The District Board years 1876 - 1900
West Greenwich House was the Greenwich District Board of Works Offices from 1876 to 1900. The Memorial Stone was laid by Thomas Norfolk Esq. the Chairman of the District Board of Works on the 11th April 1876 and the building was opened by the same dignitary (also a noted Deptford brewer) on the 18th April 1877. A Dinner was held in the Ship Tavern that evening to celebrate. The first meeting of the District Board of Works was held on 25th April 1877.
As built the building was surmounted by a dome that rose from a square base above the central bay of the front elevation and was surmounted by a small lantern. Below this at ground level was a shallow portico with curved ends giving an imposing and prominent front entrance.
War time and a new name 1900 - 1994
The Metropolitan Borough Council came into existence in 1900and Ralph Gooding was the first Mayor.
The Metropolitan Borough Council met here for the last time on the 19th July 1939.
In September 1940 the Council gave permission for the Local Defence Volunteers (Dads Army) to use a room as local HQ.
On 12th July 1944 a V1 flying bomb glided into a terrace in Greenwich High Road (the former Vansittart Terrace, a handsome Georgian row, now replaced by the National Tyres site) and in a moment reduced nine houses to a pile of rubble. West Greenwich House was considerably damaged; probably more from flying rubble than bomb impact.
In 1948 the Council agreed to split the building between the Housing Department and the Food Office for the Ministry of Works. The Ministry vacated their offices on the 17th July 1954 and the following year the first floor was converted to a Community Centre.
In February 1958 the name of the building was changed from the Old Town Hall to West Greenwich House.
The building today... Change of status 1994 - today
The biggest change in the status of the Centre happened on 1st January 1994 when the Centre, while remaining ceased to be Council run and became a Community managed facility. An Industrial & Provident Society was constituted to manage the Centre and the associated Haddo and Orchard Halls.
The new Society was governed by a Management Committee elected by the member organisations. Don Thake of the Ashburnham Triangle Association became the first Chair and served until he retired to Kent in 2001, and since then the Chair has been Bert Mayes of the South of the Thames Association Football Referees.
Since 1994 the Society has developed the operation with considerable success, both in expanding the activities of the Centre and Halls, providing a venue and facilities for other community organisations and in consolidating its own financial base.