Greenwich

/grin"ij, -ich, gren"-/ for 1, 3; /gren"ich, grin"-, green"wich/ for 2, n.
1. a borough in SE London, England: located on the prime meridian from which geographic longitude is measured; formerly the site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. 209,800.
2. a town in SW Connecticut. 59,578.
3. Informal. See Greenwich Time.

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I
Inner borough (pop., 2001: 214,540), Greater London, on the southern bank of the River Thames.

The meridian that passes through the borough serves as the basis for standard time as well as for reckonings of longitude throughout the world. Greenwich Park was enclosed by the duke of Gloucester in 1423; it was the site of the Royal Observatory 1675–с 1958. Other historic buildings include the Queen's House, now part of the National Maritime Museum, and the Royal Naval College, established in 1873. These and other historic places were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. The Millennium Dome, constructed in the 1990s, was used to usher in celebrations for the year 2000.
II
(as used in expressions)

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      urban town (township), Fairfield county, southwestern Connecticut, U.S., on Long Island Sound. It was founded in 1640 by the New Haven colony (New Haven) agents Robert Feaks and Captain Daniel Patrick, who purchased land from the Siwanoy Indians for 25 English coats, and it was named for Greenwich, England. It soon came under Dutch control but was returned to Connecticut in 1650 and was organized as a town in 1665. During the American Revolution it was plundered by British troops under Major General William Tryon. Prominent New Yorkers built palatial estates in the town in the 19th century. Greenwich now serves as a residential suburb of New York City and is a major financial centre. Its indented coastline has boating and recreation facilities. Interest in wildlife is reflected in the Bruce Museum and the Audubon Center (a 485-acre [196-hectare] sanctuary). Several private preparatory schools (including Whitby Montessori School [1958]) are in the town. Area 48 square miles (124 square km). Pop. (1990) 58,441; (2000) 61,101.

 outer borough of London on the south bank of the River Thames (Thames, River), in the historic county of Kent. Greenwich is famous for its naval and military connections and its green spaces. The borough was established in 1965 by the amalgamation of the former metropolitan boroughs of Greenwich and Woolwich, excluding a small area north of the Thames. The borough comprises the areas and historic towns of Greenwich, Blackheath (in part), Charlton, Woolwich, Plumstead, Abbey Wood (in part), Thamesmead (in part), Shooters Hill, Kidbrooke, Eltham, South End, Mottingham (in part), and New Eltham (in part). Greenwich was recorded as Grenewic in AD 964, and it appears as Grenviz in Domesday Book (1086). Woolwich was written as Uuluuich in 918 and Hulviz in 1086.

      A significant proportion of the borough's land is reserved for public open spaces. Fronting the Thames in the western part of the borough is the famous Greenwich Park, in which the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, and the Old Royal Naval College are found. This area, which is also known as Maritime Greenwich, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. In 1433 Humphrey Plantagenet (Gloucester, Humphrey Plantagenet, Duke of), duke of Gloucester, enclosed Greenwich Park and built a watchtower on the north-facing hill above the river. Inigo Jones (Jones, Inigo)'s Queen's House, the first Palladian-style building in England, was commissioned as a residence for Anne of Denmark; it was completed in the 1630s for Queen Henrietta Maria (Henrietta Maria), consort of Charles I. The house was later converted into a school (1806), and two new wings were joined by colonnades to the original building. Since 1937 the Queen's House has been part of the National Maritime Museum.

 The Old Royal Naval College is located on the site of a 15th-century riverbank house that was converted into a royal palace (known as Placentia) by the Tudor monarchs. Henry VIII (reigned 1509–47) was born at Placentia, and he spent time there with his wives Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Anne of Cleves. His daughters, the queens Mary I and Elizabeth I, also were born there, and it was the site of the death of Edward VI. After the old palace fell into disrepair, a new block was built for Charles II (Charles II (or III)). In 1694 Sir Christopher Wren (Wren, Sir Christopher) was commissioned to complete the building as a hospital for retired and disabled sailors. The construction was supervised by Sir John Vanbrugh (Vanbrugh, Sir John) and Nicholas Hawksmoor (Hawksmoor, Nicholas). In 1873 Wren's (Wren, Sir Christopher) building (the Greenwich Hospital) became the Royal Naval College (closed 1996). The University of Greenwich and Trinity College of Music now hold classes there. The ensemble of the college and the National Maritime Museum has been described as one of the most finely balanced architectural compositions in the London area.

      The Royal Greenwich Observatory, designed by Wren, stands on the hill above these buildings. The observatory, with its high-vaulted Octagon Room, was erected in the 17th century. By 1957 its official functions had been transferred elsewhere, and the site was subsequently made a museum. The prime meridian (0°) mark, which since 1884 has been the world standard for reckoning longitude, is still on display, as is a collection of early astronomical instruments. The observatory was extensively restored by 1993.

      Morden College (c. 1695), attributed to Wren, was originally an almshouse, and Charlton House (1607–12), one of the best-preserved Jacobean buildings in Greater London, now serves as a community centre and library. The parish church of Greenwich is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Aelfheah (Aelfheah, Saint) (Alfege, or Alphege), archbishop of Canterbury, who was martyred there by invading Danes in 1012. The present building, designed by Hawksmoor, dates from the 1710s; its interior was restored after being burned during World War II. Greenwich Borough Museum at Plumstead Library has exhibits on local history. The University of Greenwich was founded as Woolwich Polytechnic in 1890; it later became Thames Polytechnic and took on its current name and status in 1992.

 Docked at Greenwich Pier are the yacht Gipsy Moth IV, in which Francis Chichester (Chichester, Sir Francis) circumnavigated the globe alone in the 1960s, and the renowned tea clipper Cutty Sark; both are open for public viewing. The annual London Marathon begins in Greenwich and Blackheath parks. On Greenwich Peninsula is the massive Millennium Dome, built for use in Britain's observance of the start of the 21st century.

      The town of Woolwich rose to prominence in the Tudor period with the establishment of a naval dockyard. Woolwich was also the site of the Royal Arsenal and the Royal Military Academy. On the river nearby, the massive supports and floodgates of the Thames Barrier extend across the water to Silvertown, Newham.

      East of Woolwich is Plumstead Marshes, which was long the site of military firing ranges; in the 1970s a mass housing development known as Thamesmead was erected there. Other residential districts in the borough have grown up around the earlier settlements of Eltham, Blackheath, and Kidbrooke. Major sources of employment are the Woolwich and Abbey Wood industrial estates.

      Greenwich is linked to the north-bank boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham by the Greenwich Tunnel (pedestrian) and the Blackwall Tunnel, as well as by the Woolwich Free Ferry. The borough has extensive road and rail connections, and construction on a local Underground (subway) line was completed in the late 1990s. Area 18 square miles (47 square km). Pop. (2001) 214,403.

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Universalium. 2010.

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