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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Timber! Why 12 trees are coming down at Charlton House

Twelve trees outside Charlton House are to be felled next week because inspectors have found rot and disease in them, the trust that runs the house has said.

Five of the trees have already died, while the others have rot, bark wound, decay or fungal disease, Greenwich Council’s tree inspectors found. Work is scheduled for 26 August.

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust plans to plant at least one new tree to replace each one lost. Its chief executive, Tracy Stringfellow, said: “This is part of our active management of the Charlton House estate in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich. We welcome the opportunity this provides to improve the gardens for the local community.”

Neighbours with questions can email the trust – info[at]rght.org.uk – if they have any questions.

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LGBTQ Pride on display at Charlton House for LGBT History Month

Bishopsgate Institute Gay Pride March photo
Gay Pride march. Photo credit: Bishopsgate Institute, ’74-24 Past Marble Arch’

News in of the latest exhibition at Charlton House:

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust are displaying a small archival collection of LGBTQ+ memorabilia from local charities at Charlton House this month. On display in the Tea Room throughout February this mini exhibition includes items such as postcards from LGBTQ campaigns, through to sharing information on HIV prevention.

Pamphlets and magazines with information and services available to LGBT people in Greenwich, as well as significant changes to civil and criminal law in the fight for equality for LGBTQ+ people are also on display.

Two t-shirts can be seen from Pride Marches, one in 2005 and the other unknown, both from Metro charity a leading equality and diversity charity providing health, community and youth services across London and the South East.

There are also postcards and other ephemera, also from Metro charity, including a cartoon sketch discussing the inclusion of Trans people in LGBT history.

Producer and Community Engagement Officer Helen Young said “The Trust is currently on a collection freeze while we work through a back-log of documentation and collection move, but we are delighted to bring this mini exhibition to the local community and hope to begin collecting oral histories and other ephemera from the LGBTQ+ community in the very near future”.


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