How was 2018’s Horn Fair at Charlton House?

Charlton House Horn Fair 2018

The Charlton Champion is grateful to LARA RUFFLE COLES for sending us her photos, videos and observations from Sunday’s Horn Fair event at Charlton House:

Even though the grey and rainy weather may have stopped some from venturing outside, this year’s Horn Fair at Charlton House was lively and entertaining – if not as bustling as 2017.

My favourite element of the day was the live music from the Royal Air Force Cadets, The Friends’ Musick and the Horn Fair Players. The music generated a very warm and inviting atmosphere, and it was wonderful to hear the music floating around the house as you moved from room to room.

The range of stalls was more arts and crafts than food, this was a bit disappointing as last year there were more food stalls including a really good quality smoked salmon stall selling sandwiches. Only chocolate, honey, coffee and Caribbean food was on offer, and The Giggly Pig Company had already packed up when I arrived at peak eating time just before 2pm. We couldn’t find Wandercrust Pizza, unfortunately; the tea rooms were open, but I would have liked to scoff down a few slices of pizza!

If you ventured outside, visitors were able to have a good nosy round the newly reopened Summer House. The main room and undercroft (also a WWII air raid shelter) could be viewed, and panels were on display detailing the recent refurbishment.

This year’s theme was the hundred year anniversary of Charlton House opening as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) hospital – which felt a little odd given the Horn Fair’s previous reputation as a bawdy and debauched affair! It might have better to focus on the upcoming Armistice centenary as a whole, and the VAD theme didn’t feel very present as you moved from room to room. The theme also seemed at odds with the commercial aspects of the event.

However, balancing the commercial and educational parts of any charitable organisation is always tricky, and is something that the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust – only established four years ago – is still working on.

More importantly, we should all be supporting events like the Horn Fair as they allow charities to keep beautiful and historically vital buildings like Charlton House open for all of us to enjoy. Roll on 2019!

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Meet Champions 4 Change: the Charlton group changing lives through boxing

Champions4Change boxing academy at St Thomas Church Charlton

The Charlton Champion spent a very enjoyable morning last Saturday finding out about the work that Champions 4 Change (C4C) is doing with young people at St. Thomas’ Church in Woodland Terrace.

An offshoot of St. Peter’s ABC, an amateur boxing club that’s been in the area since the early 1900s, Champions 4 Change “uses boxing, fitness and mentoring as a vehicle for positive change in young people”.

Led by director Scott O’Connor, the team run a number of programmes designed to develop fitness and mental wellbeing through boxing, for children and older people – including programmes focussed on young carers.

Older children work their way through the ASDAN GB Boxing Awards programmes, gaining recognised qualifications as they go, and can then go on to help train other children and adults as they progress, gaining further experience and confidence as part of the process.

C4C works closely with St Peter’s, signposting young people into the club once they have reached a certain level, or if they wish, to take their boxing to the next level and do it competitively. As well as running programmes in schools, Champions 4 Change also runs one-to-one personal training sessions.

Also visiting on Saturday was Matthew Pennycook, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, who took a boxing lesson from C4C director Scott O’Connor.

He said: “I really enjoyed my training session with Scott and the chance to see first hand the difference that Champions 4 Change is making for young people and also older residents. It’s a real asset for our area and deserves more support.”

‘No gym bunnies’

One of the club’s regulars, Helen Jakeways, who kindly introduced us to C4C, says, “I’ve been going to the over-40s sessions for four months now and thoroughly enjoy the friendly atmosphere and exercise provided by Scott and volunteer coaches Jack and George.

“I only go once a week but there has definitely been an improvement in my overall levels of fitness and strength.  I’ve also had a couple of enjoyable one-to-one sessions with Scott which really helped with my boxing technique. Scott and his team carefully manage activity to suit different needs and there is no pressure to work beyond what you feel comfortable doing.

“It’s good fun (and great exercise) to work with the team on the pads and they all have a sense of humour, which is a must when you’re facing shots from beginners.

“Highly recommend this invaluable local resource if you want to up your fitness game in a relaxed and friendly environment and try something a bit different.  No intimidating Lycra-clad gym-bunnies – just nice people who genuinely care about helping others to get fit.”

