Greenwich Council have submitted plans to refurbish the old library and town hall on Calderwood Street.
Last year scaffolding adorned the long neglected 1842 Town Hall building. Many were mystified when scaffolding came to reveal no external changes.
The planning application states “In 2019, Potter Raper Ltd undertook emergency repairs to the Old Town Hall to stabilise falling masonry. Emergency works included reforming mouldings on the elevation and roof repairs. Continuing emergency repairs are required.”
This building typifies Woolwich in many ways over the past few decades. It was listed on 8th June 1973 though has been in long term decline. There’s not many major town centres where neglect like this would be left for so long in a prominent town centre location, through both good and bad economic times. Certainly not in a town with so many developments in the vicinity. At least work is now happening.
The plan takes us back to before 1965 as it states “Woolwich Council have provided Potter Raper Ltd the following Client’s Remit, to undertake an internal and external refurbishment and emergency works, on two Grade 2 Listed buildings, in Woolwich. The works are planned to start during the summer of 2021.”
The Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich hasn’t existed since 1965 when it merged with Greenwich to become the current authority.
Work will include “replacement of defective stucco render will be undertaken using a lime stucco render. The extent of the works is not presently known and only when scaffolding is erected a hammer test can be undertaken.
The colour will be the same pale yellow colour. Cleaning of the elevations will be undertaken using a Dos / Jos low pressure jet were necessary to avoid damage is the historical fabric.”
The old town hall was used as a town hall until 1903. The current occupiers are Unite, Citizens Advise Bureau, Indian Cultural Centre and the TUC.
The former library next door is not as bad externally but requires work in a number of areas. It is used as offices for Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLaB).
It was constructed in 1901 and listed in 2007. Library services left the building and moved to the Woolwich Centre.
It is one of a number of Carnegie libraries in south east London. East Greenwich is in very poor shape and apparently has been sold by Greenwich Council.
West Greenwich is far better condition and thriving. Erith is being refurbished in a £1.8 million project, though not as a library.
Click here to view plans.