Open House Weekend 2018: What can we visit in Charlton and nearby?

Charlton House’s Summer House, currently undergoing restoration works, will be open to visitors as part of this year’s Open House Weekend.

Many thanks to Charlton Champion contributor LARA RUFFLE COLES for this round-up of the properties in Charlton and nearby that are taking part in this year’s Open House Weekend.

Open House is a tricky beast… there is always so much to see over the two days, and as the event increases in popularity each year, balancing visiting many buildings versus visiting the popular ones gets harder and harder – let alone navigating your way round London.

So, how about you just stick to the Royal Borough of Greenwich this year? It is definitely worth focusing on a smaller area and is something the other half and I did one year – and we’ve been ‘Open House-ing’ since 2009.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of September, and Greenwich borough alone has 23 buildings to visit and 3 tours to consider. As it can all be a bit overwhelming, here is a Top Five ‘must have’ list, plus a few more if time allows.

Top Five

Charlton House, Charlton Road SE7 8RE

An obvious but excellent choice. Our local community centre is London’s only surviving Jacobean mansion, and a superb venue to get married in. Visit rooms that are usually off limits during regular opening hours, and gaze lovingly at our local park through the upstairs windows. This year you’ll be able to take a look around the Summer House, currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment.

129 Maze Hill, SE3 7UB

I’ve not been to this location but having visited other homes in Greenwich and further afield, a good nosy round someone else’s house is well worth your time (and it is the only house listed for Greenwich borough this year). This 1960s building is also the architect’s home so you can ask all the questions you like – whether your interest is the building itself or its interior design.

Greenwich Reach Swing Bridge, Glaisher Street SE8 3ER

This graceful foot and cycle bridge between Deptford and Greenwich was opened in 2015 and spans over Deptford Creek. Visiting at low or high tide is an exciting prospect, and if you are really lucky you might see it open and close – please note we have no information on when this might happen!

Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood SE18 3RT

A hidden gem at the top of Shooters Hill, this tiny 18th century tower reopened to the public a few years ago. The views from the roof are magnificent and you can also hire the castle for various events including weddings.

Woolwich Town Hall, Wellington Street SE18 6PW

Built in 1903, our borough’s Edwardian town hall has an absolutely stunning main hall with bifurcated stairs. The entrance itself, the clockhouse and the exterior are also worth a good look at. And you can definitely get married here – as I did in 2014!

A few more

Greenwich Yacht Club, Peartree Way SE10 0BW

I’ve not been inside the yacht club, but viewing the building, the walkway to it and the surrounding Thames views make the trip there worthwhile. The area itself is also part of the Thames Path.

St George’s Garrison Church, Grand Depot Road SE18 6XJ

Across from Woolwich Barracks, the bombed-out St George’s Garrison Church is well worth a pootle about. Lovely brickwork, mosaics that have been recently restored, and a new arched roof to protect the ruins from further damage.

Thames Barrier View Café and Information Centre, Unity Way SE18 5NJ

The Sunday of Open House Weekend would be a good time to visit this entry as the Environment Agency will be carrying out the Barrier’s annual full tidal closure test, with “various fun and educational activities for children, talks, demonstrations, information and display stands”. There’s a permanent playground here with a big slide for the child in all of us – and the slide itself is built on top of the levee that protects the surrounding area from flooding.

Lastly…

Don’t forget to order your guide to plan the weekend in advance. You can use the Open House site to read up on every listing, but having the actual book to carry about is essential. Order ASAP as delivery will be a few days.

If you aren’t keen on carrying an A5 book about, you can download the Apple and Google apps, but please do buy the guide for £10 and help support this amazing event.

Did you know that Open House takes places in other cities? 42 participants as of this year, read more at Open House Worldwide.

Have you got an Open House Weekend recommendation? Let us know in the comments below!

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Be quick, save The Pickwick: Campaign launched to save Charlton pub


Campaign against the demolition of the Pickwick PUb on Woolwich Road, Charlton

Following the news of a planning application to demolish the Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road in Charlton and replace it with a new pub, 14 flats, and six houses, campaigners are asking residents to raise objections to the developer’s plans.

Citing the “historical, architectural and environmental” significance of the pub, the Save the Pickwick campaign is calling on the developer to retain and reopen the pub in consultation with local residents, rather than demolish it and replace it with a ‘bland pub’.

The deadline for comments on the Pickwick planning application is Monday 24 September. To see the full application and make comments, visit planning.royalgreenwich.gov.uk and enter reference 18/2976/O. Comments on the application can also be sent to Peninsula ward councillors.

To get involved or contact the campaign, email savethepickwick [at] gmail.com.

