Above: Outline map showing the position of the London Borough of Greenwich relative to the City of London (PINK) and the City of Westminster (BEIGE).
The London Borough of Greenwich came into existence in 1965 when the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich was combined with the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich. Since 3 February 2012, the London Borough of Greenwich has been known as the ‘Royal Borough of Greenwich’. This was a privilege granted to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It was partly because of the borough’s historic links with the royal family and also due to it having a UNESCO World Heritage Site marking the Prime Meridian.
The connection with the royal family goes back to before Tudor times. The building that was later called Greenwich Palace was regularly visited by royalty who sometimes lived there. During Tudor times Greenwich Palace became the residence of several kings and queens and the birthplace of other royals (like Elizabeth I). The Prime Meridian for the world was fixed in 1884 and is defined by an imaginary line passing through one of the buildings at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park which was itself once on the royal estate surrounding Greenwich Palace.
The land of the old Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich has plenty of history to offer the visitor. There is the riverfront, with the old Royal Naval College (now part of Greenwich University) and the famous tea clipper called the ‘Cutty Sark’ are both a ‘must’ for any visitors to London. Sadly, the council could do more to make the general riverside area more interesting but with so many visitors anyway, they probably do not see the need. Further south is the attractive Greenwich Park with another ‘star’ attraction – the Royal Observatory. It was responsible for defining the Prime Meridian and ‘Greenwich Mean Time’.
To the east, what was once the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich also comes with plenty of military history and, related to that, the story of Royal Arsenal with many of the original buildings now listed. Another royal palace – Eltham Palace – is probably a lesser known attraction but it contains plenty of Tudor history.
The whole London Borough is characterised by large green open spaces. To the south of Greenwich Park is the wide expanse of Blackheath which continues to the SE in the form of Woolwich Common along with the wooded hills of Shooter’s Hill. It should be noted that the borough has a very long riverfront with the Thames.
Comment – London Borough of Greenwich
This blog sees the start of a series relating to the London Borough of Greenwich which will continue through the months of June and July.