black and white sketch of a large Georgian house and front drive in Dulwich

From the mid-17th century until 1783 the site of 'Glenlea' formed part of a 46-acre farm, 17 acres of which (known as Peckamins, a field, and not to be confused with Peckamins Coppice) lay across the Common, to the east of the present Toll Gate. The other 29 acres comprised fields known as Agnesfields (26 acres) and Dickariddings (3 acres), covering more or less what is now the southern half of Dulwich Park and the land between that and Dulwich Common, although where precisely Dickariddings was within that area we cannot be certain.

With another 3-acre field called Crouchmans (the site of Bell House), these 29 acres were, at the time when the Rent Book records begin in 1626, being let to Edmund Redman, a husbandman. In 1628 he was paying £17 10s a year for the whole 32 acres. He assigned his lease to the sisters Bathsheba and Avisa Casinghurst in 1635, and soon afterwards Bathsheba, who married Mathew Sheppard the same year, became entitled to the entirety. Mathew Sheppard died in 1655, and in 1657 Crouchmans was dropped from Bathsheba's lease, but Peckamins was added in 1661 to make the 46-acre farm referred to above.

In 1666 Bathsheba Sheppard assigned her lease to John Davis, and the farm remained in the Davis family for three generations (all of them called John). The rent rose from £28 10s in 1666 to £36 in 1737, when Messrs. Thomas and William Seagood were ordered to be granted a new lease and to be allowed rough timber "for the present building of two houses". Thomas was a 'Plaisterer', and William a bricklayer, both based in London. William had died by 1762, when a new lease was granted to Thomas alone at the same rent of £36, replacing a lease granted to both of them in 1749.

In 1783 Ann Seagood (Thomas' widow, he having died c.1771) wrote to the Master of the College (Thomas Allen) offering him "a dish of tea". Presumably she had urgent business to discuss, as her lease was due to expire, but if she did try to negotiate a renewal she was unsuccessful, as in that year the 46-acre farm was broken up. Three fields (12½ acres) were added to Thomas Wright's lease of 'Bell House', 'Peckamins' and other fields were included in the lease of 'The Elms' (roughly the site of the Dulwich Riding School), and 'Ryecotes' and its adjoining field were leased to Henry William Atkinson. What was left comprised two houses and gardens, shown by both simple and crossed hatching on Diagram 1. As the history of 'Glenlea' involves both, we shall take each of them in turn.

1. The land shown with simple hatching: In October 1783 this was leased to Robert Clemmons (later the lessee of 'Toksowa', or 'Hambledon House') for 21 years at £16 a year. As can be seen, there were two buildings on the site, but the larger of the two was itself two houses, one of which Ann Seagood had occupied herself. The smaller building had been erected by Clemmons, replacing two even smaller houses, early in 1783. With the gardens and orchard behind, the area amounted to 1a.1r.10p. Clemmons remained as tenant until March 1796, but who succeeded him is unclear from the Rent Books. We do know that in about 1800 Daniel Stowe occupied the cottage built by Clemmons, prior to moving into 'Hall Place', which Stowe was presumably refurbishing. In September 1802 Charles Druce was ordered to have a new 21-year lease when the present one expired in 1804, at £10 a year, on his covenanting to replace the existing buildings with a substantial new house (at a cost of not less than £1,000, he being allowed the old materials) within two years, and on 26 March 1804 the lease was duly granted to him. He is described in it as Charles Druce, of Billiter Square in the County of London, Gentleman. Druce agreed to surrender this lease in September 1807, in consideration of a new lease (including a piece of land 4a.2r.30p. on the south side of the Common) being granted to him, for 21 years from Michaelmas 1807 at £30 p.a., but he assigned the benefit of this agreement to John Druce (one of his sons), of Fulham in Middlesex, Esquire, to whom the lease was actually granted on September 29th 1808, although it was for 84 years (as permitted by the new Act of Parliament, which came into force on June 18th, 1808) from 25 March 1804. The fine or premium (in other words the purchase price) paid by John Druce for the lease was £80. According to the potted 'History' filed with the Glenlea Lease Packet, John Druce assigned this lease back to Charles Druce on 25 March 1809, but the assignment is "not traceable at present". It is probable that an informal assignment had taken place at a much earlier date, and that Charles Druce had begun building what was to be his family home of 'Glenlea' shortly after 1804.

