Black History Month: Greenwich Stories: Week 1

by Rob Allen

To mark Black History Month, we’ll be blogging each week in October with an exciting story, piece of artwork or artefact relating to early Black History in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. At Greenwich Heritage Centre, home to the Royal Borough’s museum and archive collections, we have a range of interesting artwork, books and information on Black History, that visitors (or you) can access via our Search Room, so why not come in and explore!

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The Image of Dreadnoughts Seaman’s Hospital can be seen in the archive collection at Greenwich Heritage Centre, and the author is J.C Dollman. It has appeared in many historical books, including Sugar Spices and Human Cargo by Joan Anim- Addo.

J.C. Dollman’s image of the hospital depicts Christmas celebrations in 1879, where sick and wounded sailors from all over the world can be seen coming down the stairs to take part in festivities together. Whether Scandinavian, Chinese, Asian (called Lascars), West Indian or African, sailors from many parts of the world were all treated at the Seamen’s Hospital.

The hospital, in an old warship on the River Thames at Greenwich, was founded in 1821. In 1870 it was moved ashore into a building on the site of the Royal Naval College. The Hospital remained in Greenwich until its closure in 1986.

Are you interested in finding out more about other famous Greenwich orWoolwich people, or knowing more about your own family’s history? Then contact or visit the Search Room at Greenwich Heritage Centre. 

Do you have a story to share? Leave it in the comments below, or call Greenwich Heritage Centre on 020 8854 2452.

Tags: greenwich heritage centre, ghc, woolwich, greenwich, black history month, bhm