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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Greenwich (/ˈɡrɛnɪ/ (About this soundlisten) GREN-itch, /ˈɡrɪnɪ/ GRIN-ij, /ˈɡrɪnɪ/ GRIN-itch, or /ˈɡrɛnɪ/ GREN-ij[1][2]) is an area of south east London, England, located 5.5 miles (8.9 km) east-southeast of Charing Cross. It is located within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, to which it lends its name.

Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. The town became the site of a royal palace, the Palace of Placentia from the 15th century, and was the birthplace of many Tudors, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The palace fell into disrepair during the English Civil War and was rebuilt as the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors by Sir Christopher Wren and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor. These buildings became the Royal Naval College in 1873, and they remained an establishment for military education until 1998 when they passed into the hands of the Greenwich Foundation. The historic rooms within these buildings remain open to the public; other buildings are used by University of Greenwich and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

The town became a popular resort in the 18th century and many grand houses were built there, such as Vanbrugh Castle (1717) established on Maze Hill, next to the park. From the Georgian period estates of houses were constructed above the town centre. The maritime connections of Greenwich were celebrated in the 20th century, with the siting of the Cutty Sark and Gipsy Moth IV next to the river front, and the National Maritime Museum in the former buildings of the Royal Hospital School in 1934. Greenwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Quirky London Walks 3 - Royal Greenwich
  • ✪ Top Things to do in Greenwich, London
  • ✪ LONDON: Tour of historic GREENWICH, what to see in 3 hours or less
  • ✪ Why The Prime Meridian Isn't At 0º
  • ✪ Welcome To Greenwich Ct


