Greenwich Dance moves to Charlton House

Charlton House

Local charity Greenwich Dance has announced its relocation to Charlton House. The organisation had been working from offices in Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal after moving out of  Greenwich Borough Hall, its home for 25 years, earlier this year.

“Greenwich Dance and Greenwich Heritage Trust announce a new affiliation which has resulted in a brand new home for Greenwich Dance within Charlton House, the historic Jacobean country house in Charlton, South East London.

The affiliation offers Greenwich Dance good office space in addition to access to beautiful spaces for class, projects and performance which include The Old Library and The Charlton Assembly Rooms as well as the grounds and gardens. Greenwich Dance and Greenwich Heritage Trust plan to develop the affiliation further to create more opportunities for dance to animate Charlton House and for joint approaches to outreach. It will enable Greenwich Dance to re-launch its popular morning classes for professional dancers as well as bringing its over 60’s performance company Dancing To The Music of Time to Charlton which had previously been accommodated by Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre at the Tramshed in Woolwich.

The move marks the beginning of a new way of working for Greenwich Dance where classes, courses, projects and performance making will be sited across the borough and the proximity of other like-minded organisations based at Charlton House offers potential for exciting new collaborations and partnerships.

Speaking about the collaboration, Chief Executive Officer, Melanie Precious said: “We are thrilled to have a new home at Charlton House. It’s a beautiful setting in which to base an organisation such as Greenwich Dance which has creativity and the community at its heart. Charlton House is well positioned for our new operational model, we feel as is if forgotten areas of the borough are now within easy reach. We are also hugely excited at the possibility of bringing both the community and professional dancers to Charlton House to enjoy dance within its beautiful rooms and glorious gardens.

We very much look forward to working with the Greenwich Heritage Trust and other residents here to create brand new programmes to keep Greenwich dancing.”

Find out more about Greenwich Dance at their website, on Twitter, and Facebook.

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Woolwich Common fire: Major blaze wrecks neglected open space

Woolwich Common
Residents have long complained about the neglect of Woolwich Common

Fire crews are damping down this evening after a major fire destroyed a large area of Woolwich Common, leading to road closures and a plume of smoke that could be seen for miles around.

Grass and shrubland the size of four football pitches towards the south of the common was alight at the height of the blaze, when 125 firefighters were tacking the incident. It was the second fire on the common in a week.

Land near the old Royal Military Academy on the east side of the common was still smouldering at 9.30pm this evening.

The fire brigade was called at 3.51pm, with the blaze brought under control at 8.06pm. Crews from across east and south London attended, with engines from as far away as Homerton and Shadwell seen at the scene.

London Fire Brigade said earlier this evening that 70 firefighters remain in place, and will be there for some hours yet making the area safe.

“Firefighters are using water jets and fire beaters to ensure this fire is out. We will be here for a number of hours damping the area down to ensure it can’t smoulder in the undergrowth and reignite.

“At the height of the fire large plumes of smoke were drifting across the area near to a hospital grounds and local roads. Firefighters worked extremely quickly is very difficult conditions on one of the hottest days of the year.

“London is tinder dry at the moment and a stray cigarette or even a glass bottle is enough to set a fire like this one. I can’t stress how important it is for smokers to really ensure cigarette butts and matches are out properly and never leave barbecues unattended.”

Woolwich Common
Woolwich Common
Woolwich Common
Woolwich Common fire

The common is controlled by the Ministry of Defence, which still uses it for military exercises, and residents have long complained about what they see the neglect of the open space.

Debris left behind by travellers who occupied part of the common in early June is still strewn across the land close to where the fire spread, six weeks after they departed.

Woolwich Common was used as a venue for the 2012 Olympics, which led the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery – whose barracks are just off the common – to use Charlton Park for its exercises. However, delays in restoring the common led to this temporary arrangement lasting for some years.

Comments are open below if you’d like to share your experiences of the fire or the management of the common.

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Charlton Lido: More early morning swimming from this week

Charlton Lido
Beat the crowds and go swimming at 6.30am

Early riser? Love swimming?

Good news from Charlton Lido – it’s now open from 6.30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from this week.

The six-thirty start had previously been a treat reserved for Monday swimmers – now you can do it three times a week.

Its new summer opening times are…

Mondays: 6.30am – 8pm
Tuesdays: 7am – 8pm
Wednesdays: 6.30am – 8pm
Thursdays: 7am – 8pm
Fridays: 6.30am – 8pm
Saturdays: 9am – 5pm
Sundays: 9am – 5pm

More details and booking on the Charlton Lido website.

