Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

The centrepiece of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, the classical buildings of The Old Royal Naval College were designed by England’s greatest architects and are considered amongst the finest in Europe. The site was originally occupied by a manor house built in the 1420’s which was later acquired by Queen Margaret of Anjou who extended it to create the Palace of Placentia. The Palace was rebuilt by Henry VII in the late 1490’s and was the birthplace of Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The buildings however fell into disrepair during the English Civil War and were subsequently demolished. In 1694 King Charles Court and the grounds received Royal Warrant from William III for the establishment of the Royal Hospital of Seamen and work commenced in 1696 to build four major buildings (Courts) to Sir Christopher Wrens designs to house over 2000 naval veterans. The Hospital was closed in 1869 due to declining numbers of veterans and was re-opened as the Royal Naval College in 1873, and continued as a naval education establishment until 1997. In 1997 the Greenwich Foundation was established to conserve the estate and create a heritage attraction for enjoyment, learning and cultural experiences.

DBR undertook Planned Preventative Maintenance of the Historic Fabric externally and internally consisting of masonry cleaning, conservation and repair. Paint conservation, repair and decoration of metalwork railings and repairs to floors in the Painted Hall and Chapel was also involved. The works included roofing and drainage repair and conservation using sand cast lead as well as, the repair and decoration of historic joinery using traditional techniques including lead based paints, graining and gilding.

This World Heritage Site at ORNC is a high profile tourism attraction – requiring a carefully managed site taking into account the general public in close proximity to our works and the business activities of Trinity Conservatoire and Greenwich University. The conservation work to these scheduled monuments is very carefully scrutinised by English Heritage and requires exacting standards of work.


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