Thursday, 11 December 2008

another town hall another plaque

Some of us were lucky enough to get an invite to see the Mayor unveil a plaque on what has been known for many years as West Greenwich House. It is, of course, yet another of the old Met. Borough of Greenwich's neglected and abandoned Town Halls. Thank you Cllr. Maureen O'Mara for making a fuss until the plaque was put up.The building was originally the Greenwich District Board of Works Offices and built in 1876. It was opened by Thomas Norfolk, the local brewer and Chair of the Board. It cost £1,500 for the land, £6,190 for the building and £1,500 for the fixtures and furniture. In 1900 the Board became the Metropolitan Borough and interdepartmental communication within the Town Hall was effected by speaking tubes and whistles. It was a much grander building then - with a Dome and a portico. In the late 1930s the Borough replaced it with the architecturally important building down the road (sold off in the 1970s after amalgamation with Woolwich!). In the Second World War it was used by the Local Defence Volunteers and bombed - hence the changes to the original. On 12th July 1944 a V1 hit the site next door which is why there is a garage there and not posh Georgian houses. In 1948 it was used as the Housing Department and the Food Office and in 1954 it became a community centre - which it remains. Inside several rooms are named after Greenwich Borough dignatories - Harold Gibbons (founder of Greenwich Labour Party and Mayor through much of the war), Ada Kennedy (another war time Mayor), Harry Icough (Mayor when the Town Hall moved down the road), William Mills (local Tory leader and motor bike enthusiast)

1 comment:

Victoria Norfolk said...

I'm very glad the abandoned Town Hall is still there because my Great Grandfather x 4 is the Thomas Norfolk mentioned in your blog. It was fantastic to see his name on the building.