[grin-ij, -ich, gren- for 1, 3; gren-ich, grin-, green-wich for 2]
Greenwich, outer borough (1991 pop. 200,800) of Greater London, SE England, on the Thames River. Manufactures include telephone equipment and underwater cable. The system of geographic longitude and time-keeping worked out at the famous Royal Observatory there have become standard in most countries of the world; the prime meridian, or long. 0°, passes through the observatory. The functions of the observatory were transferred to Herstmonceux, Sussex in 1946, and later to Cambridge (1990). Greenwich has nearly 9 mi (14.5 km) of river frontage; the huge Millennium Dome, constructed to celebrate the year 2000, is on the waterfront. Nearby Woolwich's docks and shipbuilding facilities were important from the 16th to the mid-19th cent. The Royal Naval College is in the borough. The college building, partially designed by Christopher Wren, was originally a home for disabled sailors. On the site of the present structure (begun in the late 17th cent.) stood a palace that was the birthplace of Henry VIII, Mary I, and Elizabeth I; Edward VI died there. Greenwich's National Maritime Museum is partly housed in a building designed by Inigo Jones for Anne of Denmark. The Royal Military Academy was at Woolwich until 1947, when it merged with the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. Both Greenwich and Woolwich are mentioned in documents dating from the 10th cent. and appear in the Domesday Book.
Greenwich, residential town (1990 pop. 58,441), Fairfield co., SW Conn., on the Mianus and Byram rivers and Long Island Sound; settled 1640, inc. 1955. This attractive suburban community is noted as the home of many New York City executives. The town is located near an active and growing business community and contains many corporate headquarters. Greenwich was long inhabited by farmers and oystermen. In the American Revolution it was plundered (1779) by the British; a house (built 1731) from which Gen. Israel Putnam supposedly made a dramatic escape is still preserved. In the late 19th cent., Greenwich began to attract artists and summer residents. Comprised of numerous villages (including Greenwich, Riverside, Quaker Ridge, Old Greenwich, and Cos Cob), it has over 32 mi (52 km) of shoreline on Long Island Sound, with many harbors, beaches, and small islands. Of interest are the Bruce Museum and the Audubon Center.

Greenwich (GREN-itch, /ˈɡrɛnɪdʒ/ GREN-idge, or /ˈɡrɪnɪdʒ/ GRIN-idge) is a district in south-east London, England, on the south bank of the River Thames in the London Borough of Greenwich. It is best known for its maritime history and as giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time.

The town became the site of a Royal palace, the Palace of Placentia from the 15th century, and was the birthplace of many in the House of Tudor, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The palace fell into disrepair during the English Civil War and was rebuilt as the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors by Sir Christopher Wren and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor. These buildings became the Royal Naval College in 1873, and they remained an establishment for military education until 1998 when they passed into the hands of the Greenwich Foundation. The historic rooms within these buildings remain open to the public; other buildings are used by University of Greenwich and the Trinity College of Music.

The town became a popular resort in the 17th century with many grand houses, such as Vanbrugh castle established on Maze Hill, next to the park. From the Georgian period estates of houses were constructed above the town centre. The maritime connections of Greenwich were celebrated in the 20th century, with the sitting of the Cutty Sark and Gypsy Moth IV next to the river front, and the National Maritime Museum in the former buildings of the Royal Hospital School in 1934. Greenwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created.



Grenewic, or Grenevic originates with the Saxons, and is literally the green village or the village on the green. It became known as East Greenwich to distinguish it from West Greenwich or Deptford Strond, the part of Deptford adjacent to the Thames, but the use of East Greenwich to mean the whole of the town of Greenwich died out in the 19th century. However, Greenwich was divided into the two Poor Law Unions of Greenwich East and Greenwich West from the beginning of Civil registration in 1837, the boundary running down what is now Greenwich Church Street and Crooms Hill, although more modern references to "East" and "West" Greenwich probably refer to the areas east and west of the Royal Naval College and National Maritime Museum corresponding with the West Greenwich council ward. An article in The Times of October 13, 1967 stated: "East Greenwich, gateway to the Blackwall Tunnel, remains solidly working class, the manpower for one eighth of London's heavy industry. West Greenwich is a hybrid: the spirit of Nelson, the Cutty Sark, the Maritime Museum, an industrial waterfront and a number of elegant houses, ripe for development.''

Early settlement

Tumuli to the south-west of Flamsteed House, in Greenwich Park, are thought to be early Bronze Age barrows re-used by the Saxons in the 6th century as burial grounds. To the east between the Vanbrugh and Maze Hill Gates is the site of a Roman villa or temple. A small area of red paving tesserae protected by railings marks the spot. It was excavated in 1902 and 300 coins were found dating from the emperors Claudius and Honorius to the 4th century.

