Naval College (now University of Greenwich)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lunching under the Keel

We were very fortunate to get some great views of Tall Ships while we were crossing the river on the cable car.

We are soon approaching the Greenwich peninsular. Once a major industrial area this area is now one of major redevelopment.

Approaching Greenwich Penninsular

Approaching Greenwich Penninsular

At the apex of the peninsular is the O2 arena (originally the Millennium Dome) built for the 2000 exhibition, it is now one of London’s premier event spaces.

O2 Arena

O2 Arena

This redevelopment included a major upgrading of the transport to the area. The most visible is the cable car which runs across the Thames to the north bank.

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As we make our way past the arena we are passed by the River Lifeboat.

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As we approach Greenwich we pass the power station, built in 1910 to provide power for London’s tram and underground network. It was originally powered by coal and the jetties on the river were used for the delivery of coal and the removal of ash. It now houses 4 gas turbines.

Greenwich Power Station

Greenwich Power Station

The Riverside Almshouses were built in 1812 replacing a set of almshouses built on the site for ’21 old gentlemen of Greenwich’ by the Earl of Northampton in 1613.

Riverside Almshouses

Riverside Almshouses

Bult in 1837 on the site of an earlier inn, the Trafalgar Inn was a place of dining for many distinguished visitors to Greenwich.

Trafalgar Inn

Trafalgar Inn

After his restoration to the throne in 1660, Charles II drew up ambitious plans for a new palace, to replace the old and poorly-maintained Greenwich Palace. Unfortunately, finances and enthusiasm soon waned, and only one new wing was actually built. In 1694 this wing along with the grounds were granted by William III by Royal Warrant as the site for the Royal Hospital for Seamen.

Royal Naval College

Royal Naval College

 

Royal Naval College

Royal Naval College

In 1873 the Naval College in Portsmouth acquired the buildings and the Royal Naval College was established to provide state of the art training for young officers. The Navy left in 1997, and the Old Royal Naval College is open for the public to visit. Parts of the building are now part of the University of Greenwich and Trinity College of Music.

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship. Built on the Clyde in 1869 she was one of the last, and one of the fastest, tea clippers to be built. The opening of the Suez Canal (also in 1869) meant that steamships now enjoyed a much shorter route to China, so Cutty Sark spent only a few years on the tea trade before turning to the trade in wool from Australia, where she held the record time to Britain for ten years. The ship was sold to the Portuguese company Ferreira and Co. in 1895, and renamed Ferreira. She continued as a cargo ship until purchased by retired sea captain Wilfred Dowman in 1922, who used her as a training ship operating from Falmouth, Cornwall. After his death, Cutty Sark was transferred to the Thames Nautical Training College, Greenhithe in 1938 where she became an auxiliary cadet training ship. By 1954 she had ceased to be useful as a cadet ship and was transferred to permanent dry dock at Greenwich, London, for public display. Cutty Sark is listed by National Historic Ships as part of the National Historic Fleet.

 

 

Our final stop was at the Greenwich Peninsular, downriver from the centre of Greenwich. In many ways this is an area just like the Isle of Dogs on the other side of the river. Its history is of heavy industry and dock wharves. In preparation for the millennium the area began to be redeveloped around a large entertainment and concert venue known as the Millennium Dome (now known as the O2 or more colloquially as the dome). The major difference to the isle of dogs is that this area has a greater emphasis on residential accommodation and not on commercial buildings.

The Dome from the river

The Dome from the river

The Emirates cable car which links Greenwich Peninsular to Docklands on the north bank.

The Emirates cable car which links Greenwich Peninsular to Docklands on the north bank.

It began development much later than the isle of dogs and this still continues as it changes the face of the river along the southern bank

Continuing development on the Peninsular

Continuing development on the Peninsular

Thames Journey (9): Greenwich

Posted: December 9, 2014 in History, London, UK
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Our next call was at Greenwich.

Arriving at Greenwich with Cutty Sark in the background

Arriving at Greenwich with Cutty Sark in the background

The Naval College was built around 1700 as a home for retired and destitute seaman from the navy. However despite its grand surroundings life was pretty rough and ready in the college. It also included a specialist hospital for treating sick or injured seaman. The buildings were designed by sir Christopher Wren but he had to change his design to allow for there to be a river view from the Queens house in the adjacent palace of Greenwich.

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The design had to incorpaorate an uninterupted view of the river from the Queens house (seen between the two wings)

The design had to incorpaorate an uninterupted view of the river from the Queens house (seen between the two wings)

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The seaman’s home closed in 1869 and the buildings passed to the Royal Navy to use as a training college. They occupied the site until 1998, when it passed to a trust charged with preserving the buildings. The current tenants of the site are the University of Greenwich and Trinity College of Music. The famous painted hall and the chapel are open to the public along with the Greenwich heritage centre.

The Trafalgar Tavern which sits next to the Naval College was built in 1837 and quickly became popular with the literary set of the day including Wilkie Collins, William Thackery and Charles Dickens, who included it as the location of a wedding breakfast in ‘Our mutual friend’. In the 19th century it became an institute for merchant seaman and then a working men’s club. It 1965 it was redeveloped and restored to its original Victorian décor and re-opened as a public house and restaurant

Trafalgar Tavern (currently recieved a repaint)

Trafalgar Tavern (currently recieved a repaint)