A rare example of an early Victorian past time, the Skittle Alley was originally built for the amusement of the Greenwich Pensioners in 1864 and happily is still in action for visitors to play today.
Located in the Chalk Walk, a long, vaulted basement room connected to the Ripley Tunnel, which was previously used to serve food to charity boys of the Royal Hospital School until 1779 and then as a smoking gallery for the Pensioners before being converted into a Skittle (bowling) Alley in 1864.
Life in the Hospital could be boring, with listless idleness and mental vacuity identified as significant problems. The Skittle Alley was one of several steps taken to relieve the Pensioners’ boredom while also keeping them away from skittle alleys in the many local pubs.
To access the Skittle Alley, please ask a member of staff about opening times.