Charlton Society Golden Anniversary celebrations!!!


The Charlton Society, established 1969, is celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year and we are undertaking a number of activities to celebrate the anniversary.

The main focus of activity is a Charlton Village Street Exhibition celebrating the diversity of the Village regarding retail units in the Village, past and present, and also highlighting the achievements of the Society. For example, the saving of the Assembly Rooms (above left) from demolition, working with the Royal Borough of Greenwich to finalise a Conservation Area Management Strategy for the Village, plus recently working with RBG and Charlton Together to prevent the Rockwell developers gaining planning permission for the Anchor & Hope site.
The Charlton Village Street Exhibition opened on Friday 30th October by the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Linda Bird. The exhibition is officially open until the end of November, we hope you are able to take the opportunity to have a look. For further details please click here


Also as part of the Golden Jubilee, we are delighted to say, in association with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, the planted shield at the front of Charlton House has been meticulously designed to commemorate the Society’s anniversary; it consists of over 60,000 plants, 52,000 green alternanthera and 12,000 purple. An impressive feat. Please go and have a look!
National Maritime Museum, History of Greenwich in 50 Objects
The Charlton Society is delighted to be involved in the NMM History of Greenwich in 50 objects exhibition and have submitted the following 3 objects:
  • The lion image imprinted on the exterior of Charlton House, nicknamed The Beastie and adopted by The Charlton Society as its logo
  • The Lloyd & Son Victorian coal hole cover in Charlton Village*
  •  The carved lunette above the entrance to the Summerhouse at Charlton House (The Charlton Society initially suggested the Summerhouse itself, but it was deemed too large to be classified as an object!)


The Exhibition is curated by historian Rich Sylvester, he will be hosting a number of virtual presentations via Zoom on Thursdays at 7.00pm over the next few weeks. To register, please click here
For further information of the exhibition, please click here

* There is also a feature on the coal hole presented by the President of Woolwich & District Antiquarian Society, Jim Marrett, please click here

White Swan, Charlton Village
We are delighted to announce that the Asset of Community Value (ACV) application submitted by the Charlton Society regarding the White Swan public house, a campaign led by Chair, Carol Kenna, has been approved by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Receipt of notification will trigger a six-week moratorium interim period which allows any interested community group to request that they are treated as bidders. If none do so in this period the owner is free to sell their asset. For full details, please see attached the letter from the RBG Regeneration department, click here
The Society is liaising with RBG to ascertain as to when the changes to the property that have been made during lockdown might be inspected as possibly the changes to the first floor have been undertaken when planning permission was out of date and the garden changes will substantially affect the ability to function well under social distancing regulations.
A council planning meeting was held on September 22nd regarding the proposed residential development at the rear of the property and the removal of the magnificent willow tree in the pub garden. It was agreed that before any decision could be made, a site visit was required, date to be confirmed.
We will keep you posted, and hope to be enjoying the hospitality of the White Swan once again in the near future.
Old Cottage Cafe, Charlton Park
We are delighted to announce that the Old Cottage Cafe in Charlton Park has reopened!
Michael and Mimi, who have run the cafe since 2012, are very much valued members of the local community, and during lockdown have been busy delivering free meals to many vulnerable local residents who have had to self-isolate.
But we are very happy the cafe itself is now open for business, although limited hours:
Wednesday – Sunday, 9.00am – 4.00pm, takeaway only.
But there are plenty of benches, or indeed tree trunks, to sit on (whilst of course observing social distancing) in Charlton Park to enjoy their renowned paninis, cakes and freshly brewed coffee – we are especially looking forward to the return of the kurumi-anpan (aka Japanese buns!).
Welcome back.
Charlton House Old Pond Garden Volunteer Scheme
Good news! Charlton House is getting ready to welcome volunteers back into the Old Pond Garden. The House itself is still closed and the gardens are not yet open to the public but volunteers now have the opportunity to get the garden back into good order for later in the summer when things do re-open.
Initially sessions will be every Tuesday (2pm – 4pm) and Thursday (11am – 1pm) and the first session started on Tuesday 30th June but is ongoing.
All volunteers will be asked to sign an H&S form on arrival, please click here for full details, for further details of the operational processes being put in place for volunteer welfare, please click here
If you have any further queries regarding the scheme, organised by the Charlton & Blackheath Amateur Horticultural Society, please click here 
Please at this stage do not bring donated plants as the beds have to be prepared before planting can begin.
You may like to look at recent photos on the Charlton and Blackheath Amateur Horticultural Society,  please click here

We look forward to seeing as many volunteers as possible.

Charlton Parks Reminiscence Project

The Charlton Society is very pleased to continue its association with Charlton Parks Reminiscence Project. Charlton is the home to six different parks and open spaces, each at the heart of their different neighbourhoods. The project looks at the history of each park, how they developed and stories relating their importance to local people over the past 100 years.

For further information, please click here

During the current coronvirus lockdown, all parks are open to be enjoyed but please be respectful of current Government social distancing guidelines, no more than 2 people from separate households, and always keep at least 2 metres apart

Charlton Waterwheel

Recently the Charlton Society received a message from a gentleman in his eighties living in Dorset who used to come to Charlton to watch the football as a child. He remembers seeing a waterwheel on his visits. Due to some excellent sleuthing by our Chair, Carol Kenna, and our Membership Secretary, Pauline Langley, we think we have found the answer.

James Hulme, who undertook the employment and heritage study for RBG Charlton Riverside Masterplan says:

“I took a look at a 1902 map and it occurred to me the correspondent might have meant the old pumping station on Woolwich Road.  I came across this during my research – sadly demolished during the road widening of 1972.  It’s not a waterwheel, obviously, but if he had got inside he might have seen the old pumping engine.
“The pump house formed part of the Plumstead, Woolwich & Charlton Waterworks, constructed [according to J Smith] in 1859 to pump from the spring known as Charlton Well at the foot of Charlton Lane. Apparently it housed a beam pumping engine from Hayle Foundry in Cornwall.  Another source says the well was polluted by the 1870s and subsequently abandoned. The reason the building lasted so long was its absorption into the Grafton Engineering Works, with a shed built at the back in the 20th century. Grafton was still in occupation in the mid 60s.”
Attached are photos of Woolwich Road, and a map of the area from 1902.


However we don’t think this is the wheel to which the gentleman is referring, so the sleuthing continues; the gentleman remembers it as being very small and attached to the side of a residential building, so if any member can also help to shed any light on this, please get in touch. Click here