Underground Greenwich (7) Charlton House

I’ve been reading my Stone again and am delighted to say that underground tunnels seem to be everywhere round here, not just Greenwich and Blackheath.

Not that this one is particularly exciting – given the ancientness and grandness of Charlton House, I would have hoped for something better – but hey – an underground tunnel is an underground tunnel – and who knows – there may be more exciting ones yet to be discovered.

This one, apparently, runs from the house, under Inigo Jones’s arch, across the road and out towards the flats. It’s about five feet high, and is ‘oval.’ John Stone actually went down it about 100 years ago – he reckons it runs “about 100 yards.”

Although it’s pretty big – and certainly could be used for clandestine rendezvous, the locking up of innocent maidens, smugglers’ loot and the hiding of nobles in the civil war, etc, the truth, sadly, is much more prosaic – it was just a conduit, taking the water away from Charlton House down the hill. Apparently it still has the house drain in it.

I don’t think it’s get-in-able any more and I can’t find any other reference to it. A shame, really. Maybe one of the Friends of Charlton House can furnish me with some more info…


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