With its long-celebrated history, the Old Royal Naval College has many stories to tell, but in this new series of blog posts we want to tell the stories of our incredible team of staff, volunteers, industry experts and partners who work passionately to deliver a fantastic experience to our visitors.

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To kick things off, we’re delighted to introduce you to Sasha Greig, Head of Visitor Experience and Retail:

  1. Can you tell us about your role at the Old Royal Naval College?

My name is Sasha Greig, and I’m the Head of Visitor Experience and Retail. That basically means that I look after the teams responsible for ensuring all of our visitors have an excellent experience while they are here, from stepping through the gates, to buying a ticket or product in the shop, and taking a tour.

  1. What did you know about Old Royal Naval College before you started here?

I started with the Old Royal Naval College just over a year ago, coming from New Zealand I didn’t know much about it before that. But when I started telling people I was working here, nearly everyone’s eyes lit up and people were often envious that I got to spend my days in amongst such a gorgeous setting. 

  1. What’s your favourite thing about Old Royal Naval College?

The richness of its history and how much potential it has as a platform to engage with such a range of ideas and discussions. You can see it in most of the people you talk to in the grounds, they know it as a Christopher Wren masterpiece, or they know its history as a Naval College, but very few know the full scale of its history which spans 500 years, and even fewer know all of the key historic moments that have a connection to the buildings and grounds. I think it really is a place with something for everyone. 

"The product choices are very directly inspired by our stories, our history, and I think that is what makes them special, it turns art and history into something tangible, something you can take home with you"

  1. What’s your favourite thing to do in Greenwich?

I absolutely love sitting down by the river and just watching the world go by. As someone who has spent their whole life near a beach, London doesn’t exactly have the same feel, but sitting by the Thames and hearing the water move and just watching all the boats is a great way to recharge. 

  1. Tell us a secret about Old Royal Naval College.

My favourite secret is the three-footed cherub on the ceiling of the Painted Hall! Admittedly, all of our tour guides know this one so I don’t know how much of a secret it is, but I love the idea that when you get up close to the painting you can see a lot of details that you can’t see from the ground. So yes, tucked in amongst all of the other characters on the Lower Hall ceiling is a little cherub with three feet! 

  1. How do you choose the products to sell in the Painted Hall Shop?

The Chapel, Tudor history and the intriguing details behind the Thornhill’s mural was really the motivation behind a lot of the range. Visitors connect with the individual stories in the Painted Hall and the products highlight these stories. The goal with any good museum or heritage shop is to extend the experience and really allow people to carry a little bit of it away. I wanted to make sure that we were allowing people to connect in a variety of different ways. So for example, you have bee jewellery and honey, which we use to tell the story of the Tudor bee boles that were unearthed during the conservation, and we have chess sets and playing cards, as these would have been games that the pensioners enjoyed during their time at the Royal Hospital, and the soft toys we sell for children are all animals that feature on the Painted Ceiling. The product choices are very directly inspired by our stories, our history, and I think that is what makes them special, it turns art and history into something tangible, something you can take home with you that will help you think about and remember what you enjoyed and learned. 

  1. What’s your favourite shop product?

Such a tough question! I’m a big stationery lover, so I absolutely adore our leather-bound sketchbooks! But there is also a special place in my heart for the Armillary Dial. I just think it is a beautiful object that I would love to have on a shelf.


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