Ceremonial Opening

Merchant Navy College


Captain E K Ballard, Extra Master

Governing Body:

Captain A G Russell, Chairman

F W Archer

Captain E K Ballard, Extra Master

D E R Barker

J Bromley

R S Brown, Master Mariner

J E Bryon

D F Carter B.Sc, Extra Master, LIMA

G E Carter

A F J Chorley MBE, JP

B Dickinson

R G Douglas T.Eng (CEl), FSERT, MRIN

D Farquhar

R Hemingway

A J Hichisson

Dr R Hope OBE, MA, D.Phil

Captain S J E Hunter

Patrick Johnson OBE, MA

D H J Lester, B.Sc (Econ), FCIS

A Ling

M T Marwood


Captain G R A Murray

E Nevin

A Scutt

Captain D W P Varwell M.Sc, Dip.Ed, Extra Master,


A R M White




Ceremonial Opening

of new Buildings

By HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT

on Thursday 28 October 1976 at l0.40am

Inner London Education Authority

Merchant Navy College


Kent DA9 9NY




Order of Proceedings

10.20   Guests are requested to be seated in the assembly area.

10.30   HRH The Duke of Edinburgh will be welcomed by the Chairman of

            the Inner London Education Authority and will meet distinguished

guests and College officials.

10.40      HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and the platform party to be seated.

Mrs Anna L L Grieves, Chairman of the Authority will welcome the


HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to address the company and formally

declare the new buildings open.

A vote of thanks to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh will be proposed by

Captain A G Russell, Chairman of Governors.

10.55   Tour of the new buildings by the platform party followed by


Guests in the main body of the hall are asked to remain until the

platform party has left.

11.00   The new buildings will be open to viewing by other guests.

11.55            Refreshments for guests will be provided in the students' dining hall.

12.30   Guests are requested to leave the dining hall.









Notes on the College

The College was formed in 1968 by merging the world

famous nautical training establishment, Incorporated

Thames Nautical Training College (better known as

HMS 'Worcester') with part of King Edward VII

Nautical College. The College so formed was con-

cerned only with education and training of deck cadets,

and operated on 'Worcester' and in London. In

September 1975 when the new buildings were occu-

pied, the London section of the College moved to

Greenhithe, and the remaining work from the King

Edward VII Nautical College (which by then was in

the City of London Polytechnic) was also transferred.

At the same time the scope of the College was greatly

extended by the transfer from South London College,

Norwood, of their Marine Radio work which had been

established in 1952 and had the highest reputation.

In its present phase of development the College is

responsible for educating and training officers in the

navigation and radio disciplines up to and including

the first professional certificate of competency, and is

formed in departments of Nautical Studies and Elec-

tronic Engineering respectively, but with an additional

departmental Head of Extra Mural Education.

It was considered that a unique opportunity was

being afforded to train radio officers in such a way that

in the future they would be far more fully integrated

into a ship management team than in the past when

they were very much the 'odd man out' on the ship.

The policy was therefore evolved of integrating the

students of the two departments to the fullest possible

extent. This has presented some problems since the

radio trainees are mainly direct from school, relying

on grants and holiday earnings to meet their expenses,

whereas the deck cadets have had one or more years at

sea, are earning a salary and have all expenses paid by

their Shipping Company.

The Shipping Industry expects cadets at residential

Colleges to be subject to somewhat more control

than would be appropriate at a normal Technical

College. Encouragement of extra curricula activities

that would be of value to the seafarer is also a necessary

feature of a residential nautical establishment. To be

responsible for this, and the control of the College

outside teaching hours is the task of the Head of

Extra Mural Education who has non-teaching staff

under him and calls, as necessary, on teachers from the


The Nautical Studies Department (staff of 23) offers the

following courses:

Phase I of Ordinary National Certificate/Diploma in

Nautical Studies (1 8/24 weeks)

Phase III of Ordinary National Certificate/Diploma in

Nautical Studies (2l/27 weeks)

Second Mates Certificate of Competency (20 weeks)

Refresher Course for Certificate of Competency (10


Mate (Home Trade) Certificate of Competency (12


Master (Home Trade) Certificate of Competency (12


Restricted Radio Telephone Certificate (2 days)

The Electronic Engineering Department (staff of 11)

offers the following courses:

Marine Radiocommunication General Certificate (2


City and Guilds Marine Radio and Radar Technicians

Certificate (3 years)

Radar Maintenance Certificate (6 months)

Revalidation of ex Radio Officers' Certificates (part

time or evening)







Notes on the Building

The 37 acre site rises 93 feet from the south bank of

the River Thames to the crest of the North Downs

and faces north. The lower half of the site consists of

two sports fields with a football pitch, rugby pitch and

athletics track. The river banks and surrounding

slopes have been terraced to form a spectator viewing

area. The upper half of the site consists of a flat area

providing a cricket table and tennis court, and a

sloping spur of land projecting between two disused

chalk pits, and upon this spur the main College

buildings have been constructed.

