To keep our members informed about latest news and events we update this website frequently. News item headlines are listed in order of publication - most recent on top. Click the headline to see the full item.
Members also receive the Friends Newsletter, printed and sent out (or delivered - by Friends volunteers) 3 times a year. It presents the most relevant news items as well as details of forthcoming events. The front page of the most recent edition is on this website under Newsletter.
UEFA EURO 2020 Fan Zone
UEFA EURO 2020 Fan Zone
You will have seen the item in the last newsletter about the GLA proposal for a EURO 2020 Fan Zone in the Park next summer. This referred you to the Friends’ website to see a letter from the GLA about this, sent to local residents in streets close to Greenwich Park with a brief explanation about the event and inviting them to consultation sessions to learn more about it. In short it explained that the Queen’s Field would be used as a Fan Zone for the whole of June and July for screening England home game matches; and for holding community events on a number of non match screening days. We understand that the match screening would take place on 7 to 14 days, depending on the home teams’ progress, with an audience on each of these days of 30,000 allocated free tickets by ballot. The letter had very limited circulation so many residents in SE10 and SE3 still may have not yet heard about the event.
The Friends and the other local societies are actively involved in discussions with the GLA and the event organising body to seek greater clarification of what this will involve, while making clear their concerns and objections. We shall be communicating our own concerns on behalf of the Friends about many aspects of the proposal and will keep you updated on this.
On 11 September 2019, we wrote this letter to Loyd Grossman, Chairman of The Royal Parks Board.
On 13 September 2019, we received this reply
Open day at the Queen's Orchard
Produce and lavender bags will be available to visitors in return for donations. There will also be a ‘Guess the weight of the pumpkin’ competition. Any money raised will be used to buy seeds and equipment for the Queen’s Orchard.
Do come along..... the volunteers would love to meet you!
12 noon to 3 pm on Sunday 1st September
Volunteers discover underground WW2 bunker and model soldier in Greenwich Park community dig
A community archaeology dig has uncovered an intact World War 2 air-raid shelter in Greenwich Park, containing a toy soldier made of lead, announced The Royal Parks charity today. The team of 26 volunteers, led by expert archaeologist Graham Keevil, discovered the air-raid shelter in front of the Queen’s House during a week-long dig to find out more about the important role Greenwich Park played during the war. Most of the lower ground in front of the National Maritime Museum was given over to Dig for Victory allotments during the war, and experts knew there were three air-raid shelters in the park, capable of holding around 500 people. The location of the shelters was visible on several aerial photographs, and even from ground level in very dry weather. But it was believed that the shelters had been demolished after the war, and that the marks were simply from the backfilled trenches. After carefully excavating the earth, volunteers uncovered the prefabricated concrete walls, posts and ceiling beams of the main shelter, revealing the structure to be in almost pristine condition. All that was missing was the roof, which is believed to have been removed so that the long concrete-lined trenches could be backfilled after they were no longer needed.
Graham Keevill, Greenwich Park’s archaeologist, said: “The dedication and determination of our great team of local volunteers was brilliant, and all credit to them for learning the skills needed to be an archaeologist so quickly. Best of all, they had the amazing experience of finding the main air-raid shelter. It was incredible to see how well-preserved everything was - and to be the first people to see inside it for 70 years! The discovery is extremely important, not only locally but also nationally, as so many relics of the war have been lost since 1945. It has been exciting and a privilege for us all to reveal the shelter. But everyone’s favourite find was made almost at the end of our last day: a lead toy soldier, probably from the Second World War, was found in the air-raid shelter. We can’t help but wonder who lost it.”
The team also found several prehistoric flint tools, a few pieces of Roman pottery, and a larger amount of medieval pottery.
Helen Wallis, Greenwich Park’s Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer, said: “We’ve worked with a dedicated team of local volunteers and in just one week we’ve uncovered this incredible heritage – we can only imagine what other stories from the past are hidden, waiting to be explored. We’re partnering with experts and heritage organisations to map out the history of Greenwich Park, both underground and over land, working closely with the community to discover the untold stories of their local park”.
