View from the renaissance courtyard of the Royal Hospital to the wood park which is Ranelagh Gardens
Kip drawing of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, looking towards the River Thames. The layout of the buildings is unchanged. The site of the Chelsea Flower show is in light green and the site of Ranelagh gardens is in a darker green
Ranelagh Gardens in the eighteenth century
Chelsea Pensioner Ranelagh Gardens
Ranelagh Gardens in Winter
Chelsea's Royal Hospital was established by King Charles II in 1681, as a retirement home for old soldiers.Sir Christopher Wren designed the buildings (completed in 1692). The architectural style is variously classified as Palladian, Renaissance and Baroque. The square courtyard has a classic renaissance form. Its layout with gravel walk, lawns and statues is English.
The land to the east of the Royal Hospital was the site of the famous Ranelagh Pleasure Ground in the eighteenth century. It was re-designed by John Gibson in the nineteenth century and is now a green retreat with shady walks, beside the site of the annual Chelsea Flower Show.