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MINUTES OF THE 49th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE DULWICH SOCIETY
held on Thursday 26th April 2012 at The Crown & Greyhound, SE21
President (Chairman): Dr Colin Niven OBE.
Vice-Presidents: HH Michael Goodman, Peter Lawson, HH Michael Rich QC;
Vice-Presidents: Marion Gibbs, Dr G.Savage, Dr Joseph Spence;
The minutes of the 48th AGM (previously available on the Society’s website and at the meeting) held on 23rd May 2011 were approved. There were no matters arising.
SUB-COMMITTEE REPORTS FOR 2012
These had been posted on the website and were also available at the meeting. The following summary highlighted the points made by the Sub-committee Chairs.
CHIARMAN’S REPORT (Ian McInnes)
Plans are being made to celebrate next year the Society’s 50th Anniversary. We continue to inspect all applications to the Dulwich Estate under the Scheme of Management, and relevant ones to the local Councils. The Advisory Committee, comprising representatives of the Dulwich Estate and this Society meets 3 times a year. The Estate has agreed to us placing name plates ‘Lovers Walk’ on the path between College & Gallery Roads. As previously agreed we have made a £5000 grant to the Velodrome to assist in its renaissance, and are pleased to note its increased use and the resurfacing of the track.
We were able to secure funds from Southwark to refurbish part of Rosebery Lodge in Dulwich Park to allow the Dulwich Vegetable Garden Group to cultivate the garden; also funds to renovate the road fingerposts. We funded the Dulwich Park Friends’ improvement works to the rivulet by the lake in Dulwich Park, and joined them in objecting to the Council’s plans for what, we considered, an unsuitable event to be held in the Park; the funds for this will be available for other events following consultation. The Journal continues its high standard under the editorship of Brian Green and now includes coloured photographs. He and all executive and subcommittee members and active volunteers, such as those that deliver the Journal, and allow the Society to flourish and are heartily thanked.
SECRETARY’S REPORT (Patrick Spencer)
The Executive Committee met 6 times in the year. We unfortunately were asked to remove the Post Office cart and have yet to find a secure place to display it. In view of metal thefts we are considering further security measures for the Edward Alleyn statue. We wish to encourage members to let us have their e-mail address to facilitate passing on information; we commend our web-site which is regularly updated.
MEMBERSHIP REPORT (Wilf Taylor)
The Society has 1082 ordinary and 5 corporate Members. Charity Gift Aid amounted to £2556-38 and we would encourage those members who have not signed declaration forms to do so.
PLANNING & ARCHITETCURE GROUP REPORT (David Roberts)
We commented on just over 200 Scheme of Management licence applications in the year. For a considerable time we have pressed for renovation of the Concrete House (549 Lordship Lane) and it now appears likely that work will start next year. Following a detailed report on the Mill Pond (College Road) the Estate propose to clean out and improve it next year. We hope to see the renovation of the pavement boundary wall to St. Peter’s Church, Lordship Lane, and some of the funding has been arranged with this Society offering £3000. We have supported, in general terms, the Estate’s proposals to refurbish the Crown & Greyhound, retaining the bars and function room and forming a small hotel in the upper part
TRAFFIC & TRANSPORT SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT (Alastair Hanton)
Road safety and improvements of facilities for walking and cycling continue to be a main focus. The percentage of children being taken to school by car has fallen this year which is encouraging. A long term project is to achieve a network of safe cycling routes. We keep a watching brief on the Velodrome improvements, and a 15 years lease has been granted to British Cycling and which has made a successful application to Southwark’s Olympic Legacy Fund. Work has been completed at the Herne Hill road junction with improvements also in Railton Road and a pedestrian refuge built in Half Moon Lane. Refuges have also been provided in Red Post Hill. Improvements we are pressing for include to the Paxton Green roundabout, easier access to the platforms of West Dulwich station, and a better entrance to Belair Park from the South Circular Road. Take up of membership of Car Clubs is disappointing and we will continue to publicize and encourage use.
