In praise of my posh neighbours – just upstream
I can’t think of anywhere so beautiful on a summer’s evening as the tide lapping on the Royal Steps of the Old Royal Naval College. I was there on a mission to view the proposed main entrance to the University of Greenwich now that the University Library is relocated into Stockwell Street. The fine Dreadnought infirmary will provide a splendid ‘front of house’ for those entering via the West Gate, and I support the idea of putting this fascinating 1764 structure to yet another purpose. Let’s hope that Trinity College of Music and the Laban are featured too.
Happily I wandered up the steps into the Painted Hall which is open to the public until 20:00 on Thursday evenings during August.
By chance I was greeted by Mr Nicholas Hawksmoor himself, bewigged and dressed for his presentation to an empty hall. Alas, I mistook him for the diarist John Evelyn. An uncanny dialogue took place but I was able to point out to him where the Portland stone was offloaded, by our local crane, from the famous quarries which, of course, he knew perfectly well as he was the chief surveyor of Wren’s grand scheme.
Both gentlemen would have been amazed at what other architects have based themselves across the water on the Isle of Dogs of all places! Even I, as a local resident for some odd 50 years, am amazed as a new city has emerged just a mile or so from where I stood. Dusk brought even more marvels, outshining the rows of candles in the Painted Hall itself. The new structures still climbing to the skies with dozens of cranes feeding the constructors who try to transfer the developers’ fancy ideas into reality!