2. The land shown cross-hatched: In October 1783 this was leased to Thomas Green, who had previously held it as the Seagoods' sub-tenant, for 21 years at £10 a year. He was succeeded by William Green in 1787, and in March 1789 the rent became £30 for house and garden ground (0a.3r.26p.) and a piece of land (8a.0r.17p.) on the south side of the Common. This was assigned to Alexander Luders Esq. (possibly the same A. Luders who, with others, edited 'The Statutes of the Realm' between 1810 and 1828), to whom a lease was granted in October 1791. This was assigned first to Henry Burne in 1800, then to Samuel Lancaster in 1805, then held briefly by Anthony Sterry in 1808. At the Audit Meeting in September 1808 it was ordered that on surrender of Sterry's lease Charles Druce should have an 84 year lease (back-dated to Lady Day 1804) of the old messuage and garden, and Sterry should retain the 8a.0r.20p. field. Druce's rent was to be £10 p.a., and he was either to pull down the old house (which, of course, now adjoined his splendid new home of 'Glenlea') and replace it, or substantially repair and improve it. As it is shown on later maps, he presumably chose the latter course. In any event, a lease in these terms was granted to him on 1 April 1809. According to the potted 'History', it enabled Druce to erect a Coachhouse and stable on the land (0a.3r.6p.) upon which formerly stood a messuage in the occupation of Samuel Lancaster, abutting east of the land leased to John Druce on September 29th 1808. The coachhouse and stable, which were to the east of and adjoining the main house, comprised mangers for two horses, a loose-box, and the harness room with fittings for saddles and harness. It is still there (or at least was in 1984).

For comparison with Diagram 1, Diagram 3 (on page 15) shows exactly the same area as it existed shortly before the demolition of 'Ryecotes' in 1966. The 1809 Dulwich Estate Map shows the lay-out both of 'Glenlea' and of the adjoining property which was eventually amalgamated with it in great detail, and Diagram 2 (on previous page) reproduces a section of the 1809 Map showing these and the neighbouring properties.

Thanks to the potted 'History' filed in the lease packet for 'Glenlea' in the College Archives, we have details of the various underleases and sub-underleases, and their respective assignments and surrenders during the course of the 19th century, which would otherwise be lacking. Sometimes the existence of these documents has been surmised from other deeds, and a note made that the document in question is "not traceable at present" (here abbreviated to 'n.t.a.p.').

But first we must say something of Charles Druce, who was to occupy Glenlea for the next forty years. Druce's association with Dulwich College had begun in the late 1780s, when he went into partnership with Robert Parnther, the College's legal adviser and Steward of the Manor, having been an assistant in his firm, which had offices in Bedford Square. Parnther is first mentioned as Manor Steward in 1789, but from that date Druce's handwriting is clearly discernible in every entry in the College Audit Book, and it seems that Dulwich's affairs were virtually his exclusive province. In 1800 the firm of Parnther & Druce was dissolved, and at the same time Druce succeeded Parnther officially as Steward of the Manor, a post he was to continue to occupy until his death, aged 83, in 1845. In 1841 the College honoured him by the presentation of a piece of plate. He also held the position of Clerk to the InnHolders Company. Druce married the daughter of R. G. S. Browne, and was the father of 22 children, all but one of whom survived infancy. 
 
Druce found no difficulty in combined his duties as legal adviser to the College with activity in the field of speculative building, a combination which might be frowned upon somewhat nowadays. He was particularly active in the early years of the nineteenth century, usually undertaking ventures in partnership with George Tappen (who similarly had no qualms about combining his speculative activities with his duties as Surveyor to the College). Tappen was a distinguished architect, and was responsible for several large institutions in London of which none, unfortunately, survive. 'Glenlea' was Druce and Tappen's first major venture together in Dulwich, and Tappen's designs for the new building were exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1806 Druce rebuilt 85 Dulwich Village, which became a grocer's shop, and in 1811 built or rebuilt 53 Dulwich Village ('Elm Cottages'). In 1811 he and Tappen were responsible for the twin houses of 'Northcroft' and 'The Willows', on Dulwich Common, the design of which, particularly in the arched frontages, is reminiscent of 'Glenlea'. There were other houses which Druce either built or rebuilt, so that by September 1820 a 'Terrier' of College lands lists him as being the lessee, under five separate leases, of a total of eleven houses and 21 acres. By the 1830s the Romilly family were the occupiers, as under-lessees of Charles Druce's lease, of 'The Willows', and in his diary for 2 January 1834 the ubiquitous Joseph Romilly records: "Dined at the Druces. Very hospitably entertained, as indeed one always finds there I played a little whist successfully and Margaret [Joseph's sister] some stupid lotto unsuccessfully."

