What’s happening at Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust? An update from Cllr Gary Parker

Charlton House SE7
Charlton House is managed by Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust. Photo by Neil Clasper.

An update on activities at Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust from board member and Charlton councillor Gary Parker:

I would like to update you on the work of the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust (RGHT) which has been busy managing and developing their significant portfolio of Royal Borough of Greenwich heritage assets.

Much has taken place at the Trust over the last few month, and residents will be aware that Greenwich Heritage Centre i Woolwich closed its doors on 21 July to make way for Phase I of the Creative District development.

A new facility is in development with the Royal Borough of Greenwich with public access to a new Research Room. The Greenwich Archive Users Forum has been established and RGHT are working with the Forum to ensure access to the borough’s archive collections continues and can be enjoyed by many more residents in our community in the future. The Museum & Archive team are now based at Charlton House.

Pauline Watson, the archivist, has continued to deal with enquiries from the public by email and telephone since the closure of the Heritage Centre, and is looking forward to working with researchers in person again as soon as the new facility is up and running. At the moment she is carrying out some incredibly useful research into past repairs and maintenance of Charlton House since the 1920s, the Trust will be sharing some of its findings on its blog in the coming weeks. 

Layers of London

RGHT is providing the ‘Hub’ at Charlton House for a new project, Layers of London. Launched at an event last week, the project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in partnership with London Metropolitan Archive and University of London, aims to work with the community to record layers of ‘London’s rich past’. The first meeting at Charlton House saw a wide attendance, not only from the Charlton and wider Greenwich communities but from interested people across the south east. Some very interesting projects were shared at the meeting and anyone can take part by adding their story to the site. RGHT looks forward to seeing the content grow over the next two years as the project develops. 

Making Woolwich

The Making Woolwich exhibition, from the Heritage Centre is the focus of the teams work now as they manage the redesign and relocation of the display to Woolwich Town Hall. This exhibition opened in December 2016 to celebrate the 300-year history of the Royal Artillery. Elements of this story will transfer to the Town Hall in November where new audiences can find out about the important story of the Royal Artillery in Woolwich and the men and women who have served in the Borough over the last 300 years. The rest of the Museum & Archive collections will not be mothballed during this period of closure. The Trust team will take this opportunity to develop a programme of exhibitions and events that will see the collections travel out into the community. 

WWI Centenary

Charlton Village War Memorial
The war memorial in Charlton. The borough’s war memorials are maintained by Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust. Photo by Neil Clasper.

As the centenary of the end of the First World War approaches RGHT has 4 Tommies’ from the There but not There project. If community groups are interested in loaning a Tommy for an event they can contact Edward@rght.org.uk for details. You can find out more about the First World War Victoria Cross recipients of the borough on the RGHT blog where each week the story of one of the four local heroes will be revisited. 

The new RGHT What’s On leaflet is now available. You can pick up a copy at Charlton House. You can also collect a copy of the Woolwich History Walk leaflet, designed and printed with a generous grant from the Ministry of Defence Community Covenant Fund. If you can’t drop into Charlton House, you can download the leaflet here www.greenwichheritage.org/visit/woolwich-history-walks. Alternatively, if you would like to take part in the walk or would like copies of either the adult or family version for your group please contact office@rght.org.uk and copies can be sent to you for display. 

I will publish a further report early in 2019.

Best Wishes, Cllr Gary Parker

The Charlton Champion is keen to know: do you use or visit Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust facilities? What do you think of their current plans? What could they be doing, and what are they are getting right (or wrong)? Let us know in the comments below (but keep it constructive, please!)


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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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Greenwich ward budgets are set to return – how much was spent in Charlton last time?

Charlton House front lawn from above
Ward budget funds were allocated to Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust for a laser survey of Charlton House’s grounds

Greenwich Council Ward Budget scheme is all set to return, leader Danny Thorpe announced last week. So we thought we’d take an overdue look at what was funded in Charlton ward during the last round.

Tweet from Danny Thorpe

The announcement came during last week’s full council meeting – watch it here.

Each ward in the borough was allocated a £30,000 budget to be spent on schemes proposed by the community and selected for funding by local councillors.

When we checked in on the schemes in July last year, only 22% of the £30,000 budget had been allocated.

So how does it look a year later?

