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.

4 thoughts on “Local historical records ‘rediscovered’ at Charlton House

  1. Terry Allen January 20, 2016 / 23:07

    I used to attend a youth/football club that was allowed to meet in Charlton House around 1968 and we used to go down to what we called the dungeons in the cellars of the house. In there were the old books from the 1700’s or thereabouts recording the “rent” payable to Charlton House per annum for the strips of land from Victoria Way to the Standard. This would be things like a pig plus some small amount of money by today’s standards but no doubt huge back than. These were huge books in size and I queried a few years ago where they are now and was told they are still somewhere in Charlton House. I would be interested to find out if this is the case as they were major records of life in Charlton hundreds of years ago. From memory there were a few of these books, which were huge, and at the time they were destined to be dumped by the Council as in ‘skip’ type bins along with other items for disposal all down in the cellars.

  2. Chris January 21, 2016 / 10:40

    Fascinating. My grandad fought in WW1 (copped his Blighty wound on the Somme as he used to say) and was from Greenwich. I’ll definitely be making more enquiries about this discovery.
    Many thanks for publicising it.

  3. Rob Wethly November 25, 2016 / 14:03

    Dear Mr./Mrs.,

    I’m researching the 24 Bomber Command war graves in Nieuw-Dordrecht (the Netherlands).
    This year I could give 23 of the 25 war graves a portrait picture on the cemetery in my home town Schoonebeek (the Netherlands), I addressed myself the same goal for the war graves in Nieuw Dordrecht for next year.

    One of these graves in Nieuw-Dordrecht is the grave of Pilot Officer George William Osmer (Service number: 149557). George was the pilot of the Lancaster ED550 EM-K of the 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force (RAF).
    George died at the age of 22 after a fatal crash on 24 August 1943 in Nieuw Dordrecht (the Netherlands).
    George William Osmer, is with my information son of Henry end Frances Eleanor Osmer of Charlton, London

    Are you in any way able to provide me information about George William Osmer or able to bring me in contact with relatives?

    With kind regards,

    Rob Wethly

  4. Eileen Farnworth (nee Holmes) April 1, 2017 / 23:35

    I know about the Silvertown Explosion because there is a story my father told us of when he was 3 months old & living above his fathers shop, Holmes Brothers, at 17, The Pavement, Charlton, later renamed 341& 343, Woolwich Road, he had been put in his cradle on the rack so his cot would gently rock while his sister who was about two was playing when the explosion happened suddenly & shards of glass flew across the room from the window and embedded themselves in the wall passing over his head by inches. The noise of the explosion caused his sister to stop walking until she was about four. (Perhaps it was the damage to her ears causing balance problems?) He was obviously too young to remember this but the story had been told to him later. It was not he last explosion he was to suffer as this shop was bombed out in the blitz and completely destroyed but luckily the family survived. I look forward to finding out more from the archives that have been found.

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