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Dulwich Festival is back live and in person, following its move online due to the pandemic. The 29th Festival offers forty events, many of them free, with a diverse programme of art, music, literature, comedy, walks, talks and more.
The Dulwich Society is hosting four local history events. On 14 and 15 May, Ian McInnes is guiding two walks around Dulwich's Mid Century modern estates as a complement to his recently published book 'Dulwich: Mid Century Oasis'. And on 18 May Brian Green will give a talk, 'Hell's Bells', about the Dulwich Picture Gallery and Bell House during World War Two, in person with an online talk following a week later on 25 May. You can book for these and other events here.
Artists Open House bookends the Festival as usual, offering over 400 local artists in 180 venues. Participants include Bell House which is opening its doors to show works from more than 30 artists, and designer turned sculptor, Nicole Farhi, who will exhibit in the home of Dulwich Prep London’s first female Head Master, Louise Davidson. Details of all the artists exhibiting can be found here.
Start typing ‘Is Dulwich…’ into a search engine and the first suggestion that comes up is ‘Is Dulwich safe’. For those of us who live here the answer to that is probably ‘yes, it is safe’. Yet in MoneySuperMarket’s Top 20 burglary hotspots, SE21 comes fourth, so how do we reconcile these two viewpoints? The Met Police’s website details around 50 total crimes a month in Dulwich, of which around 6 are burglaries. This places it in a ’low’ crime rate category with 4 crimes per 1,000 residents, compared to 8 per 1,000 for London as a whole. So not quite the hotbed of crime you might imagine from that Google search or those ‘burglary hotspot’ claims.
This does not mean that our local police officers are complacent, however. There are police officers assigned to each of our wards: Dulwich Hill, Dulwich Village, Dulwich Wood and Goose Green. The local Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) work closely with their Ward Panel, a group of community members that meets quarterly with the SNT to set local ward priorities and hold the SNT to account for issues affecting our community.
For almost 50 years our logo was a swan, taken from a woodcut by engraver Thomas Bewick. It was arbitrarily chosen by John Westwood, an editor of the Society’s then newsletter and its use has become increasingly outdated as swans have not been found in Dulwich waters for at least twenty years. Apart from the dearth of Dulwich swans, the intricate lines of the image, especially as they have been copied and recopied many times, did not translate well to modern use, causing our logo to look increasingly forlorn, especially online. So we commissioned a new logo to better reflect our identity.
James Alexander of Jade Design has designed a logo that will help carry us forward for the next 60 years. James grew up in Dulwich and knows the area and the Society well. His company has been involved in many local projects, notably the design of the beautiful ‘Dulwich 400’, the history book produced to mark the quatercentenary of the foundation of Dulwich College.
Sydenham Hill Wood is a nature reserve loved and used by many but that popularity comes at a cost. As visitor numbers soared in the 2020 lockdown and stayed high, heavy footfall has taken its toll on the woodland. London Wildlife Trust needs your help to restore over 300 metres of the main paths in the wood, helping to keep walkers away from sensitive ground flora and undisturbed areas on which wildlife such as nesting birds and hedgehogs rely. From 22-29 April London Wildlife Trust needs to raise at least £50,000 via The Big Give’s Green Match Fund for this work. The Big Give & The Dulwich Society will match donations up to a total of £10,000, meaning your gift could be worth twice as much. Restoring the paths is expensive – recent improvements cost £18,000 for 150m – so your support is valuable in protecting this special place. Donations open 12.00pm 22 April - 12.00pm 29 April. Donate here.
Dulwich candidates for the local elections on 5 May 2022 are as follows:
Conservative: Edith Okparaocha, Rupert Watson
Green: Myrtle Bruce-Mitford
Labour: Maggie Browning, Jon Hartley
Liberal Democrats: Tara Copeland, Tom Rogers
Conservative: Tristan Honeyborne, Clive Rates
Green: Piers Holden, Christopher Langdon
Labour: Richard Leeming, Margy Newens
Liberal Democrats: Raghav Parkash, Richard Wingfield
Reform UK: Paul Randolfi
Conservative: Lindsay Chathli, Peter Heaton-Jones
Green: Guy Fairbairn, Vincent Matley
Labour: Catherine Rose, Andy Simmons
Liberal Democrat: Aiken Furlong, Iain Johncock
Conservative: Qin Hong, Michael Poole-Wilson, Adam Van den Broek
Green: Philip Collins, David Jennings
Labour: James McAsh, Portia Mwangangye, Charlie Smith
Liberal Democrats: Clare Donachie, Michael Green, Sophie Roach
Women's Equality: Claire Webb
Conservative: Irene Kimm, Sharon Turner
Green: Su Opie, Kim Thornton
Labour: Judith Cavanagh, Fred Cowell
Liberal Democrats: Jeremy Baker, Christine Hinton
Herne Hill Forum are hosting a hustings on 28 April. Free but register here.
Photo credit: Hello Social London
The young people at the DIY skateboard park by the derelict Grove Tavern on Dulwich Common have been very busy. Not only are they improving and updating the jumps on their skateboard park they have also made a kitchen garden among the brambles on the Lordship Lane side of the site. They are growing veg (including mushrooms in an old abandoned fridge!) for the Barry House refugee centre in Barry Road. Do say hi if you're passing, they are happy to chat and tell you what they are up to.
The shortlist for the New London Architecture 'Don’t Move Improve!' awards 2022 has been announced here with Dulwich and the surrounding area well represented. Fifteen renovation projects have been shortlisted as some of London’s best home improvements including in East Dulwich (Curve Appeal), Little Brownings, Tulse Hill (Tuscan Veranda), Herne Hill (Coffered House) and Forest Hill (Transitions). Finalists and overall winner will be announced in May.
5 April 2022, 8pm
The latest in our online local history talks covers Dulwich's radical past. Dulwich would perhaps not normally be viewed as an area in which you would find many Republicans, Suffragettes and Pacifists. Join Duncan Bowie, a member of the local history group, to learn about some of the political activists and social reformers connected to Dulwich, many of them women, who were active at a national and international level.
The cost of a ticket is £5 but if you need a free ticket email
Buy your ticket here.
Join the London Wildlife Trust for its Spring Orchard Event on Saturday 19 March, from 11am-3pm. London Wildlife Trust welcome the local community to the orchard to celebrate the beginning of Spring. Activities on the day will include crafts including making bird feeders and plant pots, and more. There will be a tour of the orchard at 12.00pm. There will also be live music from local folk band Larkin the Woods (timings tbc). Drop in any time, no need to book. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. This event is free but donations are welcome. All profits are invested into London Wildlife Trust’s conservation and education work and the care of its nature reserves.
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.
The talks have raised over £6,000 for local charities including £1,700 for St Christopher’s Hospice, £1,100 for King’s College Hospital charities and £2,200 for Bell House educational projects. The talks also contribute to fulfilling the Dulwich Society's charitable objective of increasing awareness of what makes Dulwich special.
Have you seen the post box toppers that have been appearing in Dulwich recently? They are crocheted by ‘guerrilla yarn bombers’ and placed on top of post boxes to brighten the neighbourhood and delight passers-by. Every topper is different and some even have lights inside. The Royal Mail has welcomed the toppers, saying 'We love seeing the various post box toppers that that different groups have showcased in communities across the UK'. Check out our Twitter feed for more toppers.