The Dulwich Society Journal for Spring 2022.
Precisely two years ago the first Covid lockdown was about to start. If you remember, the weather was fine and life changed. Now, two years on we seem to be emerging from isolation. Some of us have learned to master Zoom and in so doing have been able to participate in a new way in talks and meetings. However, there can be no doubt that in most cases physical contact works far better than virtual contact. It is therefore pleasing, indeed, a relief, that many of the things we previously enjoyed but took for granted are gradually returning.
In the pages of this Journal you will find that the much-loved Dulwich Festival and Dulwich Artists’ Open House, so much part of the Dulwich scene for the past 28 years and now under the leadership of a new team, will reappear in May. The Passion Players, whose plans to stage music and drama at Easter 2020 were cancelled at the last minute are putting on an Old Time Music Hall in March. Also in March, the Dulwich Choral Society will be presenting a spectacular concert to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams, who with his friend Gustav Holst, had Dulwich connections and works of both composers will be featured. The Dulwich Players, who heroically overcame Covid related obstacles to produce both open-air and indoor scaled back productions are back with another new work in April.
The Dulwich Society is also breaking free and the AGM will be held in person in the function room of the Crown & Greyhound on the 9th May. The Garden’s Group has once again produced its Dulwich Open Gardens booklet and this year 28 local gardens are being featured. A group garden visit and a coach trip are also included in their programme. A new Society website has been designed and is now up and running and a number of initiatives planned by the Dulwich Society to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of HM The Queen, will be announced in the summer issue of this Journal.
Whilst the lockdowns and restrictions of the past two years have played havoc with everybody’s plans, at least the writers and the historians among us have found the time, inspiration or the answer to simply having something to do and have produced a record number of new works. No less than seven books are reviewed or listed in this issue.
Another pleasing aspect, brought on by the experience of the pandemic, has been the emergence of volunteers within the Dulwich Society to assist with its management and purpose. The sub-committees have been strengthened by new members and the task of distributing this magazine has been made easier by people coming forward to assist. Our chairman, James Thompson would be delighted to hear from any members wishing to be closer involved.
The Dulwich Picture Gallery is in need of as much support as it can get. The closures naturally depleted income and along with other cultural institutions, its financial position was not healthy prior to the pandemic. I will be giving a talk about the Gallery’s plight during WW2 and the role of Bell House as a venue for the restoration of the collection in 1945. Entitled ‘Hell’s Bells’, it also tells the story of the work of Dr Johannes Hell and Sir Gerald Kelly PRA and the great art controversy with the National Gallery. This will take place at Bell House on Wednesday 18th May and will be in support of the Gallery.
As your new Chairman, I am keen to get out and meet you, the members, and get your views on a first hand basis. So please do not be surprised if I knock on your door for a socially distanced outdoor chat. You will have seen from the interview published in the Winter 2021 edition of the Journal that I am interested in green/environmental issues. Are these issues you share?
Another opportunity for me to meet members is at the Society's AGM on Monday 9th May and I would encourage all members to participate. The formal notice of the meeting is contained elsewhere in this edition of the Journal. Can I also remind you that it is also a time to check that the annual subscription has been paid if you do not already pay by standing order. If you have not yet paid, and wish to remain a member of the Society, please respond to the membership secretary’s final reminder also in this edition.
Chargeable electric vehicles, whist not being the environmental Holy Grail (they still contribute to road congestion for instance), do provide significant local air quality gains for users who do not have an alternative to car ownership. The latest figures suggest that as many as 60% of new vehicles purchased have some form of electric power. Yet the provision of public infrastructure for charging such vehicles is wholly inadequate. There are not enough charge points installed in lampposts in the area and they are often inaccessible, expensive and blocked by fossil fuel cars parked in front. It is frustrating that, when many are considering moving away from fossil fuel to an electric vehicle, there is a worry about charging it. This has prompted users to buy a less green option (perhaps a self-charging hybrid or even and old fashioned fossil fuel car) or to pave over their front gardens to have a private charge point. None of these options is good for the environment. The arrival of ULEZ, which has prompted a surge of interest in chargeable electric vehicles, makes this a urgent issue for Southwark to address. We look forward to working with them to improve access to on-street charge points.
