Gates to Greenwich Park (1)

I’m bumping this to the top because Stephen was good enough to send me pics of the other side of this secluded little door, which means we can cover all angles.

If you recall, the whole point of the weird shape of the Queen’s House was so Her Majesty to have her cake and eat it – she wanted to be able to get easy access to the river for travel, but she wanted to have a good tramp about in the park too. The pesky plebs trudging past her palace along the main road to Woolwich was a big issue, so Inigo Jones built his ‘ingenious device’  as a giant bridge so she never had to get her feet muddy.

Early pictures have the house opening out directly onto the park (which, of course, hadn’t been landscaped by leNotre at the time) but it wasn’t long before the bit just outside was turned into fabulous gardens, none of which survive (the Dwarf Orchard is about as close as we get; looking forward to seeing what they’ve got in there. Anyone know when that’s opening?)

To be honest, I don’t really know how old the wall with its formal border and cute little door actually is. I’m guessing it’s the same age as the Hospital, but A.D. Webster is silent on the subject and I can’t find anything in John Bold either. So I have no idea whether any Royals have ever actually walked through the gate. The odd thing is that although it’s got a pair of cyprus sentinels marking it, you could go past and never know it was there. It also entertains me that both sides have steps down to the door in the wall, instead of just walking straight across.

Of course, it’s a ha-ha, which means there would have been a wall so the Royal deer couldn’t get into the house and eat everything, but they could also do away with pesky fences. There’s another one on (unsurprisingly) Ha Ha Road in Charlton.

So – the other side. 

I just love the way this has been made into a beautifully symmetrical feature in its own right. From a distance it almost looks as though it’s going to step down into a little pool, and even though you can see what’s behind it, that door is still magically mysterious.

And, just to complete the picture, Stephen has furnished me with pics of the steps the other side. Thank you Stephen.


the attachments to this post:

Queens house gate stephen low 3
Queens house gate stephen low 3

Queens house gate stephen low 2
Queens house gate stephen low 2

Queens house gate stephen low 1
Queens house gate stephen low 1

Queens house gate stephen low 4
Queens house gate stephen low 4

border low
border low

queens entrance low
queens entrance low


8 Comments to “Gates to Greenwich Park (1)”

  1. Stephen says:

    The other day I was sitting on a bench and a couple of Americans came along, of course I knew they were Americans when one of them said to the other, what’s over that wall. The other one looked and said gee it’s a moat. I chipped in with it isn’t a moat. He said oh and they walked on. I thought explaining what a ha-ha is may well have been lost on them.

  2. Lara says:

    The curved step down to the door are rather lovely. I wish this entrance was open, it would be a lovely transition from the NMM/Queen’s House land into the park.

  3. PiratesPatch says:

    Orchard planned opening is hopefully late Autumn…so then expect that to be a few weeks before the Olympics along with every other ‘development’ in ‘Royal’ Greenwich!

  4. Steve says:

    There is, as you say, a Ha-Ha in Charlton (just beyond the back lawns of Charlton House). However, Ha Ha Road is in Woolwich.

  5. cerletone says:

    Ha ha! Steve’s right. However, in fairness, Ha Ha Road is far to attractive to be associated with Woolwich. So, let’s pretend it’s Charlton.

  6. Carol says:

    There is a long Ha Ha in Ha Ha Road, Woolwich – Hence the name of the road. On a 19th century map it was spelt as ‘Haw Haw Road’! Its purpose was to separate the landscaped area in front of the Royal Artillery Barracks from the southern section of Woolwich Common.Let’s not pretend it is in Charlton and separate it from its history as part of a garrison town or the many other nteresting and architectural important places of Woolwich.

  7. patricia says:

    I am trying to find out the age and origin of the Gates of Greenwich park that face on to the heath. Having recently witnessed their removal by LOCOG Contractors and the savagery with which the attached piers were smashed, [together with the uprooting of the well established holly hedge which was situated yards from the gates] I would like to put my mind at rest that these gates were not of historical interest and, hence, not worth looking after or keeping………… Thanks to anyone who can help me with this.

  8. Don’t worry too much Patricia. They weren’t particularly old and although it’s a bit shocking to see them smashed up quite so brutally, they are saving the very few historic bricks for maintenance around the rest of the wall. I’d have left ‘em too, but I find it hard to get too upset about losing gates that were only relatively young.