The Royal Borough of Greenwich’s ambitious restoration of five historic buildings on the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich has saved The Academy and The Fireworks buildings, which have just been removed from Historic England’s At Risk Register.
The early removal of The Academy and The Fireworks buildings from the register is testament to the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s careful stewardship and expert development of Woolwich Works, a new landmark cultural hub for London: prior to its visionary redevelopment these precious buildings risked being lost forever.
The buildings listed at Grade II as 41 and 41a Royal Laboratory Square, have been on the Heritage at Risk Register, managed by Historic England, since 2017.
Confirming the ruling, Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities, Councillor Adel Khaireh said: “Woolwich Works is set to throw open its doors on September 23rd and it’s thrilling to do so knowing we’ve saved these beautiful buildings because of our careful creation of a vibrant new cultural hub on the Royal Arsenal. We’re incredibly proud to restore historic buildings and breathe new life into them; our whole community, and the generations of the future, will now be able to make new and exciting histories in them.”
Through the adaptive reuse of four Grade II and one Grade II* listed buildings the creative district, known as Woolwich Works, will become home to both local, national, and internationally acclaimed companies such as ground-breaking immersive theatre company Punchdrunk, Chineke! Orchestra (Europe’s first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra), Woolwich-based Protein Dance, and the Woolwich Print Fair.
It’s anticipated the new creative district will provide more than 400 local jobs and is set to make a significant positive economic impact on Woolwich and its surrounding areas, bringing tangible benefits to the whole borough.
Verena McCaig, Heritage at Risk Projects Officer for Historic England, adds: “Woolwich Works is an excellent example of heritage-led redevelopment and we congratulate all involved in getting to this point. Investing in our historic places can help boost our economic recovery and provide exciting, beautiful places to visit and enjoy being around. I hope many people will want to experience this new creative district for London and soak up the historic surroundings.”
Historic England is the Government’s advisor on all aspects of the historic environment undertaking assessments of designated heritage assets to identify whether they are at risk through decay and dilapidation. The Heritage at Risk Register is updated annually, and the 2021 publication on 4 November will confirm that these buildings are no longer deemed at risk.