Something Happening at the Old Hospital Site?

On the top floor of the 180 today I noticed – shock-horror – something going on at the old District Hospital site. Non-specific yellow vans with non-specific blokes doing non-specific ‘stuff’.

What’s going on? Who knows. Still – it beats anything that’s gone on there in – what – six years?

12 Comments to “Something Happening at the Old Hospital Site?”

  1. Mazer says:

    Last I heard a few weeks ago on the 853 blog, work has been pushed back to starting early next year. I guess these guys are assessing the site for digging and excavations ?

    Pleased for anything to happen here, albeit sad that it will inevitably mean the demise of The Arches. I would be sad to witness the destruction of a lovely 1920s classical style building to see it replaced with uninspiring bland flats.

  2. Pete says:

    They are supposed to be building a new health centre there. The Vanbrugh Health Centre that is currently behind that site will close and be encorporated into the new health centre along with an expansion of health services offered in the area.

    As has been mentioned things have been put back otherwise it would have been done this year as planned.

  3. For me it’s sad about both buildings – though I think I’m probably alone on the Vanbrugh Clinic’s forthcoming demise, being the only one who actually likes its odd neo-brutalist-ziggurat styling. I keep hoping that someone will take the Arches shell and remodel it into whatever they decide it’s to be. Okay, flats, but you can always hope it would be something more inspiring. I daresay, though, it’s not nearly towering enough to be allowed to stay. Sigh.

  4. Old China says:

    I didn’t realise the Arches was doomed. How sad. My mum used to swim there with her school as a kid. I always liked recalling that whenever I go for a swim.

  5. Well, to be fair, we don’t actually know they’re doomed. But with two new swimming pools and a library in the new buildings and a huge gap in the funding for them, the future of both the Arches and the beautiful East Greenwich Library (a gift from Andrew Carnegie and, arguably, not something for the council to just sell off…) is very uncertain.

  6. JT says:

    I live directly opposite the site and can’t wait for this to get going. That might sound odd as it implies I can’t wait for 3-4 years of noisy, dusty building work going on on my doorstep, but I think this will give a real lift to an interesting but rather depressed area, particularly Trafalgar and Woolwich Roads. I used to live in Hornsey where they built a similar (although far more modest – no leisure centre, community facilities, just housing) development called New River Village and the impact on the local high street (around 50% boarded up before the development began) was incredible.

  7. I saw vans and such from the bus the other day and thought I was hallucinating! Then I questioned if maybe they’d been there the whole time. Glad to know something is actually happening. I’m with you Phantom on the Vanbrugh Clinic – I love that building, and not just because it’s my GP. ;)

  8. Mazer says:

    I wish The Arches were listed to save it! The John Roan School on Maze Hill that was built at a similar time and also to a neo-classical design is grade 2 listed and due to be refurbished, but The Arches is only ‘locally listed’ by the very same council who will see its demise and very probable destruction to be replaced with buildings of a height like its neighbours i imagine. The recent council report makes this look inevitable, goodbye The Arches and East Greenwich library too? :

    Ps. The Vanbrugh Practice shows that not all 1960s brutalism is bad! Reminds me of the amazing ziggurats at my old University campus in Norwich (U.E.A)

  9. Hils says:

    A friend of mine lives on Calvert Road and her house backs onto the site. She says all that has happened recently is two guys turning up with some strimmers to tackle the weeds!

  10. J says:

    East Greenwich library really isn’t worth keeping open sadly. I worked there a couple of years ago and it was just dead – hardly anyone ever used it. I barely saw anyone for hours at a time. The council wanted it closed but people fought for it which was fair enough without a replacement being ready, but once a new library opens it should close.

    The huge Blackwall Approach flyover next to it acts a barrier for many, and instead locating a new library amongst shops on the old hospital site will increase usage and will hopefully make other shops nearby more tenable with more people around.

    The library’s a big building and was once very well used. I read Christopher Fowler’s biography which covers his youth in Westcombe Park and the building of the flyover which gutted the area. He also wrote about using the library when young. It’s a fine building and it becoming flats wouldn’t be a bad outcome. The council and TfL really need to make the next door flyover less oppressive though. Paint it, or even stick some kind of banners over the concrete, and install some nice LED lighting to soften its bulk. Sadly Greenwich Council are so lacklustre with environmental improvements.

    This development can’t come soon enough, and hopefully the council will improve the streetscape and ugly junction as well.

  11. J – I suspect that it’s a vicious spiral with the library. People know it has virtually no stock and so don’t bother going.

    I had a very long reading list for a project about a month ago. It was all famous novels and I was pretty confident that they’d be in the library. Not a single one was in there. The guy told me to go to West Greenwich Library – that was the well-stocked one. And he’s not wrong – its certainly the one that’s just had millions spent on a refurb and gets all the whizzy extras.

    I tried Blackheath library first, though. It is pretty nicely stocked but it didn’t have any of the books I wanted either.

    I find it so depressing. West and East Greenwich libraries were built at the same time, by the same benefactor. But West Greenwich – an area traditionally much more wealthy and able to buy books – gets all the love and attention, while East Greenwich moulders into a slow death.

    I would definitely use it – but when you can’t even find books by the likes of Nick Hornby, Roddy Doyle and David Nicholls in there, you know there’s something seriously wrong.

    People get to know there’s nothing but children’s books and large-print romances in there and just don’t bother trying it, which means the council has an excuse to shut it. And now the music centre’s gone, the place is even deader.

  12. SiShort says:


    Bit of an old post I know, but only just come across it. My house on Calvert Road backs over the site. The guys that were there for a couple of weeks in November were doing a soil survey.

    I looked up the name of the company on their van to find that out.

    Has all gone quiet again now though.

    As much of a shame it is for the site to be left empty, it is a haven for wildlife. I love having a cup of tea in the morning looking out over everything that is going on back there.

    Still a new leisure complex could be fun.