News in from Charlton House of two events happening next week – one celebrating the honey bee on Thursday August 24th (did you know there are thriving beehives on the roof of Charlton House?), including talks from a beekeeper, kids’ activities, and a chance to see the beehives.
Following on from Cllr Gary Parker‘s ward report, here’s his update on what is happening at Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust – which controls Charlton House – where he is a trustee. Comments are open if you have any views on the Trust and its work.
Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust celebrated its third anniversary on 1 July 2017. A new three-year Service Level Agreement (SLA) has been agreed from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2020 with the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
The Trust recently announced a grant of c.£160,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Resilient Heritage programme. The project, A Resilient Future for Greenwich Heritage, will support the Trust in developing and delivering its vision and planning, growth and training.
The Trust is working with St Alfege Church, Greenwich on the Heart of Greenwich: Place & People Heritage Lottery-funded project. Project research identified an original Nicholas Hawksmoor drawing in the collections of the Royal Borough, held in the Heritage Centre. The detail of the North Porch is a rare find. St Alfege was the first London church completed by Hawksmoor.
The new Making Woolwich display opened at the Greenwich Heritage Centre in December 2016. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Royal Artillery Museums Ltd, this gallery at the Heritage Centre tells the story of the 300-year history of the Royal Artillery in Woolwich, 1716-2016.
Asbestos has been removed and the interior cleaned up, revealing the public toilets last used in the early 1990s. The next phase of work will see these removed, interior partitions taken down, the windows replaced, then the space made available for temporary (dare we say pop-up?) uses.
We understand that the building will be lit from the inside at night, which should improve that particular corner of Charlton Village after dark.
Work has begun to restore Charlton House’s Summer House, thanks to a donation from the World Monuments Fund.
The Grade I listed Summer House, attributed to Inigo Jones, once gave panoramic views back along the River Thames to The City of London and has stood empty and unused since the public toilets within it were closed in the early nineties. It has been included in Historic England’s ‘Register of Heritage at Risk’ for many years. Work has now begun to remove asbestos and to clear the building of the modern toilet fittings and masonry partitions to leave it open and available for a wide variety of temporary uses.
Tracy Stringfellow, Chief Executive of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, said, “Charlton House is one of London’s unsung architectural gems and this work is the first step of a process to re-imagine the house and its grounds to provide enhanced facilities for visitors that befit this historically significant site. It will give the estate a ‘front-door’ where small exhibitions and other temporary events can be staged and the Trust looks forward to working with local stakeholders to begin this journey.”
Architect Charlie MacKeith, overseeing the initial project, says “it is a great privilege to be working with the Trust at the start of Charlton House’s revival. This fascinating little building, currently hidden and locked, has started revealing tantalising fragments of its history even before we’ve started to remove pre-war additions. The reopened pavilion will have a dramatic impact on the park and village”.
The Charlton Champion understands that following the first stage of restoration, RGHT will be looking for ideas for temporary uses of the space – time to start thinking about what you’d like to see in the Summer House!
Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust – the body responsible for Charlton House and Charlton Assembly Room amongst other heritage assets across the borough – have launched a new Friends of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust scheme. They say:
We want to start a conversation about our heritage and we want you to be a part of it. Through events, exhibitions and activities, our aim is to not only share our beautiful buildings and museum collections but play a more dynamic role in the lives of our local community.
As a Friend of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust you can enjoy:
• exclusive Friends events
• 10% discount in Charlton Tea Rooms
• 10% discount in our Museum Shop
• subscription to a regular Trust newsletter
• advance information for Trust events and exhibitions
Your donation will support the work of the Trust and ensure we can make the absolute most of the assets we have. We want to share them with you and there’s no better way for you to get involved than to become a Friend.