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Designs for completing the hospital in 1728-29


[11] Designs for completing the hospital in 1728-29

Signed and dated

  • 1728
    Main Year
  • 1729
    Other Years


A new Commission for 'carrying on and completing the Royal Hospital at Greenwich' met in December 1727 , following the accession of George II. A general audit of the accounts up to September 1727 was prepared and an estimate was submitted for finishing the hospital. The costs amounted to £131,75; see [11/10], and Bold 2000, p. 156. The Surveyor from 1726-29 was Colen Campbell; Hawksmoor continued as Clerk of Works, assisted by John James.

The general audit in 1727-28 is the context for a set of four floor plans of King Charles Court marked with cabin enclosures in the hand of an office draughtsman; [11/5-8]. These were based on drawings by Hawksmoor. Some are at the Soane; [11/3 and 4]. Another set is at the National Maritime Museum; see Wren Society, VI, pl. 19, top. A further aspect of the completion of the final scheme was the fitting out of the south pavilion of Queen Anne's Building in 1729. The drawing for this, [11/11], is the latest dated example by Hawksmoor for Greenwich Hospital.

In 1728 Hawksmoor prepared two master plans for completing the hospital on a symmetrical plan, with infirmary and offices courtyards on the west side of the site (RIBA Library Drawings Collection, SA 70/6, former E5/11, Bold 2000, fig.144; and SA 70/4, former E5/9, Hart 2002, fig. 302). He distilled his ideas in an annotated engraved plan published as an illustration to his Remarks on the Founding and Carrying on of the Buildings of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich (London, 1728; Wren Society, VI, pl. 15, top). His revised enlargement scheme was prompted by the expectation of new funding, following the establishment of the new commission. The engraved plan of 1728 was based upon an earlier master plan of 1723, now in the Wiltshire Record Office at Trowbridge (redrawn in Downes 1979, fig. 11). In the engraved version of the plan a Via Regia is aligned with the recently completed St Alfege Church (1711-18). The two site plans at [11/1] (dated 1728) and [11/2] are preparatory for the engraved plan.

A new element in Hawksmoor's final enlargement scheme is a detailed design for the infirmary at the west end of the main cross-axis, close to the site of the present-day Dreadnought Hospital building; [11/12]. The infirmary in the engraved plan of 1728 is an open-courtyard building, facing east. Its courtyard has an inner semicircle of ground which is part of a Planities communis, or esplanade, between the infirmary and a new west gate to the hospital, opposite the portico of the West Dormitory. This plan is the starting point for Hawksmoor's scheme in [11/12]. This is an enlarged five-block development with the infirmary at its centre. At the next stage in the design, [11/13], the side wings of the infirmary are doubled in width to incorporate a doctors' pavilion.



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Contents of [11] Designs for completing the hospital in 1728-29