Severndroog Castle at Greenwich is the only castle inside the M25 other than the Tower of London.
A Greenwich castle commemorating a long-forgotten British naval victory is to be restored, thanks to a grant of more than a quarter of a million pounds earmarked by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Closed to the public since 1988 and commanding extensive views from the top of Shooters Hill, the triangular Severndroog Castle is a Grade II* listed structure and is on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk register. It’s also the only ‘castle’ within the M25, (with the exception of the Tower of London).
The three-storey solid structure was built in 1784 by the widow of Commodore Sir William James to commemorate his life. Sir William’s most notable military achievement was to capture and destroy an Indian fortress, known to the English as Severndroog, from which pirates attacked 18th century European shipping.
Now thanks to the planning and efforts of a group of local people who became the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust, the building is going to be enjoyed by all.
“This project will help to realise the potential of this unusual building as a visitor attraction that will serve as a focal point, not only for studying the natural landscape but also for heritage education,” promised the Head of HLF London, Sue Bowers.
It’s a good outcome for the SCBPT who nominated Severndroog in the 2004 BBC series Restoration but, in spite of wide community support, it did not reach the finals.
“This funding is excellent news – a testament to the strength of feeling in the area about this unique building,” said Trust member Barry Gray. “We are delighted the HLF recognise Severndroog Castle needs saving for future generations.”
The basic structure of the Castle is sound and access will be improved with the provision of a ramp to enable wheelchair users to enter the ground floor.
The plan is to open the restored tower four days per week, giving access to a viewing platform at the top of the Castle, making it available for educational visits, community use, and for private hire. The Trust aims to make the Castle self-financing.