The Blackheath Historic Buildings Trust

 

Boone's Chapel

The Blackheath Historic Buildings Trust was set up in 1999 to raise funds for the repair and conservation of Boone’s Chapel, a grade I listed building, then on the English Heritage "Buildings at Risk" register.  It is a registered charity. 

Boone’s Chapel was the Trust's first project.  The Chapel is a single-storey rectangular building of just 45 square metres.  Although it is tiny in plan, the design of the exterior is grand, combining fine brickwork with detailing in Portland stone under a complex, pyramidal roof topped by a cupola.  It occupies a prominent corner of the Merchant Taylors’ Company almshouses site on Lee High Road in Lewisham. 

The original almshouses and chapel were commissioned by Christopher Boone, a London merchant and, like Sir Christopher Wren, a member of the Merchant Taylors’ Company, and built in 1683.  Income from the Boone family estate in Herefordshire helped provide relief for the elderly poor of Lee and for the education of 12 poor children.  The original row of almshouses stood next to the Chapel facing directly on to Lee High Road.  These almshouses were demolished in 1875 but a U-shaped block, dating from 1825 and listed Grade II, remains further up the hill.  After demolition of the original almshouses, the Chapel continued to function as a reading room, but fell into disuse after 1945.

It is likely that Wren was commissioned to build the Chapel and almshouses but the work was probably carried out by Robert Hooke, a close friend and colleague and another member of the Merchant Taylors’ Company.   Hooke is best known for advising Wren in the re-building of the City of London after the Great Fire and in the designing of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
 

The Chapel has now been fully restored - the success of this project was due to the Blackheath Historic Buildings Trust, the energy of its then Chairman, Sir Ian Mills and his colleagues, funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, the London Borough of Lewisham, various livery and other companies and also the support of many local residents, together with the Lee Manor and Blackheath Societies.

The Trust has also completed two stages of a new Lee Heritage Trail.  Seven panels are in place, and the Lee Manor Society also has a panel at Lee Green which complements the panels erected by the Trust.   The Trust is now working on further trails in the Greenwich, Westcombe Park and Blackheath areas.

The Trust has also undertaken the first stage of work to repair and conserve the Old Churchyard, opposite the present St. Margaret's Church, Lee Terrace, transforming it into a public park and teaching and cultural site for the use of local residents, schools and other interested groups.  This involved repairing and making safe the mediaeval tower and improving the landscape of the site to make it worthy of its 18th and 19th century monuments.   The repair, conservation and restoration of the monuments and gravestones remains to be tackled.

Directors

Bridget Prentice (Chair)
Tim Barnes QC
Gordon Baker
Raymond Brookes
Julia Maynard
Howard Shields
Roger Thomas

Contact

The Blackheath Historic Buildings Trust
Chapman House
10 Blackheath Village
London SE3 9LE

Tel: 020 8318 2711
Email: bridgetprentice@aol.com

Registered Office: Chapman House, 10 Blackheath Village, SE3 9LE

Registered number: 3788710

Charity number:  1078787


 
 
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