London's Royal Greenwich: Meridians, Murders, and Maritime History with Tim Barron

London's Royal Greenwich: Meridians, Murders, and Maritime History with Tim Barron


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Henry VIII, Mary, and Elizabeth I were all born in Greenwich, so why did it take until 2012 for the borough to officially become Royal? The Royal Observatory has four Meridians and Joseph Conrad chose this location for the major scene in his novel ‘The Secret Agent’. Why is the Fan museum unique and what is a ‘Cutty Sark’? Find out the answers and more on this virtual tour of The Royal Borough of Greenwich with a local expert.

Royal Greenwich is one of the finest Boroughs in London: it never fails to surprise and delight. In this conversation, we will disembark seven miles east of central London, on the South Bank of the River Thames, just like George I at the Royal Naval Hospital. We will take in the breathtaking Painted Hall which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. We’ll learn that the Painted Hall’s foundations come from the Palace of Placentia where Henry VIII was born, where he married Catherine of Aragon and celebrated the birth of their first child, Mary. The Royal credentials continue with Henry V’s brother enclosing the hunting park that was the venue for the 2012 Olympic equestrian events. A further stop on this virtual tour will be Inigo Jones’s Palladian masterpiece, the Queen’s House which displays the Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, and a multitude of naval treasures. We will visit the Cutty Sark, the last and the fastest tea clipper before we enter the Maritime Museum, home to the largest collection of ‘things nautical’ in the world.

Saving some of the best till last, we’ll venture to the top of the hill and find the Royal Observatory. Here is “The place where time begins!” the location of the Meridians, the Harrison clocks, the gorgeous Octagon room (by Sir Christopher Wren, of course) topped by the time ball. We’ll discuss why Joseph Conrad chose this stunning view as the site of the key scene in his terrorist novel, 'The Secret Agent'. We will consider the Art Deco venue where the rock band Squeeze first performed and visit the graveside of the actress who played Polly Peachum in the Beggars Opera of 1728.

Led by Tim Barron, a London Blue Badge Tour guide, this interactive seminar will provide insight into this fascinating, historically significant area. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased awareness of the importance of this gateway to London.

Tim Barron has been a Blue Badge London tour guide for the past 5 years, working extensively for Context Travel. Having graduated in Environmental Sciences back in the 1970s, he followed his passion for the performing arts and became an actor/musician, starring in the West End. He has varied interests from archaeology, architecture, and modern art to classic cars and guitars. A Londoner who loves nothing more than to share his knowledge with others.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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Glorious Greenwich