Across there is the Royal London Borough of Greenwich and it's called the Royal Borough because it was the seat of royalty for 200 years and this view was said to be Christopher Wren's favourite view in the whole of London probably because he designed those two buildings over there The reason I'm here is because a few months ago, L&Q who are this company that build houses They asked me to make a film and they liked it so much that they asked me to make another one because they've got this big housing development going on down in North Greenwich My favourite way to go is by boat It's such a lovely way to travel down the Thames like this; it's excellent It takes about 20 minutes to get to North Greenwich by boat from London Bridge and I've got plenty of time so that's a nice way to go but if you want it's only 8 minutes on the Jubilee line and that runs 24 hours a day I love it in Greenwich "-wich" actually means "port" in anglo-saxon, so places like Greenwich, Harwich, Norwich L&Q have a lot of their homes around here so they asked me to come and check out the area and I think it's going to be quite exciting actually; I'm quite looking forward to it This piece of art is by Anthony Gormley it's called Quantum Cloud And you can see that it's an Anthony Gormley because if you look inside it you can see the form of his famous sculptures that he did of himself just standing there These stretch all the way up towards the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park it's called "The Line" I'm just talking about this amazing piece of art here The human form caught between representation and abstraction I could have told you that. I wouldn't have to look it up Sliced in half. It's supposed to represent maritime history. The meridian slicing through the peninsula of Greenwich do you see what they've done there? What's this piece of art work here, Julian ? "Umbrella" by Joolzy I quite like that one actually. It looks really nice at night This is by Alex Chinnek It's called "Bullet from a shooting star" You'd make a good Dr. Who Something about that artwork behind you and the silhouette cheap BBC "oh we'll just make it out to be another planet" Calling my productions cheap? These art installation stretch all the way down Millennium Way There's graffiti and modern art the route even looks a bit like they've spelt out "The Line" there I love being by the river, I've just got an obsession with boats and rivers and sea-faring. That's why I love Greenwich so much Yes, The Millennium Dome It's now called the O2 Centre They have loads of restaurants, bars, gigs, massive sporting events The distance from the bottom to the top is 52 metres which corresponds to the amount of weeks in the year and those yellow spikes, there's 12 of those which is supposed to be the months in the year or the hours on a clock face as if you cared opposite the O2 is The Now Gallery which is a public art space and they short-list artists so if you have an idea they do take a few per year this one is by Rebecca Louise Law with 10 000 irises hanging from the ceiling We are building a new neighbourhood at Greenwich Peninsula the art gallery is part of the place-making agenda that we're doing here so it's fine art, fashion and design there's a golf range as well Oh, if you're wondering, L&Q are one of the largest providers of quality shared ownership homes in London now watch this drive You play a Slazenger 4, don't you? You must have played the wrong ball somewhere on the last fairway I own the club Mr. Bond So over there in the distance you can see the Thames Barrier it was built in 1982. It's got 10 flood gates, all abreast Do you think they're supposed to look like the sails of ships? Is that why they're designed like that? A bit like the Sydney Opera House. It's a bit further than it looks though. I did walk it yesterday and I'm not doing that again In order to stop the urban sprawl taking over they've got this little ecology park It's supposed to help with the flourishment of species like dragon flies... Bats, cleavers.... I thought it said cleavage for a second It's really serene actually L&Q wanted me to mention they've got more shared ownership homes coming up in 2018 in London and the southeast one of which is over towards the old town of Greenwich and I'm really looking forward to going over there because it's one of my favourite parts of London the staff on here are so much more jolly than on on the underground This is great fun I mean, it doesn't look quite like Venice but These are known as gondolas Excellent That took about 10 minutes That was so good a romantic trip on a gondola.... with Simon I really love the docklands light railway. It's like a toy train If you want to get to the Cutty Sark another way you can just go underneath this Greenwich foot tunnel which was built in 1899. Down into the Mines of Morea Through the mountain Ah, Her cutty sark, o' paisley harn that while a lassie she had worn...or something it's a poem by the Scottish poet Robbie Burns and the cutty sark referred to a short sort of shirt that the witch, Nannie, wore in his poem That's actually supposed to be her on the figure head it was the fastest vessel in the world, it managed to get to Australia in 73 days! Lunch at The Moth, Simon? This is the kind of quality you bump into in a pub in Greenwich I was just at the bar and who do I meet but Patrick Godfrey. He is a very well known actor I saw you in Les Miserables recently on TV You know we did it here. We filmed Les Mis, I think it was in the Royal Naval College and they made it look like Paris Her Cutty Sark o' paisley harn that while a lassie she had worn wi' twa pun Scots it was her riches Whatever graced a dance of witches The royal connection with Greenwich started in the 15th century when King Henry V....his brother, the Duke of Gloucester inherited some Land around here and he built what was regarded as the finest house in England and it was King Henry Vii who turned it into an actual palace King Henry VIII was born here, so was Queen Elizabeth I Henry Viii also married Anne of Cleves here She was the 4th wife. The ugly German one, so he said or am I thinking of my wives King James I had this house built for his wife Queen Anne of Denmark and it's now a part of the National Maritime museum but it fell into disrepair during the civil war and then Queen Mary insisted that this be part of a hospital for seamen No sniggering in the back row please when I said seamen but she insisted that the view of the Queen's House not be obscured so they got Christopher Wren to design these two rather unique wings of the Royal Naval Hospital So this is where, in 1805 on Christmas Eve They brought the body of Admiral Lord Nelson after he was killed at the battle of Trafalgar He arrived here pickled in rum and they say that some of the sailors used to drink some of the rum that he was pickled it and that's where we get the expression "Tapping the Admiral" You can actually see his blood stained trousers in the maritime museum These are the actual pants he was wearing full with perished gusset reminds me of some of my own underpants actually This is Greenwich park where Sir Walter Raleigh famously laid down his cloak over puddle for Queen Elizabeth to step over it Oh Sir Walter.....really! Famously this is where Anne Boleyn dropped her handkerchief as a signal to her lover and apparently King Henry VIII spotted it and that spelt her doom! And at the top of the hill is the first ever observatory in England This is where Edmund Halley charted the course of Halley's comet but unfortunately he died before he could be proven right it's a pity that they're renovating that building because that ball on top was installed in 1833 and every day since they've raised it at 5 minutes to 1pm and then lowered it at 1pm so that the ships on the river could set their clocks by it One yard, two feet, one foot six inches Give them an inch and they'll take a foot and the next thing you know you haven't got a leg to stand on This is where east meets west where time begins I am now half in the western hemisphere and half in the eastern hemisphere in 1884 there was a conference in Washington where they decided where to set the prime meridian and they came to the conclusion that Greenwich the best place because so many ships from around the world used to come here to Greenwich However, the French, typically decided not to accept it until 1911 so they kept their meridian in Paris but everyone else in the whole world decided to use Greenwich I can see why the Kings and Queens decided to move here . This is where Queen Elizabeth I used to play as a child This ancient tree known as Queen Elizabeth's oak is thought to have been planted in the 12th century The shadows grow tall, the sky bruises and we must be forced to camp A pint at the Plume of Feathers I think The oldest pub in Greenwich, built in 1691 Seems like a reasonable place to finish the day Now if you enjoy my films please hit the subscription button or leave a comment underneath and if you want to know more about L&Q and their shared home ownership schemes then click the link in the description below Cheers!




