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.
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.
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.
Now its replacement sees limited hours with advance notification needed.
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.”
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.