Can you help the new Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival?

Blow Up in Maryon Park: Charlton's most famous contribution to cinema

Blow Up in Maryon Park: Charlton’s most famous contribution to cinema

Want to get involved with a free film festival for Charlton and Woolwich later this year? Organiser Gavin Eastley is looking for people to help make it happen.

The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is based on a movement that’s boomed across south London in recent years, such as the Camberwell Free Film Festival, New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival and the Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival.

They show mainstream films – last year’s Peckham event screened Gravity in Peckham Rye Park – as well as more arthouse fare in smaller venues. Most festivals hold a couple of big outdoor events that bring in crowds of up to 300-400.

There are also workshops, filmmaking events and the chance to support local filmmaking talent.

And there are also chances to volunteer…

Projection. Could you get involved in projecting films at our free events? No particular skills needed as long as you’re happy around a laptop, projector and PA.

Event planning and management. Would you like to plan a film event? Do you know a venue that might like to host a film screening? At Free Film Festivals we welcome people who want to create their own film events – feature films, documentaries, new films, filmmaking events. Our festivals are completely created by local volunteers.

Stewards. Could you guide people at our larger events and help with collecting evaluation forms and shaking a bucket? Stewards always needed.

Filmmakers. Could you help to run a filmmaking workshop or organise a ‘meet the industry’ day or similar event to inspire new filmmakers? Read a filmmaker Tom Worth’s blog on how getting involved can inspire you as a filmmaker.

Marketing. From leafleting to social media, press, graphic design and website editing – our marketing teams are always looking for people to help with publicity.

Fund raisers. There is a cost to putting these on and most are funded by partnerships with community organisations and sponsorship.

Gavin says: “I can see The Draughtman’s Contract at Charlton House, The Guns of Navarone at the Royal Artillery (bit of a stretch that one), Mr Turner at Rushgrove House, a big cycle-powered event in Charlton Park and I am sure someone will want to do something with Blow Up. I am sure there are great documentaries about Woolwich.”

Well, now you say it, the London Screen Archive has a few…

Can you help Gavin put the Charlton & Woolwich Film Festival on? He’s holding a meeting at the White Swan, Charlton Village on Wednesday 24 February at 7.30pm. Or contact Gavin via the Free Film Festivals website.

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In? Out? Shake it all about? Talk about the EU referendum at Charlton House on 19 February

The EU Parliament building in Strasbourg

The EU Parliament building in Strasbourg

You might be treating the approaching EU referendum with dread: foghorn-voiced old bores, nostalgic for Empire, hogging the news and distracting us from a wobbly economic situation that needs continued, urgent attention.

Or you may be salivating at the imminent poll: a festival of democracy that will debate our sovereignty and the urgent issue of how the United Kingdom relates not just to its closest neighbours, but the wider world.

Whichever you are, the Charlton Parkside Community Hub would love to see you at Charlton House to talk EU: In or out? with London MEP Syed Kamall.

“This event is strictly neutral and non-party political. Its aims are to air as many key issues as possible, discuss individual concerns and allow a more informed decision to be made. Syed will give a brief overview of the pros and cons of staying or leaving before opening it up to the floor for a Q&A session.”

Doors open at 6.45pm, the event runs from 7pm to 8.30pm. (And make sure you’re registered to vote…)

(If you really can’t get enough of local angles on the EU, Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook was a guest on today’s BBC2 Daily Politics, which discussed the referendum.)

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It’s Discover Cask weekend at the White Swan

White Swan Discover Cask weekend

Dry January? Forget it. There’s a mini-beer and cider festival, Discover Cask, at the White Swan this weekend (that’s right now). You can meet Woolwich’s Hop Stuff brewers on Saturday, and join SE London CAMRA to get 50p off cask ale pints too.

We recommend Gipsy Hill Brewery’s Southpaw, by the way.

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‘Cat’s Cradle’: upcoming production from The Alexandra Players

Cats Cradle

The Alexandra Players, Charlton’s amateur theatre group have a new production coming up in February:

Set in an old coaching-house in a remote English Village, CAT’S CRADLE concerns an almost forgotten kidnapping, and perhaps murder, which was never resolved. As the play opens, the original inspector returns to reopen the investigation. However, his efforts are hindered as it becomes increasingly clear that he is facing a conspiracy of silence from the local townspeople and a past which is shrouded in mystery. The final denouement provides a completely unexpected twist to this intriguing and disturbing mystery.

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The Eagle has fallen: New Charlton barbershop changes name after football gaffe

The new Charlton barbershop - Monday and Saturday
A new barbers’ has appeared in the old Brew & Choo unit close to Charlton station. We thought they were possibly being brave in taking on the titans of SE7 men’s hairdressing at Andrew’s, a little further up Charlton Church Lane.

Then we saw the name. Eagle?

Thankfully, common sense appears to have prevailed – and the owners have realised that calling your new business after Crystal Palace’s nickname isn’t going to go down well a stone’s throw from The Valley. The name Eagle Barbers has disappeared ahead of today’s match with Blackburn Rovers.

