The Old Royal Naval College is the architectural centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site in Greenwich, London, described by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as being of "outstanding universal value" and reckoned to be the "finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles". The site is managed by the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College, set up in July 1998 as a registered charity to "look after these magnificent buildings and their grounds for the benefit of the nation". The grounds and some of its buildings are open to visitors. The buildings were originally constructed to serve as the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich, now generally known as Greenwich Hospital, which was designed by Christopher Wren, and built between 1696 and 1712. The hospital closed in 1869. Between 1873 and 1998 it was the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
This was originally the site of the Palace of Placentia, more commonly known as Greenwich Palace, the birthplace of Tudor queens Mary I and Elizabeth I and reputedly the favourite palace of Henry VIII. The palace had fallen into disrepair during the English Civil War. With the exception of the incomplete John Webb building, the palace was finally demolished in 1694.
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