Thomas Bowrey and the Naval Hospital Greenwich


I was checking Facebook this morning, thinking that I really should think of something to write in this blog when I came across this cutting. It is just the sort of letter that Captain Thomas Bowrey, some time resident of Greenwich, would write was he around today. He was never shy about making his views known, frequently petitioning Parliament and Queen Anne.

Bowrey was the son and nephew of naval officers who served in the Commonwealth and Royal Navies. He bequeathed £5 and a mourning ring worth £20 to his cousin, John Middleton, who was an in-pensioner at the hospital. He also remembered the poor seamen of Wapping in his will.

Despite making a fortune in the East Indies trade, Bowrey never forgot that the lives of many mariners were not as comfortable as his. In this, he was following in the footsteps of his father. Captain Thomas Bowrey senior, as master of the ketch Roe, petitioned the Commonwealth Admiralty on behalf of his crew who had received neither wages nor prize and were in dire straits.

He not only believed that old, sick and injured sailors should be looked after but was passionate about the importance of what they did for the safety and prosperity of this country. Was he alive today, he would be reaching for his well-used quill and writing to one of those new-fangled daily newspapers to make known his views on the proposed new name for the Royal Hospital.



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