The place-name 'Greenwich' is first attested in a Saxon charter of 918, where it appears as Gronewic. It is recorded as Grenewic in 964, and as Grenawic in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 1013. It is Grenviz in the Domesday Book of 1086, and Grenewych in the Taxatio Ecclesiastica of 1291. The name means 'green wic or settlement' (from the Latin 'vicus').[3]

The settlement later became known as East Greenwich to distinguish it from West Greenwich or Deptford Strond, the part of Deptford adjacent to the Thames,[4] but the use of East Greenwich to mean the whole of the town of Greenwich died out in the 19th century. However, Greenwich was divided into the registration subdistricts of Greenwich East and Greenwich West from the beginning of civil registration in 1837, the boundary running down what is now Greenwich Church Street and Crooms Hill, although more modern references to "East" and "West" Greenwich probably refer to the areas east and west of the Royal Naval College and National Maritime Museum corresponding with the West Greenwich council ward. An article in The Times of 13 October 1967 stated:

East Greenwich, gateway to the Blackwall Tunnel, remains solidly working class, the manpower for one eighth of London's heavy industry. West Greenwich is a hybrid: the spirit of Nelson, the Cutty Sark, the Maritime Museum, an industrial waterfront and a number of elegant houses, ripe for development.[5]

Manor of East Greenwich

Royal charters granted to English colonists in North America,[6] often used the name of the manor of East Greenwich for describing the tenure (from the Latin verb teneo, hold) as that of free socage.[7] New England charters provided that the grantees should hold their lands "as of his Majesty's manor of East Greenwich." This was in relation to the principle of land tenure under English law, that the ruling monarch (king or queen) was paramount lord of all the soil in the terra regis,[8] while all others held their lands, directly or indirectly, under the monarch. Land outside the physical boundaries of England, as in America, was treated as belonging constructively to one of the existing royal manors, and from Tudor times grants frequently used the name of the manor of East Greenwich,[9] but some 17c. grants named the castle of Windsor.[10][11][12] Places in North America that have taken the name "East Greenwich" include a township in Gloucester County, New Jersey, a hamlet in Washington County, New York, and a town in Kent County, Rhode Island. Greenwich, Connecticut was also named after Greenwich.

Early settlement

Tumuli to the south-west of Flamsteed House,[13] in Greenwich Park, are thought to be early Bronze Age barrows re-used by the Saxons in the 6th century as burial grounds. To the east between the Vanbrugh and Maze Hill Gates is the site of a Roman villa or temple. A small area of red paving tesserae protected by railings marks the spot. It was excavated in 1902 and 300 coins were found dating from the emperors Claudius and Honorius to the 5th century. This was excavated by the Channel 4 television programme Time Team in 1999, broadcast in 2000,[14] and further investigations were made by the same group in 2003.[15]

The Roman road from London to Dover, Watling Street crossed the high ground to the south of Greenwich, through Blackheath. This followed the line of an earlier Celtic route from Canterbury to St Albans.[16] As late as Henry V, Greenwich was only a fishing town, with a safe anchorage in the river.[4]


During the reign of Ethelred the Unready, the Danish fleet anchored in the River Thames off Greenwich for over three years, with the army being encamped on the hill above. From here they attacked Kent and, in the year 1012, took the city of Canterbury, making Archbishop Alphege their prisoner for seven months in their camp at Greenwich, at that time within the county of Kent. They stoned him to death for his refusal to allow his ransom (3,000 pieces of silver) to be paid; and kept his body, until the blossoming of a stick that had been immersed in his blood. For this miracle his body was released to his followers, he achieved sainthood for his martyrdom and, in the 12th century, the parish church was dedicated to him. The present church on the site west of the town centre is St Alfege's Church, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1714 and completed in 1718. Some vestiges of the Danish camps may be traced in the names of Eastcombe and Westcombe, on the borders of nearby Blackheath.[17]


The Domesday Book records the manor of Grenviz in the hundred of Grenviz as held by Bishop Odo of Bayeux;[18] his lands were seized by the crown in 1082. The name of the hundred was changed to Blackheath when the site of the hundred court was moved there in the 12th century. A royal palace, or hunting lodge, has existed here since before 1300, when Edward I is known to have made offerings at the chapel of the Virgin Mary.[17]


Subsequent monarchs were regular visitors, with Henry IV making his will here, and Henry V granting the manor (for life) to Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, who died at Greenwich in 1426. The palace was created by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Henry V's half-brother and the regent to Henry VI in 1447; he enclosed the park and erected a tower on the hill now occupied by the Royal Observatory. It was renamed the Palace of Placentia or Pleasaunce by Henry VI's consort Margaret of Anjou after Humphrey's death. The palace was completed and further enlarged by Edward IV, and in 1466 it was granted to his queen, Elizabeth.[17]

Ultimately it was because the palace and its grounds were a royal possession that it was chosen as the site for Charles II's Royal Observatory, from which stemmed Greenwich's subsequent global role as originator of the modern Prime Meridian.


