Original features

December 4, 2008

At the heart of a World Heritage site on the south bank of the Thames, Sir Christopher Wren's seamen's hospital - later the Old Royal Naval College - now forms the campus of the University of Greenwich.

It was here that the Palace of Placentia, birthplace of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, once stood, here that Nelson's body lay in state - and here that, a decade ago, the site was adapted for 9,000 students. Today, labs and lecture theatres sit among the staircases, chandeliers and wooden panelling.

Refurbishment has opened up sightlines to the facades designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor and allows visitors to stroll along Wren's colonnades. The former naval college, including the Chapel and the Painted Hall, is open to the public and hired out for events. The campus has featured in films and television series such as Little Dorrit, The Duchess, The Queen and Four Weddings and a Funeral. It will also be an Olympic venue in 2012, supporting equestrian events in the neighbouring Greenwich Park.

Send suggestions for this architectural series to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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