Friends groups and Amenity societies


Friends of Charlton House was set up to support and promote Charlton House. This wonderful and unique seventeenth century building, which is thought to be the prime example of domestic Jacobean architecture in the south east, is owned and operated as a community centre by Greenwich Council, but there is opportunity in its management to offer volunteer help.

Some examples of how the Friends contribute to the House include:

When the gardens around the House were replanted much of the work, and initial care, was undertaken by individual Friends, and one Friend in particular has assisted and stewarded at the free lunchtime concerts at Charlton House provided by Trinity College of Music for the past ten years.

Friends ‘greet’ visitors to the House on the ‘Open House Weekend’ every year and tours are offered by a Friend who is an expert Greenwich Guide. Friends also provide volunteers for the Children’s Workshops which staff at the House offer through the year.

In 2008 the Friends began a project Charlton House Art Project (CHART), whose purpose is to restore and refurbish a number of paintings belonging to the House. Four Art exhibitions to date have not only raised sufficient finance to undertake initial work on a large canvas of Greenwich Park. The unframed canvas, though still requiring a great deal of restoration, now hangs in the entrance hall.

Other projects include planting a tree to commemorate the contribution by of African slaves brought to the borough.

Our most recent involvement has been with the Charlton Parks Reminiscence Project, which is well on the way to success in collecting and collating the story of the six parks  in Charlton which were once enclosed within the original Maryon-Wilson estate surrounding Charlton House. We also organise lecture evenings, concerts and plan to visit similar places of historical and architectural interest.

Not only are these projects all successful in their own right, but they have the added advantage of bringing more visitors to the House and Charlton Park thus ensuring their future.

Annual membership costs £5, which gives members 10% off the price of tickets to Friends’ events, and also 10% off purchases in the Mulberry Tea Room.

Friends of Charlton Park – is dormant at present.

The Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks

The Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks are a local voluntary community group who have an interest in two parks and two green spaces in the North Charlton.

  • Maryon Park, the formal park made famous by the cult film ‘Blow Up”.
  • Maryon Wilson Park, the wildlife park with the historic Deer Park and Animal Centre.
  • Gilbert’s Pit, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
  • Barrier Gardens, the landscaped Green Chain Walk towards the Thames Barrier.

History of the Friends

The Friends group was formed at an inaugural meeting facilitated by Greenwich Council on 23 November 2001 in Charlton House, Charlton, London SE7.  Two officers from London Borough of Greenwich (now Royal greenwich) Parks and  Open Spaces and 17 local people attended the meeting. The Council facilitated a further meeting at Charlton House, on 25 January 2002. A start-up grant of £200 was received from the Council after the group had opened an account with the Co-operative Bank. Subsequent meetings were held in the Riding for the Disabled Association hut in Charlton Park, at St. Thomas’s Church Hall or in member’s homes.

Constitution

The group adopted a Constitution with the aim to promote a sense of community spirit and shared pleasure in relation to all work and activity undertaken in the parks, including links with all local schools so that the children can derive maximum enjoyment from the parks and park animals. The Friends is overseen by a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, a general committee and various sub committees.

Activities of the Friends

The Friends meet six times a year, with an Annual General Meeting in November.  In January 2012 there were 92 members, with a core group of 15 to 20 who regularly attend meetings. Clear-up sessions are held in the parks every first Saturday of the month.  These include litter picking and occasionally bramble clearance. An Open Day is organised by the Council in Maryon Wilson Park every year and the Friends contribute a fundraising/information stall. The Friends have also contributed to the Green Chain Walking Festival. The group has successfully applied for various grants and are involved in a number of park projects including the planting of hundreds of daffodils, Woodland and Tree Walks as well as a Community Food Growing Project.

Publications

The Friends are active in promoting their parks and green spaces and have published calendars, greetings cards and tree walks all featuring photographs from the parks.

Friends Activism

During the 1980s local people formed a protest group called ‘The Friends of Maryon Wilson Park’ to keep the Animal Centre and fight a proposal that it become a City Farm.

During 2011, the Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks have been involved in the campaign to keep the Animal Care Centre in Maryon Wilson Park.

The Friends contacts:  Website: http://www.friendsofmaryonparks.org/

E-mail address: FriendsofMaryonParks@googlemail.com

Telephone : 07599 299934

The Charlton Society was founded in 1969 and is
dedicated to the conservation and improvement of Charlton. Apart from
London’s finest Jacobean mansion and the Thames Barrier, Charlton has a
number of special features, from the historical to the topographical, that
make it uniquely attractive. The Society is a registered charity and has
about 150 members.

Membership enquiries to “thecharltonsociety@ozero.co.uk.”

Woolwich District & Antiquarian Society was founded in 1895 by William Thomas Vincent, a Woolwich resident, editor of the ‘Kentish Independent’ and author of the Victorian ‘Records of the Woolwich District’, published just prior to the foundation of the Society. WT Vincent was also connected to the theatre, writing comedies and burlesques for several London theatres. He was  friend and biographer of Charlton born Fred Leslie, a well known Victorian actor, buried in Charlton Cemetery.

Members of the Society continue Vincent’s work by researching local history and publishing documents; by looking at planning applications and master plans and making comment to the local authority, and campaigning on local conservation issues.

Meetings are held at Charlton House at 2pm on Saturdays throughout the autumn and winter months and receive presentations by various speakers on topics of local and national history. During the spring and summer months visits are arranged to places of historic interest, at times combined with members of the Charlton Society.

The Society produces a monthly newsletter to inform members on current local events and issues.

Recently the Society published a report on ‘The Archaeological Excavation of the Woolwich Power Station’ which took place in the 1980′s in which Society members took part. The excavation was conducted by Brian Philip of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit, who also researched the finds for the Romano-British Riverside Fort. Susan Bullivant, Secretary Conservation sub-Committee.

Honorary secretary: Jim Marrett 020 8856 9561