The palace was the principal residence of Henry VII whose sons Henry (later Henry VIII) and Edmund Tudor were born here, and baptised in St Alphege's. Henry favoured Greenwich over nearby Eltham Palace, the former principal royal palace. He extended Greenwich Palace and it became his principal London seat until Whitehall Palace was built in the 1530s. Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves at Greenwich, and both Mary (18 February 1516) and Elizabeth (7 September 1533) were born at Greenwich. His son Edward VI also died there at age 15.

The palace of Placentia, in turn, became Elizabeth's favourite summer residence.[17] Both she and her sister Mary I used the palace extensively, and Elizabeth's Council planned the Spanish Armada campaign there in 1588.


Adriaen van Stalbemt's A View of Greenwich, c. 1632. Royal Collection, London.
Adriaen van Stalbemt's A View of Greenwich, c. 1632. Royal Collection, London.

James I carried out the final remodelling work on Greenwich Palace, granting the manor to his wife Queen Anne of Denmark. In 1616 Anne commissioned Inigo Jones to design and build the surviving Queen's House as the final addition to the palace.

Charles I granted the manor to his wife Queen Henrietta Maria, for whom Inigo Jones completed the Queen's House. During the English Civil War, the palace was used as a biscuit factory and prisoner-of-war camp. Then, in the Interregnum, the palace and park were seized to become a 'mansion' for the Lord Protector.

By the time of the Restoration, the Palace of Placentia had fallen into disuse and was pulled down. New buildings began to be established as a grand palace for Charles II, but only the King Charles block was completed. Charles II also redesigned and replanted Greenwich Park and founded and built the Royal Observatory.

Prince James (later King James II & VII), as Duke of York and Lord Admiral until 1673, was often at Greenwich with his brother Charles and, according to Samuel Pepys, he proposed the idea of creating a Royal Naval Hospital. This was eventually established at Greenwich by his daughter Mary II, who in 1692–1693 commissioned Christopher Wren to design the Royal Hospital for Seamen (now the Old Royal Naval College). The work was begun under her widower William III in 1696 and completed by Hawksmoor. Queen Anne and Prince George of Denmark continued to patronise the project.


George I landed at Greenwich from Hanover on his accession in 1714. His successor George II granted the Royal Hospital for Seamen the forfeited estates of the Jacobite Earl of Derwentwater, which allowed the building to be completed by 1751.

In 1805, George III granted the Queen's House to the Royal Naval Asylum (an orphanage school), which amalgamated in 1821–1825 with the Greenwich Hospital School. Extended with the buildings that now house the National Maritime Museum, it was renamed the Royal Hospital School by Queen Victoria in 1892.

George IV donated nearly 40 paintings to the hospital in 1824, at a stroke creating a gallery in the Painted Hall. These now form the Greenwich Hospital Collection at the National Maritime Museum. Subsequently, William IV and Queen Adelaide were both regular donors and visitors to the gallery.

Victorian and Edwardian

Queen Victoria rarely visited Greenwich but in 1845 her husband Prince Albert personally bought Nelson's Trafalgar coat for the Naval Gallery.

In 1838 the London and Greenwich Railway (L&GR) completed the very first steam railway in London. It started at London Bridge and had its terminus at London Street (now Greenwich High Road). It was also the first to be built specifically for passengers, and the first ever elevated railway, having 878 arches over its almost four mile stretch. In 1853 the local Scottish Presbyterian community built a church close by. The church was extended twice in the 1860s during the ministry of the increasingly well known Dr Adolph Saphir, eventually accommodating a thousand worshippers.[19][20]

In 1864 opposite the railway terminus, theatrical entrepreneur Sefton Parry built the thousand seater New Greenwich Theatre.[21] William Morton was one of its more successful managers. The theatre was demolished in 1937 to make way for a new Town Hall, now a listed building under new ownership and renamed Meridian House.

Greenwich Station is at the northern apex of the Ashburnham Triangle, a residential estate developed by the Ashburnham family, mainly between 1830 and 1870, on land previously developed as market gardens. It is now a designated conservation area.[22] The present Greenwich Theatre, further to the east, was constructed inside the shell of a Victorian music hall. Beginning life in 1855 as an annexe to the Rose and Crown, the music hall was rebuilt in 1871 by Charles Crowder and subsequently operated under many names.

Modern and the present

George V and Queen Mary both supported the creation of the National Maritime Museum, and Mary presented the museum with many items.

The Prince Albert, Duke of York (later George VI), laid the foundation stone of the new Royal Hospital School when it moved out to Holbrook, Suffolk. In 1937 his first public act as king (three weeks before coronation) was to open the National Maritime Museum in the buildings vacated by the school. The king was accompanied by his mother Queen Mary, his wife Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) and the Princess Elizabeth (now Elizabeth II.)