This writer enjoyed his visit to the Saturday morning session so much that he went back on Tuesday to try a taster of the over-40s programme (6.15-7pm, Tuesdays) – and has promised to return! I’d recommend it for anyone looking to get fit in a friendly, supportive environment.

Champions 4 Change
Matthew Pennycook, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, takes a boxing lesson from Champions 4 Change director Scott O’Connor

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What’s on at C4C this October half-term

Champions 4 Change boxing Bootcamp October 2018
Champions 4 Change will be running a bootcamp for children during October half-term

Get in touch with Champions 4 Change:

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‘Say no to Sherington becoming an academy’: School campaigners launch petition

Sherington Primary School
Governors are looking at options for Sherington’s future

Campaigners have launched a petition against plans to turn Sherington Primary School into an academy, taking it out of Greenwich Council’s control.

The school’s governors are looking at options for the school’s future which could include becoming part of an academy chain.

In a letter issued to parents last month, the school confirmed it was considering its future arrangements because “we can’t sit back and let the future take care of itself”.

Local MP Matt Pennycook, who attended a meeting of parents and staff at Charlton House last night, has said he is “puzzled and concerned” by the move.

“I know of no pressing challenges that require this outstanding local school to consider altering its existing structure, let alone a robust case for rushing toward a decision in principle to convert to an academy in the near future,” he said after the news broke.

The petition can be found at


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Celebrating Charlton’s history: Should these SE7 landmarks be locally listed?

Rose of Denmark pub Woolwich Road Charlton
Could the Rose of Denmark pub be added to Greenwich Council’s Local Heritage List?

We’re grateful to Charlton Champion reader BECKY HOLMES for submitting this post on Greenwich Council’s consultation on the area’s historically interesting buildings.

Greenwich Council recently invited nominations for Local Heritage Listing – and has just opened a public consultation on the “architectural, historic and environmental” merits of the proposals. 

It says: “The purpose of the local list is to identify buildings, structures and monuments of local architectural or historic importance and to preserve their features of interest as far as possible.”

Interestingly, it’s the first time the council has received nominations from community groups and individuals, while be be considered alongside its own proposals. The Lee Forum and Positive Plumstead Project groups have both contributed.

Nominations include an eclectic compilation of buildings, details and structures – from bridges to pubs, to railway stations and lighthouses. “Local heritage listing is a way for local communities to identify and celebrate historic buildings which enrich and enliven their area.”

I found out about the heritage listing by chance, after getting in touch with the conservation team on the Charlton Riverside Heritage Consultation. It felt like the conservation effort should cross Woolwich Road and by a bit of luck this opportunity came up.

‘An underdog at risk of losing its identity’

I haven’t lived in the area for long but I already feel really protective over it – slightly unloved and riddled with traffic pollution, but with an amazing industrial heritage and lots of interesting details. It’s an underdog at risk of losing its identity due to over-development.

A few favourite local nominations include the Angerstein freight railway crossing and alley by Fairthorn Road – built in the 1850s by local landowner John Julius Angerstein so workers could better access Combe Farm, which sat at the bottom of Westcombe Hill (Angerstein’s collection of paintings funded the National Gallery). Locals still cross here everyday.

It’s modest and unpretentious and that’s why it suits the area so well – like something out of a Famous Five novel. It’s a breath of fresh air next to the concrete traffic jams of the A2. Despite walking through the dim alley at dusk, hoping that the person behind is a friendly commuter and not an axe murderer, I’d hate to lose it.

Similarly, the strip of old factory walls and old doors on Ramac Way have a time-worn feel to them. As the last factory walls standing, they feel like a poignant reminder of the need to preserve local industrial heritage and that this area hasn’t always been a place to buy stuff but a place where we made stuff – useful stuff! Transatlantic electrical cables, shipping propellors, batteries, Bakelite telephones as well as Airfix kits, the stuff of childhood dreams.

The Rose of Denmark pub also feels like an unsung hero. Its post-war styling is very evocative of the area and style of the old Valley ground.

