Charlton House needs £1.2m to fix leaking roof – but local groups asked for summer house ideas

Charlton House
More than 20,000 people have had Covid-19 jabs at Charlton House

Charlton House needs £1.2 million to fix its leaking roof, the chief executive of the trust that runs the Jacobean mansion has told Greenwich councillors.

Tracy Stringfellow, the chief executive of the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, said that she would soon be launching a fundraising appeal to mend the roof, and that the issue had delayed wider plans for a £25 million refurbishment of the house.

She also told councillors that local groups would be able to use its summer house after the end of the current phase of refurbishment works.

While over 20,000 people have visited the house for coronavirus vaccines since the start of the year, some have spotted the damage caused by water getting into its old library, she said.

Councillors on the regeneration scrutiny panel were told last night that Historic England had funded a detailed survey of the roof to examine the damage.

“The assessment of complete and replacement works has come back at about £1.2 million,” Stringfellow said.

“We will be carrying out some work over the next few months to identify how we will raise the funds, and we will be launching an appeal with the Big Give campaign, giving local people the opportunity to support the roof works as well.

“There was some significant water ingress during the lockdown period which runs the risk of damaging some of the most significant spaces on the second floor.”

Charlton House summer house
Charlton House’s summer house is being restored

Asked by Woolwich Common councillor David Gardner about the broader future of Charlton House, Stringfellow said that a plan had been produced in 2018 that envisaged a £25m million refurbishment of the Grade I-listed building.

Stringfellow said that the plan had been to approach the National Lottery Heritage Fund for money to begin work, beginning with the ground floor, but the pandemic had forced a rethink, as the fund had changed its priorities.

“We will be looking at that strategy again,” she said. “We now need to prioritise the roof repairs and the rooms on the second floor as urgent. Those of you who have had your jabs in the old library might have noticed damage to the ceiling because of the water ingress – I’ve had lots of emails from people asking about the hole in the roof.”

The second phase of works to restore the summer house was coming to an end, Stringfellow added, with some of the original panelling being restored, ahead of a final phase where the ceiling would be restored.

Stringellow said that the trust would be interested in community groups using the summer house for exhibitions or other uses before the final phase of works started.

“If there are any local organisations who might want to come and have a look at that – a commercial hire might be at a later stage but for exhibitions or programming, we would be open to approaches from the local community,” she said.


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Walk-up Pfizer Covid vaccines come to Charlton House on Thursday and Friday

Charlton House in the evening
Charlton House has been used as a vaccination centre since December

Pfizer vaccines against Covid-19 will be available to all adults at Charlton House tomorrow and Friday as the drive to get as many people inoculated as possible steps up.

All over-18s in Greenwich borough will be able to get first or second jabs from 2pm to 6pm on Thursday; with the clinic also open from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm on Friday.

Hundreds of people got their jabs at The Valley last weekend in a mass vaccination event for over-40s, and the stadium will opening its gates once again this Saturday. This time, over-18s from all SE London boroughs will be eligible with Pfizer jabs on offer.

Health chiefs are asking people to book ahead so they can manage demand. Bookings can be made on the Eventbrite website.

The Valley is one of a number of London stadiums to be pressed into service for mass vaccination days, with queues also forming at Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham last weekend.

Valley vaccinators
Vaccinators – including Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe – at The Valley last Saturday (photo: twitter.com/royal_greenwich)

Anyone who has not had a jab can book via their GP or the NHS website.

There are also daily walk-up sessions for over-40s from across SE London at Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital from 8pm to 7pm, and sessions every Tuesday and Friday from 8am to 4pm at Lewisham Hospital. Greenwich borough residents over 40 can also get jabs from 8am to 2pm daily at Woolwich Late Night Pharmacy on General Gordon Square.

More details of clinics across Greenwich and other SE London boroughs – some are being organised at short notice – are on the NHS SE London website.

Thursday update: We’ve been told by one attendee and by volunteers at the clinic that there has been a “miscommunication” and second jabs are not available.


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Community day in Charlton House’s ‘secret garden’ this Sunday

Charlton House
Volunteers have been restoring the gardens behind Charlton House

Volunteers who have been restoring the gardens behind Charlton House will be showing off their work on Sunday – and a there’s be a lot more happening too. KATHY AITKEN from Charlton & Blackheath Amateur Horticultural Society explains…

The Charlton & Blackheath Amateur Horticultural Society is planning its annual Plant Sale and Community Day this Sunday May 30th from 11 am. This year we have expanded our event, so it’s not just for plant hunters, it’s going to be a real family and community day too.

Tables will be laid out in the “Long Borders” at the back of the walled gardens, which will all be open to the public, and many of the volunteers will be there to show off their latest revival efforts.

There will be home-baked cakes from the Greenwich & Blackheath WI, colouring and flower activities from the Charlton Toy Library, there will be displays from The Charlton Society, the Friends of Greenwich Park, the Charlton Community Garden (who look after the station and Charlton Park’s orchard) and the Friends of Charlton Park (the park’s meadow). Blackheath Flower Arrangers will be showing off their floral designs.

For children, there will be a Discovery Trail around the gardens, with lots of things to find (perhaps a silkworm cocoon, a Yew Fairy or a Frog Prince..). Adults can walk the trail too, and perhaps spot a red oak or a pomegranate. Children can pot up their own strawberry plant to take home.

Our members have been busy planting and potting up, there will be a great selection of perennials like Salvias, Hostas and Agapanthus as well as veg, herbs and house plants. Funds raised from plant sales will go equally to the Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice and the walled gardens revival. It will be cash only and best to bring your own bags.

The Green Goddess pub will be on the patio for refreshments, and the weather forecast is looking up. Come and play in your favourite secret garden!


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