LOCAL HISTORY GROUP REPORT (Bernard Nurse)
History walks were arranged in association with the Dulwich Festival, Picture Gallery, and the Herne Hill Society. Brian Green gave a talk on Richard Randall, an 18th century organist at the Chapel.
Members have researched and published articles in our Journal including on the local Homeguard, and the development of various streets. We are working on the project in our Anniversary year to erect commemorative plaques to honour groups of civilians who died in the area during bombing raids in the Second World War.
GARDEN GROUP REPORT (John Ward)
Our annual publication “Dulwich Gardens open for Charity” was very well received and appears to have increased the number of visitors and consequently the sums raised for various charities. Events arranged were a talk on the work of the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association, and a visit to Plashley Manor and Scotney Castle.
TREE SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT (prepared by Jill Manuel)
We arranged a Tree Walk in Dulwich Park as part of the Dulwich Festival and about 60 attended. The Garden Manager of Buckingham Palace is a member and led a walk around that garden. The beech trees we had planted in the Horniman Triangle did not survive but are being replaced by Lewisham. The zelkova tree which had to be so drastically reduced in height has shown signs of re-growth. We attend tree visits by the Trustees of the Dulwich Estate and hope to have some influence on their decisions. The Journal generally includes an article on a local tree of interest; our Tree Map sells well and can be purchased locally.
WILDLIFE SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT (Angela Wilkes)
The vegetation on the west side of Gallery Road has been much improved by volunteers arranged by the Society with help from London Wildlife Trust and part funded by the Society; the work included the planting of 250 small hedging plants. In Belair Park the lake was partially cleaned out made possible by a Southwark grant which the Society had requested. We work alongside the Friends of Belair Park, and similarly with Friends of Dulwich Park. Bird records are diligently maintained, and nesting boxes designed for swifts were placed in Dulwich Park.
TREASURER’S REPORT (Russell Lloyd)
Audited accounts for 2011 were circulated. The excess of income over expenditure in the year was £4452. Income (£18772) was approximately similar to that of the previous year, as was expenditure. The net bank account balances at the end of the year amounted to £27051. Some of this sum is earmarked for projects in our Anniversary Year (2013).
The accounts were approved by the meeting.
We are most grateful to Sally-Anne Jeffries for acting as our Honorary Auditor, and she was duly re-appointed.
ELECTIONS FOR 2012/13: The following, having been proposed and seconded, and were duly elected:
Officers: Chairman Ian McInnes
Vice-Chairman Kenneth Wolfe
Hon. Secretary Patrick Spencer
Hon. Treasurer Russell Lloyd
Membership Secretary Wilf Taylor
Brian Green Journal Editor
Alastair Hanton Traffic & Transport Sub-committee
David Roberts Planning & Architecture Group
Jill Manuel Trees Sub-committee
Angela Wilkes Wildlife Sub-committee
John Ward Garden Group
Bernard Nurse Local History Sub-committee
President: Dr.Colin Niven O
Vice-Presidents: Ian Dejardin MA
Marion Gibbs BA Mlit
HH. Michael Goodman
Peter Lawson FRIBA, FRSA
HH Michael Rich QC
Dr. Gary Savage
Dr. Joseph Spence
The evening concluded with a power point presentation by Ian McInnes which included pictures of the Crown & Greyhound over the years (including when they were separate buildings), together with proposals for its future.
The first public consultation meeting was held at the Dulwich Picture Gallery on 2 March. The next one will be at the Dulwich Leisure Centre on Wednesday 10 April, from 5pm-8pm. It is important that residents do attend to influence on the document as it will guide planning in the area over the next 5-10 years.
To celebrate the 20th Dulwich Festival, Southwark Council has created London Life, a series of innovative live art events celebrating the heritage and people of south Southwark. Pedal pulled art, moving sculptures and a host of curiosities will all be coming to Dulwich this May.
The Culture Cart (12, 18 & 19 May, various venues) A hand-crafted, cart, drawn by an English gentleman on a vintage bicycle will travel around Dulwich hosting a range of printing workshops, inspired by Dulwich’s historical and cultural heritage.