 Following Charles Druce's death in 1845, his family presented a portrait of him (by Mr Briggs) to the College, which was placed in the ante-room of the old College and is now kept at Dulwich College. He is, of course, also commemorated by having a road in Dulwich named after him. His son Charles, born in 1792, and who had qualified as a Solicitor in 1814, succeeded his father as legal adviser to the College. By the time he died, on January 10th 1881, he was reported by the 'Solicitors Journal' to be "almost the oldest practising Solicitor in London", being then 88 years old, and the head of the firm of Druce, Sons, & Jackson. Charles Druce senior had moved the practice, which specialised in mercantile law, from Bedford Square to Billiter Square, where his son continued to practise, first in partnership with his father and brother John, later with his own sons Charles Claridge Druce and Alexander Claridge Druce, and also with one Arthur Jackson, for sixty six years. His second son was George Druce, Q.C., who had been killed by falling from his horse in 1868. Alexander C. Druce succeeded his father as solicitor to Dulwich College and, like his grandfather before him, was Clerk to the Inn-Holders Company. He was also a Dulwich resident, holding the lease of 'Brightlands' at the junction of Dulwich Common and Gallery Road, from 1848 to 1892. Subsequently the family firm became Druces & Attlee (the new partner being the father of the future Labour Prime Minister Clement later Lord Attlee), who remained legal advisers to the College and Estates Governors until very recently. 
 
Strangely, there is a gap in the surviving leases of 'Glenlea' between 1809 and 1846. Charles Druce's leases must have been amalgamated, and were not due to expire until 25 March 1888. On April 30th 1846 his son Charles granted an Underlease (n.t.a.p.) to Edward Horner for the residue of his term less 21 days (i.e. for 42 years less 21 days from 25/3/1846) at £150 p.a.

Edward Horner was a partner in Horner & Sons, a firm of drug wholesalers which traced its origins back to the beginning of the nineteenth century, and which survived until as recently as 1975. It seems likely that Edward and one or more of his brothers joined their father as partners in the firm in about 1840, when Edward would have been about 25. Pharmaceutical wholesaling seems to have been a profitable business even in the nineteenth century, as it was presumably the firm's subsequent prosperity which enabled Horner to purchase 'Glenlea' from Charles Druce in 1846. At this point Horner was in his early thirties, and married with three children under five. By the time of the 1851Census Edward and his wife, Anne, had been blessed with another four children, and they were employing six resident servants. It must have been quite a tight fit, with a total of fifteen people living in the house and adjoining coach-house.

It seems likely that Horner enlarged 'Glenlea' in order to make room for his growing household. According to the maps, the original house didn't extend to the western boundary of the property, but in the gap between the house and the boundary fence or wall there was a small building dating back at least to 1783, erected by a previous lessee of the site. This building Horner either demolished or, less probably, incorporated it in the western extension that he had built to the house, almost certainly in the 1850s. With the completion of this additional wing (which was not as high as the original house as it lacks an attic floor), 'Glenlea' must have acquired much the same external aspect that it has today.

But even with this extra accommodation, if Horner's family and supporting staff had continued to grow, as may well have been the case, 'Glenlea' would once again have provided insufficient living and sleeping space for them all. This may be the reason why Horner and his family left 'Glenlea' in 1857, having made it their home for eleven years. On June 8th 1857 Edward Horner granted a sub-underlease for the residue of his term less 10 days (i.e. 30 years and three quarters, less 31 days, from 24/6/1857 presumably) to W. H. H. Lazenby, at the same rental which Horner was paying for his lease, namely £150 p.a., for a premium of £300. A last note about Horner: he seems to have lived to a prosperous old age, and in 1884 is recorded as living at May Place, Crayford, by which time he was in his late sixties.

