Island Gardens, E14

One sunny but cold Sunday lunchtime, Hubbie suddenly declared that we were to visit Island Gardens in the Isle of Dogs, East London.

‘Sure, I don’t mind. But why there?’

It turned out that he wanted to take photos of Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich from the north side of River Thames. And the garden would provide a perfect location for it.

Yeah, you are right. It looks magnificent, doesn’t it?

Before the site was occupied by the Old Royal Naval College in 1878, it accommodated numerous occupants over its long history, and the most famous one amongst them must be the notorious Tudor dynasty.

A view across the Thames in the Tudor time, facing then the Palace of Placentia, aka Greenwich Palace…

Before Henry VII decided to make the site as one of his royal residences in 1485, it was a royal manor house, owned by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. The manor was called Bella Court (!) and it was in his possession until the duke fell out of favour with the new queen, Margaret of Anjou, a consort of Henry VI. Margaret was one of the major figures during the infamous War of Roses, and Bella Court which she renamed as the Palace of Placentia, aka the Palace of Pleasaunce, was owned by her until her Lancastrian army’s defeat at Battle of Towton. After Battle of Bosworth, the ownership of the manor changed hands again. The estate now belonged to the newly crowned Lancastrian king, Henry VII. After defeating the Yorkist king, Richard III and creating the House of Tudor, the king set out to transform the existing riverside mansion to a much larger and more opulent palace with grandeur.

The Tudors loved the palace. The location was healthy and tranquil, thanks to adjoining Greenwich Park, and it was safe because of River Thames, a natural barrier, which kept London’s noise, filth and dangerous epidemics such as plague at arm’s length.

The Britain’s most famous king, Henry VIII was born at Greenwich Palace in 1491. Like his father, he was very fond of the palace, and as a result, two of his queens, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, gave birth to princesses, future Mary I and Elizabeth I.

A view towards the Isle of Dogs from the Greenwich side…

Henry VIII must have seen the same riverscape (minus Canary Wharf & etc, of course) from his royal barge, the Lyon and Greyhound on his way to the Royal shipbuilding yard in Deptford and Woolwich.

While Hubbie was busy with his Leica, l entertained Bella with a frisbee.

Off you go, my princess!

The ground was covered with fallen leaves and because of it, I lost the sight of the frisbee more than a few times.

Still a frisbee in neon pink was much easier to spot than a Chuckit ball.

Are you not throwing the disk for me again?

I will but my hands are icy cold! I rubbed my hands together, trying to keep them warm. How I wished if I brought my gloves! Or having furry hands like Bella…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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