PROJECT AMOUNT APPROVED (£) RECIPIENT HOW THE PROJECT WILL IMPROVE THE WELLBEING OF THE AREA AND BENEFIT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY DATE APPROVED
The Big Red Bus Club              950.00 The Big Red Bus Club To provide specialist play equipment for the Big Red Bus Club, Stay and Play service for disabled children in Charlton. 21/07/2016
Thorntree Community Garden                      500.00 Thorntree Primary School To provide gardening equipment, plants and shrubs to renovate a piece of land next to Thorntree Primary school as a community garden for the school children to plant and maintain. 21/07/2016
Valley Hill Hub – Air Pollution Monitors                      120.00 Valley Hill Hub To fund 10 air pollution monitors to install around the Valley Hill Hub area to monitor to measure air quality in the area and examine what affect the local topography may have on possibly trapping pollution. 11/4/2017
Charlton Hope Sale                   1,500.00 Charlton Hope Sale The funding will be used to promote the work of the outreach project and provide practical help sessions for children and families in need along with a summer celebration for the community. 28/04/2017
Guide Camps 2,940.50 7th Charlton Guides To support the cost of an annual residential trip for the 7th Charlton Guides and 1st Charlton Rangers. 6/7/2017
Cold Calling Campaign 740.00 Central Charlton Residents Association To support by the Central Charlton Neighbourhood to run a cold calling campaign targeting cold callers in the Charlton area. 31/08/2017
Charlton Society Events Programme 1,620.00 The Charlton Society To support an events programme on matters of local interest for the Charlton Community 31/08/2017
Cherry Orchard School – Sensory Garden Project  2,000.00 Cherry Orchard School To provide a timber framed canopy for the nursery outdoor play area to complete the works to the sensory space. 29/11/2017
Large and Legging It – Big Red Bus Club 2,425.00 Big Red Bus Club To support a health and fitness campaign in Charlton run by the Big Red Bus Club focussed at women struggling with weight issues. 29/11/2017
Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival 1,981.30 Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival To support a local volunteer film festival bringing communities together to enjoy films in various locations across SE7 and SE18. 22/01/2018
Thorntree Music Project  854.96 Thorntree School To purchase musical instruments for Thorntree Primary school both to expand the potential to learn new instruments and to support the provision of public performances to engage with the local community. 26/01/2018
Valley Hill Hub – Air Pollution Monitors  120.00 Valley Hill Hub To undertake a second air quality survey in the Charlton area during October 2018. 14/02/2018
Laser Survey on Charlton House Grounds 6,985.00 Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust To carry out a digital survey of the grounds within Charlton House to identify the historic features of the landscape which may be undiscovered during its changing development through its 400 year history 3/3/2018
Big Red Bus – ESOL Equipment and Resources  2,630.00 Big Red Bus Club To support the Big Red Bus Club in providing English language support to a diverse range of service users whose first language is not English. 2/2/2018
Greenwich Foodbank Van (£6k split between 14 Wards)  428.00 Greenwich Foodbank To support the purchase of van to facilitate the efficient transport of food collections around the borough. 6/5/2016
TOTAL   25,794.76

By our calculations that’s over 85% of the budget allocated by the time the funding round closed.

Many thanks to the Positive Plumstead Project for passing on the cross-borough list of approved applications. We hope that the next round will be easier to follow: we suggest a page per ward on Greenwich Council’s website would allow residents to keep up with what’s been approved through the year.

We hope to bring more information on the next scheme following July’s Cabinet meeting.

PS. if anyone would like to go through the numbers for the wards adjacent to Charlton (Woolwich Riverside, Peninsula, Kidbrooke with Hornfair), we’d love to add them – get in touch!

The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
– Help us by telling us your stories
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Beyond The Suffragettes: Exhibition launch at Charlton House this Friday

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust are celebrating the centenary of women’s suffrage this Friday with ‘A musical journey through 500 years, featuring Emmeline Pankhurst’s March of the Women and a brand new song commissioned by the BBC‘.

The event takes place in The Old Library, Charlton House, from 3.30pm. Entry is free, RSVP to office [at] rght.org.uk.

The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7. Help us by telling us your stories – or buy the author a coffee.

Honey Bees, Mulberry Trees…and job opportunities: latest news from Charlton House

Bee Hives On Charlton House Roof
Bee hives amongst the chimneys on the roof of Charlton House.

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. 

On Tuesday 22nd August ‘Morus Londinium’ looks at the heritage of London’s mulberry trees, including Charlton’s own. The latter is a Friends of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust exclusive event – find out more about the Friends here.

Plus, Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust – keepers of Charlton House – have two job vacancies open at the moment. Find out about the roles – they’re looking for a Business Development Executive and a Community Outreach Officer – here.

What’s happening at Charlton House? A Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust update

Charlton House’s Summer House is being refurbished by the Trust

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.

A grant of £20,000 was awarded by the Ministry of Defence Community Covenant to create a Woolwich History Walk. This project will be delivered in partnership with Heronsgate Primary School.

The Trust is a partner in the Cultural Destinations programme, funded by Arts Council England and Visit Britain.

Funding and support in kind has also been provided by the Arts Marketing Association. The Museum is participating in the Future Proof Museums programme and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust is also providing mentoring support to the Trust staff and volunteers.

The Trust has received planning consent to carry out a programme of enabling works at the Summer House, Charlton House. This Grade I-listed building, built around 1630, was converted to public toilets in the inter-war period. This facility has been out of use for approximately 10 years. The works will include asbestos strip-out and removal of toilets and partitions to bring the structure back into community use and to generate additional income. This work is part funded by the continuing support of the World Monuments Fund Britain with a grant of £25,000.

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.

The Friends of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust was re-launched on 30 June 2017. The Trust is funding a Friends Secretary post one day per week to support development of an events programme.

The Royal Arsenal Woolwich Historic Society has closed business and has agreed to transfer remaining funds to the Trust to support its work. This funding is valued at approximately £8,000.

Thanks to Gary for both this and the ward update. For more information about the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, visit its website.