Maritime Greenwich: A World Heritage Site
|The Old Royal Naval College|
This was founded by King William III and Queen Mary II in 1694 as the Royal Hospital for Seaman. Sir Christopher Wren designed the four main courts of the College and they were built between 1696 and 1751.
The courts are on the site of the former Tudor Palace of Greenwich. The King Charles Court incorporates John Webb's single unfinished wing (1664-69) of Charles II's projected new palace of Greenwich.
Wren substantially completed the King Charles and King William Courts on the west side. The Queen Anne Court was largely the work of his Clerk of Works, Nicholas Hawksmoor. The Queen Mary Court was built by Thomas Ripley between 1735 and 1751.
The Painted Hall and Chapel
Sir James Thornhill decorated the famous Painted Hall in King William Court, 1707-26. He was rewarded with £6685 - and a knighthood - for this, the major work of his career. He was paid £3 per square yard for the ceiling and £1 for the walls.
James 'Athenian' Stuart added the Infirmary (now the Dreadnought Library of Greenwich University) from 1764 and remodelled the Chapel (in the Queen Mary court) after a fire in 1779.
Uses old and new
The buildings housed Royal Naval pensioners from 1705 to 1869, reaching a maximum of 2710 in 1814. The Hospital then closed and from 1873 to 1998 was the Royal Naval College - the 'Navy's university'.
The grounds, Painted Hall and Chapel are open to the public, as is the Greenwich Gateway WHS Visitor Centre in the 19th-century Pepys Building.
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