Whilst on the subject of the environment, The Dulwich Estate is thought to be reviewing its green strategy. It is high time that this is done. Home heating and renewable energy have special considerations in the conservation areas that cover part of the Scheme of Management area but it is encouraging that they are thinking of opening this review. The Dulwich Society stands ready to encourage and participate in the debate.
I wanted to finish my first Commentary as Chairman with a good news comment. The silver lining to the sorry tale of the disuse of the Grove Tavern, long neglected, is the more recent story of its car park. A local group of young skateboarders have, with the temporary permission of The Dulwich Estate, developed an outdoor skate-park on the land. They are well organised, enthusiastic, hard working and community spirited, all qualities admired by The Dulwich Society. They have attracted the attention of sponsors and Olympians and have successfully organised popular events. Their commitment is commendable. However, their long term viability is in doubt, as a solution to the disuse of this important plot is urgently sought. As a community we should prioritise allocating a long term location for these admirable young people to train for their sport.
Edward Alleyn Statue Refurbished
The bronze statue commemorating Edward Alleyn by the sculptor Louise Simson and commissioned by the Dulwich Society was unveiled seventeen years ago. Although the Society received substantial donations from the Alleyn Foundation schools and the Dulwich Estate, the bulk of the cost was met from public subscription. The Dulwich Society continues to pay for the statue’s insurance. It has also recently paid for the re-waxing of the statue and the bronze plaques on the base, a process carried out by the foundry which cast it. This process recaptures the original pleasing patina and ensures the statue remains in good condition
Horniman Garden’s new micro forest
The micro forest at the Horniman Museum & Gardens was planted in January this year. A 300 square metre area has been redeveloped alongside the boundary with the South Circular, and planted, using the nature led Miyamaki method to create a dense and fast-growing micro forest that will act as a visual, noise and particulate barrier to the gardens. The work was carried out in-house by the Horniman’s professional and volunteer garden teams. Mostly native plants have been used but - with an eye on future-proofing for climate change - some have their origins in Southern Europe and North Africa, and sourcing the large number of seedlings required from nurseries impacted by Covid proved to be a challenge. There are currently about ten micro forests in the UK.
Funding was provided by a successful public appeal to which the Dulwich Society contributed £500.
Dulwich Park Wildlife Conservation Area
In 2019, Will Walpole, the Dulwich Park manager, asked the Friends of Dulwich Park to assist with a bid for relocating a path and gate in the wildlife conservation area to avoid the removal of three ancient English oaks, thought to be at least 250 years old. The Dulwich Society assisted towards the bid for a grant by contributing £2500 alongside Southwark Trees Department’s £5000 and Dulwich Park Friends £2500 and a grant from Southwark’s CGS (Cleaner Greener Safer) Fund of £5000.
The work has now been completed and the boundary oaks saved. And there is still access to the wildlife enclosure without fear of branches dropping off without warning. It was also one of the final projects of the Council’s CGS project manager Andrea Allen. We thank her for her kind co-operation over a number of years.
Presidential Post Cart Progress
Kenneth Wolfe conveys the old Dulwich Post cart to its final (?) resting place at the Royal Mail Sorting Office, Alleyn Park
Dulwich Gardens open for charity 2022
Enclosed with this Journal is a copy of our Dulwich Gardens open for Charity 2022 booklet, with details of over 30 local gardens that will be opening this year and that we hope you will take the chance to visit. Garden openings are one of the industries of Dulwich and a great source of ideas and inspiration, as well as raising significant sums for local and national charities.
A lovely garden (or a group of two, three or even more) showing at its best, often with home-made teas and the chance to buy plants that you may just have seen, all at excellent value, is a winning formula. It also involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work, so congratulations to the garden openers and their helpers.
Many thanks once again to Ann Rutherford for producing the booklet and to colleagues on the Gardens committee for help distributing it. Further copies of the brochure are available in local garden centres and other outlets.
