Historic Organ returns

The organ, which has been played in Christ’s Chapel, Dulwich Village for two and a half centuries, has been reinstalled following three years of restoration by the specialist organ builders William Drake of Buckfastleigh, Devon at a cost of £½million. 

On 3rd August 1754 the College resolved that a new organ be built to replace the one which had been assembled from the remains of the organ destroyed during the Civil War. Payments of £20 a time were made to the builders over several years, the fourth payment being in 1756.  The new organ, made by the celebrated George England (‘Old’ England) and Thomas Whyatt (who may have made the oak organ case) was installed in the Chapel by the last Sunday in August 1760. The cost was £260 plus the old organ.

Dr William McVicker, the consultant on the restoration says, “There is precious little organ-building work by George England which has survived unaltered and of the original specification.  The survival of so much early pipework gives the organ a national importance - the instrument has both the earliest surviving Gothic Revival organ case and Cornet stop in the United Kingdom”.

The Chapel Organ is at the centre of a Georgian entertainment - The Dulwich Assembly to be held at the Chapel on Monday 7th December which celebrates in music and prose not only this organ but incorporates the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death and the discovery of the diaries of Richard Randall the chapel organist from 1762-82 who was a celebrated tenor and harpsichordist.  Full details may be found on page 29.

Dulwich Park Lodge, College Road

Southwark Council has confirmed that a tenancy has been awarded (subject to contract) to Whippersnappers CIC to run a range of services including workshops for elderly and disabled people, a small cottage industry crafts/ gifts shop; and meeting, function and training rooms.

The Society understands that Southwark Council’s Planning Department has given the go-ahead for the Parks Department to undertake the external repairs and the tenant has submitted a planning application for a Change of Use. The building works on the external repairs should start in February 2010 with internal works following on in May. These works will include general upgrade and repair to exterior and installation of a lift to ensure that the building is DDA compliant.

The tenant aims to be in operation by July.

Dulwich Park Lake

Earlier this year Southwark received four expressions of interest to run the boat concession on the lake in Dulwich Park. The concession brief required applicants to make a financial offer that included an annual rental offer and a premium payment to part-fund the construction of a boat house - the park has CGS funding for their part of the construction.

There have apparently been some problems over the final contract wording but these have now been resolved and, if an appointment can be made sooner rather than later, it may be possible to have some boats running by this autumn. The aim is to have the boat house constructed by summer 2010.

Dulwich Garden Safari

A splendid day in June gave about 800 people the opportunity to visit seven local gardens on a round trip in the Village.

There was great variety, from the tightly controlled and comprehensive planting of flowers, fruit and veg in one of the smaller gardens, to the equally controlled space, designed to show the lovely Comus Kousa trees, at peak of perfection, with their unusual 4 petalled perfect white flowers, in a stark modern setting of another.  At a further modern house the space had been well designed and the planting looked well established in a relatively short space of time.

The largest garden, with its surprise extension behind the shops, gave room for several large trees, herbaceous borders, and an attractive island bed.  Another charming garden, with a half-pergola to articulate the space, dividing without obstruction, showed many well chosen planting companions; geranium Johnson’s Blue, alchemilla and artemisia, the blues being particularly lovely in the early evening light.

A further planted space, perhaps an example of ‘guerrilla’ gardening was a vegetable plot, the beds surrounded in grass borders and then using every portion of “borrowed” fence, which was offered with expert advice to all potential grow-your-own hopefuls.

Thanks to the hospitality in a further garden, there was an exhibition and sale of paintings by Gail Gosschalk, together with a very long and enthusiastic queue for cups of tea and excellent cakes - all going to make a very successful afternoon of peaceful enjoyment, and helping to raise over £5500 for a local charity, Dulwich Helpline, which has been offering friendly volunteer support to isolated people living in Dulwich and neighbouring areas, for the past fifteen years.

Jill Manuel

House Driveways

All new drives and hard standings will be subject to the new legislation on sustainable urban drainage systems for driveways (SUDS). Unless you use the special paviors that allow rainwater to drain naturally you will be obliged to seek planning consent from Southwark Council. All new works, including alterations to existing drives, also need the permission of the Dulwich Estate and it is likely that they will insist on this type of paving being used. Residents should also be aware that Southwark will not construct crossovers unless they have confirmation from the Estate that the new drive has the latter’s approval - an all to rare, but very welcome, example of the Estate and Southwark working together.

Memories of Alleyn’s

Following on from the success of the book, ‘Drama & Music: The Performing Arts at Alleyn’s’, the School will be hosting a series of reunion lunches for its former pupils to quiz them about their school day memories at Townley Road.

‘Drama & Music’ is a lavishly illustrated collection of personal memories of the musical and dramatic activities of pupils. It also tells the story behind the new Edward Alleyn Building, which houses the Michael Croft Theatre.

The School will invite all those Old Boys who were at the School in the 1930s and ‘40s to a reunion lunch on 2 March 2010. (For those wondering about Old Girls, girls didn’t arrive at Alleyn’s until the 1970s.) They will be given a tour of the Alleyn’s site, and then treated to lunch whilst sixth-form students interview and record them about their schoolboy days at Alleyn’s. Headmaster Dr Colin Diggory says ‘It is clear that there is a wealth of untapped information about our School and we really want to record it for posterity. When former pupils visit the School I am always amazed by the clarity with which they remember a whole variety of different aspects of school life. The stories they tell are fascinating.’

It is hoped that the format will be repeated for subsequent generations of pupils and that all their memories will be collected together and published in a book.

If you were at Alleyn’s in the 1930s or ‘40s, or are in touch with someone who was, please do get in touch with Susie Schofield, Head of Alumni Relations, on 020 8557 1466 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To order a copy of ‘Drama & Music’ please send a cheque for £15 (+ £1.50 p+p) made payable to ‘Alleyn’s School’ to Alumni Office, Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, London SE22 8SU. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Alleyn’s Bursary Fund to provide free places to those with ability, regardless of background.

Susie Schofield

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