Old Admiralty Building

Old Admiralty Building Old Admiralty Building

In the mid 16th century this site was the timber yard for the nearby Whitehall Palace. In 1560 Sir Francis Knollys, Treasurer of the Royal Household, leased the land to "buylde a convenient house", which later passed to his son, Viscount Wallingford, becoming known as Wallingford House.

In 1622 George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, the Lord High Admiral, purchased Wallingford House and so began an association between the site and the direction of the Royal Navy that lasted for some 350 years. Sir Christopher Wren recommended this site for the first planned Admiralty Office, which opened in 1695. The builder, John Evans, became Navy Board Purveyor but his building soon failed to meet the Admiralty's growing needs.

The present building was designed by the Master Carpenter, Thomas Ripley, and completed in 1726 (at an "Expence that hath very much exceeded the Estimate"), becoming known as Ripley Block.

The screen wall facing Whitehall was designed in 1760 by the great Scottish architect, Robert Adam. In 1826 "in" and "out" side entrances were added to allow easier access for the carriage of the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV, but the screen was restored to its original condition in 1923.

The building contains the room where Nelson's body lay overnight 8th/9th January 1806, before his funeral. It also contains the Admiralty Board Room, a survivor from Evans' building of 1695, with its finely carved overmantel, attributed to Grinling Gibbons' workshop, depicting ancient nautical instruments.

The Board Room boasts an imposing table, with a cut out portion to accommodate the Secretary and his papers. The wind dial, controlled by a vane on the roof , and the carving have survived from the 1695 building. The room was expertly repaired after being damaged by a bomb in World War 2.

From here the worldwide affairs of the Royal Navy were run for centuries by " the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty" until they were replaced, on the formation of the Ministry of Defence in 1964, by the "Admiralty Board of the Defence Council". The board still occasionally meets in the Old Admiralty Board Room.

Site: Old Admiralty Building (2 memorials)

SW1, Whitehall, Old Admiralty Building

The plaques are on the southern end wall of the colonnade. From their position and style, including the rope borders, these two plaques were probably erected together.

See Ornamental Passions for information on the building.

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Old Admiralty Building

Subjects commemorated Information

Wallingford House

In 1560 Sir Francis Knollys leased the land where the Old Admiralty Building ...

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World War 2

Sorry, we've done no research on WW2, it's just too big a subject. But do vis...

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Robert Adam

Born in Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire, Scotland. Died 13 Albemarle Street and is buri...

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John Evans

Built the first planned Admiralty Office in 1695. Became Navy Board Purveyor.

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Grinling Gibbons

Born Rotterdam. Wood carver and sculptor. Other works in London: a marble fon...

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Show all 12

This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
Old Admiralty Building

Also at this site Information

The Trafalgar Way - Admiralty

The Trafalgar Way Destination - The Admiralty On Monday 21st October 1805 t...

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Nearby Memorials

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Queen Elizabeth's birthplace - Diamond Jubilee

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Plaque 2

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See the Wandsworth chapel for the truth of the 1573 claim.

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