Sunday, 17 September 2017

Open House London: Sunday 17th September 2017

Following on from our visits on Saturday, Sue and I decided to visit some Open House London venues that were somewhat nearer to where we live. We left home close to 11.00am, and by 11.30am we had parked our car in Greenwich in the National Maritime Museum's car park.

We walked across the front of the museum ...

... and into the small adjoining garden, where we were able to visit the Devonport Mausoleum ...

... that originally formed part of the former Royal Naval Hospital's graveyard. The building is actually the entrance to the now-sealed underground burial chamber, and it is adorned inside and out with memorials to some of those buried inside and in the immediate vicinity of the mausoleum.

Edward Riddle wrote A TREATISE ON NAVIGATION AND NAUTICAL ASTRONOMY that became the standard navigation textbook used by the Royal Navy. His son died in an unfortunate accident in his classroom when he injured himself falling off the dais his desk was on.

The inscription on Edward Harris's memorial records that he 'was 18 years a slave in Barbary'!

Inside the grounds of the mausoleum is an oak tree planed to commemorate Captain (later Admiral) Hardy, who served a term as Governor of the Royal Naval College.

Nearby is the tomb of Admiral James Alexander Gordon, another of the Hospital's Governors, ...

... and a memorial to all those sailors and Royal Marines who lived out their days in the Hospital and who were buried in its cemetery, and officers who served as Governors and Lieutenant Governors between 1749 and 1869.

There is also a small but unique memorial to Thomas Allen, Admiral Horatio Nelson's faithful shipboard servant, who although not a sailor, was allowed to end his days in the Hospital.

Only a short way away is the memorial in memory of Captain Thomas Boulden Thompson, who had an illustrious naval career and who later became Comptroller of the Royal Navy, a Member of Parliament, and finally Treasurer of the Royal Naval Hospital.

The final memorial in the grounds is that in memory of Captain John Simpson, who rose from being an apprentice to the rank of Post Captain, and who end his career as Senior Captain of the Hospital.

As we still had plenty of time before we had to leave, we crossed the road and entered the former Royal Naval College (which occupied the former buildings of the Royal Naval Hospital) ... which is now the main site of the University of Greenwich.

Walking through the grounds it is not difficult to understand why it has been used as a location for numerous films.

Most of the tours around the site were already booked up, but we were free to wander around if we liked. Our first stop was to the skittle alley ...

... which is located near to the Chapel's undercroft.

This is now used as a cafe/canteen, and is adorned with several boards displaying the names of naval officers who served at the Royal Naval College as Presidents and Directors, ...

... Staff College Directors and Deputy Directors, ...

... Naval Staff College Directors and Commodores, ...

... and the Joint Directing Staff.

We then went upstairs to the College Chapel, which proved to be lavishly decorated.

In the entrance to the chapel were two monuments to Admiral Hardy ...

... and King William IV (who was known as the 'Sailor King'), ...

... as well as numerous other people who were associated with the Royal Naval Hospital.

As the skies were beginning to darken and we were only a few minutes walk away from where we had parked, Sue and I decided to return home for lunch and a much-needed rest.


  1. No your usual tourist attractions, and the more interesting for that!

    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      Sue and I always look for locations that are not the usual run-of-the-mill places to visit.

      All the best,


  2. How did the BBC get an admiral to read the football results?
    James Alexander Gordon

    1. Steve Cordery,

      Does this mean that the BBC is employing zombies? It would certainly keep the wages bill down!

      All the best,



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