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Historic timeline

Historic timeline

871
Alfred the Great inherits Greenwich from his father Ethulwulf and gives it to his daughter Elstrudis on her marriage to Baldwin II, Count of Flanders
918
Baldwin dies. Elstrudis gives Greenwich, Lewisham and Woolwich to the Abbey of St Peter, Ghent, in his memory
1012
Alfege, Archbishop of Canterbury, kidnapped and later murdered at Greenwich by Viking raiders. Later Saxon kings regain possession of Greenwich
1081
William the Conqueror confirms Greenwich as a possession of the Abbey of St Peter
1337
Edward III takes possession of the abbey lands for safety’s sake but establishes a house of minorite friars (1376)
1414-15
Henry V confiscates monastic lands, and creates the manor of Greenwich, which later passes to his brother Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
1433-7
Humphrey encloses the Park and builds ‘Greenwich tower’ and Bellacourt, the manor of ‘Pleasaunce’, absorbing earlier religious buildings by the river
1447
Humphrey dies under arrest at Bury St Edmunds, possibly murdered. Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI reacquires Greenwich for the Crown. Bellacourt extended as the Palace of Placentia
1485
Henry VII accedes to the throne and rebuilds Placentia as the Palace of Greenwich (c. 1500-1507)
1491
Henry VIII born at Greenwich
1509
Henry VIII succeeds his father and marries Catherine of Aragon in the Chapel of the Observant Friars at Greenwich Palace which remains the principal royal palace until the rebuilding of Whitehall (1529–36)
1511
Greenwich Armoury started. Henry founds Woolwich and Deptford Dockyards (c. 1512-13)
1515
Greenwich tower rebuilt as hunting lodge ('Greenwich Castle'). Tournament yard and towers built on site of current National Maritime Museum
1516
Henry and Catherine of Aragon’s daughter (Queen) Mary Tudor born at Greenwich
1533
Henry and Anne Boleyn’s daughter (Queen) Elizabeth born at Greenwich
1540
Henry marries Anne of Cleves at Greenwich. (Henry marries twice more and dies in 1547)
1553
Henry and Jane Seymour’s son, Edward VI, dies at Greenwich. His elder half-sisters succeed, Mary to 1558, then Elizabeth I to 1603. Both continue to use Greenwich Palace
1577
Elizabeth watches Drake’s Pelican (Golden Hind) leave for first English circumnavigation and knights him at Deptford on return in 1581
1587
Elizabeth signs Mary Queen of Scots' death warrant ‘from Greenwich, in haste'
1613
James I settles manor of Greenwich on his queen, Anne of Denmark. Trinity Hospital almshouse built; remodelled 1812
1616
Inigo Jones begins Queen’s House for Anne, bridging Woolwich to Deptford road. Work abandoned at her death in 1619
1632-35
Queen’s House finished for Henrietta Maria, queen of Charles I: internally fitted by c.1638
1637
Sovereign of the Seas, the first 100-gun ship, built at Woolwich, using same carvers who worked in the Queen’s House. Final armour production at Greenwich
1642-9
Civil War. Queen’s House an official Parliamentary residence during Interregnum and, with Greenwich Palace, stripped of treasures. Placentia becomes biscuit factory and later prisoner-of-war camp in First Dutch War, then falls into decay
1660
Charles II restored to the throne
1664-72
New palace begun by John Webb. Queen’s House partly remodelled for Henrietta Maria in 1662 and Park redesigned by Le Nôtre
1672
Willem van de Veldes, father and son, come to England at invitation of Charles II and are given a studio in Queen’s House. Start of marine painting in England
1675-6
Observatory founded and constructed on site of ‘Greenwich Castle
1688–9
Glorious Revolution’: William III and Mary II become joint monarchs. Earl of Dorset appointed Ranger of the Park, with Queen’s House his official residence
1692–4
Mary revives her father James II’s idea of building a Royal Naval hospital, using unfinished palace site. She dies in December 1694 and William backdates founding charter to 25 October
1696
Wren lays out Hospital site and construction begins: c.1699 Earl of Romney, Ranger of the Park, diverts Woolwich to Deptford Road to modern position (Romney Road). Ranger’s House begun
1705
First Pensioners enter unfinished Hospital
1708–25
Thornhill decorates Painted Hall
1710
Old St Alfege’s church collapses. Rebuilt by Nicholas Hawksmoor, 1712-14 (consecrated 1718, medieval tower remodelled by John James, 1730)
1714
George of Hanover arrives at Greenwich to become king as George I
1715
First Hospital charity boys educated at Weston’s Academy
1718
Sir John Vanbrugh begins Vanbrugh Castle as his local home
1727
George II accedes
1731
The ‘Five-Foot Walk’ between the Hospital and river granted for public use
1735
George II grants the Hospital its Northern Estates, ensuring its completion and a future income. His statue by Rysbrack set up in Grand Square, made from a block of marble taken c. 1705 as prize from the French Admiral Rooke was carved at the expense (£400) of Admiral Sir John Jennings, the Hospital Governor.
1737
Hospital institutes Greenwich Market
1751
Greenwich Hospital finally completed
1758
Greenwich Hospital School built on King Street (now King William Walk) and boys transfer from Weston’s Academy
1764–8
Hospital Infirmary built by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart (now Greenwich University Dreadnought Building)
1766
First publication of The Nautical Almanac by 5th Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne
1779