There was no danger of 'Glenlea' ever being too small for its new owner. William Lazenby was in his early fifties when he moved into the house in 1857 with his wife Elizabeth and his son Walter (who subsequently acquired his own home, living in the 1870s and '80s first at 'Breakespeare' and then at 'Castlebar' on Sydenham Hill). William and Elizabeth seem to have lived quite modestly, as two maidservants and a cook are the only domestic staff recorded in the 1871 Census. Like his predecessor Horner, Lazenby was in trade. Many of those who leased the more substantial properties in Dulwich during much of the nineteenth century were in trade; that is to say they were not shopkeepers but manufacturers and wholesalers. Lazenby's father, Edward, had been a wholesaler of oils and Italian goods as far back as 1790. When he died in about 1820 his widow Elizabeth and her sons, of whom William was one, took over the business. William appears to have branched out on his own in about 1826, when he would only have been about 21 or 22, as a manufacturer of fishpaste. From about 1840, after his marriage, the business was carried on in the name of his wife, also called Elizabeth. By this time his mother Elizabeth, and one remaining brother, were also manufacturing fishpaste, trading under the name Elizabeth Lazenby & Son. Pots of fishpaste with Elizabeth Lazenby's signature on the jar continued to be manufactured until well into the present century, although after the Second World War the firm moved into merchandising preserved provisions 'Lazenby's Pies' then became fruit carriers, and ceased trading in about 1960.

William, meanwhile, took a man named Goater into partnership in the mid-1840s, and may possibly have sold his share of the business in the early 1850s, as thereafter it ceased to bear his name. Whether he then returned to the family firm we do not know. It may, of course, be that he bought the lease of 'Glenlea' in 1857 with the proceeds of sale of the business.

'Glenlea' was to be William and Elizabeth Lazenby's home for the rest of their lives. There is no record of any alterations or improvements made to the estate during the eighteen years of Lazenby's occupancy, and perhaps none were necessary or Lazenby was frugal with his money. When he died on September 18th 1875 (his wife Elizabeth having predeceased him a few years earlier) he left getting on for £50,000, a very substantial figure for those days, and his son Walter was his sole beneficiary.

Following Lazenby's death his sub-underlease from Edward Horner was assigned by his Executors (Lazenby and Silvester) to Mrs C. M. Peel, in consideration of £400, on November 29th, 1875. Mrs Peel, a widowed lady from the Forest of Dean, herself assigned it on 24 October 1876 to A. C. S. Draper for £500, and Draper, a leather manufacturer from Southwark, assigned it for £350 to Charles Robert Lindsay on 25 March 1882.

Charles Lindsay was a member of a family the like of which was not uncommon in mid Victorian upper-middle-class England a family with a long history of service in India, and with roots there probably deeper than in Britain. The Lindsays were a distinguished Anglo Indian family too. Charles' father, Colin Lindsay, was in the Bengal Civil Service and finally became a Judge in Delhi. His uncle, Hugh, was a Director of the Honourable East India Company, which was responsible for administering the sub-continent until the Indian Mutiny in 1857 and the subsequent creation of the India Office in 1858.

Charles was born in Calcutta in 1826 and probably spent his early years in India before returning to England for his education. Prior to attending the East India Company college at Haileybury he lived for some time with a private tutor, the Rev. Edward Rowsell, and his family, in Effra Grove, Brixton. This was presumably his first acquaintance with this part of south London. Apparently he endeared himself to the Rowsell family; Mr Rowsell spoke of him as "a youth in whom I shall ever feel much interest". Lindsay was admitted to the Bengal Civil Service in 1844, when he was 18, and arrived in India a year later. From then until 1858 he was employed in the Revenue and Judicial departments of the North West Provinces. In 1848 he married Rhoda Gwatkin, who had herself been born in India; he was 22 and she was 19. He and Rhoda had two daughters, both of whom were under eight when the Indian Mutiny broke out in 1858. The North West Provinces, where Lindsay was stationed, was the heart of mutiny country; Meerut, Cawnpore and Lucknow were names with dreadful memories for many Anglo-Indians for generations to come. It must have been decidedly uncomfortable to have been a single man in that area at that time; but to have been there with a wife and two small children as well must have been extremely worrying. But the family survived, and Lindsay continued his progress up the ladder of judicial promotion until in 1869 he reached the eminent position of Judge of the Chief Court of the Punjab in Lahore. He held this office until his retirement from India in 1880 at the age of 54.

