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Background

Charlton house was built between 1607 – 1612 for Sir Adam Newton, Dean of Durham and tutor to King James I’s eldest son Prince Henry. It is an outstanding survival of an early seventeenth-century gentry mansion, features a great hall, chapel, state dining room, saloon and long gallery, and today houses a well-loved local community centre.

Charlton tells a story of royal connections.The interior of the house retains a wealth of exceptional decorative features including carved marble fireplaces and plasterwork ceilings complete with pendants, strapwork and royal devices attributed to the leading craftsmen of the day.

The Prince of Wales’ feathers feature prominently, accompanied in places by the royal monogram and coat of arms, and outside stands a mulberry tree believed to have been planted at the behest of James I.

The site’s rich history spans a series of owners, a stint as a hospital in World War I and near destruction in the Blitz. Since 1925 Greenwich Council has cared for Charlton, and whilst local authority ownership saved the building, life as a thriving community centre has taken its toll and many of the historic features have deteriorated. There are also ongoing issues with water penetrating the decorative plasterwork ceilings, the casement windows require care and concrete repairs on the roof are failing. The 1630’s Garden House – often attributed to Inigo Jones although heavily debated – is now derelict and on the Historic England At Risk Register.

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How we are helping

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In 2014 ownership of Charlton passed to the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust (RGHT), an independent charity now caring for a portfolio of heritage assets within the borough. WMFB has been working in partnership with the Trust to develop a vision for the site – one that will prioritise the building’s conservation needs and protect its status as a vital community centre.

WMFB is supporting the Trust with a generous grant of £35,000 from The Paul Mellon Estate to fund an updated Condition Survey for the site and enable the essential planning stage to get underway