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We promote and encourage research into Dulwich's fascinating past and are always keen to welcome new members. We write for the Society’s publications, give talks and guide local walks. We curate exhibitions, produce information boards and contribute to celebrations such as the Dulwich Festival. We have information on nearly all the houses in Dulwich: if you email us your address we can tell you its age and who lived there.
Local History Group terms of reference (PDF)
Contact: Ian McInnes,
Dulwich has been home to many notable residents and our local history group is researching their lives and achievements. The people included in this list meet the following criteria:
- they made a contribution to national life;
- are known outside their work and local area; and
- lived or worked in Dulwich for a reasonable time (and not just attended a local school).
Dulwich is taken broadly as the Dulwich Estate and its immediate neighbourhood, including the Southwark side of Herne Hill, East Dulwich as far as Barry Road and Sydenham next to the Estate boundary.
Find out more by visiting: www.dulwichsociety.com/people
This is the story of the Friern Manor Farm Estate, in East Dulwich, from the late 18th Century leading up to its development for house building in the last quarter of the 19th Century. The Estate covered some 221 acres, 89.5 hectares. It was bounded approximately by what is now Barry Road to the north, Lordship Lane to the west and a more indented eastern boundary reflecting historic field patterns flanking Peckham Rye and stretched south as far as the present Horniman Museum buildings. St Clement and St Peter Church was built on the site of the Friern Manor farmhouse, the main farm of the Estate.
For most of this period the owners lived elsewhere and used the Estate as a source of rental income and subsequently as an asset against which to secure loans. There is no evidence that the owners themselves had involvement in slavery but they did have close family ties with owners of slaves in the West Indies and a business associate who acted for slave owning families.
The Local History group has made a list of Dulwich's existing boundary markers, see below, and a map, available here. Please let us know if there are any more.
In former times when maps were rare, it was usual to make a formal perambulation of the parish boundaries on Ascension Day or during that week, on what were known as Rogation Days. Knowledge of the limits of each parish needed to be handed down so that such matters as liability to contribute to the repair of the church or the right to be buried within the churchyard were not disputed.
Thanks to Dulwich College, and in particular to the Keeper of the Archives Calista Lucy, the Court Rolls of the Manor of Dulwich have all now been photographed, and Patrick Darby of the Dulwich Society Local History Group has been transcribing and translating them. Images of those Rolls, with their transcriptions and (up to 1732) translations, are now available to view online. Patrick Darby has written an introduction to these remarkable insights into everyday life in Dulwich past.
Now available at www.dulwichsociety.com/courtrolls
As part of former Southwark Local Studies librarian Mary Boast's legacy, the Dulwich Society has collaborated with Dulwich College Archives in making the historic Dulwich Estate maps available on line. The estate extends from Denmark Hill to Crystal Palace and Herne Hill to Lordship Lane. Dating from 1806 through to 1974, the maps give a fascinating picture of the Estate's development over the last two hundred years.
Before 1850 Dulwich was a small village in the centre of a valley with large houses built mostly in the previous hundred years in the best positions on the slopes. The impetus for development in the mid-Victorian period came with the expansion of London, the building of the railways and the reform of the charity, Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift, which owned most of Dulwich. Edward Alleyn (1566-1626) was an early modern actor and playhouse owner.
We research the architectural and social history of streets in Dulwich and have included a list of architects whose work appears in Dulwich.
Here are the stories of some of the larger houses in Dulwich. They sometimes had different names through their history so we have chosen the name by which they are best known.
Dulwich has lost many grand houses with distinguished residents. Here are just a few:
- 7 Allison Grove, Dulwich Common
- Adon Mount, East Dulwich
- Beech House aka Warrigul
- Bessemer House and The Grange, Denmark Hill
- Breakspeare House, College Road
- Carlton House, Herne Hill
- The Chalet, Sydenham Rise
- Casino or Casina House, North Dulwich
- The Elms, Dulwich Common
- Dulwich Hill House
- Dulwich Upper Woods
2016 marked the 400th anniversary of the historic Burial Ground at the heart of Dulwich Village. Originally planned by Edward Alleyn (1566-1626), early modern actor and playhouse owner, Lord of the manor of Dulwich from 1606 as part of his charity, Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift, which included Dulwich schools and alms houses, it was consecrated by the then Archbishop of Canterbury on 1 September 1616 following a service at Christ Chapel earlier in the morning.
A selection of resources covering Dulwich during the two world wars.
World War One
- World War One Interactive Map: A joint venture by the Dulwich Society, Herne Hill Society and the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery commemorates the centenary of WW1 in an online interactive map. The map features locations in Herne Hill, Dulwich and Norwood and illuminates the contribution the area made to the war effort as well as the war’s impact on the lives of local people.
The Dulwich Society marked its 50th year by installing 12 commemorative plaques to those civilians killed during World War Two. Over 500 high explosive bombs and countless incendiaries fell on our small community; they were followed by 35 V1 flying bombs and three V2 rockets. Where possible, the plaques were unveiled by survivors or descendants of those killed and they bear the names and ages of those killed. This leaflet provides a guide to those memorials: PDF Download