The community dig supports The Royal Parks’ bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a multi-million-pound proposal called “Greenwich Park Revealed”. One of the aims of the project is to uncover the park’s hidden history and encourage people to explore lesser-known attractions in the park.
The Royal Parks reveals new designs for eco-friendly Learning Centre in Greenwich Park
The Royal Parks has revealed the first designs for a new Learning Centre to be built in Greenwich Park, which includes the creation of new green park space for public use. The plans are part of ‘Greenwich Park Revealed’, an exciting multi-million-pound project to conserve and enhance Greenwich Park’s historic and natural heritage, putting the community at its very heart. Architects practice, Architype, won an open competition to produce the designs. The proposed new Learning Centre will be built close to Vanbrugh Gate, in what is presently an underused contractors’ yard which is not open to the public.
As a community hub, the Learning Centre will provide indoor and outdoor learning spaces, creating opportunities for training, volunteering, social activities and commercial events. It will provide indoor and outdoor growing areas, public toilets - including a ‘Changing Places’ fully-accessible toilet, a drinking fountain, meeting place and an information point for visitors. The building will provide views of the Old Wilderness Deer Park.
The project will also convert the existing residential lodge at Vanbrugh Gate into a new public café, along with a kitchen garden maintained by volunteers.
Sustainability is integral to the project, with designs ensuring reduced carbon emissions both in the construction and day-to-day running of the centre.
Features include energy-efficient insulation and solar and thermal panels to generate heating on site. The design will incorporate rainwater collection and efficient water use. And environmentally-friendly natural materials will be used and sourced locally where possible – such as insulation potentially made of recycled newspaper, strawbale, hemp and sheep’s wool.
Graham Dear, Manager of Greenwich Park, said: “This is a unique opportunity to generate new green space in iconic Greenwich Park for the community to enjoy, by transforming an underused contractors’ yard which is currently not open to visitors.
“The community is very much at the heart of this project and we hope this hub will benefit locals in a myriad of ways through training, volunteering, learning and for social events.
“These exciting eco-friendly designs incorporate garden areas for growing, a living roof and bird and bat boxes, supporting biodiversity in the park and engaging visitors with wildlife by providing great views of the nearby Deer Park.”
James Todd, Associate Director, Architype, said: “'The design for the learning centre has been developed in close consultation with the park and its stakeholders and will create a new focus at Vanbrugh Gate, welcoming the community and opening up currently hidden views, connections and learning opportunities to the public.
“We’re celebrating the link to nature through every aspect of the building, including the use of natural and locally-sourced materials.
“The aim is to create a truly ecological building that serves the park for the future and acts as a learning tool: minimising both the operational and embodied carbon impacts from materials and construction, limiting the use of plastics, creating new habitats for wildlife and embracing a series of new growing spaces and gardens around the building.”
The Royal Parks charity has initial support from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund for a £4.8million grant, as part of the multi-million-pound project. The Royal Parks, and other funders, will also contribute to the project. The project is supported by The Friends of Greenwich Park.
“Greenwich Park Revealed” has been awarded an initial development funding by the National Lottery to develop the project proposals more fully by incorporating the views of park users on the park’s future.
The Learning Centre and other aspects of the project are subject to funding.
The final bid will be submitted at the end of August 2019.
Community Archaeology Dig
Graham Keevill is conducting a community dig this week. Located on the grand par terre, between the Giant Steps and the Maritime Museum/Queen's House, the dig will investigate parchmarks revealed by last year's drought and, if time allows, perhaps the WW2 public air-raid shelters in the park. Visitors are welcome to visit the site to see the daily progress.
Latest news from The Royal Parks
"The Royal Parks was asked by the government and the GLA to look at the possibility of creating a Fan Zone to screen key Euro 2020 matches in one of our parks. Having completed a site feasibility study and taking into account the major events and ceremonial occasions already taking place in the parks in June and July nest year, we can confirm that we will be hosting the screening in Greenwich Park (in the Queens Field?).” See here for more details. There are two dates when the details can be viewed. – Tues 23 July between 2pm and 9pm, and Wednesday 31 July, between 11am to 4 pm, at the Greenwich Forum on Trafalgar Road.
Also see here for more detail about this in a letter from the GLA to local residents.