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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
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
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.
A blue plaque is a historical marker installed in a public place to commemorate a link between that place and a famous person, event, or building. They can be part of the official scheme administered by English Heritage or organisations like Southwark Council. Dulwich has blue plaques commemorating one building and the people listed below, many of whom are detailed in our 'Who Was Who in Dulwich'. A Google map shows the locations of the blue plaques in Dulwich.
Helene Aldwinckle (1920-2020)
76 Farquhar Road, SE19 1LT
Bletchley Park codebreaker, broadcaster & gallerist
John Logie Baird (1888-1946)
3 Crescent Wood Road, SE26 6RT
Inventor, electrical engineer, and television pioneer
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.
The Local History Group answers a wide variety of enquiries from the general public. Here are some examples of recent queries.
WW1 bombing raid on the Covered Courts
Birth of Cecil Sharp on Denmark Hill
J T Helby at Glengarriff, Half Moon Lane
Melford Road builders
The Van den Boks at 8 Crescent Wood Road
History of the Lordship Lane Estate
Morkyns Walk on Alleyn Park
Amalie Jencken of Dulwich Common
Michael Pope of St Peters on Thurlow Hill
Ivor Gustavus Cummings.
Dulwich is rich in historical resources such as old maps, plans and photographs and you can trace the history of the area over time, using the census, electoral registers and other archive material. Here are some good places to start:
Southwark Archives, 211 Borough High Street, London SE1 1JA
tel: 020 7525 0232
website: Southwark Archives