Posted: 27 Dec 2016
Category: Area Guide
From humble beginnings to the birthplace of Henry VIII. Greenwich is steeped in history.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich, as its name suggests, has a rich and royal history. It’s home to Greenwich Mean Time, a World Heritage Site and a world-famous observatory. Plus, it’s the birthplace of many Tudors, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Today, it’s a beautiful juxtaposition between the old and new.
How did Greenwich get its name?
The heart of South East London was given its name by early Saxon settlers. They named the settlement Greenwich, due to its green nature and because it sat on the mouth of the river (wich). From its humble beginnings, Greenwich was a fishing and farming settlement. It then began to grow.
Greenwich can boast many royal connections. Henry VIII was born at the Palace of Placentia and spent much time here hosting jousts, festivals and banquets, in true opulent Tudor-form. It also marked the beginning and the end of several of Henry’s wives, from the ill-fated wedding of Catherine of Aragon to the death warrant of Anne Boleyn.
One of big draws to living in the Royal Borough is the beautiful park. Greenwich Park spans 73 hectares and is the oldest enclosed park in the capital. It boasts impressive views across the River Thames and the City of London. It also acts as a backdrop to several historical buildings, including the Royal Observatory, the Royal Naval College, and the National Maritime Museum.
The Home of Time
Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the starting point from which time zones around the world are measured. This relates to the north-south meridian that divides the globe and runs through the Royal Observatory site. Esteemed architect, Sir Christopher Wren, was commissioned to build the Royal Observatory, which is part of the World Heritage Site.
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