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Community Fun Day and Dog Show at Charlton House this Sunday

Charlton Park Community Fun Day July 2018

Charlton Park Dog Show July 2018

Global Fusion Music And Arts and Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust are running a Community Fun Day and Dog Show this Sunday, July 22nd, in the grounds of Charlton House. Themed ‘A focus on youth‘, the event takes place 12-5pm with the dog show at 2pm. Admission is free.

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Rockwell’s ‘Stalingrad’ Charlton Riverside development rejected by Greenwich councillors

Rockwell Charlton Riverside website
Rockwell has already started promoting the scheme

Controversial plans to build 771 homes at the end of Anchor & Hope Lane were rejected by Greenwich councillors last night after Squeeze singer Glenn Tilbrook joined neighbours objecting to the scheme.

Developer Rockwell had planned to build on the VIP industrial estate behind Atlas and Derrick Gardens, with five 10-storey blocks – with its website, seemingly assuming it would get the go-ahead, already branding it “the next riverside hotspot”.

But councillors agreed with neighbours who said Rockwell’s scheme went against the recently-adopted Charlton Riverside masterplan, which sets out a vision for lower-rise developments aimed at families in Charlton to sit in between the towers of Greenwich Peninsula and Woolwich.

Planning chair Sarah Merrill (Labour, Shooters Hill) said: “This application in no way resembles the spirit of the Charlton Riverside masterplan, in terms of height, massing and design. It’s reminiscent of Stalingrad.”

All 11 councillors on Greenwich’s planning board voted to reject the scheme, to applause from the public.

Squeeze frontman Tilbrook – who lives in Charlton – told councillors that he had tried to engage with Rockwell because he owns a studio adjacent to the development site, which is used as a base for the band’s tours. He said he feared losing access to the studios.

“The replies I’ve had from them have not been sufficient,” he told councillors. “Access for me is important, Squeeze work from the studios, we rehearse there, we go in and out every weekend for festivals, sometimes late at night. This access is not guaranteed.”

Tilbrook added that he feared that noise from the construction work would make the studio unusable, then new residents would complain about noise coming from the studio.

“It feels like to Rockwell, I’m a bad smell they want to make go away. It feels like they want to drive a coach and horses through my life and my studio, and they want to drive a coach and horses through the Charlton masterplan.”

A representative from the industrial wharves on the peninsula said that new residents at the Royal Wharf development in Silvertown, across the Thames from the proposed Rockwell scheme, had already started complaining about noise from ships loading and unloading goods.

One resident, Joyce Sloman, said the area – “becoming the biggest shopping centre in south-east London” would be unable to cope with the traffic.

While Woolwich Riverside councillor John Fahy told the committee the council had to act “in the best interests of the community – not hedge funds in Guernsey” – a reference to the development firm backing the scheme, Leopard Guernsey Anchor Propco. He said the council would “compromise itself” if it backed the scheme.

Rockwell representatives said the scheme offered a “fantastic opportunity to kick-start the regeneration of this area”, saying it “has the makings of a destination, a real place in its own right”. It claimed it would generate over 200 jobs.

But the firm – which has retained former Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts’ company Cratus Communications as lobbyists – arguably overreached itself by drafting in a teacher who wanted to set up a nursery school on the site, claiming she could not find another suitable site.

Because of the length of the meeting – which also considered a major development in Abbey Wood and controversial plans to revoke the hazardous substances permission on the East Greenwich gasholder (both refused) – speakers were severely limited in time by chair Sarah Merrill, which angered residents, many of whom are still smarting from the way they were treated at the Fairview Victoria Way planning hearing in January.

But they had little to fear as councillors lined up to put the boot into the scheme – despite council officers having recommended they back it.

“We all want to see the area redeveloped and there is potential on the site, but this does not conform to the masterplan,” councillor Nigel Fletcher (Conservative, Eltham North) said. “Either we have a planning policy and we adhere to it, or we don’t.”

“I have a concern about how this has been allowed to proceed to this point through discussions with officers and recommended for approval. I almost feel sorry for the applicant being led to believe this is something we might support.”

Rockwell render
Residents said the new blocks would loom over their homes and deny them natural light

Local MP Matt Pennycook said on Thursday morning that the decision was “a clear signal to developers that the community will not accept proposals that do not honour the vision set out in the 2017 Charlton Riverside masterplan”.

