Outer London borough of southeast Greater London, to the south of the River Thames, including the districts of Woolwich and Eltham; population (2001) 214,400. The main industry is tourism, with major attractions being the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the clipper ship Cutty Sark, fine 17th-century buildings, and the Millennium Dome.
Greenwich became a London borough in April 1965, comprising the former metropolitan boroughs of Greenwich and Woolwich. It is connected by two tunnels with London north of the Thames (one for pedestrians, and the Blackwall Tunnel for vehicles).
Features The borough is home to Queen's House, the first Palladian-style building in England. It was designed by Inigo Jones for Anne of Denmark, the wife of James I, and completed in 1637 for Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I.
The Royal Naval College was built on the site of a former palace (the birthplace of Henry VIII, Mary, and Elizabeth I). It was was designed by Christopher Wren in 1694 as a naval hospital, and was used from 1873 as a college; today the building is occupied by the National Maritime Museum and the University of Greenwich.
The Royal Greenwich Observatory is in Greenwich Park and was founded in 1675 by Charles II. Part of the buildings of the observatory have been named Flamsteed House after the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed. Other buildings of the observatory are the Meridian Building and the Great Equatorial Building. The source of Greenwich Mean Time was moved to Herstmonceux, East Sussex, in 1958 and then to Cambridge in 1990, but the Greenwich meridian (0°) remains unchanged.
Greenwich Park, originally a part of Blackheath, was enclosed by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester for his palace and later laid out for Charles II by André Le Nôtre, the French landscape gardener who planned the gardens at Versailles.
Eltham Palace was built in about 1300; it was a royal residence from the time of Edward II until the reign of Henry VIII. The Great Hall, built during the reign of Edward IV, has a fine 15th-century hammerbeam roof. Well Hall in Eltham, once the home of novelist E Nesbitt, has a fine Tudor barn, dating from 1568.
The Cutty Sark, built in 1869 and one of the great tea clippers, is preserved as a museum of sailing ships; the Gipsy Moth IV, in which Francis Chichester circumnavigated the world in 1966–67, is also here.
Greenwich is the site of the Millennium Exhibition, Greenwich 2000, which has as its centrepiece the Millennium Dome. In 1997 Greenwich was designated a World Heritage Site.
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