News

NEXT CHARLTON SOCIETY PRESENTATION

May 15th 2021: The Greenwich Gas Industry by Dr Mary Mills

The early gas industry was a hotbed of fraud and scandal: Greenwich’s first gas works led to the collapse of the ruling party and the resignation of the Town Clerk in the 1820s, but ultimately Greenwich ended up with the largest and the most perfect gas works ever – which was then scandalously recently demolished…

Dr Mary Mills has a PhD in the history of the gas industry and is one of the founders of Greenwich Industrial History Society.

SUCCESS FOR CHARLTON VILLAGE

La Baguette in Charlton Village is one of 5 Street Eats being sponsored by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Street Eats is an innovation by the Royal Borough of Greenwich when, post April 12th, we are now able to enjoy food and drinks outside again. 

The Council has helped approve pavement licences and waived the costs for businesses serving food and drink outside in order to allow tables and chairs where outside dining is possible, so we can start to enjoy meals together again alfresco.

See you at La Baguette soon!

The 5 Street Eats RBG locations are:

  • Abbey Wood and Thamesmead – outside Abbey Arms   
  • Charlton Village – outside Village Green Grocers   
  • Eltham Town Centre – Pound Place and Passey Place  
  • Greenwich Town Centre – Cutty Sark Gardens  
  • Woolwich Town Centre – Beresford Square

A NEW ADDITION TO THE WEBSITE!

You are now able to purchase all The Charlton Society’s published material through the website, please go to our newly created Shop page to see what is available. For starters we have a 5-pack selection of A5 postcards taken from the Society’s hugely successful 50th anniversary Village exhibition (shown above)

Charlton House Summer House

As many may have noticed when walking past Charlton House work is currently being undertaken on the Summer House, please click here for further information from Edward Scholfield, Visitor and Operations Manager at Charlton House.

Online Society meetings for 2021

As members know, in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Committee reluctantly had to postpone the 2020 programme of talks, and as things stand as we enter 2021, meetings will still not be able to be held at Charlton House for the foreseeable future.

However a development for the new year, the Committee has embarked on virtual member meetings via Zoom instead, the first of which was held earlier in January. It was very well attended, thank you to all who did so. The presentation was hosted by Dr Peter Coles, visiting Fellow at the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, discussing the famous Mulberry Tree in the front grounds of Charlton House, purportedly over 400 years old. This presentation was originally scheduled as part of the Talks programme for 2020.

We also hosted our second Zoom presentation on Saturday February 20th and was presented by Tim Anderson, discussing the historical relationship between sport and Charlton, and it doesn’t just include The Valley! This was followed in March by Lynne Dixon‘s presentation on the Women of the Well Hall Estate in WW1.

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The next talk will be on Saturday April 24th presented by Mayor Linda Bird: A Day in the Life Of A Mayor in Lockdown

Royal Borough of Greenwich Mayor Linda Bird shares her experiences throughout the pandemic.

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We will be posting the presentations after the meetings. Please check under the Presentations 2021 listings.

An invitation to the presentations will be sent via email to all members ahead of each meeting, along with instructions as to how to use the program as Zoom may be new to some members, along with an open invitation to other interested parties, who are welcome to participate. Please click here if interested. We look forward to welcoming as many members as possible to participate, and hope to continue with online meetings throughout 2021 until we are able to meet again at Charlton House. We hope you can join us online in the meantime.

Charlton Society Golden Anniversary Street Exhibition

During 2020, despite Covid-19 restrictions, The Charlton Society Committee was hard at work and arranged a Golden Anniversary Street Exhibition in Charlton Village, highlighting the uniqueness of the Village, recognising the traders and successes The Charlton Society has achieved over the last 50 years which was very well received.

The Exhibition opened on Friday October 30th, and was very well attended by both members, Village traders, plus interested Charlton residents and beyond. The event was hosted by The Charlton Society Committee and the guest was the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Linda Bird. Sadly the Exhibition had to come to an end, but a very big thank you to all participating shops, and those who attended and enjoyed.

Due to the success of the Exhibition, we are in the process of publishing The Charlton Society postcard gift packs for 2021 using some of the images in the Exhibition. These will be available to purchase through The Charlton Society Committee, we will keep you posted with details.

We would also welcome your feedback on the Exhibition, please contact us here as we have compiled an online visitors’ book to celebrate the Exhibition, thank you to all those who contributed.

Also, for a look at the all images of Charlton used in the Exhibition, plus images of them being installed, please go to the Charlton Village Street Exhibition tab.

The Charlton Society Committee Activity

In the absence of live meetings, the Charlton Society Committee will continue to hold monthly meetings online in 2021, the minutes of which are posted on the website, so all members can be kept informed of the discussions had and the work the Society is progressing with. Please go to Committee tab for further information.

The Committee is also committed to continue to work on the Save Our Village Action Plan (SOVAP), this was presented by Chair, Carol Kenna, at our last meeting at the beginning of 2020 at Charlton House. For details of the current status of activity with SOVAP, please click here

We will also be keeping the website updated with local events which are adhering to social distancing guidelines, plus virtual events members and residents can participate in. Please go to Local Events for information.

The other important area in which the Society is involved in is in scrutinising Greenwich planning policy. The Society and other community groups have been rigorous in challenging recent proposed developments. We were delighted to report that both the Rockwell development proposals at Anchor & Hope and the Meyer Tower development in Woolwich were rejected in 2020. For further information on other planning issues the Society is involved in as we enter 2021, please go to Planning tab at the top of the page.

There is also an account of how the above successes were achieved by the working together of community, council and residents presented by Vice-Chair, Roden Richardson.

Congratulations to Gwen Zammit!

We are delighted to announce that Gwen Zammit has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community of Charlton, The Royal Borough of Greenwich in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List.

Many congratulations to Gwen, and long may the work continue. Gwen was due to deliver a presentation to The Charlton Society in November 2020 on the Charlton Village Assembly Rooms, hopefully this will be rescheduled for 2021.

 
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
 
Greenwich-objects-e-flyer-final-amended
 
 
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
 
th-5
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.
 
The-Old-Cottage-Café
 
 
 
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