“I hope Rockwell now do what they should have done months ago: reconsider the height, massing and levels of affordable/family housing within the scheme and come back with a proposal that will ensure Charlton Riverside becomes the exemplary new urban district we all want it to be.”

Monday’s meeting also saw refuse to withdraw permission to store hazardous substances at the Greenwich gasholder site, and a 17-storey tower block at Abbey Wood turned down.

The full planning discussion was captured by The Charlton Champion‘s sister website 853the session starts two hours and five minutes in. Sound is weak in some points. You can also read tweets from the meeting.

See past stories about the Rockwell scheme.

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Farmers’ Market, ‘Moana’, and more at Charlton Manor school

News in from Charlton Manor Parents’ Club of a range of activities taking place at the school on Saturday 14th July:

**Saturday 14th July, 11am-1pm** Cinema Club (KS2 Hall) FILM: MOANA (PG)

Also, in the playground, the school’s Farmers’ Market **10am -2pm**  and a Nearly New Sale (0-8yrs) **12.30pm -2pm**

Open to all, not only Charlton Manor families; bring your friends!


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Become a Charlton Champion: Join our membership scheme and help improve this site

Charlton Village
You can now support this website by becoming a member

The Charlton Champion has been running for seven and a half years now, telling you what’s what and what’s happening in London SE7.

Apart from a small income from ads which have recently appeared on the site, it’s always been produced in our spare time by Darryl Chamberlain and Neil Clasper.

We know that a lot of people are grateful for what the site provides, and we’re also looking at ways to develop the site.

So we’re starting a membership scheme for The Charlton Champion. We would be very grateful if you could consider supporting the site with a monthly subscription.

How will The Charlton Champion membership scheme work?

We’ll be using Patreon, which means we can manage our income and keep in touch with members.

Membership is charged in US dollars and aims to reflect the London Living Wage (currently £10.20/hour) – it starts at about £2.60/month, which covers just over 15 minutes of work on the site.

How do I do it?

Sign up for a Patreon account, then click on Because payments are taken in US dollars, we suggest you use PayPal for simplicity if you’re new to this. Follow the instructions, and you’re in. And you’re free to cancel or change your donation at any time. Please be aware that Patreon charges VAT on donations, so factor that into your payment.

What will I get in return?

There are some goals we’d like to hit. If we raise about £300/month, we will restore comments to the site. If we get to £500/month, we will look at producing a one-off printed version of The Charlton Champion. (Darryl knocked up a mock-up a few months back, it looked very good…)

At present, we aren’t able to offer anything extra in exchange for becoming a member – unless you’re a business wanting to sponsor the site, in which case you can have your name in lights on the site.

But if this scheme is wildly successful, it may change, and we may have a few things up our sleeve at a later date. So if you’re interested, please leave your home address if prompted.

I’m a local business – what can I do help?

We’d be delighted if you’d like to sponsor the site – please take a look at the sponsorship option on our Patreon page:

How will the money improve the site?

It means we’ll be paid something for what we do – which is an incentive to do more of it. Please remember the site is run in our spare time, so that’s always a restriction – there are are only so many hours in a spare day or evening – but we’re always looking for new contributors. Building up a pot of money means they can also be rewarded for what they do.

If you think of how 853 (a sister site to this one) and From The Murky Depths improved after raising money, hopefully we’ll be able to do the same thing.

What will you do with the money?

The money will be split between the site’s two main contributors – Darryl will take 60%, Neil will take 30%, and we will save the rest to pay the site bills and pay new contributors. We may tinker with this as it goes on, but the aim is to pay us for our work and make the site sustainable.

How can I help improve the site?

We’d like to keep the site based around what it does now – telling you about community events, sharing what’s planned for the area and giving you an insight into what your elected representatives are doing.

But we would like to do more, and do it more regularly – a regular Charlton Athletic column, perhaps, or interviews with people in the area. If you can help do either of those things, then please let us know.

And if there’s some news that needs sharing – don’t just keep it to an email list or Facebook group. Let your other neighbours know too, and tell us – get the details here.

What if I don’t want to use Patreon?

You won’t be able to become a Charlton Champion member – but you can always provide funds to Neil or Darryl through the link at the bottom of each story, or directly into the site fund via PayPal –

The Charlton Champion will remain free to all – any money you can give will help us keep it that way.

The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
– Help us by telling us your stories
– Buy Darryl a coffee at
– Buy Neil a coffee at
– NEW! Become a monthly patron at
– NEW! Donate directly to the site at