Greenwich Registry Office wedding photographer | Petra + Duncan

It’s such a thrill as a Greenwich Registry Office wedding photographer to meet a couple on their wedding day – see what they’re wearing, which guests they have chosen, their flowers and other finishing touches.

Petra and Duncan had agreed not to see each other before their civil wedding ceremony, so Duncan and his best man arrived at Victoria Hall first. They love the building, so while they waited, I photographed them as well as details of the hall such as the pink and white painted ceiling, wonderfully restored.

Petra arrived with her best friends, giggling and excited about the wedding. Staff snuck her into a side room near the registry office so that Duncan wouldn’t spot her. He also had helpfully sat with his back to the main doorway of Woolwich Town Hall – what a clever groom!

The Royal Borough of Greenwich Town Hall reflected in a modern glass building opposite
The main entrance steps to the Royal Borough of Greenwich's Victoria Hall, where civil marriage ceremonies take place.
The pink and white painted ceiling of Victoria Hall in Woolwich, SE18, London, home of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and where civil wedding ceremonies take place.
A white rose buttonhole of the best man at Petra and Duncan's wedding at Victoria Hall at the Royal Borough of Greenwich's Victoria Hall in Woolwich.
Groom Duncan and his best man wait for the bride in the Royal Borough of Greenwich's Victoria Hall in Woolwich.
Groom Duncan waits for his bride Petra in the historic Royal Borough of Greenwich's Victoria Hall in Woolwich.
Groom Duncan and his best man wait for bride Petra in Victoria Hall, Woolwich, SE18

We did a quick portrait of Petra and her two best friends on the steps of Woolwich Town Hall

A bride and her bridesmaids arrive at Woolwich Town Hall for her Greenwich Register Office wedding ceremony.
A bride and her bridesmaids outside Woolwich Town Hall's Victoria Hall - home of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and where the bride was getting married.
A bride and her bridesmaids enter Woolwich Town Hall, home of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, to hide from the groom before the civil wedding ceremony, photographed by Greenwich Registry Office wedding photographer Rebecca Portsmouth.
A bride and her white wedding bouquet at Victoria Hall in the Woolwich Town Hall, home of Greenwich Registry Office.

Petra settles down to wait until her wedding ceremony in this office. Every bride needs access to a photocopier just before they walk down the aisle, right?

Petra and her bridesmaids are settled.
A groom waiting in the Victoria Hall, Woolwich before his civil registry office wedding.

After a bit of an unscheduled wait – the registrars are running late – we’re off. Duncan goes into the ceremony room with the wedding rings and Petra waits just outside.

Bride waiting in Greenwich's Victoria Hall before her Greenwich Registry Office wedding.
Two wedding rings on a ring pillow at Petra and Duncan's Greenwich Registry Office wedding ceremony at Victoria Hall, Woolwich Town Hall
The bride with her bouquet - waiting to go into the ceremony room at Woolwich Town Hall in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Groom waiting for his bride at his Royal Borough of Greenwich civil marriage ceremony.
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Greenwich civil wedding | Anna + James

The Greenwich civil wedding of Anna and James with their closest friends and family had a buzz about it that reflected their easy smiles and happiness. Anna, originally from Sweden, wore a classic cream dress and jacket with bouquet from Manchesters Flowers. James wore a cream buttonhole in his cream linen suit, also from Manchesters Flowers.

Their wedding took place at Woolwich Town Hall, the base for the registrars for the Royal Borough of Greenwich, that is Greenwich Register Office. We waited in the magnificent Victoria Hall, with its turn of the century architecture including high domed ceiling and beautiful paintwork.

Guests meet each other at the Greenwich civil wedding of Anna + James in Woolwich Town Hall, Wellington Street SE18 London Wedding guests gather in Victoria Hall in Woolwich Town Hall for the Greenwich civil wedding of Anna + James.Guests wait for the Greenwich civil wedding of Anna + James in Greenwich's Victoria Hall, Woolwich, SE18, London.

Anna carried a bouquet of white roses and greenery tied with a white ribbon and James wore a white rose buttonhole.


We did some portraits on Victoria Hall’s stunning stairs before Anna and James’ civil wedding ceremony. greenwich-civil-wedding-05

There was a lot of laughing and joking from the guests during the Greenwich civil wedding, putting Anna and James at ease. Guests laugh and joke at the start of the Greenwich civil wedding ceremony of Anna and James.


Greenwich registrars, like other London registrars, use archive-quality indelible ink in the registers. The best man keeps Anna and James’s rings safe on his own fingers. The archive quality indelible black ink waits for the bride and groom to sign the register as a record of their marriage and the best man keeps the wedding rings safe - on his own fingers.

Anna and James exchange vows with her father looking on from the front row. Anna and James say their wedding vows while Anna's father in the front row looks on. Anna and James exchange wedding rings during their Greenwich civil ceremony at Woolwich Town Hall, London Bride Anna takes the groom's ring in her hand to put on James' finger as part of their Greenwich civil wedding ceremony. A wedding ring is an unbroken circle, a symbol of never-ending love, exchanged during the civil wedding of Anna and James. Bride Anna manages to get James' wedding ring on as part of their Greenwich  civil wedding ceremony at Woolwich Town Hall. Bride Anna looks at her father after the exchange of rings during her and James' Greenwich civil wedding ceremony in London.


