The Royal borough of Greenwich commissioned Neil Tomlinson Architects to help transition, store and protect the fascinating and highly-varied archive of historic objects and documents managed by Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, as it moved from its original home in Woolwich, by the Thames, to a new store in Charlton. Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust is a registered charity, formed in 2014 to look after key structures, objects and historic records within the Royal borough of Greenwich.

The museum collections and archive were originally housed in a Grade-II-listed building in Artillery Square, Woolwich Arsenal. For their new home, Neil Tomlinson Architects converted and refurbished an existing, 477 sq m, double-storey space, ensuring the building was fit for purpose, including the creation of a purpose-built, climate-controlled area for more sensitive pieces, as well as ensuring easy access and navigation for staff and volunteers. The practice also fitted out a neighbouring facility of identical dimensions to prepare it for a future tenant.

A new-build internal two storey block is shared between the two units along the party wall, with the ground floor used by Royal Greewich Heritage Trust and the top floor (at mezzanine level) for use by the next-door tenant.  The Trust’s internal area includes administrative offices and new kitchen/bathrooms. The archive, managed by Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, contains a great mix of items, from historical documents and plans to items pertaining to local history, including vehicles, machinery and natural history specimens and artworks. The Trust’s staff are still working to catalogue and process the totality of the collection, with a view to a longer-term move to a dedicated home, where parts of the archive can be displayed directly in the public eye.

To see a film about the archive’s relocation, click here