Building 41, Royal Arsenal
The heritage centre closed last month

A users’ group has been set up to lobby for the reopening of Greenwich borough’s local history archive, which closed suddenly last month.

The doors were locked at the Greenwich Heritage Centre on 21 July, with a number of staff redundancies, after the building – a former ammunition factory in the Royal Arsenal complex – was earmarked for use in the £31m Woolwich Cultural Quarter scheme.

Users have only been told they will be able to visit the archive “by appointment” once the centre is “resettled”.

The Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, which runs the archive, is putting the collection into storage, with remaining staff relocated to Charlton House.

For details of the new ad hoc Greenwich Archive Users Forum, visit historian Mary Mills’ Greenwich Industrial History blog.

While the Woolwich Cultural Quarter scheme had been known about for some years, the heritage centre’s closure caught users and councillors by surprise.

The Cultural Quarter scheme’s first planning application – for three other buildings to be altered so they can be used as a performance space – was approved by Greenwich Council’s planning board last night.

Planning board member Nigel Fletcher (Conservative, Eltham South), said on social media after that space was being offered to the trust for a museum once the final scheme was completed.

Questions raised tonight about the future of @GreenwichHC and Archives were not immediately relevant to this first phase application, but pleased to have it reiterated that space is being offered to the Trust for a new museum in the final scheme.

— Nigel Fletcher (@ElthamNigel) August 7, 2018

But the immediate future of the archive, and whether users will be able to see items without an appointment, remains uncertain.

853 produces public interest journalism for Greenwich and SE London and is part-funded by its readers. If you would like to contribute to keeping the site running, please…
– buy the author a coffee at
– NEW! Make a one-off contribution at
– join over 100 monthly patrons at