Floyd Road

Speaking of The Valley, fans are preparing to protest against absentee owner Roland Duchâtelet after today’s match. Anti-Duchâtelet graffiti has appeared in Floyd Road today, and it’s likely other visible signs of discontent will be seen in the area in the weeks to come. If you’re unfamiliar with what’s going on, The Guardian’s Owen Gibson has written possibly the most comprehensive assessment of the situation.

A petition has been launched to force the Belgian electronics tycoon out of the club – it can be found at

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Blackheath Rugby to move first-team matches from Rectory Field to Well Hall, Eltham

The Rectory Field has been Blackheath FC's home since 1883

The Rectory Field has been Blackheath FC’s home since 1883

Blackheath Rugby is to move its first-team matches away from the Rectory Field on Charlton Road, and will start next season at its Well Hall ground in Eltham.

The world’s oldest rugby club, which started playing at the Rectory Field in 1883, says it needs to move to Eltham to ensure its financial stability.

Blackheath are currently second in National League One, English rugby’s third tier, and are battling for promotion to the Championship. Club bosses say if the side is to progress, it needs a ground that can be developed in the future.

But they say women’s, youth and social sides will continue to play at the Rectory Field, the club’s “spiritual home”.

The new ground on Kidbrooke Lane, known as Club@Well Hall, boasts an all-weather playing surface and newly-laid pitch.

Chairman Russell Ticehurst told members at the club’s financial annual general meeting: “There is a lot of history associated with Rectory Field and it will remain an important part of our portfolio,” he said.

“Some of the first England test matches were hosted there, you can dig out YouTube footage of the All Blacks and Springboks there in the inter-war years, and county cricket was regularly staged until around 1970.

“But therein lies the problem! Rectory Field is a shared facility with cricket, tennis and squash and the pressure of running semi-professional rugby, which continues to become increasingly competitive year-on-year, in a shared environment is too great.”

“Club@Well Hall gives us so much potential to improve the match day experience for everyone. A lot of work will go in to make sure we have the infrastructure facilities for spectators and sponsors alike, and with its close proximity to the A2 and Eltham railway and bus stations, as well as on-site parking, it has excellent transport links for people coming from all over London and Kent.”

Ticehurst said he appreciated the emotional ties many felt to the Rectory Field: “As a player myself at Blackheath the 1990s, and now in my third year as Chairman, I fully appreciate the heartache of moving our primary activity away from Rectory Field, but it will remain our spiritual home with social, youth and women’s rugby all played there.

“However, if Blackheath is to remain a leading name not just this country, but in world rugby, we need to ensure our financial stability with a venue we can develop, and Club@Well Hall gives us the potential for a bright and exciting future.”

Club members have been invited to discuss the plan at an open evening at Well Hall on 28 January.

The move means means there are seven home fixtures left to play at the Rectory Field, including matches against Rosslyn Park this Saturday and Ampthill on 30 January (3pm kick-offs, £15 entry). The match against Richmond on 5 March is a clash in the oldest club rugby fixture in the world.

Blackheath FC was founded in 1858 by old boys of the long-gone Blackheath Proprietary School and became the first open rugby club without restricted membership. To this day, fans shout for “Club!” rather than “Blackheath!”, as early matches were against the school’s side. In its first years, matches took place on the heath itself, with players changing in the Princess of Wales pub.

It was a founder member of the Football Association, before walking out within weeks over plans to outlaw “hacking”. It helped set up the Rugby Football Union eight years later.

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Local historical records ‘rediscovered’ at Charlton House

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust have been in touch with news of a discovery in the cellar of Charlton House: 

WW1 History of Greenwich Borough uncovered as Charlton House’s Locked Vault is opened for the first time in memory.

Staff and volunteers at Charlton House in London have made an extraordinary discovery, in the cellar of the historic building.

Charlton House, part of the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, has ‘rediscovered’ historical records and leather bound documents relating to the local area, and dating back more than 150 years.

Hidden deep in the basement of Charlton House, the vault containing the records has been locked since before the building was handed over to the Trust 8 years ago. Amongst the items discovered inside is the First World War Memorial Book for the Borough, containing the names of local men who served during the 1914-1918 war and a 100 year old log book for the local church – St Luke’s, which details all services and is annotated with significant events such as the Silvertown Explosion.

Tracy Stringfellow, Chief Executive of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust explained: “We don’t know exactly how long it is since the vault was last opened, but the documents inside are very exciting and likely to be of significant interest to local historians and genealogists”

The Trust plans to display the discoveries at their forthcoming Great War exhibition, which takes place at the Greenwich Heritage Centre in February.

The documents and books will now be examined by preservation experts to ensure that their condition does not deteriorate.

There’s not been much information available on progress with Charlton House since it was quietly transferred to Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust in 2014, so we’re glad to hear that things are happening, and hope to see more video updates from the Heritage Trust. A shame, though, that their latest finds aren’t going on display in Charlton House itself.

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