Long before the college was built there was a Tudor palace on this site called Placentia. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were both born here. By the time of the Civil War in the 1640s, the old Tudor palace had already fallen into decay.
In 1694, a Royal Charter was passed to build a Naval 'hospital'. This was a retirement home for old and injured seamen. Mary II asked Christopher Wren to build it between the Queen's House and the River Thames, on the site of the old palace.
In 1869 the Hospital was closed, and in 1873 the complex of buildings became the Royal Naval College, where officers from all over the world came to train in the naval sciences. In 1998 the Royal Navy left Greenwich and handed over responsibility for the site to the Greenwich Foundation.
In the Autumn of 1999 the University of Greenwich began teaching here. The grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, together with the Painted Hall and the Chapel are now open to the public daily.