Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Greenwich (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ 43712 79266


TQ 4479 PLUMSTEAD ROAD SE18 (North side)

786/9/54 Royal Arsenal The Board Room 08/06/73


Board Room for Officers of the Ordnance Board and Cadets' Training Academy, later pattern room, Royal Military Academy, and officers' mess. 1718-20, attributed to both Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor, for the Board of Ordnance, extended c1741. Red brick with rear lateral stacks and slate hipped roof. PLAN: Single-depth plan with N Board Room and S Academy, rear stair tower, enclosed by c1741 extension. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys; 7-window range, with 3-storey and attic; 6-window rear wing. A symmetrical front has a cornice and parapet, central pedimented entrance bay set forward with a ground-floor porch with banded jambs, shallow-arched lintel and deeply-set doorway and C20 door, and flanking deeply-set narrow windows; above, a tall round arch with plain balcony, flanking round plinths with lion and unicorn figures, a recessed round-arched window beneath a clock, narrow flanking windows, and above the impost band small oculi either side of a wind dial, with an iron weather vane on the pediment. Outer sections have tall round-arched 6/6-pane sashes and oculi above. Left-hand end has a single ground-floor window and 2 oculi, with a raised central parapet section. Right-hand end has a full-height header bond bow with raised parapet, 3 round-arched windows and flat-headed raised panels above each. Rear 6-window extension has segmental-arched windows, gables and parapet. Interior contains an entrance hall with stone and slate floor, round-arched doors each side with 8 raised panels and a panelled fanlight and panelled reveals, to a rear dogleg stair with stick balusters, uncut string and moulded rail; right-hand full-height former Academy Room with oak panelling and moulded skirting, flagged floor, good stone fireplace with architrave, consoles and cornice set forward to the sides, left-hand Board Room with an inserted floor across a C18 grisaille wall painting of trophies, and matching fireplace. HISTORICAL NOTE: Built on the site of Tower Place, the original residence of the Lieutenant General of Ordnance bought by the Crown in 1671, and used as the office of the Board of Ordnance. The left-hand room was used from its foundation in 1741 by the Royal Military Academy until it moved to Woolwich Common in 1806, and later as a model or pattern room for foundry patterns. The lion and unicorn probably those formerly on the gateway into the Royal Laboratory yard. A robust and strongly-articulated building, characteristic of the early C18 Baroque manner of the Ordnance Board associated with Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor, and of considerable historic significance for its connection with both the Board and the early RMC. Vanbrugh is associated with the early expansion of the Arsenal after the Board of Ordnance moved gun founding to the site in 1716. (Pevsner N and Cherry B, The Buildings of England: London South, London, 1983, p.288; Hewlings R, English Architecture, Public and Private, in (ed), 1993, pp.215-229; Hogg O F G, The Royal Arsenal, Oxford, 1963, pp.252-273; RCHME report, 1994; Wesley H, The Royal Arsenal: a brief history, London, 1987, p.16)

Listing NGR: TQ4371279266


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Bold, , Chaney, , English Architecture Public and Private Essays for Kerry Downes, (1993), 215-229
Cherry, B, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: London 2: South, (1994)
Hogg, O F G, The Royal Arsenal, (1963), 252-273
Wesley, H , The Royal Arsenal: A Brief History, (1987), 16
'Historic Buildings Report' in The Royal Arsenal Woolwich, (1994)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 02 Oct 2002
Reference: IOE01/07718/21
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Hussey. Source Historic England Archive
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