Thursday, April 23, 2009

Henry VIII and modern Greenwich


Another day, another Henry VIII exhibition. Tonight I was at the launch of Greenwich Heritage centre's contribution to the commemorations of our most famous resident's accession to the throne. It's a fascinating look at how the King's presence and his legacy shaped Greenwich, Woolwich and Eltham. A significant element is the founding of the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich which happened in 1512 for the building of Henry's flagship, the Great Harry. As readers of my Blog know, I've had the crazy idea for some time to build a new ship- the Great Harry 2, if you will- to commemorate this fact. Some laughed, but I've continued working on the idea, and I'm pleased to report my opposite number on the Labour benches, Cllr. John Fahy, is also taking it seriously. He mentioned it in his speech at the exhibition launch tonight, and I will be meeting with him and Council officers to see how it might be possible for the Council to bring together private sponsors and voluntary groups to develop a project. Imagine- the Olympics in Greenwich in 2012, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and sailing past Greenwich and Woolwich, a magnificent modern tall ship, echoing Henry's pride and joy, built not as an expression of military might, but of civic pride and community involvement. Local youth groups would be able to learn new skills and the power of teamwork, as well as local and national history. And as for the tourists... Convinced? OK, so some might not be, but watch this space.

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