The Dulwich Society Commemorates the Sign of the Red Post

The Dulwich Society, in conjunction with The Herne Hill Society will unveil a red-painted fingerpost in front of Herne Hill United Church at the top of Red Post Hill on Saturday October 2nd at 11.am. Everyone is invited to attend. The new fingerpost will replicate ‘the cross of direction’ named the Red Post, which stood nearby, from at least the middle of the eighteenth century to around 1840 and which gave its name to Red Post Hill early in the nineteenth century; originally the road had been called Aspole Lane, probably meaning Ashpole, and is mentioned Dulwich’s fourteenth century Court Rolls.

The Red Post, then standing of the middle of the road now named HerneHill/Denmark Hill, was marked on maps and in the text of guide books to the environs of London. Fingerposts began to appear in England after 1697 when legislation enabled magistrates to order directional signs to be put up at cross-highways. There is a tradition that red-painted fingerposts (which still exist in small numbers in the West Country) marked the route to prisons for convicts sentenced to transportation.
The new red fingerpost, which was awarded a Dulwich Community Council grant, will also have an explanatory plaque.

On the following day, Sunday October 3rd at 2.30pm the Local History Group, which researched and proposed the Red Post, is to hold an Edward Alleyn and the Bankside Walk starting at Southwark Cathedral where Alleyn was a church warden, at 3pm. The walk will then proceed to the remains of the Rose Theatre owned by Philip Henslowe, Alleyn’s father in law and which featured so prominently in the film Shakespeare in Love. It is hoped that Harvey Sheldon, the archaeologist who discovered the site of the Rose Theatre will be available to talk about it. The walk will also visit the sites of the Bear Garden and the Globe.
Southwark Cathedral can be reached by train from North Dulwich Station to London Bridge. The walk is free of charge and members and friends are warmly invited.

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