Princess Elizabeth and her consort Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (who was ennobled Baron Greenwich on marriage in 1947) made their first public and official visit to Greenwich in 1948 to receive the Freedom of the Borough for Philip. In the same year, he became a trustee of the National Maritime Museum. Philip, now the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was a trustee for 52 years until 2000, when he became its first patron. The Duke of Edinburgh has also been a patron of the Cutty Sark (which was opened by the Queen in 1957) since 1952.

During the Silver Jubilee of 1977, the Queen embarked at Greenwich for the Jubilee River Pageant. In 1987, Her Majesty was aboard the P&O ship Pacific Princess when it moored alongside the Old Royal Naval College for the company's 150th anniversary celebrations.

To mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, it was announced on 5 January 2010 that on 3 February 2012 the London Borough of Greenwich would become the fourth to have Royal Borough status, the others being the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.[23] The status was granted in recognition of the borough's historic links with the Royal Family, the location of the Prime Meridian and its being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[24]


A map showing the wards of Greenwich Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1916.
A map showing the wards of Greenwich Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1916.

Greenwich is covered by the Greenwich West and Peninsula wards of the London Borough of Greenwich, which was formed in 1965 by merging the former Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich with that part of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich which lay south of The Thames. Along with Blackheath Westcombe, Charlton, Glyndon, Woolwich Riverside, and Woolwich Common, it elects a Member of Parliament (MP) for Greenwich and Woolwich; currently the MP is Matthew Pennycook.[25]



The town of Greenwich is built on a broad platform to the south of the outside of a broad meander in the River Thames, with a safe deep water anchorage lying in the river. To the south, the land rises steeply, 100 feet (30 m) through Greenwich Park to the town of Blackheath. The higher areas consist of a sedimentary layer of gravelly soils, known as the Blackheath Beds, that spread through much of the south-east over a chalk outcrop—with sands, loam and seams of clay at the lower levels by the river.

Greenwich is bordered by Deptford Creek and Deptford to the west; the residential area of Westcombe Park to the east; the River Thames to the north; and the A2 and Blackheath to the south. The Greenwich Peninsula, also known as North Greenwich, is situated to the northeast of the town centre.

Nearby areas

The view from Greenwich Park, with the Queen's House and the wings of the National Maritime Museum in the foreground


This data was collected between 1971 and 2000 at the weather station situated in Greenwich:

Climate data for Greenwich Park, elevation: 47 m or 154 ft, 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.4
Average high °C (°F) 8.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.6
Average low °C (°F) 3.1
Record low °C (°F) −9.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 41.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 11.4 8.5 9.8 9.0 9.2 7.4 6.3 8.1 8.6 10.9 10.9 9.5 109.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 44.7 65.4 101.7 148.3 170.9 171.4 176.7 186.1 133.9 105.4 59.6 45.8 1,410
Source #1: Met Office[26][27][28]
Source #2: BBC Weather[29]

Sites of interest


RFA Argus being towed to Greenwich in June 2017

The Cutty Sark (a clipper ship) has been preserved in a dry dock by the river. A major fire in May 2007 destroyed a part of the ship, although much had already been removed for restoration. Nearby for many years was also displayed Gipsy Moth IV, the 54 feet (16.5 m) yacht sailed by Sir Francis Chichester in his single-handed, 226-day circumnavigation of the globe during 1966–67. In 2004, Gipsy Moth IV was removed from Greenwich, and after restoration work completed a second circumnavigation in May 2007. On the riverside in front of the north-west corner of the Hospital is an obelisk erected in memory of Arctic explorer Joseph René Bellot.

Boats at Greenwich at the end of the Great River Race
Boats at Greenwich at the end of the Great River Race
The Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender moored on the riverfront at Greenwich in 2015
The Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender moored on the riverfront at Greenwich in 2015

Near the Cutty Sark site, a circular building contains the entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel, opened on 4 August 1902. This connects Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs on the northern side of the River Thames. The north exit of the tunnel is at Island Gardens,[30] from where the famous view of Greenwich Hospital painted by Canaletto can be seen.

Rowing has been part of life on the river at Greenwich for hundreds of years and the first Greenwich Regatta was held in 1785. The annual Great River Race along the Thames Tideway finishes at the Cutty Sark. The nearby Trafalgar Rowing Centre in Crane Street is home to Curlew Rowing Club and Globe Rowing Club.

