Great Hall, Eltham Palace, Greenwich, Greater London
Historic photograph of the screen in the Great Hall during restoration work. It is known that the hall was repaired in 1894-5, 1903 and 1911-14. In 1859, farm buildings adjoining the Great Hall had been converted into a gentleman's residence and the Great Hall itself became an indoor tennis court. Eltham Palace is one of the few important medieval royal palaces in England to survive with substantial remains intact. Initially it was a moated manor house with vast parkland, it was acquired by the future Edward II in 1305. Under Edward IV significant changes were made, most notably the addition of the Great Hall in the 1470s which is still visible today. Henry VIII was the last monarch to spend substantial amounts of money or time at Eltham and in the 16th century the Palace was eclipsed by Greenwich Palace and declined rapidly. A campaign to save the Great Hall from demolition resulted in its restoration in 1828 but it was still used as a barn. In the 1930s an important private house, boasting an ultra-modern design and gardens was built adjoining the Great Hall by a wealthy couple, Stephen and Virginia Courtauld. The Courtauld's left Eltham in 1944 and the site was occupied by Army educational units until 1992. English Heritage assumed management of the palace in 1995 and in 1999 completed a major programme of repairs to and restoration of the 1930s interiors and gardens.