by Rob Allen
The Summerhouse. The story so far………….
Built in the 1660s, this building was designed to entertain guests and showcase impressive views.
From these windows guests would have been able to gaze down to Greenwich and across the Thames to London and beyond. Buildings like this were very popular and were also known as banqueting houses, orangeries, pavilions and drinking houses.
The design is attributed to Inigo Jones, best known for introducing the classical architecture of the Italian Renaissance to Britain. Other well-known buildings designed by Jones include the Banqueting House in Whitehall, Somerset House and Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.
Following the purchase of the House and Estate in 1925 by the then Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich, this beautiful building was converted to public toilets in 1936. You are now stood in what was the entrance to the ladies loo!
After years on the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register and with a generous donation from World Monuments Fund and the Friends of Charlton House, RGHT teamed up with architect Charlie MacKeith and the students and tutors from London South East College, to embark on an exciting conservation project.
The interior walls have been removed and existing windows re-glazed with clear glass and works to remove asbestos and replace missing and damaged tiles to the roof have also taken place. Future works to replace the ceiling at its original height, make good the walls, replace the final and install a new floor will form part of the next stage, subject to funding being secured. The building can be viewed by appointment.
If anyone has any memories of the Summerhouse or suggestions for future use, please contact us. To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 020 8856 3951 or call into Charlton House.
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