Plumstead brewery Common Rioters plans ‘beer café’ at closed Blackheath Standard bank

Barclays Bank, Blackheath Standard
The bank closed its doors on 15 January

A Plumstead-based brewery is hoping to turn the former Barclays branch at the Royal Standard into a “beer café” – just weeks after the bank closed its doors for the final time.

Common Rioters has submitted a planning application to Greenwich Council to change the building’s use – the first stage in a journey it hopes will end with its own bar and place to brew its beers.

The three-year-old brewery, run by Stephen and Maryann O’Connor, takes its name from the Plumstead Common rioters, whose revolt in 1876 saved the open space from being destroyed by a developer.

They had originally hoped to take on a unit at the Jack’s Acre development on Rochester Way in Eltham, but when that fell through, Stephen told The Charlton Champion that he spotted the Blackheath bank building was being let.

“We’re into learning about historical and modern styles of brewing coupled with peoples’ history,” he said. “Not yet having a commercial brew kit or place to brew means that until now we’ve relied on friends in the industry to brew our beers with. Our beers have been available at a select few pubs in the area and at our Plumsteadshire stall, which pops up in various locations as well as online. Following the theme of our stall somewhat we intend to have guest brewery appearances at our pub alongside many other non-beer items for enjoyment.

“The opportunity to bring The Green Goddess to Blackheath in an iconic building was too good to miss.”

Common Rioters’ interest in the bank comes less than two months after it closed. Barclays announced it was shutting the branch – the last bank at the Royal Standard – in October, and it closed its doors on 15 January. Nearby, the former NatWest branch has not yet found a tenant nearly three years after the state-owned bank pulled out of the area.

The brewery is currently selling beers from other suppliers though its online shop, with free delivery in SE7 and other Greenwich borough addresses every Friday.

While all pubs are closed because of the lockdown, there have been hopeful signs for SE7 drinkers looking for a decent pint once the restrictions have passed, despite the loss of the White Swan a year ago.

Matchday favourite The Royal Oak on Charlton Lane is being refurbished under new management and is planning to serve food during the week, while the once-notorious White Horse on Woolwich Road has also been given a makeover.


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Join a Charlton coronavirus community meeting: Make sure nobody gets left behind

You can help the community in Charlton get through the pandemic

With coronavirus cases on the rise again, Greenwich Council’s public health team wants to know what it can do to support you and those you care about as the pandemic goes on.

The team are working their way through different parts of the borough holding community meetings. Everyone is at risk from Covid-19, but the risk is higher for some – such as those who live in deprivation, in dense housing, bedsits, people from black and minority ethnic groups.

Nobody knows this community like those who live here, and to make sure nobody is forgotten in Charlton, the team is inviting residents to a Zoom meeting on Wednesday morning to talk about what happened during the first wave of the virus, who missed out on help, and what can be done now to help people through the coming months.

Just as importantly, with social media spreading false claims about the virus, it is a chance to find out what is really happening with the pandemic.

Overall, the aim is to keep the spread of the virus as low as possible and to and help everyone stay protected.

The public health team have identified an area of Charlton they’re particularly interested in hearing from – see the map below.

Charlton health neighbourhood

The meeting is at 10am on Wednesday 28th October. All are welcome.

To find out how to take part, email kelly-ann.ibrahim[at] and she’ll send you the Zoom link.


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Coronavirus in Charlton: Sainsbury’s ‘listening to feedback’ after older shoppers’ hour failed to take place

Sainsbury’s promised an hour exclusively for older shoppers – but it did not happen at its Charlton Riverside store

Sainsbury’s says it is “listening to feedback after its Charlton Riverside branch did not reserve its first hour of opening for older shoppers to help them stock up during the Covid-19 pandemic, as promised by the supermarket giant’s chief executive.

In a statement to the media yesterday, Mike Coupe said “we will set aside the first hour in every supermarket this Thursday, 19th March, for elderly and vulnerable customers”.

However, one Charlton Champion reader, Joy Brown, told this website that the store’s manager simply let all customers in when the doors opened at 7am.

“He refused to allow even a ten minute window and said everyone must take their chance before disappearing into his hidey-hole. You can imagine what happened when everyone was let in at the same time and the disadvantaged were jostled and shoved by the younger customers,” she said.

Brown’s experience was backed up by social media users. “Queues are longer than the aisles, elderly forced to wait alongside the rest of the general public,” wrote Joey Brown.

Sandra Smith wrote: “Unless 60 percent of them had had a recent face-lift, you did not deliver your promise. My 90 year mum went for three items, toilet paper, Oats and Kitchen roll. Got none!”

Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook said he had also heard about issues at the Sainsbury’s store and that he was concerned that the government was complacent about the pandemic’s outbreak on food supplies. “From the large number of reports I’m receiving, many local supermarkets are either not taking action to limit overbuying or are struggling to enforce such a policy and more worryingly are failing to ensure older people have dedicated shopping hours to secure essential supplies,” he said.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told The Charlton Champion: “A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said, “We asked our customers to respect our decision to dedicate an hour in our supermarkets this morning to serving the elderly and vulnerable and work with us as we try our best to help those that need it the most. We’re listening to feedback from our customers and colleagues and understand some stores faced challenges supporting the hour.”

If you’re doing something special to help local communities get through the Covid-19 crisis, drop us an email and we’ll try to feature it on the site.