Posts Tagged ‘Royal Naval College’

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.