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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A sneak peek into Charlton House’s Summer House before Open House weekend

Charlton House Summer House - September 2018-14-1

Charlton’s architecturally significant Summer House will be open for visitors to look around this weekend as part of Open House London. The Charlton Champion is grateful to the Charlton House team for letting us in for a look around in advance, and the opportunity to take a few pictures of the refurbishment in progress.

When we last looked inside the Summer House it still had its public toilets in situ (albeit unused for some time); now with the toilets, internal walls and an amount of asbestos removed – plus new clear windows letting the light in – it’s easier to imagine the space in use for events. Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust (RGHT) is still looking for ideas for future use of the Summer House that will balance its aims of historical interpretation, community use, and revenue generation – if you’ve got any ideas, get in touch with the team.

As you can see from the pictures below, the refurbishment is still underway; amongst other work to be done we were told that stone flagstones will be put down soon and, pending the reconnection of the electricity supply, temporary lighting put in to light the building up at night.

Charlton House Summer House - September 2018-13-5Charlton House Summer House - September 2018-12-4Charlton House Summer House - September 2018-10-2

We were also able to have a look in the Summer House’s undercroft, the basement space which saw use as an air raid shelter in WWII. We were told this won’t be open this weekend, but RGHT hope to use for future special events, including possibly the Horn Fair.

Charlton House Summer House - September 2018-9-6Charlton House Summer House - September 2018-8The undercroft space - formerly an air raid shelter - below Charlton's Summer House

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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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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.

 
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Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival 2018: What’s on this year?

Journey's End (photo: Lionsgate Films)
Saul Dibb’s war drama Journey’s End will screen at Charlton House

This year’s Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival has revealed its line-up, with World War I drama Journey’s End leading the selection of movies being screened at Charlton House.

2018’s event, to be held between 7 and 15 September, sees a range of films being shown at venues across Charlton, Woolwich, Plumstead and Shooters Hill. There’s no charge – just turn up, and throw some coins in the bucket if you can help with the costs of putting it on.

Director Saul Dibb’s adaptation of RC Sherriff play Journey’s End will be on at Charlton House on Tuesday 11 September (7.30pm, doors 6.30pm). Written by a captain wounded at Passchendaele, it depicts a handful of British soldiers “waiting to be killed” in a trench near the end of World War I. Charlton House was used as a military hospital towards the end of the Great War, and historian Clive Harris will give a talk at 7pm about about the real-life events that inspired the production.

Charlton House also plays host to the festival’s third short film competition on Thursday 13 September (7.30pm, doors 7pm), which this year has the theme Diversity and Future. There’s a £500 prize waiting for the winner.

On Friday 14 September (7pm, doors 6.30pm) comedy The Dish rounds off Charlton House’s contribution to the festival. Set in 1969, Sam Neill plays an Australian sheep farmer who has to steer the satellite dish – and its eccentric crew – to bring the Apollo 11 moon landings to the world’s TV screens.

Woolwich’s big screen in General Gordon Square will open the festival on Friday 7 September with The Greatest Showman. and close it with Sister Act on Saturday 15 September (Update 5 September: Sister Act has been cancelled).

Severndroog Castle on Shooters Hill plays host to Young Frankenstein on Friday 14 September, while nearby Shrewsbury House Community Centre screens both Yellow Submarine and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Other highlights include Silver Linings Playbook at Stir Cafe in Anglesea Road, Woolwich and Do The Right Thing at ArtFix cafe, also in Woolwich.

For more on what’s on – and how to get involved – visit the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival website.

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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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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.

The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
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