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Attributes reflecting national, regional and local values

Maritime Greenwich has many assets of national, regional and local value that can be considered to support and complement the attributes of OUV. These include: associations with 'royalty' and events; associations with significant people including architects, artists, scientists and astronomers of international standing; and buildings, places and aspects of national significance. In addition, the ‘essence of place’ contributes to the value, understanding and enjoyment of the World Heritage Site. 

Other Royal associations

Other royal associations take in ‘vanished uses’ of sites or buildings. These include:

Greenwich Palace: a major site for the spectacular reception of royal visitors and embassies under Henry VIII, including the Emperor Charles V in 1522 and the French embassy of 1527, which echoed the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Jousting on the Palace tiltyard – now the National Maritime Museum's north-east lawns – played a significant part in these events, so equestrian ‘Olympics’ at Greenwich were nothing new.

The Queen’s House and Greenwich Hospital (now the Old Royal Naval College (as below) also have a history of post-Civil War departures and arrivals, including of royal brides (e.g. Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha to marry Frederick, Prince of Wales in 1736).

The Royal Naval College (now Old Royal Naval College), which as ‘the Navy’s university’ occupied the Wren buildings of Greenwich Hospital from 1873 to 1998 and during that time saw many members of the royal family in many capacities. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Prince of Wales and the HRH The Duke of York all attended the College.

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich: now a museum site, but which celebrates its own history as an active working observatory until just after the Second World War.

Montagu House, of which only a rear wall and ‘Queen Caroline’s Bath’ now exist alongside the Ranger’s House on the edge of Greenwich Park. However, it was the home of Queen Caroline, estranged wife of George IV, who also arrived at Greenwich for her marriage in 1795. (Met by a guard of honour of naval pensioners she asked, in French, ‘What, do all men in England lack an arm or a leg?’).

Elizabeth I knighted Francis Drake at Deptford in 1581, after his Golden Hind circumnavigation of the globe (as HM The Queen knighted Francis Chichester, with the same sword, at the Royal Naval College after his own circumnavigation in 1967). Only a few historic parts remain but the presence of the Royal Dockyards at Deptford and Woolwich - both largely closed in the 1860s - made Greenwich Hospital the London base for the royal yachts from the 17th century to the end of the age of sail. Charles II and James, Duke of York (later James II), imported yachting from Holland and raced their own eaarly yachts on the Thames. The first three Georges used Greenwich as the irregular departure point to and from Hanover, and the royal yachts (of which there were always several) were also used for diplomatic traffic and other VIP’s, including the arrival of royal brides from the continent.

Scientists and astronomers associated with Greenwich

  • Sir Christopher Wren (astronomer and architect)
  • Robert Hooke (scientist, astronomer and Secretary of the Royal Society)
  • Sir Jonas Moore (astronomer and military engineer)
  • John Flamsteed (1st Astronomer Royal)
  • Edmond Halley (2nd Astronomer Royal)
  • Nevil Maskelyne (5th Astronomer Royal)
  • John Harrison (clock-maker)
  • Sir George Biddell Airy (7th Astronomer Royal and founder of public ‘Greenwich Time’)

Architects and artists of national and international standing

  • Inigo Jones (architect)
  • John Webb (architect)
  • Andre Le Nôtre  (landscape designer)
  • Sir Christopher Wren (architect)
  • Nicholas Hawksmoor(architect)
  • John James (architect)
  • Sir John Vanbrugh (architect and playwright)
  • Sir James Thornhill (decorative painter)
  • Colen Campbell (architect)
  • Thomas Ripley (architect)
  • James ‘Athenian’ Stuart (architect)
  • William Newton (architect)
  • Sir Benjamin West (painter, President of the Royal Academy)
  • Daniel Asher Alexander (architect)
  • John Yenn (architect)
  • Joseph Kay (architect)
  • Philip Hardwick and Philip Charles, his son (architects)
  • Charles Pasley [junior] (military engineer/architect)
  • Sir Andrew Clark (military engineer/architect)
  • Sir Edwin Lutyens (architect)

