Historic Greenwich and the Royal Park (Part 1)

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Posted by @NEILMUIR1 on
Greenwich has more history than most people could research in their lifetime. From stone age tools found in Greenwich, the Romans in AD43, the Saxons settlement in the 10th century, to the Danes who in 1011 kidnapped Archbishop Alfege for a ransom, it is an amazing place. When the ransom was not paid, he was murdered and St. Alfege's Church stands in Greenwich to this day! Many of the things in Greenwich the tourists don't see, as they simply don't know about them.

Greenwich is the oldest enclosed Royal Park (1433), and is 183 acres in size. The story of Greenwich cannot be told without the buildings, and its huge Royal & Maritime History. Greenwich as we know it really took off in 1427, and in 1447 Bella Court, an English Royal Palace was built there, until it was taken by the new Queen from the Duke of Gloucester and renamed Palace of Placentia or Palace of Pleasuance. This amazing castellated palace stood over the River Thames for over 160 years till it was knocked down. So why do I love this place; well I used to be in charge of the Gardens of the National Maritime Museum and the Queens House, the Old Royal Observatory and the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, that is why! Here is the front of the Devonport building which we knew as the Nurses Home. It used to be a scruffy place, but somebody has spent a lot of money on the gardens. Behind it used to be my little place and across the road from here used to be the Dreadnought Seaman's Hospital, which has now been shut down.

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As you can see by the lawns we have had very little rain lately, apart from today when I went to Greenwich. Alchemelia mollis (lady's mantle), and a nice seating area.

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One of many memorials and on the right is Captain Hardy's grave. He was Admiral Lord Nelson's Captain at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, which is modern for Greenwich!

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More of the new garden before we go into the grounds of the National Maritime Museum and the Queens House!

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The Maritime Museum in its glory, until some designer was allowed to do this to this fantastic old building!

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In the early 1600s the original Palace was knocked down, despite the fact that King Henry VIII was born there in 1491, Mary I (Mary Tudor), in 1516 and Queen Elizabeth I in 1533. The Queen wanted a new House so one was built in 1616 by Inigo Jones who brought Palladin Architecture to England. Here is the Queens House, and the Palladin style walkways that go through the Queens House. Inside the Queens House is the Great Hall and a tulip staircase!

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When I was first ask to design this Garden the Titanic Exhibition was on at the National Maritime Museum. It was around the corner and was quite large then. Now it has been moved to allow more building and there is this new sign, which does not bear my name as the old one did.

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The longest herbaceous border in London; unfortunately they are building something else at the far end; another waste of money, not by the Royal Parks. The Queens House is on the left, the other building is the Admin Building for the National Maritime Museum. This is the front that looks up to the Royal Observatory that used to be a castle. On the right looking back down it, the Queens House is on the right.

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This was done with a zoom lens as it is quite a way, the Royal Observatory from outside the Queens House. Wherever you you go in Greenwich you will see this as it is on top of the hill. Here are the children's boating pool and the play area!

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A little bit more of the Herbaceous border.

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Queen Elizabeth I's Oak or the "Prison tree" as we jokingly called it! The Royal Parks have their own Police Force, and it is stated here that before the tree fell down, it was used to lock people up who broke the Parks strict rules. It used to have a metal gate on the front, as the center was hollow!

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You just have to keep climbing and climbing, then eventually you get to the Royal Observatory. On the left is a newer dome and on the right an older one! They have also built a Planetarium there which looks terrible.

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 Here is the clock for GMT, although they have a nuclear one inside, this is what the world works on.

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Here is the Time Ball at the Royal Observatory. Thought to be the oldest one in the world. It is raised, and exactly at 13:00 hrs (GMT), it is dropped. This was so sea Captains in the Thames could adjust their instruments, to the exact time. Here are my feet on Longitude 0. If you go left you go to Russia, if you go right you go to America! Left foot is in the east and my right one in the west.

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In the 1600s the Park was re-landscaped by Andre le Notre, Gardener to King Louis XIV of France and many avenues were made and trees planted. A lot of the sweet Chestnuts Castanea sativa are still there some 400 years later. Here is just one of them.

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Entering the flower garden, which also has an area for King Henry VIII's deer and a lake; cedars and a border.

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Royal Parks flower beds amongst the Ancient trees. Strangely enough some of these old trees were trimmed in the Second World war to allow the Anti Aircraft guns a better field of fire!

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A lovely border then another collection of cedars and a tulip tree!

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A nice Royal Park bed with dot plants and a border.

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There are an awful lot of beds in here!

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Rhododendrons in flower now? Another bed that had just been watered.

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A lovely Liriodendron tulpifera or Tulip tree in flower and more bedding.

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At the far end of the flower Garden.

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A lovely picture and so typical and another lovely bit of bedding!

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King Henry VIII's Deer enclosure, the deer are actually laying down by the large tree on the other side of the fence to the left. Something the King did not bring in, a squirrel bounding towards a flower bed.

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Some yellow iris and a bit of the lake area!

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A bit of the Heather bed and the strange fountain in the lake!

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Down by the lake and an Indian bean tree or Catalpa bignonioides.

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More bedding and fantastic trees.

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Just one of the never ending avenues of trees. The Pavillion Tea Rooms through the trees!

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Looking down on the Queens House in the center, the National Meritime Museum to the left and behind them the twin towers of the Royal Naval College! Then a paddle steamer going past the Royal steps! The odd shaped dome on the other side of the river behind the paddle steamer is for the footpath tunnel under the Thames!

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Greenwich would not be the same without a red Tractor. The one I had is on the left, now they have posh ones!

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I will leave you with this for the moment before I start the next bit!


Greenwich Park with Maps etc.

Part 2.




For Nancy.

Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Great! by Ridesredmule Apr 20, 2015 2:37 AM 46
Thanks Neil by pajonica Jun 23, 2010 6:15 PM 2
Awesome Article by vic Jun 23, 2010 6:13 PM 5
Wonderful! by Poochella Jun 21, 2010 12:28 PM 1
wow by Dutchlady1 Jun 21, 2010 6:38 AM 5
Red Lawnmower by murielw1 Jun 21, 2010 3:06 AM 5
Amazing Tour by gardenersdetective Jun 19, 2010 12:00 PM 2

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