The Roman road from London to Dover, Watling Street crossed the high ground to the south of Greenwich, through Blackheath. This followed the line of an earlier Celtic route from Canterbury to St Albans. As late as Henry V, Greenwich was only a fishing town, with a safe anchorage in the river.

Alphege and the Danes

During the reign of Ethelred the Unready, the Danish fleet anchored in the river Thames off Greenwich for over three years, with the army being encamped on the hill above. From here they attacked Kent, and in the year 1012, took the city of Canterbury, making Alphege the Archbishop their prisoner for seven months in their camp at Greenwich. They stoned him to death for his refusal to allow his ransom (3,000 pieces of silver) to be paid and kept his body, until the blossoming of a stick that had been immersed in his blood. For this miracle his body was released to his followers, he achieved sainthood for his martyrdom, and in the 12th century the parish church was dedicated to him. The present church on the site west of the town centre is St Alfege's Church, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1714 and completed in 1718. Some vestiges of the Danish camps may be traced in the names of Eastcombe and Westcombe, on the borders of nearby Blackheath.

Royal Greenwich

The Domesday Book records the manor of Greenwich as held by the Bishop Odo of Bayeux; his lands were seized by the crown in 1082. A royal palace, or hunting lodge, has existed here since before 1300, when Edward III is known to have made offerings at the chapel of the Virgin Mary. Subsequent monarchs were regular visitors, with Henry IV making his will here, and Henry V granting the manor (for life) to Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, who died at Greenwich in 1417. The palace was created by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the regent to Henry VI in 1447; enclosing the park and erecting a tower on the spot of the Royal Observatory. It was renamed the Palace of Placentia or Pleasaunce by Henry VI's consort Margaret of Anjou after Humphrey's death. The palace was completed and further enlarged by Edward IV, and in 1466 it was granted to his Queen, Elizabeth.

The palace was the principal residence of Henry VII, and his sons, Henry (later Henry VIII) and Edmund Tudor were born here, and baptised in St Alphege's. Henry favoured Greenwich over nearby Eltham Palace, the former principal royal palace. Both Mary (February 18, 1516) and Elizabeth (September 7, 1533) were born at Greenwich. The palace of Placentia, in turn, became Elizabeth's favourite summer residence.

During the English Civil War, the palace was used as a biscuit factory and prisoner of war camp, then with the Interregnum, the palace and park were seized to become a 'mansion' for the Lord Protector. At The Restoration, the Palace of Placentia had fallen into disuse and was pulled down. New buildings began to be established as a grand palace for Charles II, but only the King Charles block was completed. It was suggested that the buildings be adapted for a Greenwich Hospital, designed by Wren, and later completed by Hawksmoor. Anne of Denmark had a house built by Inigo Jones on the hill above, overlooking the hospital and river - now the centrepiece of the National Maritime Museum, founded in 1934 and housed in the buildings of the former Royal Hospital School.

The Royal association with Greenwich was now broken, but the group of buildings remain that form the core of the World Historic Site. .

Sites of interest

In 1997, Maritime Greenwich was added to the list of World Heritage Sites, for the concentration and quality of buildings of historic and architectural interest. These can be divided into the group of buildings along the riverfront, Greenwich park and the Georgian and Victorian town centre. In recognition of the suburb's astronomical links, Asteroid 2830 has been named 'Greenwich'.


The Cutty Sark (a clipper ship) has been preserved in a dry dock by the river. A major fire in May 2007 destroyed a part of the ship, although much had already been removed for restoration. Its future has yet to be decided. Nearby for many years was also displayed Gipsy Moth IV, the yacht sailed by Sir Francis Chichester in his single-handed, 226-day circumnavigation of the globe during 1966–67. In 2004, Gypsy Moth IV was removed from Greenwich, and after restoration work completed a second circumnavigation in May 2007. On the riverside in front of the north-west corner of the Hospital is an obelisk erected in memory of Arctic explorer Joseph René Bellot.

Near the remains of the Cutty Sark, a circular building contains the entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel, opened on 4 August 1902. This connects Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs on the northern side of the River Thames. The north exit of the tunnel is at Island Gardens, from where the famous view of Greenwich Hospital painted by Canaletto can be seen.

Rowing has been part of life on the river at Greenwich for hundreds of years and the first Greenwich Regatta was held in 1785. The annual Great River Race along the Thames Tideway finishes at the Cutty Sark. The Trafalgar Rowing Centre in Crane Street close by is home to Curlew Rowing Club and Globe Rowing Club.

The Old Royal Naval College is Sir Christopher Wren's domed masterpiece at the centre of the heritage site. The site is administered by the Greenwich Foundation and several of the buildings are let to the University of Greenwich and one, the King Charles block, to Trinity College of Music. Within the complex is the former college dining room, the Painted Hall, this was painted by James Thornhill, and the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, with an interior designed by James 'Athenian' Stuart. The Naval College had a training reactor, the JASON reactor, within the King William building that was operational between 1962 and 1996. The reactor was decommissioned and removed in 1999.