The White Horse Pub Woolwich Road Charlton
The White Horse pub on Woolwich Road, Charlton

Plans to demolish another historic Charlton pub, The White Horse , were refused on appeal by a planning inspector in 2015. Now a developer is trying to build an extension and convert its hotel accommodation into bedsits. To comment on this, visit planning.royalgreenwich.gov.uk and enter reference 18/2735/F – the deadline for that is Wednesday 26 September. Comments can also be sent to Woolwich Riverside councillors.

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See the Thames Barrier in action: 2018’s full closure test set for 23 September

Preparing for the annual test in 2017

The Thames Barrier will close for its ‘full tidal test closure’ on Sunday 23rd September this year.

“Once a year, the Environment Agency holds a full tide test closure of the Thames Barrier. The Barrier gates rotate by 90 degrees into the fully closed defence position stopping the tide going upstream into London. As the tide continues to come in, a higher level of water will build up downstream of the Barrier creating a different water level either side of the gates. Shortly after high tide, the gates will rotate further creating a 2 metre gap underneath (underspill). This in turn creates a white water rush effect behind each of the massive gate structures attracting birds to feed on small fish. This ‘underspill’ lasts approximately 2 hours.

There will be various fun and educational activities for children, talks, demonstrations, information and display stands.

As part of Open House weekend 2018, The Thames Barrier Information Centre will be open and free of charge on the day”.

The Environment Agency, who operate the Barrier, are encouraging visitors to cycle or walk; it’s a great opportunity to try out the recently-opened ‘missing link’ joining the Thames Path east of the Barrier along the riverfront of Thames Side Studios.

Also nearby, The Charlton Champion recommends taking a look at the Thames Barrier memorial, and even checking out the industrial area next door which forms the Charlton Riverside redevelopment area (read more about the proposed Rockwell and Flint Glass Wall developments).

Address for the Thames Barrier:
Thames Barrier Information Centre
1 Unity Way
London
SE18 5NJ

You can keep up to date with activities at the Thames Barrier via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Thames Barrier in ‘closed’ position
Thames Barrier Memorial
Unveiled in May 2018, the sculpture is a memorial dedicated to those who worked on London, Kent and Essex’s flood defences
The Thames Barrier lit up in rainbow colours for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in May 2018
The Thames Barrier lit up in rainbow colours for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in May 2018

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Cllr Gary Parker’s Charlton Ward Report: Summer 2018

What has Charlton ward councillor GARY PARKER been up to? Here’s his latest report.

Cllr Gary ParkerDear Charlton Residents, this is my current ward report, this is a snapshot of my recent activities it does not cover individual case work or a range of other meetings. I try to highlight a few key activities which maybe of general interest. Please contact me direct if you want more information: gary.parker[at]royalgreenwich.gov.uk Twitter: @CllrG2013.

Charlton Society – I attended the Charlton Society meeting on redevelopment and regeneration of the village and surrounding areas, together with my co-councillors and other officers from the Charlton Society, some good ideas came forward, I will be working with the CS and others to develop and support these ideas wherever possible. A meeting is scheduled in the near future with council officers and we gave the Charlton Society some information about current funding opportunities through the council – more below.

New Funding- Charlton-based organisations or those that support Charlton residents can now bid for new funding from the council this includes the ward budget – your ward councillors want to give money to as many local organisations as possible within the £30,000 budget allowable and also from the Community Infrastructure Levy (to be launched on 17 September) – a fund from actual development to support local neighbourhoods. There is over £109k to support projects in four wards including Charlton. This is a one year fund with more money available next year – for more info see www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk.

[Charlton Champion note: read more about previous ward budget funding here]

Planning & Development Issues – I have been working with local groups and individuals regarding a range of planning issues, yet again. I opposed the recent application by Rockwell and spoke at the planning board meeting on this in July as did many local residents. The application was rejected but since then, the Mayor of London has ‘called in’ the decision for review, as he claims that Greenwich has not been achieving its affordable housing targets. In my view this call in is a challenge to local democracy, the planning board, who I have been sharply critical of in the past, did the right thing as did local residents. There is a large group of residents, community organisations, businesses and groups in the area actively opposing this development – I will support them as much as I can. If the application is upheld by the Mayor I will be encouraging the council to seek a judicial review on this issue. I will continue to campaign vigorously on this issue, which is now as much about local democracy as it is about planning issues and defending local communities against big developers.

Pocket Homes – Pocket Living is a property development company supported by the Mayor of London which builds homes for sale to first time buyers at reduced prices. The Council cabinet took a decision on 16 July to go out to consultation with residents on the sale of three plots of land to the company at three sites – in Blackheath Westcombe, Greenwich West, and The Heights in Charlton. I called in this decision with Cllr Fletcher from Blackheath ward, a “call-in” is a council process by which councillors can ask for decisions to be reviewed. I have some specific concerns which I raised about: social value, the impact in Charlton ward, land contamination at the site and the nature of the consultation. Many local residents attended this meeting and they too voiced their concerns. Since then this issue has featured significantly in social media and in the local press.

