To commemorate the reopening, members of the Greenwich, Deptford and Rotherhithe Sea Cadets performed a ceremonial parade in the grounds. Cadets Satine Leurs and Re Abraham were on hand to cut the ribbon and officially open the Painted Hall and Undercroft at 10am.
And the Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban Chapel Choir treated the first visitors into the Painted Hall to their beautiful singing.
Over 3,000 people attended the re-opening celebrations of the Painted Hall following the major £8.5m conservation project. They were some of the first to see the stunning transformation which has taken place in the Painted Hall and the Undercroft below, which now houses a new shop, café and new gallery space.
Visitors enjoyed guided talks in the Painted Hall, a multimedia guide, handling objects, and a kids trail. For the first time they were able to catch a glimpse of the foundations of Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII’s former royal home which were uncovered in the Undercroft as part of the renovation works.
Throughout the weekend visitors crossed paths with Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Sir James Thornhill (who painted the Painted Hall), Samuel Pepys and other historical character actors touring our grounds and buildings; a piano recital from Trinity Laban musician Jinah Shim; classical guitar from Nathan Durasamy; and music from the Fugitive Orchestra and Matt Bramhall. Crowds enjoyed the stalls from Amber Markets, a photography exhibition on showing how the Painted Hall was conserved; and kids’ activities from Emergency Exit Arts.
The new Painted Hall Café and shop was also open for business – serving a range of freshly prepared and seasonal items and curated range of books and gorgeous gifts.
The Painted Hall reopening is part of a major transformation project by Hugh Broughton Architects – with conservation advice from the College’s Surveyor of the Fabric, Martin Ashley Architects.
Adult tickets cost £12 with unlimited re-entry up to a year after purchase and children 16 and under go free. Local school groups will continue to visit for free as part of the schools and education programme.
The extensive grounds, the refreshed Visitor Centre, Chapel and the King William Undercroft will be accessible to all visitors for free.
From April, the site will introduce a brand-new initiative to ensure the Painted Hall remains as accessible to as many people as possible with its ‘Pay as you wish’ every first Wednesday of each month.
Angela McConville, Chief Executive of the Old Royal Naval College, said:
“We are delighted to have already welcomed so many people to the beautifully conserved Painted Hall and are overwhelmed with the fantastic response we have received so far. The Painted Hall project is the template for our future ambitions for the Old Royal Naval College. It strikes the perfect balance of conservation excellence and audience inclusion. We have put visitors and local communities at the heart of our thinking throughout this project. With the new multimedia guides, tours and family activities there is something for everyone.”