The Secrets of Greenwich Park
Happy New Year Everyone!
Yeah Yeah I know, it's now feburary. I've been busy. So... Happy Valentine's Day!
And what an interesting blog to do with you're loved one. With our Greenwich Detour now up & running for 2013 why not go and explore Greenwich Park and find out the secrets that it holds.....
Queen Elizabeth's Oak
I know what your thinking.... Is that it! But to be fair the tree does date back to the 12th Century. It's history is immense, with Queen Elizabeth known for picknicking under the tree and her parents Henry VIII & Anne Boylen having a dance around the trunk. The tree was also hollow and was known to be a place to lock up badly behaved park users. Unfortunately the Oak eventually fell down in the early 1990's.
The Green Parakeets
These birds have been spotted in the South East of the country for quite some years now. They seem to have taste as quite a few of them have set up camp in Greenwich Park. So where did they come from? Loads of stories of their origin. Did they escape from a studio while filming 'The African Queen'? Did they escape a local zoo after the hurricane of 1987? Or was it Jimi Hendrix releasing them into the wild as a sign of peace? Wherever they came from they are now residents in the park, go find them....
Plus, why not also visit the Deer! They live and wander in a secluded part of the park.
The Meridian Line
Greenwich Park is home to the Prime Merdian of the World (Longitude 0` 0` 0") based at the Royal Observatory. It is all very complicated when trying to explain about the Merdian Line, but what is really cool is that you can stand on both the Western & Eastern Hemisphere. Look at the photo, I'm showing you how to do it! For more info on the technical stuff to do with the Prime Merdian then visit the website below, they do a better job at explaining it than I do! http://www.rmg.co.uk/about/history/royal-observatory/
WOW!!!! This can be found in Greenwich Park??? Erm, well yes and no. This photo is a reconstruction of what the Roman Temple would of looked like when it stood in AD43-AD410.
The temple would of been used by travellers and the community for a place of worship. Tony Robinson & Time Team have had a dig of the area and over the decades 300 coins have been found as well as marble tablets, stone inscriptions and parts of statues. Of course thats not an excuse to go and start digging up the park. The below photo is what you can find today....
Oooooo Roman Remains!
The Blackheath Cavern
I love Blackheath. It's right next door to the north of Greenwich park and is famous for it's open heath area (hence the name). Everyone in the area uses the heath from dogwalkers, kite flyers and sporty folk. But how much do they know about what lies beneath the heath! (Excuse the rhyme).
First of all, Let's get the urban myths out the way. There are no plague victims under Blackheath. The area supposdly got it's name from victims of the Black Death in the 1300's being buried in the area. This is not true. 'The Black Death' was a title that was coined by the Victorians and no bodies have ever been found under Blackheath.
Another good reason for the myth not being true is for the numerous caverns and tunnels that are located under the heath.
The Cavern in 1833
We have known about the cavern since the late 1700's but believe they were built from around the 15th Century. So what were they uesd for? They were chalk mines mainly but the Victorians used it as a tourist attraction & a bar was installed for naughty evening parties until it was finally closed. The caverns were re opened in the 1940's with the idea of it being an air raid shelter for the area, however, they went against the idea. And I dont blame them considering in 2002 part of the A2 collapsed because of the tunnels underneath.
There are also numerous tunnels under Greenwich Park which were built by the Victorians. All are closed off to the public which is a shame but watch your footing, you never know, one slip and you could be have a Goonies adventure looking for One Eyed Willy!
Queen Caroline's Bath
This little gem can be found in the top part of Greenwich Park where Montague House once stood from 1798-1813. It's the only remaining part of the building that was once owned by Queen Caroline the estranged wife of George IV. Caroline was notorious for having private parties and entertained many a Navy man, starting rumours of an illegitimate child and adulterous going's on. Who knows what happened, but she left the country in 1814 and the house was soon demolished. You could say, they washed their hands of her! (Terrible I know).
So these are just a few secrets of Greenwich Park and the surrounding area. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any secrets yourself (of Greenwich).
To book onto a Greenwich Detour please email info@londondetours or visit www.londondetours.com for more information