The Dreadnought Seamens Hospital and Devonport Nurses’ Home, two listed buildings in Greenwich Town Centre, have recently been restored by the University of Greenwich.
The University has acquired a 150-year lease from Greenwich Hospital which owns the buildings, both of which were disused for a number of years and whose condition was rapidly deteriorating.
“Historic Greenwich has long been associated with education, so it is most appropriate that this important element of the new World Heritage Site is to live again with an academic purpose,” said John McWilliam, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University.
“By the end of 1999, the eve of the Millennium, these two buildings will be fully restored, at the heart of what will become a new campus here.”.
The 18th Century Dreadnought building, which displays a classic Greek influence, has undergone major restoration to return it to its Georgian glory.
It has become a library, with state-of-the-art computing facilities. The original courtyard of the building has been enclosed to form a large restaurant under a glazed roof, while part of the barrel-vaulted cellars will also be used for refreshments. These catering facilities are predominantly for student use, but members of the pubic will also be welcome.
The former Devonport Nurses’ Home, designed by Edwin Cooper in the 1930s, located on the opposite side of Romney Road, will once again be used as residential accomodation as the University has restored it for use by conference delegates.
A third building, the former Pathology building, next to the Nurses’ Home, but fronting King William Walk, has been adapted, together with the addition of a new student residence block.
The University is custodian of a number of other fine listed buildings in London and Kent and has considerable experience in their management and care. Its architects (Dannatt, Johnson Architects) worked closely with English Heritage to ensure that any improvements to these old buildings will be in keeping with the original design.
As well as improving the fabric of the buildings, the University has worked on their extensive grounds, and restored the mausoleum and other memorials to enable the grounds to be enjoyed by the public, along with the new right of access to the Royal Naval College grounds.
Compiled mainly from article in the April issue of Meridian Line, May ’98
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Last updated: 5/1/00