Greenwich Palace

In the summer of 2017, there was a remarkable find at the Old Royal Naval College. During the ground preparation for the new visitor centre– the construction team unexpectedly discovered the remains of two rooms of Greenwich Palace, or The Palace of Placentia – the birthplace of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

Today nothing of the once magnificent Greenwich Palace, which was at the very heart of Tudor cultural life and intrigue, survives above ground. It fell into disrepair during the civil war years and was eventually replaced by the buildings that today make up the Old Royal Naval College.

DBR Conservation is currently working with Historic England and Greenwich Foundation to stabilise the two rooms. Due to their position away from the river, they were most like service areas but they do contain interesting features: a floor of lead-glazed Flemish tiles, and a series of unusual niches that archaeologists believe may be ‘bee boles’ for the keeping of hive baskets, or ‘skeps’. The conservation work includes the removal of all loose friable materials, cleaning and protection of the decorative tiles, re-setting of loose stones, re-pointing of friable mortar in the brickwork, consolidation of the remaining delicate plaster, some minor excavation, and the introduction of invisible supports to the unusual “floating” partition wall in the arches.

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