Tuesday 1st November – 39th meeting of 2016
We met today at Lewisham main line station. There was a problem, as one of our ladies had missed the train so we waited for her. After about ten minutes we had a phone call from her to explain that her train had been cancelled so she had decided to go home as it was a long wait for the next train. With this news the eight of us went to get the DLR train to Cutty Sark. The Docklands Light Railway which has driver less trains, is a fine system. It is very clean on trains and platforms and a quick efficient service provided. Once at Cutty Sark we went into Costa for a coffee.
After this we walked to The Queen’s House which faces the River Thames and is nestled between the National Maritime buildings and was the first classical building in England. Greenwich is such a beautiful area with so much history and superb buildings.
The Queen’s House has just undergone a three million pound renovation and has just re-opened to the public. In 1616 James 1 commissioned Indigo Jones to build the house as a gift for his wife Anne of Denmark. Anne died in 1919 and in 1929 Charles 1 gave it to his wife Henrietta Maria who took over the building and decorating and it was completed in 1636. It was used by members of the Royal family until 1805 when George 111 gave it as a charity to be used as a school for orphans of seaman. In 1933 the school moved to Suffolk and in 1934 it was given to National Maritime Museum who own it today.
This is a stunning building and to me one my favourite buildings!
It is free to enter and once in you are free to wander and explore at your own pace. The first room we went into was The Great Hall which is a perfect cube with a gallery around and a beautiful black and white tiled floor. All rooms lead off from The Great Hall and the rooms are filled with the most wonderful paintings and include pieces by William Hodges, George Stubbs, Hans Holbein, William Hogarth and Thomas Ganisborough. After looking downstairs we went up to the upper floor and viewed more beautiful paintings and throughout the house there are miniatures, paintings, astronomy instruments and pottery. Many of the painting were depicting the sea and the navy. The Tulip Staircase to the upper floor was the first geometric self-supporting spiral staircase in Britain.
There are many rooms 30 in all and we did get split up at different times but manage to get together again and went to The Orangery where we sat for a while and then viewed the ground floor rooms.
The views from the house are delightful. The front looks down to the river and the back looks straight into Greenwich Park, which was an array of colour, and The Royal Observatory.
We all enjoyed the visit. There is an awful lot to look at in the house. Aside from the art collection the architecture of the house is well worth a visit!
We made our way back to the DLR via the indoor market which was thriving with tourist, stalls selling a wide variety of goods and many international food stalls with fabulous smells which made us feel quite hungary!