MINUTES OF THE 49th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE DULWICH SOCIETY held on Thursday 28th April 2014 at St. Barnabas Centre, Calton Avenue SE21

Approximately 45 members.

Marion Gibbs. Michael Rich QC, David Roberts, A & J.Alexander.

Introduction and Welcome:
By the President Dr Colin Niven OBE

Minutes of the 50th AGM: held on 9th April 2013 approved and signed.
Matters arising: None

Reports on the activities of the Sub-Committees in 2013 having been previously available on the Society’s website were briefly highlighted by the chairman or a member of each sub-committee:

Chairman’s Report (Ian McInnes):
2013 was the Society’s 50th Anniversary and was marked by the “Dulwich ‘63” exhibition at Dulwich College, a series of talks and walks on Dulwich’s development history (held in conjunction with the Picture Gallery), the installation of 12 plaques to commemorate multiple deaths of residents by enemy action during World War 2, and a social event held in the Parish Hall.

Negotiations were finalised with Southwark for us to take possession of Rosebery Lodge in Dulwich Park and after refurbishment will be available for exhibitions and other activities in 2014.

The Dulwich Estate has several developments in hand: conversion of the upper part of the Crown & Greyhound into a hotel, hopefully the dairy site in Croxted Road (but consent at present withheld for the relocation there of a GP surgery), SG Smith workshops & yard in Gilkes Place. In all cases we have submitted proposals which would, in our opinion, improve the developments. We await the future plans for the Half Moon and Grove public houses, now both closed. Judith Kerr free school has taken over the Sir James Black Laboratory site in Half Moon Lane and we are pleased that an empty building is being put to good purpose but are a little concerned about increase in traffic.

We have played an active role in the consultations to produce a local flood prevention strategy. Similarly we monitor the Estate’s implementation of the Scheme of Management through the Advisory Committee, and comment when we consider appropriate on applications to the Estate and to the local Councils for building work permission.

In 2013 we put in a number of bids for Cleaner, Greener, Safer funding to Southwark with satisfactory outcome.

Once again thanks to all the volunteers that enable the Society to flourish and we welcome further assistance from other members. Brian Green had been able to maintain the high standard of the Journal and, indeed, with the introduction of coloured photographs enhance it. Bill Higman and John Ward are not standing for re-election and our special thanks for their dedicated service to the Society over very many years.

Two particularly beloved members died during the year: Wilf Taylor (12 August 2013 aged 90) and Stella Benwell (17 December 2013 aged 93) and they had contributed so much to the Society and to the betterment of Dulwich.

Hon. Secretary’s Report (Patrick Spencer):
The Executive Committee met on 6 occasions. A major feature of the year was the celebration of the Society’s founding 50 years ago in 1963. The Chairman has referred to the Exhibition held in the Wodehouse Library of Dulwich College ( and thank the Master and Archivist for their co-operation) between January and March exhibiting photographs, maps, posters, and other items reminding us of the changes in the area over half a century. Ian McInnes and Bernard Nurse were mainly responsible for the display. This was followed by the talks and walks on the development of Dulwich. Finally in October we held a party with entertainment provided by pupils from Alleyn’s and JAGS, and showings of the film made in 1967 of the Millennium celebrations of the first recorded reference to Dulwich.

We commissioned and installed 12 plaques in the area where 3 or more civilians were killed in enemy action in the Second World War, and our particular thanks to our vice-chairman, Dr. Kenneth Wolfe, for leading each dedication.

Amongst other activities we arranged a Public Meeting with Local Councillors from the main 3 parties giving an opportunity to discuss local issues.

Membership Report (Diana McInnes):
Membership increased by 13 and stands at 1100. Most members have signed up so we can claim Gift Aid which amounted to £2.280-34; we would like further members to join this scheme. To save postage costs we would like additional volunteers to deliver the Journal, and we will be reducing the number of Subscription reminders.

Planning & Architecture Report (David Roberts):
Monthly visits made to inspect the applications to the Estate under the Scheme of Management and 175 were commented on. In respect of Planning Applications the most controversial one was in respect of an extension on Metropolitan Open Land to the Dulwich Sports Ground pavilion in Turney Road for use as a children’s day nursery; consent was granted. The restoration of the concrete house (549 Lordship Lane) was completed and 7 flats formed. Also completed in the year was the cleaning and improvement of the Mill Pond in College Road.

Traffic & Transport Report (Alastair Hanton):
5 bidders for the combined 10 year franchise to run the trains now provided by Southern, South-Eastern and Thameslink and we have submitted proposals to all of them for improvements to the services. We continue to press for easier access to the platforms at West Dulwich station, and to rename Sydenham Hill station to South Dulwich & Kingswood. Replacement of railway bridges in Croxted and Rosendale Roads has been completed.