Events & Engagements – A selection

I attended two Better Together Community Engagement events covering Charlton.

I attended the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust board meeting on 17th July and raised a number of local issues including parking charges at Charlton House and access to the archives for local residents and historians – I will issue a separate report on the trust soon.

I support the John Roan- anti academisation campaign and attended the picket line to support striking workers in July.

I attended and supported the new Greenwich Housing Forum which held an open public meeting about housing issues in the Borough – I estimate nearly 100 people attended- more info @greenwich_forum

I chaired the Council’s Regeneration Scrutiny Panel on 23 July – it reviews policy and executive actions on regeneration issues in the borough.

I held a meeting with the council’s deputy chief executive about the Woolwich Creative District and other heritage and regeneration issues in the Charlton area on 24 August.

SURGERIES/CASEWORK – Raised a very large amount of housing and planning related casework, community safety and crime related issues which is ongoing. I also dealt with some issues in Charlton Park related to alleged drug dealing and anti -social behaviour and continued graffiti and vandalism around the toilets. I am concerned about the escalation of such behaviour in Charlton Park and am working with my co-councillors to address this issue.

COUNCIL  I also attended the July 2018 full council meeting and the main overview and scrutiny panel meetings of which I am a member. This received reports from senior council officers and cabinet members about major issues in Greenwich.

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Developer plans to demolish Charlton’s Pickwick pub

Pickwicks pub on Woolwich Road
The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road, seen in August 2014. Photo by Neil Clasper.

As reported by From The Murky Depths blog, The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road could be set for demolition to make way for 14 flats, a new pub, and a terrace of 6 houses. Originally known as the Roupell Arms, it had operated as a pub and B&B, but has been closed for the past couple of years.

The applicant is a Mr Sunil Purewal of Pure Let Greenwich Ltd. To see the full application, visit planning.royalgreenwich.gov.uk and enter reference 18/2976/O.

On the same stretch of road, developers had plans to add flats and a gym to the (now closed) Antigallican pub approved in August 2017, plans to demolish The White Horse were refused on appeal in 2016, and the application to add flats to the Victoria and turn it into a takeaway has gone quiet.

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Horn Fair 2018: Charlton House needs you

Charlton House

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust is looking for people to get involved with this year’s Horn Fair – taking place on Sunday 14th October, which will be themed around the 100-year anniversary of Charlton House opening as a World War I voluntary aid detachment hospital in 1918.

You can get in touch with the trust by email at office[@]rght.org.uk or by telephone on 020 8856 3951.

 
The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
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What’s happening to the derelict Victoria pub on Woolwich Road?

Out exploring the industrial land that is set to become Charlton Riverside (see the latest on that planning saga here) we took the opportunity to take some new photos of the decaying Victoria pub, which prompted a lot of questions on our Twitter and Facebook channels about its current status and future.

In short, we don’t know what’s happening with it (and would love to hear from anyone who does), but we do know:

  • It’s in a poor state. With a reputation for having been a pub with a lean, it now appears to be falling backwards down the hill. Added to that, much of the back of the building is missing, and it’s clearly not been watertight for a long time.
  • There is an outstanding planning application – reported by From The Murky Depths blog around this time last year – to restore the pub, turn it into a takeaway, and build new accommodation at the back. It’s not clear what is happening with this application at the moment.
  • Land Registry records show that the building is currently owned by a Jahangir Ghani, who bought it in July 2014 for £380,000. Unhelpfully, the owner’s address is given as the pub, though there’s clearly no one living there at the moment.
  • The building is included in Greenwich Council’s list of Buildings of Local Architectural or Historic Interest – the ‘local list’“Late Victorian public house with Edwardian tiled façade by Truman’s Brewery. Despite fire-damaged interiors the fine tiled façade of 1910 survives with several splendid features including the large spread eagle which holds up the corner above the name ‘The Victoria’ and Truman’s trademark eagle on the Eastmoor Street façade. Significant townscape value being the only remaining building marking former historic crossroads of Eastmoor Street 107 of 132 Woolwich Road which gives a sense of the now lost, formerly intimate streetscape of the area. Qualifies due to architectural interest as an evocative and sole-surviving example and environmental significance as a characterful, time-honoured local feature. Forms part of the Thames Barrier and Bowater Road Conservation Area” . It is important to note that a local listing does not offer the same protection as a national listing in planning terms; find out more about listed buildings in Greenwich here.

Do you know any more about the plans for the pub? Get in touch and tell us what’s going on! And we’d love to hear your memories of the pub when it was open in the comment section below.

The Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, CharltonThe Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, CharltonThe Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, Charlton

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