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Characterful heritage buildings are at risk with all the new development – nowhere feels safe from redevelopment! Hopefully by adding more heritage spots, more people will appreciate the history of the area – and it might help encourage sympathetic development in the months and years to come.

Have your say on the architectural, historic and environmental value of the nominations.The consultation documents are available online here.

Comments on the architectural, historic and environmental merits of nominations should be given by email or post, by 5pm on 30 October 2018.
By email: planning.policy[at]
By post: Royal Borough of Greenwich, Planning Policy Team, 5th Floor, The Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, London, SE18 6HQ

Find out more and view Greenwich Council’s current heritage list here.


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What’s happening at Charlton House’s Horn Fair 2018 this Sunday

There’s a World War I flavour to this year’s Horn Fair, taking place this Sunday, 14th October, as Charlton House marks 100 years since it opened as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Hospital in 1918.

As well as children’s activities themed around Charlton House’s role in the recuperation of WWI soldiers, there’ll be an opportunity to make Venetian masks, meet Charlton House’s beekeepers, plus a wide variety of food and market stall, music, and a range of talks.  The Tea Rooms will be serving “some interesting recipes from World War I”.

Outside the house, there will also be an opportunity to see inside the Summer House, and from 12.30pm to visit St. Luke’s Church over the road.

See Charlton House’s website for the full details, or download the Horn Fair 2018 programme here.

Read The Charlton Champion‘s history of Charlton’s Horn Fair here.


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‘Light up Charlton Park!’: Park users’ petition to Greenwich Council

Charlton Park’s skate park opened in October 2017

A petition asking Greenwich Council to install ‘low-level directed lighting’ around Charlton Park’s outdoor gym and skatepark has been launched by park users, including the Friends of Charlton Park, and Greenwich Skatepark Cooperative.

The groups “want the space to be used more inclusively in the evenings, by all park users, be it dog walkers, joggers, gym users, and skatepark users“. The petition points out that there is floodlighting for the nearby football pitches, but the skate park won’t be usable in the evenings once the clocks go back.

You can view and sign the petition here.

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Charlton Assembly Rooms given Grade II listing by Historic England

Charlton Assembly Rooms
Part of the frontage of Charlton Assembly Rooms (photo: Neil Clasper)

The Assembly Rooms in Charlton Village have been given a Grade II listing by Historic England in recognition of the building’s special architectural and historic interest.

Opened in 1881 and funded by Sir Spencer Maryon-Wilson, whose family lived at Charlton House, the building continues to function as a community facility and is currently run by the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust.

It was used by Siemens for war production before being handed over to St Luke’s Church in 1946. But by the early 1970s, the building was under threat of demolition. It was saved by the Save Charlton Assembly Rooms Project, which handed the building to Greenwich Council in 1983.

Historic England says:

The Charlton Assembly Rooms, a community hall of 1881, designed by J Rowland in the Jacobean Revival style, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* a good example of a late-C19 Jacobean Revival style community hall, designed in an exuberant, thoughtful and richly decorated form;
* good quality materials are used to strong architectural effect, including red brick, terracotta and stone detailing;
* the exterior of the hall is little altered, and the interior retains its original plan and stage.

Historical interest:
* the assembly rooms illustrate the continued influence of Charlton House and the Church of St Luke with Holy Trinity on the community of Charlton during the late-C19 and C20;
* as an example of Victorian philanthropy, and the impact of a wealthy benefactor on community hall design.

Group value:
* with the Grade I Charlton House, through their shared Jacobean design characteristics and mutual benefactor;
* with the Grade II* Church of St Luke with Holy Trinity, with which it shares some classically inspired design characteristics, and through C20 use and ownership.

You can read more on the Historic England website.

18-32 Bowater Road
English Heritage has opted not to list 18-32 Bowater Road (photo: Neil Clasper)

Meanwhile, Historic England has issued a “certificate of immunity” for one of the former Siemens factory blocks by the Thames Barrier, 18-32 Bowater Road, meaning it cannot be given a national listing in the next five years.

Developer U+I plans to redevelop the site, keeping this building but demolishing adjacent 37 Bowater Road, as part of a scheme to build shops, offices and up to 520 homes. Both sites are locally listed by Greenwich Council.

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