Community engagement with the Great Chamber

On Tuesday 8th September 2020 the Charterhouse Community Engagement team, including our two new Young Audiences Creators, Kat and Ruth – welcomed members of the BlindAid and North London Cares Charities to our first Zoom workshops.

The workshops gave everyone an opportunity to meet and we heard about the Community Engagement Programme, which is connected to the ‘beautification and refreshment’ of the wonderful historic room at Charterhouse, the Great Chamber and specifically the portraits there.

BlindAid and North London Cares are both Partners of our Charterhouse Community Engagement Forum, which was established in Autumn 2019. Our aim is to engage a wider audience and welcome people to the Charterhouse that may not have heard about us or visited before.

Community Engagement has moved online for now and we have an exciting programme emerging! We are working on creating a Soundscape/Talking Heads project, where our portraits and community voices will meet and you never know what may happen…

As London’s oldest charity for blind and visually impaired people, BlindAid works to improve quality of life and promotes independence for Londoners with a visual impairment.

North London Cares is a community network of young professionals and older neighbours hanging out and helping one another in our rapidly changing city.

Kat and Ruth have written here about their experience of these workshops:

BlindAid Workshop:

My first workshop with the Charterhouse was held over Zoom with BlindAid participants. In the workshop we explored the history of The Charterhouse and introduced some of the characters within the newly restored portraits in the refurbished great chamber. Based on their titles such as ‘The Thinker’ and ‘The Rebel’, we then took it in turns to describe what our title would be based on our personalities.

Although I was initially sceptical of how the workshop would work online, I was surprised at how engaging it was and was happy to see how a group experience could still be created in a digital space. It was also evident how important the session was for people facing isolation as a result of Covid-19, and I think we all valued the personal connections and mental stimulation created through the workshop!

KAT PEGLER – Charterhouse Young Audiences Creator

North London Cares Workshop:

Our first interactive session with North London Cares was held over zoom, where we were able to introduce the group to The Charterhouse and its history, and then focus on the newly restored Great Chamber and the portraits now hanging there.

Each portrait has a catchy title such as ‘The Rebel’, ‘The Romantic’ etc., in order to make them more accessible to today’s audience. Drawing on these titles for inspiration, we invited the group to get creative in thinking of a title representative of themselves. Some lovely and funny words came from this task, and it was a great ice-breaker to get to know others in the group. It was a workshop where we were able to integrate voices of the past and present, where voices of the current community responded with their own titles to those titles of men in the past.

Whilst the group was small, it provided a great initial introduction for both parties and showed that online young engagement with The Charterhouse is possible in the current world situation!

I look forward to the next workshop with this group.

RUTH ANDREW – Charterhouse Young Audiences Creator


If you would like to find out more about how to get involved in our Charterhouse Community Engagement programme, please contact Nichola:




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