Severndroog Castle is a Grade II-listed gothic building in Shooter's Hill, near Greenwich, and a monument to naval hero Sir William James (1720–73).
Sir William worked for the East India Company, protecting its trading ships from pirates and the castle takes its name from his famous attack on Suvarnadurg Fort, a pirate stronghold on and island off India’s west coast, in 1755. It was was built in 1784 by Sir William's widow, Lady James of Eltham.
Severndroog Castle was designed by the English architect, Richard Jupp (1728–99) of the East India Company. The gothic tower is made from bricks in a triangular design, with hexagonal turrets at each corner. Built on three storeys, it stands over 18 m (60 ft) tall. From the roof there are views across London and, on a clear day, seven counties can be seen from this vantage point. In fact, there was a beacon for shipping coming up the Thames on this hill from the 16th century. The National Maritime Museum Collections contain historic images of Sir William James, the castle and Shooter's Hill.
As recently as 2002, Severndroog Castle was boarded up and dilapidated. Moves to rent it out as offices were met with resistance and a successful campaign to keep the castle for the public was launched. You can now visit the castle and see the famous view for yourself. Or investigate our collections further and find out more about Sir William James, the East India Company and fascinating images showing how Greenwich has changed throughout the past 500 years.