Greenwich Dance to leave Charlton House for Thamesmead

NRG Dance by Greenwich Dance
Greenwich Dance will still run projects at Charlton House

Greenwich Dance is leaving Charlton House after being offered a home in a new community centre in Thamesmead.

The charity will move into the Nest Community Building and Library next month, four years after it moved into Charlton from Greenwich Borough Halls, its home since the 1990s.

The switch means Greenwich Dance will now be based over the border in Bexley, but it says it will continue to work in all areas of the borough, including at Charlton House, as well across south London.

Melanie Precious, the chief executive of Greenwich Dance, said: “I am so proud of what we have achieved over the last few years. Under some of the most challenging of circumstances we have continued to be here to provide opportunities for our local residents and support for our dance artists and I’d like to thank Charlton House for supporting us through that period.

“The move to Thamesmead will see us upsize the potential reach of our work, continuing to animate community centres in Greenwich and beyond with dance while also creating even more opportunities for people to make, watch and take part in dance.”

Its neighbours at the Nest, which is next to Southmere Lake, will include a new Bexley Council library and Taco!, an arts group.


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Find out about the Charlton House ‘secret garden’ this Saturday

Old Pond Garden
Volunteers have been restoring the Old Pond Garden at Charlton House in recent years

Ever wanted to find out more about the Charlton House gardens and the work to restore them? The Charlton Society is hosting a talk about them on Saturday with Kathy Aitken of Charlton & Blackheath Amateur Horticultural Society.

Kathy is a keen amateur gardener, developing her own garden over the last 30 years. She joined the local Horticultural Society in 2014, finding it a very friendly group with a wide range of gardening knowledge. Her working life was in accountancy, and she discovered the considerable health benefits of gardening very early on. She is now Vice Chair of the Society and runs the admin side of the volunteer scheme at the walled gardens.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was published in 1911 and became such a popular book it has never been out of print. The walled gardens attached to Charlton House are 400-year-old gems that have been under-used and neglected in recent years, becoming a truly ‘Secret Garden’ on our doorstep!

The talk will tell you about the history of the gardens and how the local Horticultural Society and the Charlton community are helping the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust to make them beautiful again.

The talk will be followed by refreshments. We will be charging our usual entrance fee which helps towards room hire. This is £2 for members and £3 for visitors and we should be able to accept cash, cheque or contactless payments.

The talk is this Saturday, March 19 at the Charlton Assembly Rooms. It starts at 2.30pm.


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Can you help protect Charlton’s Assembly Rooms?

Charlton Assembly Rooms

A few weeks back we mentioned this Sunday’s concert to raise money for roof repairs at Charlton House. The concert is actually being backed by a charity set up to save the nearby Charlton Assembly Rooms – GWEN ZAMMIT, the organiser, explains all, and outlines how you can get involved.

The concert is being organised with the backing of the Save Charlton Assembly Rooms Project (SCARP) to raise money for the roof repairs at Charlton House, which will benefit the whole community. SCARP was started in 1972 by Gwen and George Zammit and Laurie Cole, all members of St Luke’s Players. Laurie was their musician as well as played for St Mary’s, the daughter church of St Luke’s.

The Assembly Rooms had been St Luke’s church hall for decades but, in the end, the upkeep of the building became too much to handle and it was decided to return it to Lord Gough – a direct descendant of the Maryon-Wilson family – who had loaned it to the church for a peppercorn rent. Lord Gough then sold the rooms to Greenwich Council, who earmarked it for demolition to make way for a car park.

Up until then, the Assembly Rooms had been the HQ for St Luke’s Players, so that is why it was decided, with the backing of the whole community and the Charlton Society, to take it over. This was eventually allowed by Greenwich Council. To cut a long story short, the Assembly Rooms now comes under the umbrella of Charlton House, hence the support of SCARP, which is a registered charity.

SCARP is looking for new trustees, most of whom have been members of St Luke’s congregation. Gwen Zammit is the Chairman and only founder member left, however, she is still supported by Pat Wardale and Kitty Baden-Powell. If you are interested in joining the charity, you will not have much to do – really – but a charity needs Trustees to function, albeit not very often!

If you would like to be involved please contact Gwen on 020 8856 7373.

You can also buy tickets for the Music for an Autumnal Evening concert on the same number. Tickets are £15, and the concert is at the Old Library in Charlton House from 7pm this Sunday.


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