Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Avery Hill and its wonderful winter gardens

Winter gardens

There is a hidden gem at Avery Hill, Eltham SE9.

In the late 1890’s Colonel North, the nitrate billionaire, built himself a mansion to rival Walpole’s Strawberry Hill!
The Mansion was a “Party Palace”; lit by electricity, centrally heated throughout right down to the stables!  It boasts the first ever plumbed in H & C wash basins (now grade 2 listed!)   Also listed are the portrait gallery and the ball room with their fine marble walls. Many of these fine Victorian buildings still stand; including the electricity generating engine room & tower, also the Stud stables. These stables are probably Greenwich’s last remaining unaltered agricultural buildings.

Lastly the “Jewel in the Crown”; the Winter Gardens (2nd largest in the UK after Kew

You may remember the Winter Gardens being sold by Greenwich Council for £1 to the University of Greenwich in the mid-1990s. Since then there has been a sorry decline. The central heating failed and rain water entered. A Heritage Lottery Fund bid was prepared but this was withdrawn by the University when they decided to sell the Mansion site (incl. the Winter Gardens) in 2015. They intend leaving by the end of next year

The Friends of Avery Hill Park are understandably concerned about the deterioration of the Winter Gardens and lack of progress by the University or Greenwich Council in protecting its future. I think you would all be concerned with the danger to one of Eltham’s important historical and environmental sites and wish to join the Friends in seeking to save this jewel of Eltham for permanent use and public access.

The Friends have set up a petition that you may sign at:

A hard copy petition book is at the café in Avery Hill Park

A public meeting has been organised for Thursday 27th July at 7.30pm in Christ Church hall

and also GWAG (Greenwich Wildlife Advisory Group) AGM v13 July @ 7, Rm 4 Woolwich Town Hall
Presentation: Winter Garden

Bee Twidale

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