Hospital Chapel interior gutted by fire, rebuilt by Stuart and William Newton and reopened in 1789
1782-3
Hospital School rebuilt on same site by Newton (building partly survives)
1795
Princess Caroline of Brunswick arrives at Greenwich to marry George, Prince of Wales (later George IV)
1806
Nelson’s body lies in state in Painted Hall before his funeral (on 9 January). Royal Naval Asylum (school for boys and girls) moves to Queen’s House
1807–11
Queen’s House extended by colonnades and flanking wings for Asylum
1815
Chesterfield House (now Ranger’s House) becomes official residence of Ranger of the Park
1821-25
Royal Naval Asylum and Greenwich Hospital School combine under Hospital administration, as ‘Upper and Lower Schools of Greenwich Hospital'
1824
Opening of ‘National Gallery of Naval Art’ in the Painted Hall (to 1936)
1833
Time-ball installed at Observatory
1836-8
Opening of the London and Greenwich Railway, the world’s first suburban line
1841
Education of girls discontinued at Hospital Schools
1851
7th Astronomer Royal (Sir) George Biddell Airy installs new Transit Circle at Observatory and establishes modern Longitude 0° meridian. Airy institutes dissemination of ‘Greenwich time’ by electric telegraph from 1852
1861–2
Philip Charles Hardwick extends west wings of School complex
1865–6
Great Eastern loads first successful Atlantic cable at Greenwich cable works. GMT transmitted to the ship through it during laying, for exact longitude, and to America on completion
1869
Greenwich Hospital closes as an invalid seamens' residential home
1870
(Merchant) Seaman’s Hospital Society takes over Hospital infirmary as Dreadnought Hospital
1873
Royal Naval College transferred from Portsmouth and School of Naval Architecture from Kensington to occupy Greenwich Hospital buildings. Hospital School gymnasium,‘Neptune’s Hall’ built, later National Maritime Museum large-exhibit gallery. (Final western extension - new dining hall wing- added to the Hospital School in 1876)
1880
GMT becomes legal time of Great Britain
1884
Longitude 0° at Greenwich becomes Prime Meridian of the World and official basis of International Time Zone System
1892
School becomes ‘Greenwich Royal Hospital School'
1894
28-inch Great Equatorial Telescope installed in enlarged dome of Observatory
1894–9
South Building of Observatory (New Physical Observatory) and Altazimuth Pavilion built
1919
New time-ball installed at the Observatory (as seen today)
1924
First broadcast of Greenwich time signal by BBC
1927
Admiralty agrees in principle to transfer of Greenwich collections to a national naval and merchant service museum, when established. ‘National Maritime Museum Trust’ created
1933
School moves to Holbrook, Suffolk. Greenwich buildings reserved for National Maritime Museum (founded 1934)
1937
National Maritime Museum opened by King George VI but largely closed - bits were open but high value collections removed - during World War II (1939–45). -
1939
Painted Hall restoration completed: reopens as RNC officers’ mess during World War II and thereafter
1945
Decision to move Observatory’s remaining scientific functions out of Greenwich
1953–8
Observatory buildings progressively transferred to National Maritime Museum
1954
Cutty Sark moved into dry-dock at Greenwich, restored, and opened to public in 1957 by HM Queen Elizabeth II
1960
Flamsteed House at the Observatory opened as part of National Maritime Museum
1967
Observatory conversion as part of National Maritime Museum opened
1968
Remodelling of ‘New Neptune Hall’ and most of National Maritime Museum galleries begins (to 1979)
1990
Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) moves from Herstmonceux to Cambridge
1992–3
Major restoration of Observatory
1995
Government announces closure of Royal Naval College in 1997–8
1997
National Maritime Museum Neptune Hall demolished for redevelopment. Millennium Dome construction begins. ‘Maritime Greenwich’ designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site
1998
Old Royal Naval College passes into the care of the Greenwich Foundation, set up to restore, maintain and interpret it. New University of Greenwich campus established on the site
1999
National Maritime Museum Neptune Court redevelopment completed. Docklands Light Railway opened to Greenwich
2001
Restoration of main Old Royal Naval College buildings completed; University of Greenwich and Trinity Laban students arrive
2005
London awarded 2012 Olympics, with equestrian events to take place in the World Heritage Site (Park and National Maritime Museum grounds)
2007
Opening of redeveloped South Building of Royal Observatory and of new Peter Harrison Planetarium
2009
Fire damages Cutty Sark during restoration work
2010
Opening of ‘Discover Greenwich’, the new World Heritage Site visitor centre
2011
Opening of the new Sammy Ofer Wing at the National Maritime Museum and of the restored Cutty Sark by HM The Queen
2012
London Olympics: Greenwich Park acts as the equestrian events venue. HM The Queen grants Greenwich the status of a Royal Borough
2014
New library and School of Architecture building for University of Greenwich completed on Stockwell Street (by Henegan Peng, architects). Shortlisted for 2015 Henegan/Riba Stirling Prize for Architecture
2015
Greenwich Hospital Estate upgrades the historic covered market
2017
Maritime Greenwich reaches a 20-year anniversary of the World Heritage Site inscription

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