The woman that walked to the Painted Hall from Cornwall (and nearly wasn’t allowed in)

Here’s a great story found, found in an 1851 edition of the West Kent Guardian, of how an 84 year old woman walked from Cornwall to Greenwich to see the Painted Hall but almost wasn’t allowed in because she looked too “grotesque”.

Mary Callinich arrived at the gate to Greenwich Hospital, having first visited the Great Exhibition, and asked to see the Painted Hall and the Chapel.

The Sergeant guarding the entrance gate, rather unsympathetically, denied the Cornish pensioner entry on the grounds that she had “got such a funny hat”. With that, she whipped out a black velvet bonnet and obviously transformed her appearance such that she was promptly allowed in.

She expressed her “highest gratification” as she departed after a two hour visit. Having seen what she came for, one wonders if the formidable Mary Callinich simply walked back to Cornwall afterwards.

Read the full article below:

grotesque

You can find more interesting newspaper stories from the past in the British Newspaper Archive.

Greenwich.co.uk editor, interested in things on the river and tales from the archives.

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