The tall clock tower in the centre of Greenwich which has been closed to the public for decades could reopen once more, as part of plans to refurbish the rest of the building. The building, as a new Greenwich Town Hall was designed by Clifford Culpin in the Art Deco style, built by William Moss & Sons and was completed in 1939.
When Greenwich and Woolwich councils merged in 1965 is was decided that the enlarged council would be based in Woolwich, making the Greenwich building redundant. The council building, now known as Meridian House was split off from the rest of the council buildings in 1972 and converted into offices, and was long occupied by a university than as offices. Now, the owners, Riverlow Group have plans to convert it into a mix of cultural space and residential flats.
And as part of that, they propose to reopen the viewing gallery at the top of the 55-metre tall clock tower to the public again.
The refurbishment of the building will preserve the external appearance, but apart from the entrance hall, most of the 1930s fixtures internally were removed in the 1970s when it was converted into offices.
The upper floors of the building are intended to be converted into residential flats, with the ground and basement areas converted into employment spaces to be rented out.
However, for non-residents, the most interesting part of the plans involve the tall clock tower, which has not been generally used for around 50-years.
It’s not likely to be something that’s going to be regularly open though, as they note there are some logistical problems, such as the lack of a lift that the Fire Brigade or the Council would approve. There are therefore 280 stairs from the ground to the top to climb up to get to the internal viewing gallery, and if so minded to try it, a narrow spiral staircase to the roof terrace at the very top of the tower.
So a trip to the top of the Greenwich clock tower is likely to be a rewarding challenge to be undertaken on special open days.
There’s a consultation on the plans at the moment, open until the end of this month.