A range of events are set to begin celebrating 300 years of Christopher Wren at the Old Naval College in Greenwich.
A wide range of exhibitions are on from now until the autumn. From March tours of the Naval College will be held up until September allowing people to “discover the secrets of the buildings, find out about his troubled beginnings, follow his illustrious career and see how his legacy continues to resonate today.”
One of the biggest attractions will be opening one of the domes for the first time for public access. That will occur over the summer months.
For those interested in the building’s design, a free exhibit will be available at the Visitor Centre which will include “a 3D architectural fly- through animation of the Old Royal Naval College, as well as models and technical drawings by University of Greenwich Architecture students of Wren-designed churches and other buildings.”
In addition a photography exhibition will run from Easter. “Wren: What Legacy Now?” will see free access to portraits of people continuing Wren’s legacy.
On 12th May a concert will be held in the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul. The Brandenburg Sinfonia will play supported by the 35-strong Trinity Laban Chapel Choir, conducted by Ralph Allwood, who will perform pieces from Handel and Purcell.
Family events will also be held during May half term and over the summer holidays.
The Old Naval College has seen a varied history since inception as a hospital for sailors. The hospital closed in 1692 and in 1875 the bodies of 3,000 were reinterred at east Greenwich pleasance. It’s now a public park located close to Westcombe Park station and well worth a visit.
Military use then saw training for Officers held on the grounds. Post World War II the site became home to the Department of Nuclear Science and Technology and housed a mini nuclear reactor, which was little known to the outside world.
The reactor was encased in five feet of concrete and dismantled by 1999, with military use across the site having ceased in 1998 before it then became home to the University of Greenwich.
Since then a pub opened on site from brewery Meantime before they vacated and Young’s took over.