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View of the spire at St Alphege Church

Town Centre & St Alfege Church

St Alfege Church

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The original town grew up at the gates of the Royal Palace and has continued to have an important role throughout history to modern times.

Perhaps the most dominant building of the town centre is St Alfege Church, which marked the millennium of the martyrdom of St Alfege in 2012. The current building is a ‘coal-tax’ church of the early 18th century, designed by Hawksmoor, following the collapse of the medieval fabric in 1710. The ragstone tower of the earlier building survived and this was refaced in Portland stone by John James (Clerk of Works for Greenwich Hospital and architect for the west front of Westminster Abbey) in 1730. The great Doric east front of St Alfege has a strong presence in the Town Centre.

Greenwich Church Street

Greenwich Town Centre has at its core a medieval street pattern, although little early fabric is now visible. The oldest buildings lie along the west side of Greenwich Church Street. At least five of the buildings date from the late 17th century and are thus contemporary with the Old Royal Naval College. The Market area east of Church Street was completely remodelled by Joseph Kay in the 1830s, on behalf of Greenwich Hospital, which by then owned the land. The curving Turnpin Lane, running through Greenwich Market, has a medieval street line and a fine view of St Alfege to the west.

World War II bombing took a heavy toll on the Town Centre and created open sites including Cutty Sark Gardens, where the ship arrived in 1954, and the east side of Stockwell Street, where the new University of Greenwich School of Architecture is situated.

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