Archive for the ‘rotunda’ Category

Rotunda Update

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Sorry, folks, as you may have noticed from lack of posts last week I’ve been a bit distracted. I hope to resume service as soon as possible. I AM aware of all the things that need to go into the Parish News – some of which were for this weekend – sorry to anyone whose event has been and gone. I’ll try to update asap, but things may take a while to readjust.

In the meanwhile lots of people have been asking about what to do about the Rotunda’s predicament and I thought I’d let you know what two people have already done – and give you another address.

Capability Bowes has written to, among others, the Georgian Group. They have replied, saying they’ll look into it – but the more emails/good old fashioned letters they receive, the more priority it will get. He has also written to the Folly Fellowship (which has a fantastic collection of photos on its website).

Paul has taken a different tack and written to Save Britain’s Heritage Buildings at Risk Casework Officer, Rhiannon Tracy, who has said she’ll be looking into it too.

But ultimately this is MOD property and people have been asking me for the address to whom they should write to bring this matter to the attention of people there. Well – Secretary of State for Defense is at

Ministerial Correspondence Unit
Level 5 Zone A
Main Building
Horse Guards Avenue
SW1A 2HB.

I would suggest you could write to Nick Raynsford who’d have to pass it onto Liam Fox, but he’s probably already got his eye on bulldozing the lot and sticking a tower block on it. No – actually, that’s unfair. He probably would be into saving it as it needs a load of remedial building work. So yeah – write to him, too…

If anyone wants to get together and co-ordinate attacks, I’ll be happy to pass on details to each other – just tell me if you’re happy to have your details shared with others.

A Use For The Rotunda?

Friday, February 26th, 2010

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?