The Assembly Rooms, Charlton

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1452263

Date first listed: 03-Oct-2018

Statutory Address: The Village, SE7 8UD

Map

Ordnance survey map of The Assembly Rooms, Charlton
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Location

Statutory Address: The Village, SE7 8UD

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

County: Greater London Authority

District: Greenwich (London Borough)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: TQ4164777848

Summary

A detached community hall of 1881, designed by J Rowland in the Jacobean Revival style, and constructed by W Tamsett.

Reasons for Designation

The Assembly Rooms, Charlton, a community hall of 1881, designed by J Rowland in the Jacobean Revival style, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:   Architectural interest:   *   a good example of a late-C19 Jacobean Revival style community hall, designed in an exuberant, thoughtful and richly decorated form; *   good quality materials are used to strong architectural effect, including red brick, terracotta and stone detailing; *   the exterior of the hall is little altered, and the interior retains its original plan and stage.   Historical interest:   *   the assembly rooms illustrate the continued influence of Charlton House and the Church of St Luke with Holy Trinity on the community of Charlton during the late-C19 and C20; *   as an example of Victorian philanthropy, and the impact of a wealthy benefactor on community hall design.   Group value:   *   with the Grade I Charlton House, through their shared Jacobean design characteristics and mutual benefactor; *   with the Grade II* Church of St Luke with Holy Trinity, with which it shares some classically inspired design characteristics, and through C20 use and ownership.

History

The Assembly Rooms were designed by the architect J Rowland, and constructed in 1881 by the builder W Tamsett. J Rowland was a resident of Charlton and a member of the Society of Architects from 1894 to 1896. The assembly rooms were funded by Sir Spencer Maryon-Wilson (1829–1897) who resided at Charlton House between 1880 and 1881, and it was his intention that they were to be used by the community of Charlton. The building was formally opened by Dowager Lady Wilson on 26 April 1881.

During the Second World War the building was used by Siemens for war production until the roof was badly damaged by a bomb. By 1946 it had been handed over to the Church of St Luke and during this time, the stage was enlarged, and extended over the kitchen, which was re-sited to the rear.  In the early 1970s the building was under threat of demolition, however, the St Luke’s Players negotiated a community takeover and SCARP (Save Charlton Assembly Rooms Project) was formed under the Chairmanship of the Laurie Cole. Gwen Zammit later became Chairman,  and after the building had been completely restored, SCARP handed it back to the local authority in 1983. The Assembly Rooms continue to be used as a community asset (2018).

A drill hall and boundary wall was located to the west and south of the site (now demolished except for the principal elevation), and was probably connected to the assembly rooms at the kitchen end. Within the assembly rooms, alterations have been made to the plan of the toilet facilities and after enlargement of the stage, the kitchen has been relocated. A number of doors in this rear service area have also been replaced with late-C20 fire doors.

Details

A detached community hall of 1881, designed by J Rowland in the Jacobean Revival style, and constructed by W Tamsett.

MATERIALS: red brick in Flemish-bond with decorative brick, stone and terracotta dressings and detailing. Timber fenestration and doors, under a clay-tile roof.

PLAN: the building is orientated north to south and formed of a tall single-storey hall with the roof surmounted by a centrally-placed octagonal cupola. The principal elevation is in the north gable end. Internally there is a double-height main hall with the main entrance to the north, and a secondary entrance to the south-west. Behind the hall to the south, there are service rooms and a kitchen.

EXTERIOR: the hall is designed in a Jacobean Revival style, reflecting the Jacobean origins of nearby Charlton House. The design is characterised by centrally placed Dutch gables, and a wealth of red decorative brick, terracotta and stone ornament.

The principal north-facing elevation is symmetrical and formed of three bays articulated by tall fluted pilasters with stone ball finials, and surmounted by a Dutch gable. It has a lower three-bay entrance vestibule articulated with brick pilasters and surmounted by a small segmental pediment. This gablet has a central stone tablet with a coat of arms carved in relief, and stone scrolls to both shoulders. The ensemble is underlined by a brick dentil course. The three-panelled entrance doors below, are paired, and constructed of timber. The top of the doors are curved and they are set into a round-headed brick architrave, which has a central brick keystone. Either side of the doors there are two-paned horned sash windows with stone cills, which are set between brick fluted pilasters. The returns of the vestibule also have a timber panelled door set into round-headed brick architraves which have fluted brick pilasters to either side.

Behind the entrance vestibule, the main elevation of the building rises and is surmounted by a high Dutch gable which has a stone finial and applied stone strapwork. Underneath the main gable there is a pair of louvred timber casement windows which are set into a projecting architrave of moulded brick and terracotta, including panels to either side of the windows which depict tall flowers rising from a vase. At the base a course of pierced quatrefoil tiles extends across the elevation to shouldered outer-bays. These bays have a pair of brick pilasters surmounted by ball finials. 

The side elevations of the main hall are formed of five bays articulated by brick pilasters, and have tall mullion and transom windows with high-set drop-down openings. Above the windows the parapet has a brick dentil course and architrave with inset pierced quatrefoil tiles between brick panels above the pilasters, most of which carry a stone ball finial. In the centre of each side elevation there is a small aedicular (shrine-like with niches) brick pediment which is decorated with swags of fruit and flower motifs above a pair of window slits, and is supported by fluted pilasters. The main roof of the hall is clay-tiled and has decorative ridge tiles. In the centre of the ridge there is a timber octagonal cupola with decorative louvred panels and detailing. The cupola has a lead dome surmounted by a metal weather vane.

At the southern end of the building, the gable of the main hall is visible above the service range, and has a high-set oculus with horizontal timber louvres flanked by the pilasters and ball finials at the angles of the side elevations. Extending beyond it is a lower link, on the east side behind a stone rubble wall, leading to a single-storey range aligned east-west. It is architecturally functional with only a little ornament; the gable end has brick dentilled eaves; the south elevation has four multi-paned timber casement windows with stone cills, which sit under the eaves. The pitched clay tile roof has decorative ridge cresting, and two tall brick chimney stacks rise through the southern slope of the roof.

INTERIOR: the main entrance to the south has a vestibule with a polychromatic tile floor. The double-height hall is of five bays, and has a canted, boarded ceiling with ribbed timber beams. At the southern end there is raised stage which stands on a curved and panelled plinth which has a short timber stair to each side. Either side of the stage there is a deep panelled doorcase containing a solid three-panelled timber door. The floors are timber board on the stage, and timber parquet to the main hall. The service rooms including the kitchen and toilets are functional and without ornamentation.

This List entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 01/11/2018

Sources

Websites
Greenwich Heritage Trust, accessed 12/3/2018 from https://www.greenwichheritage.org/visit/charlton-assembly-rooms
Other
RIBA Directory of British Architects

End of official listing