The Old Royal Naval College is Sir Christopher Wren's domed masterpiece at the centre of the heritage site. The site is administered by the Greenwich Foundation and several of the buildings are let to the University of Greenwich and one, the King Charles block, to Trinity College of Music. Within the complex is the former college dining room, the Painted Hall, this was painted by James Thornhill, and the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, with an interior designed by James 'Athenian' Stuart. The Naval College had a training reactor, the JASON reactor, within the King William building that was operational between 1962 and 1996. The reactor was decommissioned and removed in 1999.[31]

To the east of the Naval College is the Trinity Hospital almshouse, founded in 1613, the oldest surviving building in the town centre.[32] This is next to the massive brick walls and the landing stage of Greenwich Power Station. Built between 1902 and 1910 as a coal-fired station to supply power to London's tram system, and later the London underground, it is now oil- and gas-powered and serves as a backup station for London Underground.[33] East Greenwich also has a small park, East Greenwich Pleasaunce, which was formerly the burial ground of Greenwich Hospital.

The O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome) was built on part of the site of East Greenwich Gas Works, a disused British Gas site on the Greenwich Peninsula.[34] It is next to North Greenwich Underground station, about 3 miles (4.8 km) east from the Greenwich town centre, North West of Charlton. Pear Tree Wharf was associated with the gas works, being used to unload coal for the manufacturing of town gas, and is now home to the Greenwich Yacht Club. The Greenwich Millennium Village is a new urban regeneration development to the south of the Dome. Enderby's Wharf is a site associated with submarine cable manufacture for over 150 years.

Greenwich Park

Behind the former Naval College is the National Maritime Museum housed in buildings forming another symmetrical group and grand arcade around the Queen's House, designed by Inigo Jones. Continuing to the south, Greenwich Park is a Royal Park of 183 acres (0.7 km2), laid out in the 17th century and formed from the hunting grounds of the Royal Palace of Placentia.[35]

Spiral staircase and lantern at the Queen's House in Greenwich
Spiral staircase and lantern at the Queen's House in Greenwich

The park rises towards Blackheath and at the top of this hill is a statue of James Wolfe, commander of the British expedition to capture Quebec.[36] Nearby a major group of buildings within the park includes the former Royal Observatory, Greenwich; the Prime Meridian passes through this building.

Greenwich Mean Time was at one time based on the time observations made at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, before being superseded by Coordinated Universal Time. While there is no longer a working astronomical observatory at Greenwich, a ball still drops daily to mark the exact moment of 1 p.m., and there is a museum of astronomical and navigational tools, particularly John Harrison's marine chronometers.[37]

The Ranger's House lies at the Blackheath end of the park and houses the Wernher Collection of art,[38] and many fine houses, including Vanbrugh's house lie on Maze Hill, on the western edge of the park.

Town centre

A curving street with older two- and three-storey buildings on either side. In front is a black London taxicab with an advert; midway down the street is an intersection with heavy traffic. A cupolaed clock tower rises in the rear
Town centre

Georgian and Victorian architecture dominates in the town centre which spreads to the west of the park and Royal Naval College. Much of this forms a one-way system around a covered market, Greenwich Market and the arthouse Greenwich Cinema. Up the hill from the centre, there are many streets of Georgian houses, including the Fan Museum, on Croom's Hill. Nearby at the junction of Croom's Hill with Nevada Street, is Greenwich Theatre. The Greenwich Playhouse closed in 2012


An interior of a building with a translucent glass roof supported by blue-painted steel latticework. On the main floor are a number of different stalls with customers inspecting various wares.
Greenwich Market

There has been a market at Greenwich since the 14th century, but the history of the present market dates from 1700 when a charter to run two markets, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, was assigned by Lord Romney (Henry, Earl of Romney[17]) to the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital for 1000 years.[39]

The market is part of "the Island site", bounded by College Approach, Greenwich Church Street, King William Walk and Nelson Road, near the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. The buildings surrounding the market are Grade 2 listed and were established in 1827–1833 under the direction of Joseph Kay.[40][41] A market roof was added in 1902–08 (and replaced in 2016). Later significant development occurred in 1958–60 and during the 1980s. The landowner, Greenwich Hospital, has been enhancing the Market since 2014 and due to complete in Spring 2016.

Greenwich Mean Time

Royal Observatory with the time ball atop the Octagon Room
Royal Observatory with the time ball atop the Octagon Room

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is a term originally referring to mean solar time at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in Greenwich. It is commonly used in practice to refer to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) when this is viewed as a time zone, especially by bodies connected with the United Kingdom, such as the BBC World Service,[42] the Royal Navy, the Met Office and others, although strictly UTC is an atomic time scale which only approximates GMT with a tolerance of 0.9 second. It is also used to refer to Universal Time (UT), which is a standard astronomical concept used in many technical fields and is referred to by the phrase Zulu time.

