Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 554 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GREENWICH, a south-eastern metropolitan borough of London, England, bounded N. by the river Thames, E. by Woolwich, S. by Lewisham and W. by Deptford. Pop. (1901) 95,770. Area, 38517 acres. It has a river-frontage of 4z m., the Thames making two deep bends, enclosing the Isle of Dogs on the north and a similar peninsula on the Greenwich side. Greenwich is connected with Poplar on the north shore by the Greenwich tunnel (1902), for foot-passengers, to the Isle of Dogs (Cubitt Town), and by the Blackwall Tunnel (1897) for street traffic, crossing to a point between the East and West India Docks (see POPLAR). The main thoroughfares from W. to E. are Woolwich and Shooter's Hill Roads, the second representing the old high road through Kent, the Roman Watling Street. Greenwich is first noticed in the reign of Ethelred, when it was a station of the Danish fleet (1011-1014). The most noteworthy buildings are the hospital and the the chief towns throughout the country; British and the majority of foreign geographers reckon longitude from its meridian. A standard clock and measures are seen at the entrance. A new building was completed in 1899, the magnetic pavilion lying some 400 yds. to the east, so placed to avoid the disturbance of instruments which would be occasioned by the iron used in the principal building. South of the park lies the open common of Blackheath, mainly within the borough of Lewisham, and in the east the borough includes the greater part of Woolwich Common. At Greenwich an annual banquet of cabinet ministers, known as the whitebait dinner, formerly took place. This ceremony arose out of a dinner held annually at Dagenham, on the Essex shore of the Thames, by the commissioners for engineering works carried out there in 170.5-1720—a remarkable achievement for this period—to save the lowlands from flooding. To one of these dinners Pitt was invited, and was subsequently accompanied by some of his colleagues. Early in the 19th century the venue of the dinner, which had now become a ministerial function, was transferred to Greenwich, and though at first not always held here, was later celebrated regularly at the " Ship," an hotel of ancient foundation, closed in 1908. The banquet continued till 1868, was revived in 1874-188o, and was held for the last time in 1894. The parish church of Greenwich, in Church Street, is dedicated to St Alphege, archbishop, who was martyred here by the Danes in 1012. In the church Wolfe, who died at Quebec (1759), and Tallis, the musician, are buried. A modern stained-glass window commemorates Wolfe. The parliamentary borough of Greenwich returns one member. Two burgesses were returned in 1577, but it was not again represented till the same privilege was conferred on it in 1832. The borough council consists of a mayor, five aldermen and thirty councillors.
End of Article: GREENWICH

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