This building is a rare example of a purpose-built convent of the 1930s. Although it has always been architecturally and historically overshadowed by its illustrious neighbour, Woodlands (the former home of John Julius Angerstein, one of the original founders of Lloyd’s underwriters), Mycenae House nevertheless has an interesting history.
At the end of the First World War, Woodlands was empty and was sold to The Little Sisters of the Assumption – a Catholic Novitiate Order – for use as a convent. The sale of land adjacent to Woodlands by the trustees of The Little Sisters paid for the building of a Novitiate House which was blessed in 1931 and opened in 1933.
In 1967 the Order left Blackheath and relocated to Paddington. At this time a local historian, Cyril Fry, who lived in Mycenae Road, persuaded Greenwich Council to acquire Woodlands and the Novitiate House, and thereby protected the grounds and Novitiate House from acquisition by developers. The municipality bought and converted the House into Kidbrooke House Community Centre in 1968 to replace the original Kidbrooke House, which was in Shooters Hill Road where the Sun in the Sands roundabout is today. Kidbrooke House was demolished in order to build the roundabout.
Kidbrooke House was renamed Mycenae House in 1994 as part of the changeover from being Council-managed to being independently run by Vanbrugh Community Association.
Historic photograph of Mycenae House from the Greenwich Local History Library, courtesy of the Little Sisters of the Assumption.