With an empty building, expensive to maintain and repair and no longer capable of earning any income, the directors of the Blackheath Concert Hall Company faced an impossible challenge. In the 1970s there had been one glimmer of hope when the London Festival Ballet showed a serious interest in establishing itself at Blackheath but financial promises were broken and plans were abandoned. The last full trading year for the company was in 1976-77 and the accounts showed a modest profit. But with its only asset due to disappear in 1983 the company resolved to wind up and it finally ceased activity in December 1978.
Meanwhile the Blackheath Concert Hall had reverted to the Cator Trustees and an application was filed on their behalf for planning permission to demolish the building and redevelop the site.
This gallery shows the state of disrepair of the large Concert Hall following the departure of the DHSS.
This was resisted and public opinion was mounting in favour of re-opening the Concert Hall as a public facility. The Blackheath Hall action group mounted a vigorous campaign to gather financial and local support for a rescue plan. It felt that the Blackheath Concert Hall was a valuable local and metropolitan asset and many Blackheathens said it should be saved.
Despite the campaign and a public meeting supported by Greenwich and Lewisham MPs it became clear that the local authorities lacked the financial and political will to rescue the Concert Hall. Unfortunately, interest was being shown at the time by parties who did not appreciate the qualities of the building or wish to return it to concert use.
Because time was running out the Blackheath Preservation Trust bought the Concert Hall to prevent demolition and buy time for a salvation plan to be assembled. The Trust leased the building to the newly-created National Centre for Orchestral Studies in the Spring of 1980. An acoustic test took place in November 1980 at which music was played in the large concert hall for the first time in 40 years.