December 2013

The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) has appointed Ampersand to look after visitor catering, conference and events services in a deal worth £16 million over the next seven years.

An Ampersand team of over 20 people will provide a vast range of services to the ORNC - with events ranging from some visitor catering to business meetings for groups of 10 and the epic 400 seat Trafalgar Night Dinner held annually in the room where Admiral Nelson’s body laid in state before burial.

This architectural wonder is widely regarded as a masterpiece - it is described by UNESCO as the "finest and most dramatically-sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles". Designed by Christopher Wren, and built more than three centuries ago, it is the UK’s 11th most-visited attraction with 1.6 m visitors and has provided the backdrop for countless movies including recent blockbusters Les Misérables, Skyfall, The King’s Speech and the soon to be released Muppets Most Wanted.

Event bookings will be managed jointly: by both an onsite team and by Ampersand’s sister company ITA. Together they will promote the venue’s numerous spaces, including the Painted Hall - described as “the finest dining hall in Europe” - The Queen Mary Undercroft, the King William Undercroft, and Admiral’s House. The ORNC even has its own 19th century Skittle Alley, built for use by pensioner seamen once based here. The Painted Hall will undergo conservation and Admiral’s House will be redeveloped to better suit intimate weddings and corporate entertaining.

Ampersand will offer an extensive array of services for these venues including: day delegate packages; bespoke events catering; formal and informal gatherings; grand gala dinners; weddings; outdoor catering: tours of the site with Yeomen Guides; and even games of skittles. Inside it can accommodate groups from 10 to 400, and outside, several thousands.

Brendan McCarthy, CEO of The Greenwich Foundation, the charity that manages the ORNC said: “this is an ideal time to refresh our events and catering services. The Olympics gave Greenwich a lift and the area is set to join New York, Hawaii and the Caribbean as a cruise ship destination now that plans for a new dock have been approved.

We chose Ampersand based on three criteria: the strength of its proactive sales and marketing resource; its ability to deliver a mix of high quality visitor catering plus high-profile events; and thirdly the team’s enthusiasm to support our vision for the future of this iconic world heritage site.”

Ampersand Managing Director Paul Jackson, said: “to tread in Nelson’s footsteps is indeed daunting. The ORNC symbolises the era when Britannia ruled the waves and the architectural splendour around us represents the best of British. We will help the ORNC and Greenwich Foundation achieve its plans for the future and in doing so we aim to exceed its expectations every day in the food, events and services that we supply. In Nelson’s spirit we promise that Ampersand expects that every man and woman will do their duty!”

Ampersand is owned by CH&Co and offers catering services for iconic British establishments including Hampton Court Palace, ZSL London Zoo, The Guildhall, The Tower of London, The Law Society, Kensington Palace, and The Royal Institute of British Architects. CH&Co is a leading independent catering group with six specialist businesses: Charlton House (staff catering at B&I sites), Lusso (City and fine dining), Chester Boyd (livery halls and private venues), It’s the Agency (venues and events booking agency), Ampersand (public and event catering at iconic & private venues) and Via 360 (bespoke reception services). Current annual turnover stands at £97 million and the group employs almost 2,500 people nationwide.

Old Royal Naval College - Sir Christopher Wren’s twin-domed riverside masterpiece is one of London’s most iconic buildings. It was built three hundred years ago as the Royal Hospital for Seamen, a refuge for injured and impoverished sailors of the Royal Navy. In the 19th century it became the Royal Naval College, where the Navy’s officers were trained. In 1998 the Royal Naval College moved to Shrivenham, and the Greenwich Foundation, a charity, took over management of the site to conserve the buildings and open them to the public. By 2011 the site, which includes the Painted Hall, Chapel and Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre, and stages a year-round programme of events, had become the 11th most popular visitor attraction in the UK. Further information at

For further information on Ampersand contact: James Laird on 07767 221548 or

For further information on the ORNC contact: Lesley Booth on 0779 941 4474 or

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