Why, when he left India, and given that he had so few roots in England anyway, did Lindsay settle in Dulwich? The time he spent with the Rowsells in Brixton in 1841-42 may have influenced his choice, but there was a more decisive factor. While on leave in 1878, Lindsay had drawn up his Will, and had appointed as one of his Executors a Colonel Thomas Taylor of West Dulwich, Surrey. Lindsay presumably asked his friend Taylor to look out for a suitable property for him when he came to England, and Taylor found 'Glenlea'.

When Lindsay moved into 'Glenlea' in 1882 he employed the same determination and energy in putting it to rights as he had applied to his administrative and judicial duties in India. He seems to have given the house a complete overhaul not before time, as presumably little had been done to it since Horner had built the west wing thirty years before. Lindsay installed some plumbing a bath and three W.Cs. and introduced slow combustion stoves into most of the rooms something he and his family would have appreciated, having come to chilly England after nearly a lifetime in India's warmer clime. Lindsay may well have remodelled part of the interior, but it is unlikely that he made major changes or additions to the exterior, as no changes in the ground plan are visible between the Ordnance Survey maps of 1870 and 1895.

At some time between 1882 and 1884 Lindsay purchased the head-Lease from Anne Druce, Charles Druce's surviving executrix, for £422 4s. 3d., and must also have acquired Edward Horner's underlease (although the potted 'History' doesn't mention this), for on 3 March 1884 Charles Druce's Executors joined with Lindsay to effect a surrender of the existing leases, in consideration of the Estates Governors agreeing to grant Lindsay a new lease, subject to the sanction of the Charity Commissioners. This must have been obtained in record time, for the new lease, for 40 years from Lady Day 1883, at £120 p.a., was granted to Lindsay on 6 March 1884, only three days later. It was stated to be granted in consideration of the expenses incurred by the Lessee in the substantial additions to and repairs and improvements of the building. The improvements at 'Glenlea' may have had one regrettable result: in a letter to the Estates Governors Lindsay, referring to the Camberwell Vestry, wrote: "I am fighting with them for a reduction of the rating on the house". Nothing changes! Another interesting point: it was at the beginning of Lindsay's occupancy that the house regularly became known as 'Glenlea'.

We know little of Lindsay's subsequent life in Dulwich, beyond the fact that he became a J.P. at some point around 1890. He lived at 'Glenlea' until his death in 1895 at the age of 69. His estate was valued at £12,000. On June 17th 1895 Lindsay's widow, Rhoda, surrendered the 1884 lease gratis to the Estates Governors.

What were these "substantial additions and improvements" undertaken by Lindsay? According to a recent owner, Mr A. G. Costa, they "appear to have consisted of a west wing, which comprised a bedroom above with, below, a service entrance, with a large kitchen and servants' hall with cast-iron range and all necessary dressers, drawers and cupboards, and, to the rear, the scullery with 'copper' and sink, a very large reserve water-tank and flagstone floors throughout, and, subsequently, the 'boot-room' and coal cellar with rear door to the garden."

In July 1895, just one month after Mrs Lindsay had surrendered the lease of 'Glenlea', the Estates Governors leased it to Walter Savage of No. 48, Trafalgar Road, Peckham, a house which still stands in what is now called Trafalgar Avenue. It is now bounded on its southern side by Burgess Park, which stretches from Camberwell Road in the west to the Old Kent Road in the east, and borders the Grand Surrey Canal. It was the canal which was the main factor in Mr Savage's business. He was a packing-case manufacturer with premises around the corner from his home, in what was then called Derwent Dock and Stanley Dock at the bottom of Glengall Road. His trademark was 'Boxhauling'. Savage's lease of 'Glenlea' was for 21 years from Midsummer 1895, with an option for the Lessee to determine the lease at the end of the 7th or 14th years, at a rent of £120 p.a.