To the east of the Naval College is the Trinity Hospital almshouse, founded in 1613, the oldest surviving building in the town centre. This is next to the massive brick walls and the landing stage of Greenwich Power Station. Built between 1902 and 1910 as a coal-fired station to supply power to London's tram system, and later the London underground, it is now oil- and gas-powered and serves as a backup station for London Underground. East Greenwich also has a small park, East Greenwich Pleasaunce, which was formerly the burial ground of Greenwich Hospital.

The O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome) was built on a disused British Gas site on the Greenwich Peninsula. It is next to North Greenwich tube station, about east from the Greenwich town centre, North West of Charlton. The Greenwich Millennium Village is a new urban regeneration development to the south of the Dome.

Greenwich park

Behind the former Naval College is the National Maritime Museum housed in buildings forming another symmetrical group and grand arcade around the Queen's House, designed by Inigo Jones. Continuing to the south, Greenwich Park is a Royal Park of , laid out in the 17th century and formed from the hunting grounds of the Royal Palace of Placentia.

The park rises towards Blackheath and at the top of this hill is a statue of James Wolfe, commander of the British expedition to capture Quebec, nearby a major group of buildings within the park is the former Royal Observatory, Greenwich and the Prime Meridian passes through the building. Greenwich Mean Time was at one time based on the time observations made at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, before being superseded by Coordinated Universal Time. While Greenwich no longer hosts a working astronomical observatory, a ball still drops daily to mark the exact moment of 1 p.m., and there is a museum of astronomical and navigational tools, particularly John Harrison's marine chronometers.

The Ranger's House lies at the Blackheath end of the park and houses the Wernher Collection of art , and many fine houses, including Vanbrugh's house lie on Maze Hill, on the western edge of the park. Now home to Simon Grimsdale of Clacton-on-Sea

Town centre

Georgian and Victorian architecture dominates in the town centre which spreads to the west of the park and Royal Naval college. Much of this forms a one-way system around a covered market, Greenwich Market and the arthouse Greenwich Cinema. Up the hill, from the centre there are many streets of Georgian houses, including the world's only museum dedicated to fans, the Fan Museum, on Croom's Hill. Nearby at the junction of Croom's Hill with Nevada Street, is Greenwich Theatre, formerly Crowder's Music Hall - one of two Greenwich theatres, the other being the Greenwich Playhouse. There is also Greenwich Peninsula nearby, where there is the The O2, Greenwich Millennium Village and the Filmworks, an 18 screen Odeon complex.



The town and hospital lie on a broad platform to the south of the outside of a broad meander in the River Thames, with a safe deep water anchorage lying in the river. To the south, the land rises steeply, through the park to the town of Blackheath. The higher areas consist of a sedimentary layer of gravely soils, known as the Blackheath Beds, that spread through much of the south east over a chalk outcrop – with sands, loam and seams of clay at the lower levels by the river.

To the west is the former port town of Deptford, where the town was bounded by the River Ravensbourne and further to the east, the former industrial centre of the Greenwich Peninsula that in the middle ages was marshland, drained in the 16th century.


This data was collected between 1971 and 2000 at the weather station situated in Greenwich:

Notable residents

(In alphabetical order)


The University of Greenwich main campus is located in the distinctive buildings of the former Royal Naval College. There is a further campus of the university at Avery Hill in Eltham, and also, outside the borough, in Medway. Near the main campus at Greenwich, the Trinity College of Music is housed in the buildings of the former Greenwich Hospital.



North Greenwich tube station is the nearest tube station. It is from the town centre and can be reached directly by 129 or 188 bus. The station is in Zones 2/3 and is on the Jubilee Line. Trains go to Stratford to the east and Stanmore to the west via central London.

Docklands Light Railway

Nearby Docklands Light Railway (DLR) stations:

DLR trains go to Lewisham to the south with north-bound services going to Bank and Stratford via Canary Wharf. The DLR has direct connections with the London Underground network.


Nearby railway stations:

Trains from Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park railway stations run to London Charing Cross and London Cannon Street in central London to the west. To the east the trains go to Dartford with a limited service to Gravesend and Gillingham.



There are many river boat services running from Greenwich Pier, managed by London River Services. The main services include:

Many tour and commuter boats from Central London also pass round the Thames Barrier.

Pedestrian and cyclists

The Thames Path National Trail runs along the riverside. The Greenwich foot tunnel provides pedestrian access to the southern end of the Isle of Dogs, across the river Thames.

National Cycle Network route 1 runs through the foot tunnel (although cycles must not be ridden in the tunnel itself).

See also


External links

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