As the United Kingdom grew into an advanced maritime nation, British mariners kept at least one chronometer on GMT in order to calculate their longitude from the Greenwich meridian, which was by convention considered to have longitude zero degrees (this convention was internationally adopted in the International Meridian Conference of 1884).[note 1] Note that the synchronization of the chronometer on GMT did not affect shipboard time itself, which was still solar time. But this practice, combined with mariners from other nations drawing from Nevil Maskelyne's method of lunar distances based on observations at Greenwich, eventually led to GMT being used worldwide as a reference time independent of location. Most time zones were based upon this reference as a number of hours and half-hours "ahead of GMT" or "behind GMT".

In recognition of the suburb's astronomical links, Asteroid 2830 has been named 'Greenwich'.[44]

World heritage site

Maritime Greenwich
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Royal Naval College 2008.jpg
LocationUnited Kingdom
CriteriaCultural: i, ii, iv, vi
Inscription1997 (21st Session)
Area109.5 hectares (271 acres)
Buffer zone174.85 hectares (432.1 acres)
Coordinates51°29′1″N 0°0′21″W / 51.48361°N 0.00583°W / 51.48361; -0.00583

In 1997 Maritime Greenwich was added to the list of World Heritage Sites, for the concentration and quality of buildings of historic and architectural interest. These can be divided into the group of buildings along the riverfront, Greenwich Park and the Georgian and Victorian town centre.

Greenwich Heritage Centre

Greenwich Heritage Centre is a museum and local history resource run by the Royal Borough of Greenwich,[45] and is based in Artillery Square, in the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, south-east London.[46]

Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre

Pepys Building
Pepys Building

The Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre provides an introduction to the history and attractions in the Greenwich World Heritage Site.[47] It is located in the Pepys Building near to the Cutty Sark within the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College (formerly Greenwich Hospital); the building began life as an engineering laboratory for the College. The centre opened in March 2010, and admission is free.

The Centre explains the history of Greenwich as a royal residence and a maritime centre. Exhibits include:


The University of Greenwich main campus is located in the distinctive buildings of the former Royal Naval College. The university has other campuses at Avery Hill in Eltham and at Medway. The Greenwich campus also houses the Trinity College of Music.

Secondary schools in the area include John Roan School and St Ursula's Convent School.



Greenwich is served by two National Rail stations: Greenwich and Maze Hill. Both of these stations have Southeastern services to London Cannon Street, Crayford and Dartford. Thameslink services to Kentish Town and Luton via Blackfriars and to Rainham also operate from these stations as of 2019.

Greenwich is also served by the Docklands Light Railway, with services from Greenwich and Cutty Sark to Lewisham, Canary Wharf, Stratford and Bank.

The district is served by one tube station, North Greenwich, which is situated on the northern edge of the district. The station is on the Jubilee line and has westward services through central London to Stanmore, and eastward services to Stratford.


Greenwich is served by several Transport for London bus services which links it with areas including Catford, Central London, Elephant & Castle, Eltham, Lewisham, Peckham, New Cross, Sidcup, Thamesmead, Waterloo and Woolwich.


There are a number of river boat services running from Greenwich Pier, managed by London River Services. The main services include the Thames commuter catamaran service run by Thames Clippers from Embankment, via Tower Millennium Pier, Canary Wharf and on to the O2 and Woolwich Arsenal Pier;[48] the Westminster-Greenwich cruise service by Thames River Services; and the City Cruises tourist cruise via Westminster, Waterloo and Tower piers.[49]

Pedestrian and cycle routes

The Thames Path National Trail runs along the riverside.[50] The Greenwich foot tunnel provides pedestrian access to the southern end of the Isle of Dogs, across the river Thames.

The National Cycle Network Route 1 includes the foot tunnel, though cycling is not permitted in the tunnel itself.[51]



Greenwich is home to a variety of amateur sports clubs. Its location on the tidal Thames makes it a good location for rowing; the Trafalgar Rowing Centre in Crane Street is the clubhouse of the Curlew and Globe rowing clubs.[52][53] The Globe has senior and junior squads, the latter renowned for its achievements at national and international level.[54]


Edward Lear makes reference to Greenwich in More Nonsense Pictures, Rhymes, Botany, etc:[55]

There was a young lady of Greenwich,
Whose garments were bordered with Spinach;
But a large spotty calf
Bit her shawl quite in half,
Which alarmed that young lady of Greenwich.