These consist of two terraced student residential

blocks orientated east-west high on the site, and a

combined teaching administration and student com-

munal block lower down the slope facing on to the

river. This latter building bridges a disused mineral

railway cutting into which the main site access road,

carrying continuous heavy lorry traffic to the neigh-

bouring Empire Paper Mills, has been diverted. A

public footpath crosses the site and this has also been

diverted into the cutting.

The student residential blocks, built from load-

bearing fairfaced white concrete blocks with insitu

white concrete floor and roof slabs, are stepped back

to match the contours of the hillside. They provide a

total of 265 study bedrooms, each one fitted with study

desk, shelves, wash basin and wardrobe unit. There

are also a pair of two-room suites for resident instruc-

tors, and a Padre's cabin. Each block is split into four

sections by staircases and lobbies, and main toilet

shower and utility rooms are situated centrally within

each section. A large student recreation room is

provided on the ground floor of the north block

which contains table tennis, billiards, bar billiards and

dart boards.

The administration and communal functions of the

College are contained in the main building comprising

a four floor block orientated north-south over the

cutting, constructed in an insitu reinforced concrete

frame with coffered concrete floor and roof slabs.

Internal partitions are fairfaced blockwork, paint

finished. All the services are contained within the

white concrete undercill panels which form the lower

part of the external walls. The window frames are of

stained pine with metal opening lights. Within this

part of the building are the teaching staff rooms,

student common rooms, library, sick bay, laundry,

maintenance staff rooms, boiler room, kitchen and

dining room. The latter is a two storey room occupying

the whole of the north end of the building offering on

three sides panoramic views of the River Thames and

the playing fields.

On the roof is a full size replica of a ship's wheel-

house containing steering and engine room controls

and all standard navigational instruments for training

purposes. This is backed up by a windowless radar

training cabin, the scanners for which are mounted on

the surrounding roofs and on platforms on the 4-1/2 ton

steel ship's mast that surmounts the building complex.

The mast was built in a Thames-side shipyard at


The rest of the teaching rooms are contained in a

ground floor single storey wing running east to west

along the southern side of the playing fields. There are

lecture rooms for ship construction, seamanship, radio,

morse, electronics, physics/chemistry, optics and

photography plus preparation rooms, demonstration

rooms and chart room, instrument room and plane-

tarium, 7 general classrooms and a seminar room.

  At the western end of the teaching wing are the

Games Hall and Swimming Pool which form a two

storey split-level complex. The games hall has tinted

high level glazing on all four sides. The swimming

pool is roof lit, fully air conditioned and provides five

swimming lanes and a diving area.

 Boatwork, which is an integral part of all the main

courses of the College, will be centred around a new

boat house, dinghy park and slipway situated astride

the river wall, which is at present being raised by the

Kent River Authority to provide full flood prevention

when the GLC's new flood barrier across the Thames

at Silvertown comes into operation.

 Staff residential accommodation consists of a block

of eight self-contained bungalows and garages for the

Principal and senior staff on the western boundary of

the site, with its own access from Greenhithe. The

caretaker and College domestic staff are accommodated

in a two storey building alongside the main access


 Landscaping is mainly confined to reinstatement of

grass and planted areas following completion of

building operations, plus the replacement of trees

killed by 'Dutch Elm' disease and the increasing of

screening on the boundaries as required by the

Planning Authority.

The buildings were designed for the Inner London

Education Authority in the Department of Architecture

and Civic Design of the Greater London Council.

Architect  Sir Roger Walters KBE, FRlBA, FI Struct E

Education Architect  Peter E Jones FRIBA, FRTPI

Job Architect  Stephen L Wagstaffe RIBA, FRSH

The structural design was carried out by Messrs Andrews

Kent and Stone Consulting Engineers.

Partner in Charge David W Lazenby DIC, MICE,

MI Struct E

Project Engineer Ian A MacGilchrist

The mechanica1 services were designed by Messrs J Stinton

Jones and Partners, Consulting Engineers.

Partner in Charge Raymond A Woodruffe MIHVE, MRSH

The electrical services were designed in the Department of

Mechanical and Electrical Engineering of the Greater

London Council under the direction of Mr P C Hoare


The grounds were laid out under the direction of Mr J C

Kennedy, Chief Officer of the Parks Department of the

Greater London Council.

The main contractor was 'Willett Ltd.

The new buildings were occupied by the College in Septem-

ber 1975

Designed by GLC Supplies Department (Printing and Graphic Design Division)

Printed by The Hillingdon Press. (13157) 9.76.