|Old pensioners leaving hospital. © NMM|
Since the pensioners left Greenwich in 1865-69, the Hospital has developed as a substantial charitable organization, with an updated welfare and educational role. This has been possible because it has inherited a number of valuable assets, all now under professional management.
|Pupils from the Hospital School behind fence railings. © NMM|
|The Royal party at the opening of the National Maritime Museum. © NMM|
The Hospital also derives
|Royal Naval College. © NMM|
300 years on from its foundation, Greenwich Hospital continues to perform its charitable role in accordance with the principles set out in the Royal Charter of 1694. It still cares for seafarers and their dependants.
However, the emphasis has moved from helping the elderly to assisting the young. Some 90% of the Hospital's net income is now devoted directly and indirectly to the Royal Hospital School, although this will be reduced over the next ten years to achieve a more balanced charitable outcome.
|Greenwich pensioners. © NMM|
Other income remains committed to elderly ex-seafarers, who also continue to receive substantial support. The Hospital provides a range of pensions - more than 1000 in all - to needy ex-seafarers and their widows, administered by the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust. It also gives substantial support to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children's Fund.
In addition, the Hospital has started to provide sheltered housing for eligible former Royal Naval and Royal Marine personnel. Purpose-built accomodation has been opened in Southsea and Saltash in Cornwall.
More recently, the Hospital reclaimed a fine early 19th-century ancillary building on the original Greenwich site, the Trafalgar Quarters, and converted it into a third residence. This opened in 2001, bringing 'Greenwich pensioners' back to the site for the first time since 1869.
Thus Greenwich Hospital continues to serve seafarers and their dependants, for whom it was founded 300 years ago. Queen Mary would surely have approved!
To find out more about the Royal Hospital School, now at Holbrook, Suffolk, visit: