The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 5 Greenwich Park

Seaman's Hospital and Ranger's House

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When William III. altered the building of Charles II. from a palace to a hospital for seamen in 1694 the Park was kept separate, and the Ranger lived in the "Queen's House." It was not until Princess Sophia held the office in 1816 that the residence was changed to the house which still goes by the name of the Ranger's Lodge, and was lived in by the last Ranger, Lord Wolseley. This Ranger's House had formerly belonged to Lord Chesterfield and many of the famous letters to his godson are dated from there. No special feature in the garden, which was thrown open to the public with the Park in 1898, can be attributed to him. He was not, as Lord Carnarvon's memoir of him points out, fond of the country; though he "took some interest in growing fruit in his garden at Blackheath, he had no love for his garden like Bacon" or Sir William Temple. There are some fine trees in the grounds, especially a copper beech, with a spread 57 feet in diameter, and a good tulip tree. Queen Caroline, as Princess of Wales, was Ranger in 1806, and lived in Montague House, since pulled down, and the "Queen's House" was appropriated to the Royal Naval School. At the same time the "Ranger's" was inhabited by the Duchess of Brunswick, her mother, and it was on her death that it was purchased by the Crown, and Princess Sophia, daughter of the Duke of Gloucester, came to live there as Ranger. The last royal personage to stay in the house was the Duke of Connaught, when studying at Woolwich; and now it serves as refreshment rooms for the numberless trippers who enjoy Greenwich Park in the summer.