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John Havers (active 1854)

Greenwich Pensioners c.1890 copy after an original of 1854

Carbon print | 18.4 x 28.0 cm (image) | RCIN 2906158

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  • Photograph of seven men taken in front of a window outside of the Royal Hospital in Greenwich. Six of the men wear uniform, with five seated. Three men wear top hats and one man wears a bicorne hat. A man wearing a white smock stands on the left of the photograph.

    The Royal Hospital at Greenwich was opened in 1705 for veterans of the Navy. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited it on 27 June 1840. The Queen wrote in her Journal for that day: 'we were rowed down the river to Greenwich, getting there before 1/2 p. 12 ... Greenwich is a beautiful place and it was a very interesting sight, and I am so glad to have visited the Royal Hospital. In the Dining Halls, we tasted the soup prepared for the men, which was excellent.' However, in the late 1800s, numbers at the hospital began to decline due to Britain's relative peace at sea. In 1869, an Act was passed which granted annuities to the remaining residents to replace their in-pensions so they no longer had to live there. The building was then used to accommodate students from the Royal Naval College which was founded in 1873. It now forms part of the University of Greenwich and the Trinity College of Music.

    The attribution to John Havers as the photographer is made because his name was written below the photograph during the nineteenth century. Contemporary exhibition records show that photographs of Greenwich pensioners were exhibited in 1854 in Dundee by Joseph Wilks, and by a photographer referred to as 'Aladdin' at the London Photographic Society exhibition.

    Acquired by Prince Albert

  • Medium and techniques

    Carbon print


    18.4 x 28.0 cm (image)