Controversial plans to change the name of the Old Royal Naval College will be debated by councillors next week as opposition to the proposals mounts.

The opposition in Greenwich will be trying to gain support to ask bosses who run the historic Thameside buildings to abandon plans for a rebrand which include changing the college’s name.

The Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College was established in 1997 to take over the running of the historic 17th century Greenwich buildings created by Sir Christopher Wren.

The foundation said it is considering the changes as it prepares to reopen the newly conserved painted halls next spring.


It is claimed the foundation wants to change the name to the Greenwich Palace and Royal Hospital.

Councillor Matt Hartley has tabled a motion for next week’s full council meeting asking for support in opposing the controversial name changes.

Cllr Hartley said: “The Old Royal Naval College is widely treasured – and forms a key part of our borough’s cultural offer.

“The foundation’s underlying aim of increasing visitors is laudable, but renaming the site is the wrong decision.

“The current name accurately reflects the history of the current buildings on the site and any move away from that would be inauthentic – and risks undermining all the hard work that has gone into the foundation’s excellent stewardship of the Old Royal Naval College over the last two decades.”

The potential rebranding has caused a stir with local history groups, including the Greenwich Society, which have written to bosses criticising the proposals.

The Tory’s motion, set to be debated next Wednesday, calls for the council to: “Applaud the work of the Greenwich Society, Blackheath Society and Westcombe Society in opposing the proposed name change.

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“Call on the Greenwich Foundation to abandon any plans to rename the Old Royal Naval College, and reiterate its commitment to work with the foundation and other stakeholders to help this treasured historic location continue to attract visitors from across the UK and the world.”

In a statement, the Greenwich Foundation said it is considering changes to its “identity, but will continue to have an active relationship with Greenwich Council.

A spokesman said: “The Greenwich Foundation’s ambition is to become an extraordinary cultural destination that is a relevant and sustainable place for local, national and international visitors for generations to come.

“We passionately believe that our site sets the context for the story of Greenwich and our goal is to attract new audiences and open up new opportunities.

“We are working closely with the local community, all our partners and all interested parties in the coming months and years to make this possible.

“We are currently working on a range of projects as we develop an enriched approach to interpreting the site and sharing much more of the distinct royal and naval histories of Greenwich.

“As part of this work we are looking at our name and identity. We are not able to announce any new name for the site as yet and our main focus remains on reopening of the newly conserved Painted Hall in early 2019.

“We enjoy a positive and active working relationship with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and look forward to this continuing long into the future.”