Historic theatre Borough Hall under threat after a deal to save it fell through

By Kiro Evans, Local Democracy Reporter

A Greenwich theatre has been placed on the ‘at risk’ list after a deal to save it fell through.

The historic Borough Hall is now deemed under threat by the Theatres Trust and joins four other London venues on the list.

The Trust says it needs “significant investment” while those in the theatre industry reflect on the potential damage to the “epicentre of culture” in Greenwich.

The Borough Hall first opened in 1939 and is ranked as a Grade II listed building by Historic England, meaning it is deemed of particular interest.

It was still being used by Greenwich Dance Agency as recently as 2018, but it now stands empty.

Theatre company Selladoor was in talks to reopen it as a 640-seater venue, but discussions in 2020 collapsed.

A plan to modernise the council-owned building also fell through in 2014.

The Borough Hall now joins London theatres in Streatham, Palmers Green, Tottenham and Walthamstow on the at risk list.

Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan said: “We are now starting to see the true extent of the effects of the pandemic on the UK’s wonderful theatre buildings, hitting well-loved community theatres as well as historic theatres that had been protected by other uses, like being bingo halls.

“Theatres Trust would urge anyone who owns a theatre building to consider its long-term value as a performance space and work with us to keep these buildings in use for their communities.”

The news has left some in the theatre industry reflecting on the role the Borough Hall has in Greenwich.

Artistic and Executive Director at Greenwich Theatre James Haddrell said: “This area of Greenwich serves as an epicentre for culture, both in the local area and for the capital.

“From the historic Queen’s House and the Cutty Sark to the National Maritime Museum and into the present day with Greenwich Theatre, Greenwich Picturehouse, Up The Creek and the many festivals run by and with the local authority through the year.

“The demise of the Borough Hall, which is a key part of that picture, would be a huge loss – and with the right operator and the right programming or activity model to work sympathetically and cohesively with the rest of the local offer, a renewed Borough Hall would cement the area’s cultural significance into the future.

“I know the local authority is as committed to the venue’s cultural revival as we are, and we have offered our full support in ensuring that the historic venue remains and that artistic use continues to sit at the heart of the Borough Hall’s identity.”

Conservative opposition leader councillor Nigel Fletcher said:

“Once again we have an historic building in Greenwich which has been allowed to fall into disrepair by the neglect and mismanagement of the Labour Council.

“I have serious concerns about the approach they have taken to the Borough Hall – they were warned the scheme they were pursuing was not realistic, and sure enough that deal has now collapsed, leaving the building at risk.

“It is a mark of shame that this has been allowed to happen again to yet another of our historic assets.”

Greenwich council has been contacted for comment.

Image: Mark Ahsmann

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.