Savage didn't live in 'Glenlea' much beyond 1900. However, his business prospered, and he opened further premises along Glengall Road. Whether he was prompted to sell 'Glenlea' in order to finance the purchase of these premises we aren't sure maybe Mrs Savage wanted a modern house but in any event the Savages were the first occupants of No. 2, Eynella Road, the end-of-terrace house with a garage or stable built at the same time. Savage died in 1916, and several years later the business was sold. The packing-cases factory continued in the same premises until the early 1970s, when the site was cleared for housing, and of course the canal, together with its attendant docks, has long since gone.

In 1901 'Glenlea's new owner was a Dulwich resident, one Charles Herbert Sankey, who had previously lived in North Dulwich, and more recently at Marlowe House, Dulwich Village. Sankey had a controlling interest in the firm of J. H. Sankey, makers of frying pans, rice bowls, stump cups for Australia, Cassada pans for South America, American baking dishes, and Neptune ware. J. H. Sankey, established in 1857, were also contractors to H.M. Government as cement shippers, and manufacturers of tiles and sanitary ware. The garden of 'Glenlea' itself contains a number of concrete slabs stamped "Sankey"! According to the potted 'History', Sankey exercised the option in his lease to determine after 14 years, at Midsummer 1909, but apparently he remained at 'Glenlea' until 1912, when he moved to Chiselhurst. His two sons had been educated at Dulwich College. Today, the firm of J. H. Sankey employs over eight hundred people and has an annual turnover of £70m. Until 1984 its twenty subsidiaries were owned by the National Coal Board. No member of the Sankey family is now connected with the firm.

On 24 October 1912 the Estates Governors granted a new lease of 'Glenlea' to J. C. Atkin, for 21 years from Midsummer 1910, at an annual rent of £80, and with the same options for premature determination as in the previous lease. Atkin was given an allowance of £200, to set against the rent, in respect of repairs. Jim Cook Atkin was a Butcher, with premises at 77 Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, and remained lessee until 1925, when (on November 12th) the Estates Governors granted him licence to assign his lease to one E. A. Merry. Merry does not seem to have retained his interest in 'Glenlea' very long, however, for in 1925 Wallace M. Young, a partner in the Greenwich Estate Agents Douglas Young, acquired the lease, and on June 11th 1931 the Estates Governors granted Young a further 21 year lease, determinable as before, at £110 p.a.

On March 9th 1939 Young was granted licence to assign to A. G. Costa, and very shortly afterwards Mr Costa became the owner of 'Glenlea'. At that time, Mr Costa informed us, 'Glenlea' must still have been very much as it was in late Victorian times, after Lindsay's additions and improvements. In the main part of the house, at the top of a short flight of stairs, there were two attic bedrooms for domestics, with a cast-iron copper, for emptying slops, in a small corridor outside. On the whole the sanitary arrangements left much to be desired one bath and three w.c's. Mr Costa added a billiard room and made a number of other necessary improvements.

The grounds extended from Dulwich Common as far as the fence of Dulwich Park just by the tennis courts. The front garden, with its drive and two gateways, consisted mainly of shrubbery, with the view of the house obscured from the road by heavy iron railings (soon to be confiscated for the war effort) and a long privet hedge. At the rear the garden started with a lawn large enough for a tennis court, with many flower-beds, shrubberies, and rock gardens, surrounding a circular pond. At the end of the lawn was a heated vinery, with tool/ potting-shed, as well as stoke hole to provide heat for the vinery and a large conservatory that faced the pond. Beyond was an old-style kitchen-garden, bounded by neat box-hedges, and replete with every kind of vegetable normally grown, including asparagus, globe artichokes, salsifis, strawberries, gooseberries, currant bushes, etc. At the end of the kitchengarden, extending right across the property, was an old 10 ft. high brick wall with nicely curving back, on the south side of which grew fig trees, espalier peach trees, nectarines and apricots, with espalier pear trees on the east side next to Ryecotes. Beyond the old wall, through an archway to the right, one entered the orchard which extended as far as Dulwich Park, bordering those grounds of 'Oakfield' which extended beyond Allison Grove cul-de-sac on the left, and the grounds of 'Ryecotes' on the right. The orchard was very well furnished with all kinds of fruit trees apples, pears, plums, medlars, hazelnuts, walnuts, and an old quince tree the fruit of which Mr Bartley in Dulwich Village was only too glad to take during the season. A little way down the orchard was a chicken house and run, where two dozen or so chickens were kept, the eggs being preserved with waterglass. At the end, to the right, were hot-houses for raising cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, etc., and a number of brick coldframes. Backing onto the park was a large old shed, like a barn, accommodating all the barrows, water carriers, mowers, and larger tools, and at one time pigs were reared here. Two full-time gardeners were employed, and great activity went on during the season gathering, storing, bottling the fruit, jam-making, etc. The whole atmosphere of the place was that of being deep in the country rather than a mere four miles from central London.