Associations with significant persons and events

  • The measurement of longitude.
  • The establishment of Greenwich Mean Time (1851) and longitude 0º at Greenwich as Prime Meridian of the world (1884).
  • The martyrdom of St Alfege,1012.
  • Henry VII rebuilds the Plantagenet Palace of Placentia as Greenwich Palace, c. 1500.
  • The birthplace of King Henry VlIl (at Placentia,1491), Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth l.
  • Henry VIII’s first and fourth marriages (to Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves)
  • The death of Edward VI at Greenwich,1553
  • The arrest of Anne Boleyn (1536) and signing of the death warrant of Mary, Queen of Scots (1587).
  • The burial of the composer Thomas Tallis in St Alfege Church, 1585.
  • The burial of James Wolfe in St Alfege Church, 1759.
  • The receipt of the body of Admiral Lord Nelson (Dec. 1805), its lying-in-state and conveyance to Whitehall prior to burial in St Paul’s Cathedral (8 Jan. 1806)
  • Completion of the London to Greenwich railway in 1838 and its extension east of the Park in 1878.
  • The building of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel in 1902.
  • The arrival of Cutty Sark in 1954, now preserved at Greenwich Pier
  • Extension of the Docklands Light Railway to Greenwich in 1999. (By putting Maritime Greenwich, Deptford and Lewisham – and later Woolwich - on the London Underground map, the public perceptual effect of this is hard to overstate.)
  • Royal Borough status granted, 2012.
  • Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, 2012.

Other significant assets

  • The Royal Hospital (Old Royal Naval College)
  • The National Maritime Museum
  • The Peter Harrison Planetarium
  • Cutty Sark
  • Greenwich Town Centre
  • Greenwich Market
  • Greenwich riverside

Buildings and features of special interest

Old Royal Naval College

  • The Four Courts of King William, King Charles, Queen Mary and Queen Anne
  • The Painted Hall
  • The Nelson Room
  • The Chapel
  • The Franklin Memorial
  • The Dreadnought building (former Hospital Infirmary)
  • The Pepys Building
  • West Gate, College Approach
  • East Gate, Park Row
  • The ‘Hardwick’ landscape including lawns, paths and railings
  • The Water Gate
  • Grand Axis (or Royal) Gates, Romney Road
  • Perimeter railings
  • Rysbrack’s statue of George ll (1735)
  • New Zealand (Maori War) Monument
  • Discover Greenwich (visitor centre)

National Maritime Museum

  • Queen’s House colonnades
  • William IV statue
  • Neptune Court
  • Royal (Grand Axis) Gates

The Royal Observatory

  • Royal Observatory time-ball
  • ​The Prime Meridian line
  • John Harrison’s marine timekeepers
  • The Peter Harrison Planetariun 'cone'

Devonport House

  • Devonport House (c. 1930, with Newton’s 1782-3 rear wing)
  • The Greenwich Pensioners’ burial ground (1749-1857) and memorials
  • The Greenwich Hospital officers’ Mausoleum and burial plot

Greenwich Town Centre

  • The Joseph Kay frontages (largely 1830s)
  • The west-side buildings of Greenwich Church Street (1690s on)
  • York-stone paving (as reinstated from other surfaces, c. 1998 on)
  • K6 telephone kiosks

Greenwich Market

  • Market roof, remodelled 2015
  • Floorstones, setts and cobbles (reset/replaced c 1998 and 2015)

Greenwich Riverside

  • Greenwich Pier
  • Five-Foot Walk
  • Water Gate Royal Stairs
  • Garden Stairs (by Greenwich Pier0
  • Bellot Memorial (1855)
  • Eastwrad riverwalk past Trinity Hospital to historic Ballast Quay and beyomd

Inventory of buildings of historic interest

An inventory of buildings of special architectural or historic interest and momuments scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areeas Act, 1979 can be seen here - Inventory.


  • Greenwich Hospital
  • Old Royal Naval College
  • Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • The Royal Parks
  • St Alfege
  • Trinity Laban
  • University of Greenwich
  • Visit Greenwich