Greenwich borough museum and archive: Petition to bring back full service

A petition has been launched to restore Greenwich borough’s archives and museum which was forced to leave their Woolwich home in 2018.

It was evicted to make way for Woolwich Works – which ran £13 million over budget and then requires continued support as it struggles on – while the borough’s museum pieces and archives languish.

Wonderful venue – but at expense of the past?

In its place is a reduced service at Charlton House after exile to a Charlton industrial estate for some years.

The petition was started by former Greenwich councillor and historian Mary Mills. In the past I used to visit the Woolwich site to research council housing in the borough for a project including an extensive look at Thamesmead.

now all demolished. The archive was an excellent resource for Thamesmead’s history in both boroughs

In many ways that led to starting this site and covering housing in the borough and beyond.

It was a fabulous resource with helpful staff and a real treasure. It had immediate access to numerous documents and items of interest without prior need to seek them. That’s how I stumbled upon some excellent books and newspaper archives I’d have not known about stoking further interest.

Post-war housing in Woolwich

Now its replacement sees limited hours with advance notification needed.

Key resource

The petition highlights the incredibly rich history of town’s borough-wide stating:

“A local history archive should form part of the Council’s strategy to fight disadvantage – and also by demonstrating the diversity of its past enhance the offer to visitors for local economic advantage.

“It should also provide an educational facility where research skills can be learnt by all – from young children to elderly family historians.”

Plumstead library formerly housed the borough museum upstairs. Many local children went there through school or out of term activities including me

Sadly that has been an afterthought ever since the borough museum and archive was closed at short notice back in 2018.

While a new music and arts venture in Woolwich was and is an admirable endeavour (the implementation is another thing) and could be a key asset for the borough, doing so at the expense of another key resource wasn’t the council’s finest hour. Will they rectify it?

The petition can be viewed here.



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J Smith

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.

5 thoughts on “Greenwich borough museum and archive: Petition to bring back full service

  • Thanks. Signed!

    I tried to use the archive over summer. They told me they had the items I wanted to stock but they couldn’t afford the logistics and they no longer had a viewing room! What’s the point is maintaining an archive that no one can actually use?

  • I see the Borough is spending money on a Bid for London Borough of Culture.
    This money would be better spent on restoring this service .

  • Woolwich resident is right in what he says.
    If it is to be restored then the public must have access to the museum and archives.

  • Pingback: LEST WE FORGET…

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