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.

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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.

Charlton House: Summer House restoration begins

 

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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.

Will this old Borough of Greenwich sign go into the Trust’s historic collection?

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 launches ‘Friends’ scheme

RGHT Friends

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.

Membership costs £15 per annum. You can download their brochure here, and  join the Friends of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust here.

Charlton’s Horn Fair returns this Sunday 

Charlton’s Horn Fairbanned for an excess of drunken behaviour in 1874 – is back for a second year in its new guise as a family-friendly, heritage-themed event run by Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust.

Taking place at Charlton House on Sunday October 16th from 10am-4pm, the event promises: “…a day for all ages. With activities from Stone Masonry by the Building Crafts College, plaster workshops from Philip Gaches, and our very own WWI Nurse Ivy and Devoted Frank. Amongst all the music and revelry of the day come along and enjoy our range of short talks, food and drink treats, and lots of children’s activities that are on offer”.

What’s happening at Charlton House? Local councillor Gary Parker explains

Charlton House

Charlton ward councillor Gary Parker has sent us a report on what he’s been up to over the past few months. We’re presenting this in two parts – the first is about his work on the board of the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, which runs Charlton House.

The Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust was formed in 2014 and I have been a board member since its inception. The special report below highlights the work myself, staff, volunteers and trustees have been involved with recently. The Trust launched a range of leaflets and promotional materials earlier this year, along with their new website where details of all events can be found at www.greenwichheritage.org.

You can also follow the Trust on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, join the mailing list, or sign up to the newsletter online for regular updates. Some recent projects include:

Here Come the Girls – The Heritage Lottery-funded project has been a great success this year. The project introduced Ivy the Nurse, Nell the Munitionette and May from the Progress Estate, 3 local women who share their stories of the First World War with the people of the borough.

Ivy was a Nurse at Charlton House, and the Family Fun Day there in the summer was a huge success. Charlton residents came to meet Nell, the rest of the nurses, and some wounded soldiers in a convalescence hospital recreated for the day. The project continues to tour the Borough with further events in Eltham and Woolwich before the end of September.

Making Woolwich – Generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Royal Artillery Museums Ltd, including the Friends of Firepower, this new gallery for the Greenwich Heritage Centre will tell the story of a Royal Artillery soldier from 1716-2016.

World Monuments Fund – The Trust’s work with the World Monuments Fund continues. Thanks to WMF funding, Donald Insall Associates have now completed the Condition Survey and Measured Drawings at Charlton House. Yale University Scholar, Lily Higgins, recently presented the findings of her research work over the summer to the Friends of Charlton House, Trustees and other invited guests. The Trust are now working on next steps toward a Heritage Lottery Fund application in partnership with the World Monuments Fund.

Other activities – The Trust delivered a programme of heritage events that continue throughout the year including Summer activities for children through August. London Open House takes place this year on Sunday 18 September, from 10am – 4pm supported by the Friends of Charlton House.

Your Devoted Frank is a dramatic performance inspired by First World War love letters found in a Plumstead home. The performance, first delivered for Valentine’s Day at Greenwich Heritage Centre, will come to Charlton House on Friday 11 November at7pm. Tickets are available from Charlton House for just £8.

I have been using my professional skills to advise the Trust on fundraising and how to generate income. I briefed Tracey Stringfellow, the CEO, on this recently and there are likely to be some new initiatives coming forward including a potential crowdfunding project – watch this space.

Charlton House continues to be a fantastic community resource and I am working with many others to improve and develop it.

The second part of Gary’s update will follow in a day or two. If you want to contact Gary Parker or any Greenwich councillor, find their details on the Greenwich Council website.

Regenerating Charlton: What to do with the old summer house?

Charlton summer house

We’ve written before about whether Charlton needs a regeneration plan. We’ve also written about the challenges ahead for Charlton House under its new owners. There’s one place in SE7 where these two themes come neatly together.

You may well recognise the old public toilet opposite St Luke’s Church. It’s been locked shut for about a decade now. There’s a longer and more fascinating history to this building, though – it’s a Grade I-listed summer house, built in about 1630 and designed by Inigo Jones.

If it was in Greenwich, it’d be cherished. If it was in Woolwich, developers would probably have bulldozed it for “investment opportunities”. This is Charlton, though, so it’s just sat there, closed.

Now Severndroog Castle is back in rude health, it’s probably the most neglected historic building in Greenwich borough. It quietly passed from the council to the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust in July 2014 – so it’s now their job to decide what to do with it.

If the centre of Charlton is to be regenerated, the trust is going to have to play a big part in that. It’s recently found a long-term tenant for Charlton Assembly Rooms, which was recently refurbished by Greenwich Council, but what future is there for the summer house?

We’d like to make a small suggestion. This could make a brilliant place for people to try out small businesses. A former public toilet near Loughborough Junction station is being used for just that – and there’s no reason why we think this can’t happen in Charlton.

Cider I Up, Loughborough Junction
The Platform Cider Bar at Loughborough Junction. The building has also been used as a bike market, jewellery shop and cosmetics retailer.

The Platform is a project backed by Lambeth Council and Meanwhile Space.

If you’ve got a business idea, The Platform gives you training and advice, and then allows you to try out your dream in one of three locations – two railway arches and an old toilet at Ridgway Road.

The best-known use for the Ridgway Road toilet has been as a cider bar – it’s well worth a visit if it reopens – but the space has also been used for a farm shop, art gallery, workshops, bicycle market, organic cosmetics shop and jewellery shop.

Perhaps a cider bar next to a pub might not work out (or maybe it would if you avoided matchdays?), but putting the summer house to good use for small businesses is certainly better than leaving it empty. It’s just an idea – and if Charlton’s fortunes are to be revived, it seems like a very good one to us.