The Diamond Jubilee is an occasion to celebrate being British and there will no doubt be many street parties in Dulwich and elsewhere this June. Indeed, Dulwich has a great tradition of street parties and some roads are well versed in their organisation. The usefulness of street parties is that you actually meet your neighbours. Once met, it leads to reciprocation in looking out for your neighbours’ house if they are away, having a spare key to turn off their alarm, being a refuge for children and teenagers who might be accidentally locked out and a host of other benefits, not least making the road a more pleasant place to live in.
A Jubilee is also often marked by a community by the setting up of a seat, the planting of a tree and sometimes by a large gift such as providing a playground or recreation field. For the Silver Jubilee the Dulwich Society restored the fountain in the Village, this time it is to contribute towards a Dulwich Heritage Room in Rosebery Lodge, Dulwich Park. There is also a plan to plant a memorial tree.
Even the most cursory of readers of this Journal might have noticed a change over the last couple of issues. After much deliberation and with an eye to costs we have finally succumbed to the advantage of colour. Certainly it has in the past been virtually impossible to convey, in black and white, the beauty of trees and wildlife which are regularly featured and which no doubt interest a large percentage of the membership. We know this from attendance at tree walks, garden visits and lectures and a keen interest in wildlife which has led to practical help being extended to the London Wildlife Trust and to the Friends of Dulwich Park.
It is now possible to capture in colour other aspects of Dulwich to which the membership has contributed money and labour: the winter garden in Dulwich Park, the Village copse in the Dulwich Park, the long hedge and wildlife walk in Belair and the newly planted hedge in Gallery Road. Indeed in coming issues we will do just that.
Participation by the membership (and others) has not stopped there. There has been great support for the setting up of a trust to run the Velodrome, and a similar enthusiasm to assist another new trust to take over the playing fields so long run by the University of the South Bank and its predecessors in Turney Road. A full account of the latter will be found in this issue. No greater input of effort can be found than in the Dulwich Festival, held annually since 1993. Like its founders, the current organisers include mothers with young children, and often they are work full time.
All of the forgoing has happened because people can be bothered to do things Community spirit has become a dated and somewhat maligned phrase. That is a pity because that is what makes Dulwich what it is.