Coat of arms of the Royal Borough of Greenwich
The coat of arms of the Royal Borough of Greenwich is the official heraldic arms of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Arms were originally granted to this London borough in 1965 but new arms were granted to replace these arms on 3 January 2012, as it was already decided the borough was to become a royal borough that year. Originally, the intention was that the borough would receive the royal epithet on the 3 January, but this was postponed by one month to 3 February.
Arms were originally granted to the London Borough by letters patent dated 1 October 1965. The hour glass and stars were taken from the arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich and symbolise the position of the borough as the place from which the standard of time is taken. The three cannon barrels, taken from the arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich, signify the association of that borough with the Royal Arsenal. These are also the origin of the cannon in the crest of Arsenal F.C..
Although much of the 1965 design has been retained, the arms have been altered by the addition of a representation of the Thames. The two sixpointed radiated stars from the old arms were replaced by two fivepointed mullets, one hour glass became two and instead of three cannon barrels with a lion's head on each, there is now only one. In addition a crest and supporters were added to the arms: the crest comprises a Tudor Rose and a fouled anchor for royal and maritime connections. The supporters are two Roman gods: Jupiter (in Greek called Zeus, a name also used in the blazon) and Neptune (in Greek called Poseidon, but here the blazon uses the English cognate of the Latin name). According to the homepage of the borough, the supporters wear a mural crown and a naval crown respectively to represent the borough's historic associations with the British Army and Royal Navy; normally, a mural crown is used in heraldry to represent the civil municipal authority of a town or city and is not connected to the military at all. Jupiter is holding an astrolab of a kind constructed by Georg Hartmann, clearly a symbol for the astronomical studies at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, while Neptune is holding his usual attribute of a trident.
The helmet is facing forwards, something which usually is reserved for royal arms. Special dispensation has been given to the royal borough for this use. The same is true for the Tudor rose in the crest, which also is marking the borough's long association with royalty.
The motto, 'We govern by serving', has been retained from the old arms.
Arms: Gules a cannon barrel erect palewise proper surmounted by a lion's face or between two hour glasses or a chief nebuly of one point upwards azure thereon a chief nebuly of one point uppwards argent charged with two mullets azure. Crest: Upon a helm with a wreath argent and azure on waves barry wavy of four argent and azure a foul anchor or charged with a Tudor rose barbed and seeded proper; mantled gules lined or. Supporters: On the dexter a representation of Zeus proper vested gules murally crowned and holding in the dexter hand a Hartmann astrolabe or and on the sinister a representation of Neptune proper vested azure crowned with a naval crown & holding in the sinister hand a trident or.
Blazon of the old arms
Per chevron Argent and Gules in chief an Hour Glass proper between two Estoiles Azure and in base three Cannon Barrels erect palewise proper each surmounted on the breech by a Lion's Face Or.
The symbols relate to the Royal Observatory, built in 1675 for the advancement of navigation and nautical astronomy.
The ship and anchor on the crest recall the close association with the Royal Navy since the old royal palace was converted to a seamen's hospital, now the Old Royal Naval College.
- "College of Arms September 2013 Newsletter (No. 36)". College of Arms. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "Greenwich to become Royal Borough". Greenwich Council. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "Greenwich's royal borough bandwagon rolls from February". 853blog.com. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- Rob Powell. "New coat of arms for Royal Greenwich revealed". Greenwich.co.uk. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- Briggs, Geoffrey (1971). Civic and Corporate Heraldry: A Dictionary of Impersonal Arms of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. London: Heraldry Today. pp. 184–185. ISBN 0-900455-21-7.
- Briggs, Geoffrey (1971). Civic and Corporate Heraldry: A Dictionary of Impersonal Arms of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. London: Heraldry Today. ISBN 0-900455-21-7.
- "The Crest". Arsenal F.C. Archived from the original on 12 August 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
- "The borough's coat of arms and crest". Greenwich Council. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
- "The borough's coat of arms and crest". Greenwich Council. Retrieved 15 December 2013.