A Use For The Rotunda?

Rather slow off the mark this morning, folks, thanks to a tedious hacking incident with Twitter. Apologies to anyone who discovered rather more than they needed to about “The Phantom’s” love life…

All fixed now, I hope – thanks to everyone who let me know about the security breach.

But onto happier things. You may remember Robbie, who plays with local band The Mores. Well, he’s getting married to his ‘Amazonian photographer’ (what an image that conjures up…) and wants to have the wedding somewhere around Woolwich.

I don’t normally cover wedding-venue questions on the main blog any more, since they got so frequently asked that they’ve got their own page these days, but something he’s been saying intrigues me.

He says ” I have been dealing with Major Gleeson on the matter of hiring the Rotunda for our party. All was going well, we went to have a look at it, he seemed fairly excited by the idea, saying nobody had ever done anything like that before (that’s what I like to hear!), and thought it could be done.

He came back with a fairly stiff figure for the hire charge, but we managed to swallow it, until today when he called to say that the fire regs guy had just had a look, and would only allow us to have 60 guests in there! No good. So I am currently trying to negotiate some sort of fire safety situation with the army, possibly hiring a fire engine to sit outside for the day, but it is looking like it might be a shade too pricey for us.”

Before I get onto Robbie’s next question, which of course, is about alternative venues, let’s just think about this.

A few months ago, I was very worried about the Rotunda, and I continue to be concerned about what will happen to it – when we discussed it before, we wondered if it could be done up and used for dignitaries during the Olympics – but using it as a wedding venue afterwards would bring in money to pay for its upkeep and give us that all important ‘legacy’ that everyone’s talking about. I know it’s not an obvious area for the type of people who can afford such places, but I suspect that word might get around and it could be a newly trendy spot (not least from Household Cavlary people…)

The reason why the fire safety guy must be concerned about it is, I presume, the somewhat fragile condition the place is in – but it it was given proper upgrades and facilities, it’s surely big enough to take more than 60 people – not least because of the space around it, now that the big guns are gone. It has a wonderful green area around it, it’s not that hard to travel to and it could make some serious cash for the Army, who own it.

I truly hope that Robbie manages to work something out with the Major – the guy’s a good bloke, charged with an impossible task of protecting a truly unique building with no cash. If it works as a wedding venue once, perhaps he could be persuaded to petition for money as a long-term investment.

In the meanwhile, though, we have to assume that Robbie and his Amazonian Beauty (don’t you just long for them to have a Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed wedding – with the pair of them dressed as Theseus and Hippolyta, her being given away by Oberon, Titania being head bridesmaid and the Rude Mechanicals as the ushers? I’d pay good money to hear Bottom’s best-man speech…) have to make alternative arrangements.

I’ve already directed him towards the Phantom Shindigs page, but there may be a bit more thinking-cap required. He says:

“We are really desperate to have our wedding party somewhere in Woolwich, we think it is a fantastic area with so much potential, and we have a brilliant opportunity to get a large number of people to come and see the place.

I am really running out of ideas for suitably quirky places for us to have our party, we’ll be expecting around 200 people or so, and we don’t have too much time left, especially if the Rotunda isn’t possible.

We really don’t want to do anything that is too traditional, we have been trying to do something that shows how amazing an area this could be if people just use a bit of imagination, and realize it’s potential. If you can think of anywhere, however weird, indoors, outdoors, derelict, someone’s house, it doesn’t matter, I would hugely appreciate your thoughts.”

My first thought would be Peggy Middleton House – I don’t actually know what state it’s in just now I haven’t been to that area for ages – but if it’s a shell, it would be a great bow-out for the place – very grungy (good luck persuading the Council…)

Another, slightly left-field idea would be to contact the Council Film Unit and ask them what they have on their books – I bet they have abandoned warehouses etc.

Woolwich isn’t quite my area – but it definitely IS some Phantophiles’ manor – so – any ideas, guys?

13 Comments to “A Use For The Rotunda?”

  1. Capability Bowes says:

    Re: The Rotunda – I didnt manage to get along to Mary Mill's Greenwich Industrial Heritage Group meeting about this. But I'm hoping that one of the other groups that I notified about the situation are keeping things monitored. I'll try and find out.

    Another contact I made was with the Royal Arsenal Woolwich Historical Society – the Rotunda sounds right up their street.

  2. Sunay Modesto Khan says:

    I've got a feeling fire regs such as these limit numbers according to the number of doors out of the building concerned. Can't remember what you said the Rotunda was built for GP but maybe there's not enough fire exits, rather than the condition of the building being the problem?

  3. Anonymous says:

    What about holding the reception at Crossness? Might be fun to get some old Routemasters to ferry green wedding guests to and fro.

  4. Brenda says:

    An addition to the wedding page might be the Greenwich Yacht Club. Great setting down on the river in the middle of nothing! Also the ahoy club has a huge terrace and does wedding receptions.

  5. arnie says:

    I wondered about that Twitter spam; I got a message and was about to report it to you when I saw your post. Out of curiosity, how do Phantoms have sex lives? ;)

  6. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    the new wonder-drug, of course!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ohh you had the infamous 'phishing' scam on Twitter? Was reading about the same thing happening to David Milliband's Twitter account in the paper today. Might at least liven things up for the man.

  8. Benedict says:

    ohhh … I feel a bit left out of the loop…I didnt get any spam..no Tittilating Twitter for me..

  9. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    Sadly not at all titilating – just bloomin' annoying. I could make up far better saucy stuff than that if I wanted to. It just made me look unimaginative.

    The scam was quite clever though – I didn't even realise what had happened until I read the BBC account of it http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2010/02/embarrassment_on_twitter.html

    I'd only been a member for a few days and didn't get the protocol. Doesn't absolve me from being a prize idiot though. I believe the proper response is d'oh!

  10. Dub says:

    Oh dear, I thought I was special and now I find out you've been sending titillating messages to all and sundry :(

  11. Plummy Mummy says:

    Just in case he hasn't come across this one – this site that lists places approved for civil marriages. Not quite Woolwich but very lovely is Charlton House.

  12. Plummy Mummy says:

    p.s. to last post. This list on Greenwich gov site lists Tudor Barn as well. Now that's a lovely place but not sure how many bods it can hold.