See also


  1. ^ Voting took place on 13 October and the resolutions were adopted on 22 October 1884.[43]


  1. ^ "Greenwich". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Roach, Peter; Setter, Jane; Esling, John, eds. (2011). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (David Jones) (18th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.204.
  4. ^ a b "Parishes: Greenwich".
  5. ^ "Greenwich-the instant village", Brandon Green, The Times, 13 October 1967; pg. 11
  6. ^ Colonial Charters, Grants and Related Documents
  7. ^ Manor of East Greenwich
  8. ^ National Archives, Great Domesday
  9. ^ Words used in The First Charter of Virginia; 10 April 1606 "...To BE HOLDEN of Us, {King James I] our heirs and Successors, as of our Manor at East-Greenwich, in the County of Kent, in free and common Soccage only, and not in Capite."[1]
  10. ^ Words used in Charter for the Province of Pennsylvania-1681 " bee holden of Us [King Charles II], Our heires and Successors, Kings of England, as of Our Castle of Windsor in Our County of Berks, in free and comon Socage, by fealty only for all Services, and not in Capite or by Knights Service."[2]
  11. ^ "N.N." On the Tenure of the Manor of East Greenwich
  12. ^ Edward P. Cheyney, The Manor of East Greenwich, American Historical Review, Volume 11, 1 October 1905 .
  13. ^ Flamsteed House – designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675–76, was the home of the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed, and the heart of Charles II's new Royal Observatory.
  14. ^ "Roman remains". Royal Parks. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Greenwich London". Time Team. Channel 4. 2 February 2003. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  16. ^ The Roman Watling Street: from London to High Cross O. Roucoux, (Dunstable Museum Trust, 1984) ISBN 0-9508406-2-9
  17. ^ a b c d e 'Greenwich', The Environs of London: volume 4: Counties of Herts, Essex & Kent (1796), pp. 426–93 accessed: 26 May 2007
  18. ^ Open Domesday Online: Greenwich
  19. ^ "Dictionary of National Biography 1850-1900 Adolph Saphir".
  20. ^ Carlyle, Edward Irving. Saphir, Adolph (DNB00).
  21. ^ The Era, 29 May 1864, p.10 New Greenwich Theatre
  22. ^ Report on Ashburnham triangle by Conservation Team, Development Town Planning First Floor, Peggy Middleton House 50 Woolwich New Road, London SE18 6HQ: .
  23. ^ See also Royal Borough.
  24. ^ "Greenwich to become Royal Borough". Greenwich London Borough Council. 5 January 2010. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  25. ^ " » Greenwich and Woolwich". Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  26. ^ "Greenwich 1981–2010 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  27. ^ "Hot Spell - August 2003". Met Office. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  28. ^ "Record Breaking Heat and Sunshine - July 2006". Met Office. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  29. ^ "London Forecast". Met Office. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  30. ^ The Foot Tunnel (Greenwich Guide) accessed 10 December 2007
  31. ^ Just another source of neutrons? R.J.S. Lockwood and Prof. P.A. Beeley (Nuclear Dept., HMS Sultan, Gosport, 2001) accessed 29 December 2007
  32. ^ Trinity Hospital (LB Greenwich) accessed 10 December 2007
  33. ^ Greenwich Power Station (Powering the City) accessed 10 December 2007
  34. ^ East Greenwich Gasworks (Powering the City) accessed 10 December 2007. The Greenwich Peninsula gas works, being themselves notable, as being the subject of an IRA bomb attack in the 1970s, in which one gasometer – and its contents – were spectacularly destroyed.
  35. ^ Greenwich and Blackheath Past Felix Barker (Historical Publications Ltd., 1999) ISBN 0-948667-55-9
  36. ^ General Wolfe Statue (Greenwich Guide) accessed 10 December 2007
  37. ^ Howse 1997
  38. ^ The Wernher Collection (Ranger's House) (English Heritage) accessed 10 December 2007
  39. ^ History of Greenwich Market at Greenwich Hospital
  40. ^ "Maritime Greenwich: World Heritage Site – Management plan" (PDF). Visit Greenwich. Royal Borough of Greenwich. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  41. ^ "Historic Regeneration Schemes". The Greenwich Phantom. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  42. ^ "BBC – iPlayer Radio".
  43. ^ Howse 1997, pp. 12, 137
  44. ^ Dictionary of Minor Planet Names Lutz D. Schmadel (Springer 2003) ISBN 3-540-00238-3
  45. ^ "Greenwich Council – Heritage Centre – Greenwich Heritage Centre". Retrieved 18 September 2009.
  46. ^ "Greenwich Heritage Centre – How To Find Us". Retrieved 18 September 2009.
  47. ^ "Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre". Old Royal Naval College. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  48. ^ "Greenwich Council – Local travel services – Thames Clippers". Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  49. ^ "Greenwich Council – Local travel services – River boat cruises". Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  50. ^ "The Thames Path – Greenwich to the London Eye". Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  51. ^ "National Cycle Network in London". Sustrans. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  52. ^ "Trafalgar Rowing Centre". Curlew Rowing Club. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  53. ^ "Globe Rowing Club". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  54. ^ "Team announced for 2017 J16 GB v France Match - British Rowing". British Rowing. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  55. ^ Lear, Edward (1872). More Nonsense. Pictures, Rhymes, Botany, Etc. London: Robert J. Bush.

External links

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