Woolwich church conversion to housing at Royal Military Academy proposed

Plans have been submitted to convert the Church of St. Michael and All Angels at the former Royal Military Academy in Woolwich into three homes.

The church lies within the grounds of the Royal Military Academy which was closed in 2003 and converted into nearly 334 homes by Durkan.

The plan follows two previous applications to convert the site which were not brought forward:

2009 plan

In 2009, the Church of St Michaels and All Angels plans were approved to use the site as “artists’ studios / gallery, including a mezzanine filling most of the nave and a spiral stair in the centre of the transept.”

2015 plan

Six years later new plans emerged. Planning permission was given “for use as a community facility for the use of the RMA residents creating a multi-use space, gym and a concierge, including the construction of a mezzanine floor.”

Now plans are in to convert the church into three residential units and convert an associated dining hall to community use.

Most building across the Roya Military Academy are Grade II* listed with the Church listed at Grade II.


The application contains a brief history of the church.

“For the latter half of the 19th century, there were proposals to construct a chapel at the Royal Military Academy, but other provision always took priority, which resulted in the cadets using the garrison church in Woolwich. Following efforts in 1901 by the Governor and Commandment of the Academy, sufficient funds were secured to build a new church.

The church was designed by Major-General N.H. Hemming in the red brick Perpendicular Gothic style on the site of a drill shed that had been constructed in 1873 as a temporary classroom. The foundation stone with its Latin inscription Nisi Dominus Frustra from Psalm
127, translating as “Without God we labour in vain”, was laid on 23 December 1902 and the church was opened on 6 February 1904.

A shortage of funds meant the south transept was not added until 1926.

The principle entrance is at west end with large double doors opening into a porch with gives access to the main body of the church, the Nave. An entrance is also provided in the north side through a smaller porch which gives access to both the chapel and the staircase gallery.

Internally the church has an oak hammer-beam roof supported on stone corbels and oak wall panelling. The fitting out of the interior had been a gradual process up to 1926, as funds were raised, although the walls of the Sanctuary were left plain red brick for future decoration and have
remained so to this day.

It became the main garrison church in 1944, after St George’s Church in Woolwich was destroyed by a German V1 flying bomb. The Church of St Michael and All Angels was closed in 2003 after the RMA was declared surplus to requirements by Defence Estates.

Thereafter the furniture, organ, memorials and the two memorial east and west stained glass windows were removed and taken to the Royal Artillery’s headquarters at Larkhill and Sandhurst. The church has since remained unused for 12 Years.”

Click here to view plans


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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

3 thoughts on “Woolwich church conversion to housing at Royal Military Academy proposed

  • Another step towards the army moving out of Woolwich completely and selling off all the land to private developers.

  • The Academy site was sold off many years ago. Fortunately the Royal Horse Artillery will remain in Woolwich to maintain a small military presence.

    I live beside the Academy and went to a presentation in the church by the developers before work started, It promised shops and bars on the site and that the church would be used for the community.

    Of course, none of this has happened. Instead the site has become a gated community. This is despite public access being allowed until the threat to Army personnel became too great.

    When I played rugby for Shooters Hill School in 1971/2 we used to change in the school and then walk through The Academy and across Woolwich Common to play on the former Stadium pitch by the hospital.

  • This development is an example of what not to do with historical/listed buildings. As someone else mentioned this is now a gated community that offers literally nothing to the area. The developers seem to have made out like bandits by not providing any services, and leaving those living there with no access to groceries/shops or decent transportation. There’s no coming back from turning these kinds of buildings into flats.


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