Dreadnought library, formerly the Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital is a
Grade II listed building and part of ‘Maritime Greenwich’, which was
designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The old hospital is now
a library and computer centre to the University of Greenwich.
What is now the library was built between 1764-86 and designed by James
‘Athenian’ Stuart who was Surveyor to the Hospital. Originally the
building cost stood at around £18,500. This original building was first
the Royal Naval Hospital Infirmary, only becoming the Dreadnought
Seamen’s Hospital when the former closed in 1869. The current building
contains modern alterations such as glazed corridors that display fine
views of the site and a steel and glass roof over the courtyard.
Externally the library is comprised of three storeys and a basement and
is 13 bays across. Originally brick with stone dressings but later
covered in stucco the building is not as ostentatious as the rest of the
site. However it does contain its own sense of grandeur in its
rusticated quoins and rusticated central bay up to the second storey.
Within this central bay the main entrance comes in the form of an arch
alluding to a grand ceremonial space. The pseudo-pediment above
heightens the sense of ceremony. Also note the maritime arms are
contained within the pediment. The attempt to fit in with its baroque
surroundings however is betrayed by its faÁade, which is a display of
contemporary architectural Georgian restraint.
The renovation undertaken by the University of Greenwich retains the
main staircases at the centre of each wing and most of the archways
within the building are original too. Two 18th century iron and glass
lanterns have been refurbished and now stand in their original positions
by the arcaded colonnade. Significantly many endowment plaques of the
Seamen’s Hospital have been recovered and cleaned and can be found on
the ground floor.
Formerly Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital, now
library and computer centre of the University of Greenwich. Glazed
corridors with fine views, and steel and glass courtyard roof.
Formerly Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital, now library and computer centre
of the University of Greenwich. Glazed corridors with fine views, and
steel and glass courtyard roof.
visited as part of London Openhouse on Sept 18, 2011
|The Main Entrance
Lamp from HMS Dreadnought
Each bed was paid from subscriptions, marked by a plaque
Windows inside keep the ship theme as portholes
||The glass roof of the atrium area gives a
feel of a ship's deck