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Borough: Greenwich
Greenwich Park
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Greenwich Park  
Greenwich Town Centre and Greenwich Park were designated a World Heritage Site in 1997 which are sites deemed by UNESCO to be 'of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view'.

The excavation of a Roman temple site here was carried out as part of a 'Time Team' programme in 2000. It may have stood on Watling Street, which is known to have run nearby.

Greenwich is one of the Royal Parks, having been associated with many generations of royalty since the Duke of Gloucester, King Henry V's brother, inherited the land in 1427. The land was enclosed with a wall in 1433, the first royal park to be so. This turned it into a hunting place, and deer were brought in to the park for hunting.A palace was built there not long afterwards, where King Henry VIII, and his daughters Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, were all born , and where the young King Edward VI died. King James I gave the palace and the park to his wife, Queen Anne, who commissioned the architect Inigo Jones to design her a special home, now known as the Queen's House.

King Charles II was fascinated with science, and he asked another architect, Sir Christopher Wren, to design an Observatory, so that the stars could be more carefully studied. The Observatory stands at the top of the hill overlooking the river, and is now called Flamsteed House after the first Astronomer Royal who was appointed by the King. One of his first jobs was to start placing imaginary lines of longtude on maps, using the movement of the stars to help. It took four astrnomers to work out the system completely, with much help. When it was complete, the starting line was drawn through Greenwich Park, in honour of the help the Astronomers had given. The Greenwich Meridian, or line between the Eastern Hemisphere, and the Western Hemisphere runs right through the Park, and is marked in several different places in the Park.

The famous French garden designer, Le Notre, who worked for Louis XIV at Versailles drew up plans for the park, which were not fully carried out. The Great Storm of 1703 led to the loss of many trees on the upper ground. The statue of General Wolfe was unveiled by a descendant of the chief he had defeated in 1930, and damaged by shrapnel in World War II. During the War a large number of anti-aircraft guns were placed in the flower garden.

Greenwich Park now has a Secret Garden Wildlife Centre, with a hide where groups of visitors may watch the deer who live there without disturbing them.

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