On September 7th, 1939, four days after the start of the Second World War, Mr Costa surrendered the 1931 lease in return for a new 28 year lease, with the usual 7-yearly break clauses, at the same rent of £110. Mr Costa was forced to send his family out of London and he himself joined the ranks of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. On September 27th, 1940, a 1,000 kg bomb demolished the old wall across the garden, doing a great deal of damage, and a further bomb destroyed the equally high wall between 'Glenlea' and 'Ryecotes', together with the adjoining conservatory. The stick of bombs which fell on Allison Grove, incidentally destroying the house opposite that of the family of William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw), also rocked 'Glenlea', and a further large bomb fell just in front of 'Glenlea', in the College field adjoining the Covered Courts, severely shaking the house and eventually leading to the rebuilding of the classical portico.

The Dutch Connection 

During the winter of 1942-3 the Dutch Government in exile decided to establish a new Dutch Intelligence Service, called Bureau Inlichtingen B.I. for short to be responsible for all information passing between England and Holland. B.I., under Dr Col. J. M. Somer, was to work in close contact with the British S.I.S. (Secret Intelligence Service), Section NorthWest Europe, under Col. J. K. Cardeaux, with Captain Charles Seymour as first liaison officer. 

Since the occupation of Holland in May 1940 a number of men and a few women escaped from Holland and made their way to England. Many of those who tried to escape were arrested by the Germans and perished in concentration camps. Between 1940 and 1945 approximately 1,800 men and women succeeded in fleeing from occupied Holland and to reach the U.K. to join the Allied forces.

These men and women who reached England and joined the Allied forces were called 'Engelandvaarders', which translated means 'England pilgrims', and it was from among these that suitably qualified volunteers, willing to return to occupied territory, were sought for the Dutch Intelligence Service. The 'Engelandvaarders' had their own club in London, in the Bayswater Road, called 'Oranje Haven', which means 'Orange Harbour'. Queen Wilhelmina, who was living at this time in exile in England, personally entertained to tea at her home, Stebbing House, Maidstone, every single Engelandvaarder on his or her arrival. The British S.I.S. was responsible for the technical training of the Dutch agents (as it was for those in the French, Belgian, Norwegian and Danish services). Ideally, for maximum security, every agent would have been trained and housed individually, since any contact with fellow-agents was a security risk. However, in practice there was no other choice but to train and house many of the agents together. 'Glenlea', from which the trainee agents could travel to the various centres in and outside London for training in wireless operating, coding and decoding techniques, close combat, small firearm drill, etc., was chosen as their base.

In January 1943, the first Dutchmen arrived at 'Glenlea'. Among the first group of ten agents to take up residence there was R. A. Grisnigt, who returned to Dulwich more than forty years later, from his home in Hoogerheide, to address the meeting organised by the Dulwich Society immediately following a visit to 'Glenlea' on 6 June 1985. For security reasons, all the agents had undercover names, even in training. For the same reason they referred to 'Glenlea' only by its code name of 'Huize Anna', and, Mr Grisnigt informed us, still do. In charge of the unit at 'Glenlea' was Commander Child, an English Naval Reserve Officer, who had lost a leg during enemy operations near The Hague in May 1940. 

