Greenwich Royal Naval College

Greenwich aerial viewThe Royal Naval College, Greenwich is part of a designated World Heritage site that includes the Queens House. The college buildings were designed by Sir Christopher Wren in collaboration with other architects as the Greenwich hospital, a residential home for injured sailors. It was built directly on the river Thames between 1696 and 1712, although Wren did not live to see their completion.

The design of the buildings was influenced in some part by the Queens House built for Quuen Anne wife of James I directly behind it. Queen Mary complained that the new building would spoil her view and so  the hospital had 4 separate buidlings which are part of its unique style. Each of the buildings are named after royalty. Queen Mary Court houses the elaborate Chapel, while even more impressive is the painted hall in King Williams Court. The painting of this is a story in itself as the artist Sir James Thornhill was allegedly paid by the yard, but as you can see from the photograph below, the results are magnificent with the artist receiving a knighthood.

When the patients were moved elsewhere, the Royal Navy used the buildings as their college.

What is without doubt is that the painted hall has a special atmosphere where you can imagine the sailors presence. Part of that heritage includes Lord Nelson whose body was laid in state in the Painted Hall in 1806.

Old Royal Naval College Website

Greenwich Royal Naval College