We continue to campaign to increase the number of pupils walking or cycling to school, and funds have been granted to Southwark to improve the safety of the junction between East Dulwich Grove, Greendale and Townley Road. Community Council funding will provide a pedestrian refuge at the Dulwich Village end of Burbage Road, and a pedestrian crossing in Gallery Road to link Lovers Walk with an entrance to Belair Park

Local History Report (Bernard Nurse):
The principal activity has been the installation of the plaques where 3 or more residents were killed by enemy action in World War II. Brian Green carried out extensive research and arranged the installation of the plaques. A number of relatives of the deceased or former neighbours attended the ceremonies. Grant is available from Southwark through CGS funding to produce a pamphlet on the plaques for distribution to schools, libraries etc.and this is in hand. Reference has already been made to the talks and walks arranged as part of our 50th anniversary. Assistance has been given to Southwark which is erecting in Sunray Gardens a noticeboard with historic information about the Sunray Estate and the former mansion on the site (Casino House), and to the Herne Hill Society in revising its Heritage Trail.

Garden Group Report (prepared by John Ward):
In March Paul Cooling of Cooling’s Garden Centre gave a talk. 5,000 copies of our annual publication “Dulwich Gardens Open for Charity” were distributed and which gave details of when 50 local gardens would be open. In June we visited Parham House in West Sussex. Our thanks to the hard working committee from which 3 long standing members are standing down: Eileen Thorn, Josephine Lock and Willis Walker.

Trees Group Report (Jill Manuel):
We have been very concerned with the likely effects of the flood relief schemes in Dulwich Park and Belair and a number of trees will be lost but replacements have been promised. Our work was well represented at the Society’s 50th Anniversary exhibition. 2 trees will be planted in Dulwich Park to mark the Queen’s Jubilee. The 2013 edition of the map “Remarkable Trees in Dulwich” was distributed free to all members and further copies are available to purchase. The autumn outing took us to north London to visit the gardens of Myddleton House (home of the plantsman E.A.Bowles) and to Capel Manor College. The Journal continues to print each quarter a profile with photograph of an interesting local tree. A continuing problem is subsidence of buildings being blamed on trees and insurance company’s insistence of them being felled; we object where it seems to us reasonable to do so.

Wildlife Committee Report (Angela Wilkes):
Some interesting bird sightings during the year including a Common Buzzard. The cold winter was probably the reason for a record number of winter thrushes. This underlines the importance of green spaces, and we wish to enhance suitable feeding and sheltering habitats. Old swift nests should be retained and we distributed a leaflet describing the amazing journey these birds seen in our locality have made.

Accounts for 2013
These were distributed and presented by the Hon. Treasurer, Russell Lloyd. Income at £25,244 was an increase of £5,844 over the previous year largely due to increased advertising revenue and subscriptions and donations.

Expenditure at £24,132 was an increase over the previous year of £6,120 and reflected the Commemoration Plaques (£3,730) and the printing of the Tree Map.

After donations the net sum of income over expenditure amounted to £637.

Accumulated funds at the end of the year amounted to £25,228. The accounts were approved with thanks to Russell and to our Honorary Independent Examiner, Sally-Anne Jeffries FCA.

Appointment of Independent Examiner of the Accounts:
Ms. S A Jeffries had indicated she was prepared to continue in this role and was duly appointed.

ELECTIONS for 2014/15:
The following, having been duly proposed and seconded, were elected:

Chairman: Ian McInnes
Vice-Chairman: Kenneth Wolfe
Hon.Secretary : Patrick Spencer
Hon.Treasurer: Russell Lloyd
Membership Secretary: Diana McInnes

Members of the Executive Committee:
Brian Green Editor of the Journal
Alastair Hanton chair - Traffic & Transport group
David Roberts chair - Planning & Architecture group
Jill Manuel chair - Trees sub-committee
Angela Wilkes chair - Wildlife sub-committee
Jeremy Prescott chair - Gardens sub-committee
Bernard Nurse chair - Local History sub-
Sue Badman
Adrian Hill

Honorary Officers:
President: Dr.Colin Niven OBE
Vice-Presidents: Ian Dejardin MA
Marion Gibbs CBE BA Mlitt
HH Michael Goodman
Peter Lawson FRIBA FHH
Michael Rich QC
Dr. Gary Savage
Dr. Joseph Spence

Any Other Business:
Does the Society have a policy in regard to applications to develop open space? They are generally opposed.

The future of Dulwich Hospital site - we gather NHS want maximum price but hopefully will be, at least partially, reserved for communal use, such as a school.

Police presence in Dulwich - it would seem we have to report to Camberwell.

The Meeting concluded with a talk by William Warren on the open air Gaumont Film Studio which existed at the beginning of the 20th century off Dog Kennel Hill together with stills from films which showed recognisable buildings in the locality, and a silent movie shown on a laptop.