And finally they are announced man and wife – celebrating with a traditional kiss, to the delight of their family and friends.
The bride and groom kiss after they are pronounced man and wife during their Greenwich civil wedding ceremony in south-east London. The bride and groom sign the register after their civil wedding ceremony in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.


Anna and James’ guests throw confetti to celebrate the marriage of Anna and James. Congratulations! Guests throw confetti on a bride and groom on the steps of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Town Hall, near Love Lane, in south-east London.


Greenwich naval portraits

In the same way that the cobbler’s children have no shoes, the photographer often finds their own work at the back of the pile. It’s only now that I have had time to work on these two Greenwich naval portraits I took at last month’s unveiling of the newly renovated west wall of Old Royal Naval College’s Painted Hall, Greenwich. There was no brief and we had not been introduced – I just asked these two if they would mind me taking their portraits.  Very kindly, they obliged.  Don’t they have just the most characterful faces?  They are John Furlonger, head of the Greenwich, Deptford and Rotherhithe Sea Cadets, and HMD Middleton MBE. The Painted Hall’s west wall is in the background.

Greenwich naval portraits from Old Royal Naval College Painted Hall - John Furlonger and HMD Middleton MBE

Painted Hall Greenwich | Restoration

I visited the Painted Hall in Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) this afternoon to see the restoration of its west wall.  The ORNC has been restoring the Painted Hall since December last year and today was the last open scaffolding session where you could be close to the restoration work.  It really was something being about 10 feet from some of the gold leaf decoration around the top of the hall.
The Painted Hall is the work of architects Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor about three hundred years ago and its wall and ceiling decorations are by James Thornhill. Our scaffolding session leader Maggie, though, showed us some painted flowers which were thought to have been painted by Thornhill’s assistant Dietrich André. Given the task of painting the hall took 19 years, it’s not surprising Thornhill had some help.  The west wall shows George I surrounded by his family and Thornhill in the bottom right-hand corner with his paintbrushes and palette.

This is the eleventh time conservation work has been done on the Painted Hall, the last time being 70 years ago. This restoration has mostly been done with small sponges and water to lift off dirt and cigarette smoke.

Our group of nine and two guides started by putting on hard hats and high visibility vests.

Hard hats and high visibility vests for the Painted Hall scaffolding tour in Greenwich

We passed a man restoring a door edging, after vacuuming it.

A conservation worker replaces a door surround at the rear of Greenwich's Painted HallWe were very much surrounded by a scaffolding web as we climbed to the first level.

A scaffolding grid for the Painted Hall's West Wall restoration workAn Open Scaffolding tour of the Painted Hall's west wall restoration work - April 2013

As we went up another level, we could see the ceiling details through scaffolding gaps.

Heritage Lottery Fund London Committee chairman Wesley Kerr joined the tour to see how the fund’s money was being spent.

Heritage Lottery London Committee chairman Wesley Kerr inspects the Painted Hall restoration work.

And after what seemed like too short a time, we were back at ground level.

Traditional tools for restoration work.

It was gorgeous weather after earlier rain, so I took some photographs of the Painted Hall’s exterior.


Greenwich photographic exhibitions

It’s a fabulous month when two fellow photographers have Greenwich photographic exhibitions on at the same time.
The first is Jo Tennant, exhibiting her work as part of The Body, Movement and Dance at Made in Greenwich gallery opposite Cutty Sark station on Creek Road. Greenwich is lucky in having Jo’s work as part of the exhibition. She created a stunning panel of 20 images of dancers to gain her  Fellowship with the British Institute of Professional Photography, inspired by a childhood of dance training.

Jo has an established business as a wedding and portrait photographer and her dance fine art prints were taken and printed in her spare time as a challenge. She has framed and mounted prints for sale in the exhibition.

The second photographer is Mike Curry, who has his landscapes at The Greenwich Gallery on the corner of Royal Hill and Peyton Place until March 31. The exhibition Mike describes as “an eclectic mix of work from sweeping panoramas to more abstract studies.” Mike will be at the gallery every Saturday and Sunday to answer questions about his work.



Greenwich pantomime horse race photos

Today’s annual Greenwich pantomime horse race took place to raise money for Demelza Children’s Hospice.  Comedian Arthur Smith mounted an ostrich to start the race, then joined the horses, a banana, tomato, chicken and knight as they raced, or crawled around the backstreets of Greenwich, visiting four pubs along the way.
Santa visited before the official start.

Greenwich pantomime horse race 2012
Greenwich annual pantomime horse race to raise money for Demelza Children's Hospice.

After an official launch from Mr Smith, they’re off, with photographers ready to capture their every move, er, hoof? Note the importance of the tomato and his sound effects. Breaking news – apparently it’s hot inside a horse costume.

Greenwich pantomime horse race

As the only entrant with a (chicken) jockey, this horse still needed a guiding tail from the horse in front.