Spring online gardens talk - Fergus Garrett: “Succession planting for a long garden season”
7.30pm, Monday 4th April 2022
The Dulwich Society’s Spring online garden talk this year will be by Fergus Garrett, head gardener at Great Dixter and one of the UK’s most influential gardeners.
In his illustrated talk, Fergus will use the magnificent Long Border at Great Dixter as an example of how to plan a long season border using structural plants, underplanting and interplanting with bulbs, use of self-sowers, pockets of bedding, masking with climbers and good maintenance.
The talk is being given in association with Bell House Dulwich, with any surplus going towards garden activities at Bell House. Tickets £7 - book through www.bellhouse.co.uk/events.
Garden visit to 51 The Chase, Clapham, SW4 0NP - 11am, Friday 22nd April 2022
We have arranged a visit to 51 The Chase, the home of Rupert Tyler, Chairman of the National Garden Scheme, and Charles Rutherfoord, a member and past Chairman of the Society of Garden Designers. The Spring display is spectacular, with over 2,000 tulips creating carpets of colour enhanced by camellias, tree peonies, irises and lilacs, all in a sheltered setting. Our visit will include an introduction to the garden and a tour of the house designed by Mr Rutherfoord and light refreshments.
The 37 bus from North Dulwich station and 35 from Camberwell Green/Brixton stop in nearby Cedars Road (stop P); in addition, the 137 bus and the 322 can be used to get there. Paid street parking is also available. Tickets for the visit are £10 from www.eventbrite.co.uk - search “Dulwich Society”. Please note that places are limited. Enquiries to
The 59th Annual General Meeting of the Dulwich Society will be held at 8pm on Monday 9th May 2022 in the Function Room at The Crown and Greyhound, 73 Dulwich Village, London, SE21 7BJ
Depending on Government guidance, it may prove necessary to hold the meeting remotely. Members are asked to check the website www.dulwichsociety.com or the Notice Board after 2nd May for confirmation of the location or (if the meeting is to be held remotely) details of the joining instructions for the Zoom meeting.
A review of the Society’s Rules is in progress but will not be completed before the AGM. The AGM will therefore take place under the existing Rules and a Special General Meeting will be held in due course to approve amendments to the Rules.
- Introduction and apologies for absence
- Approve Minutes of the 58th Annual General Meeting held on 14th September 2021 and Minutes of the Special General Meeting on 28th June 2021
- Matters Arising from AGM and SGM Minutes
- Chairman’s Report and Review of the Yea
- Approve accounts for the year ended 31st December 2021
- Appoint Independent Examiner. Nominee: Sally-Anne Jeffries, Chartered Accountant
- Appointment of the President - Dr Kenneth Wolfe
- Elections for 2022-2023 - Officers and Members of the Executive Committee.
- Any Other Business/Questions - please raise with the Chairman (
Refreshments will be served after the meeting.
Meeting papers will be made available on www.dulwichsociety.com in due course.
Nomination forms for election as an Officer or Member of the Executive Committee can be obtained from the Secretary. Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Secretary by two Society members not later than fourteen days before the AGM (i.e. by 25th April 2022) and must be endorsed by the candidate in writing. (Rule 9). Candidates must be members of the Society.
Elections and approvals will be conducted by Zoom poll if the AGM is held remotely.
Heather Stubbs, Hon. Secretary, Dulwich Society,
If you have not renewed your 2022 subscription, due on January 1st, then this journal will be the last you will receive and your name will be removed from the membership list on March 31st. Two reminders have been sent out to everyone (mainly those who pay by cheque) who have not paid and no further reminders will be sent.
It would be much easier (and would save the Society almost £200 in postage of reminder letters) if subscriptions were paid by standing order. These can be cancelled by you at any time and the Society cannot change the payment due. Be assured no bank records are kept by the Society as the SO form is sent to your bank once a membership number has been inserted. If you would like to change to a standing order, then these can be downloaded from the Society’s website (it is in the membership leaflet) or contact the membership secretary for one on 0208 6936313 or