Follow us on Twitter @DulwichHistory
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,
Our online Local History talks started in January 2021 and are a huge success. They reach a growing number of members, other Dulwich residents and even people further afield as we have had online attendees from Europe and the US. Feedback on the talks is always excellent and over 1,500 tickets have been sold, meaning that something like 3,000 people have attended, as many ticket holders watch with someone else. And this doesn’t include the people who watch the recordings on YouTube afterwards, who number over 1,000 so far.
On the Street Where You Live, our online Local History talks, started in January 2021 are available on our YouTube channel and also on Bell House's YouTube, as they host the talks for us. They are illustrated with fascinating images of Dulwich's past and full of interesting information about our corner of the world. The talks are researched and given by members of our local history group, who take no payment, meaning ticket sales go to local charities. The talks last just under an hour.
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
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
King’s College Hospital was established in 1840 when the physician Robert Bentley Todd persuaded the Council of King's College London to spend £25,000 converting a workhouse on Portugal Street, near Lincoln’s Inn Fields, into a teaching hospital. It soon developed into a general hospital covering the slums in the nearby area and need was so great that patients soon slept two to a bed. In 1861 the workhouse was replaced by a new building costing over £100,000 but as the surrounding area was redeveloped the slums disappeared, leading to a decline in demand for the hospital so in 1913 King’s moved to Camberwell.
Duncan Bowie has generously made his new book, Two Hundred Years of Dulwich Radicalism available in pdf form here: (PDF). Hard copies are available from local Dulwich bookshops or from the Society at
Bertie Sheldrake was an East Dulwich pickle manufacturer who converted to Islam and became king of a far-flung Islamic republic before returning to London and settling back into obscurity.
Bertie William Sheldrake was born in 1888, the grandson of Gosling Mullander Sheldrake who had started a pickle business, his factory was behind his house in Albany Road, Walworth. Bertie’s father, William, worked for the firm as a commercial traveller and with his wife, May, brought up their son and three daughters in various houses in the area, always close to the factory (which later moved to Cobourg Road), sometimes sharing with another family, as was common then.
Kingsley Dene was by far the biggest of the four houses built on Green Lane (now Greendale) on the Dulwich side of the railway line. Its site is now Green Dale Close and the JAPS car park. Built by Arthur Stanton Cook around 1884, Kingsley Dene’s first resident was Henry Briginshaw. Born in 1845 the son of a Putney baker, Henry became a butcher with shops in Rye Lane but he was not always the most honest shopkeeper and was fined for inaccurate scales. In 1871 he married Jane Clark and they lived in Brixton with their two children before moving to Kingsley Dene.
John Adcock was the lessee of what is now 97 Dulwich Village, William Hucks of no. 103, and Edward Browne of no. 105, the house which is the subject of this booklet. 'The French Horn', long gone, may have had William Cooper as its landlord, but his landlord was the same Edward Browne, holding as lessee of the College. Moreover, Mr Lowe and Mr Lulman Robert Lulman, who was the local surgeon occupied premises on the site of 101 Dulwich Village, and their landlord was also Edward Browne.
The Court Rolls for October 8th 1534 record the death of Thomas Henley, copyholder of a tenement and 15 acres, for which he paid 5/- a year rent. Thomas Henley had been a Dulwich resident or tenant since 1492. We know that on December 15th 1519 he was admitted copyhold tenant of 6 acres in Nappes (on the east side of Croxted Road), formerly John Warren's, but his acquisition of the other 9 acres (the site of 'Oakfield' and the adjoining Allison Grove) is unrecorded. His heir, according to custom, was his youngest son Thomas, who we are told was, in 1534, of full age. He was already a Dulwich tenant in his own right, his most substantial holding being the 28 or so acres of 'Knowlis', the old manor house, leased from Bermondsey Abbey.
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.