The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 49 Greenwich and Woolwich

Greenwich Hospital

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On the right, beyond the entrance-gates in King William St., is the former hospital infirmary, now the Seamen's Hospital, free to sailors of all nations. Before 1870 this hospital was located on board the 'Dreadnought,' an old man-of-war moored off Greenwich. Farther on are the four distinct blocks of building forming Greenwich Hospital. Nearest the river are King Charles's Building, on the west, and Queen Anne's Building, on the east, both built of stone in the Corinthian style, the former containing the naval museum. Behind these, to the south, are King William's Building and Queen Mary's Building, built by Wren and each surmounted by a dome, the former containing the Painted Hall, the latter the chapel. The River Terrace, 860 feet long, is adorned with two obelisks, one (of red granite) in honour of Lieutenant Bellot, of the French navy, who lost his life in the search for Franklin, the other (of grey granite) in memory of the marines killed in New Zealand in 1863-64. In the centre of the quadrangle is a statue of George II., in Roman costume, by Rysbrack; and in the upper quadrangle is a bust of Nelson, by Chantrey. Visitors are admitted to the Painted Hall daily, except Friday, from 10 (Sunday from 2) to 4, 5, or 6 (according to the season), and to the Chapel and Museum daily, except Sunday and Friday, at the same hours. On Saturday the Chapel is closed at 4 p.m. The PAINTED HALL (106 feet long, 56 feet wide, and 50 feet high), in King William's Building, was the dining-hall of the Hospital. The paintings on the ceiling were executed by Sir James Thornhill in 1708-27, and represent William and Mary (Great Hall) and Queen Anne and Prince George of Denmark (Upper Hall) surrounded by allegorical figures and emblems. The hall now contains an interesting collection of naval portraits and battle-pictures (catalogue 6d.). In the VESTIBULE are casts of statues (in St. Paul's) of four famous admirals; copies of portraits of Vasco da Gama, Columbus, and Andrea Duria; and other paintings. To the left, tablet to Sir John Franklin, by Westmacott. The paintings in the GREAT HALL are interesting mainly for their subjects. We begin on the right. 20. Chalon, Napoleon on board the 'Bellerophon'; 24. After Mytens, Hawkins, Drake, and Cavendish; 26, Loutherbourg, Spanish Armada; 30. Cotes, Admiral Hawke; 31. Zucchero, Lord Howard of Effingham; 43. Gainsborough, Earl of Sandwich; 44. Dahl, Admiral Rooke: 45. Loutherbourg, 'The Glorious First of June' (Ushant; 1794); 48. Reynolds, Admiral Hughes; 55. Dance, Captain Cook; 57. Zoffany, Death of Captain Cook; 68. Beechey, Admiral Cockburn; 69. Kneller, Prince George of Denmark, consort of Queen Anne; 99. Kettle, Rear-Admiral Kempenfelt; 78. Pearce, Sir James Ross, the Antarctic explorer; 88. Evans, Sir Thomas Hardy, Nelson's captain at Trafalgar; 91. Devis, Death of Nelson; 98. J. M. W. Turner, Battle of Trafalgar; 75. Joy, Admiral Napier; 101. Howard, Admiral Collingwood; 103. Arnold, Battle of the Nile; 122. Jones, Nelson boarding the 'San Josef' at the Battle of St. Vincent; 113. Allan, Nelson boarding the 'San Nicolas' at the Battle of St. Vincent; 127. After Lely, Prince Rupert. The hall contains also statues of Lord Exmouth, Sidney Smith, De Saumarez, and Sir William Peel. The UPPER HALL contains busts of naval heroes and glass-cases with Relics of Nelson: coat and waistcoat worn by Nelson at Trafalgar; his pigtail, cut off after his death; his watch and seal; swords; medals; silver plate. In the NELSON ROOM, adjoining, are several paintings, by Westall and by Benjamin West, illustrating Nelson's career; also portraits of several of his contemporaries, and other naval canvases.