The 'Glenlea' household was run during Mr Grisnigt's time there (January September 1943), by a Mrs Green and her daughter Kitty, and, later on, by a Mrs Willar and a Mrs Pendry. They evidently rose to the task of keeping their charges, who by Mr Grisnigt's own admission could be quite a handful, in order, and well provided-for. "Whenever we arrived home late at night, there was always a plate of sandwiches, sausage rolls or pork pies awaiting us. In accordance with military rule, we had to be in before midnight, when Mrs Green had orders to lock the door. But, before locking the door, she was thoughtful enough to place a spare key under the outside doormat, so that any late-comer could just creep in. After the war I was told that this job of housekeeper was so demanding that it became a regular occurrence for the house-keepers to offer their resignation, pending a nervous breakdown!" When the trainee agents weren't enjoying late nights out, they could play snooker in the billiard room, or table-tennis, or read or talk in the lounge. Although in principle no training was to take place in 'Huize Anna', the room opposite the main entrance was equipped with some wireless equipment for them to practise their wireless-operating skills. They had their breakfast and evening meal at the large oblong table (ten or twelve at a sitting) in the large and comfortable kitchen, where many plans were made and confidences exchanged. Upstairs were several comfortable bedrooms. The Commander had the bedroom over the kitchen wing. The agents used to share bedrooms, usually two or more to one room.

Mr Grisnigt had fond memories of the garden at 'Glenlea', and recalled a flourishing grapevine in the large greenhouse. 

For relaxation the agents often visited 'The Grove Tavern', where a blind pianist called Frank played the popular songs of the day, and 'The Crown and Greyhound'. To keep fit, they went for early-morning pre-breakfast runs in Dulwich Park. "I can still feel and taste the clean fresh air, unpolluted by traffic; the smell of the trees, leaves, flowers of Dulwich Park, and of Dulwich itself. In those far-off days, 'Glenlea' 'Huize Anna' was really a second home from home."

From Spring 1943 until Spring 1945, a total of 43 B.I. agents were dropped over Holland. Of these 43 agents, 34 agents stayed at 'Glenlea' 'Huize Anna'. They were all in their twenties; Mr Grisnigt was 20 years old when parachuted over Holland. Of those 34 agents, the first to leave 'Glenlea' and England, on 23 March, was killed when the plane taking him to the dropping zone was shot down over the Zuider Zee. The last agent drowned, on 12 April 1945, when he parachuted off course and landed in the middle of a large lake. 13 agents completed all or part of their mission and evaded captured by the Germans. 19 agents were arrested, during or after completion of their mission. Of these, 14 were killed or died in prison or concentration camps. 5 agents, including Mr Grisnigt (who the Germans tracked down in Amsterdam, where he was arrested on 2 February 1944 and sent eventually to Ravensbruck concentration camp near Berlin), were lucky to survive this ordeal and were liberated by the Allies. In short, of the 34 young men who stayed at 'Glenlea', 16 did not return. Of the agents who resided at 'Glenlea', one agent received, posthumously, the highest Dutch military decoration, i.e. the Militaire Willemsorde, the equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

Before being dropped into Holland, in Spring 1943, Mr Grisnigt had met his future wife Ann (Stone), a former J.A.G.S. girl living in South Croxted Road, who often travelled by the same evening train from London to Dulwich. After his liberation by the Russians, he returned to Dulwich to marry her, in the old Emmanuel Church.

After the War's end Mr Costa returned to 'Glenlea'. In 1953 the whole of the orchard and part of the kitchen-garden were surrendered to the Estates Governors to permit the construction of Frank Dixon Way, to meet the high demand for housing in the post-war years. A narrow strip running down the east side of the garden was surrendered in 1967 to enable Ryecotes Mead to be built, following the demolition of 'Ryecotes' where the Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Golf Club had had its clubhouse for some years.

In 1960 the kitchen quarters were modernised to provide up-to-date and labour-saving facilities, and in 1968 the large room on the mezzanine floor was converted to a panelled library and in the west wing the guest bedroom and bathroom leading therefrom were greatly improved. As a consequence of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, Mr Costa acquired the freehold of 'Glenlea' in 1974, two years after the building was listed Grade II by the Department of the Environment, as being of "Special Architectural or Historical Interest".