The Curious Exchange (10 to 19 May, East Dulwich) Artists and makers are invited to give something they've made to be displayed in a cabinet of curiosities. Each contributor can then exchange their object for someone else’s creation. The Curious Exchange will be open to view throughout the festival.
Build Your Worlds (19 May, Dulwich Park Fair) Bringing people of all ages together in a vibrant celebratory performance, Build Your Worlds features over 200 local people working together to create musical buildings, dancing paintings and moving sculptures.
They Are Coming... (11 to 19 May, Dulwich Library) Who? What? Why? We could tell you, but that would spoil the surprise.
The festival also includes a lively walks and talks programme, the popular Festival Fair on Goose Green (12 May) and Dulwich Park Fair (19 May), as well as the much-loved Artists’ Open House programme. A street art festival with internationally renowned artists will enliven the streets of Dulwich with large murals re-imagining famous paintings from Dulwich Picture Gallery.
The events delivered by Southwark Council have been developed in partnership with Dulwich Society, Dulwich Park Friends, Dulwich Festival, Pavilion Café, local councillors and residents.
For more information, visit www.southwark.gov.uk/londonlife
Six councillors, from all three political parties, and all three wards, answered question for an hour and a half at the public meeting on 4 March at Alleyn’s School. It was well attended and was very useful in briefing residents on how the Council’s current programme impacts on the local area. Subjects ranged from health to education and traffic. There were questions about the future of the East Dulwich Hospital site, the East Dulwich Police Station, and what the Council was doing to address the shortage of primary school places in the area and its attitude to free schools. Concerns were also raised about traffic speeds, problems over parking, and pedestrian safety.
Network Rail will be replacing three of the local rail bridges early next year. The bridges in Village Way, Rosendale Road and the bottom of Croxted Road are over 160 years old and the supporting structures need to be brought up to current standards. There will clearly be some disruption while the work is carried out but the Society is most concerned that the historic character of the bridges is retained. Network Rail has said that they will be keeping the railings and the plaques (the latter include the crest of Alleyn’s College, plus the date 1866, and the coats of arms of the Dulwich College Estate and the railway company) but we are also keen to see the old supporting columns retained – even if they no longer support anything. There is also the question of the colour; two of the bridges still have remnants of the original London, Brighton & South Coast railway (LBSCR) colour scheme - a sort of distinctive yellow ochre (apparently famous to railway enthusiasts, perhaps because it was known, most misleadingly, as "improved engine green").
The exhibition at Dulwich College will be open again on the afternoons of Saturday 23rd February and Sunday 24th March, but anyone can visit during school days as long as they obtain a visitor pass from the College’s reception area first.
The remaining two 50th anniversary celebrations talks in the Dulwich Picture Gallery will be on 17th and 24th March on ‘Wates and Re-invention 1945-1969’ and ‘Leasehold Reform, Conservation and Wealth 1979-2013’. Tickets can be booked through the Picture Gallery’s website or at the Friends’ desk in the lobby.
Southwark Council is now consulting on an updated version of the Dulwich SPG. It is important that local residents, the Society, and other amenity groups have a positive influence on the document as it will guide planning in the area over the next 5-10 years. There will be two public consultation ‘drop-in’ sessions as follows:
Saturday 2 March, 2pm-5pm, at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich, London SE21 7AD (There will be a workshop from 3.30pm-5pm)
Wednesday 10 April, 5pm-8pm, at the Dulwich Leisure Centre, 2b Crystal Palace Road, London SE22 9HB
This is a levy that local authorities can choose to charge on new developments in their area. The money can be used to support new development by funding strategic infrastructure that the council, local community and neighbourhoods want. Southwark is intending to become a CIL charging authority and, in order to do so, it must prepare and consult on a charging schedule which sets out the charging rate(s) (per square metre of new floor space) to be levied on new development in the borough.
Dulwich Society Annual General Meeting - April 2013
Executive Committee Reports for 2012
2013 is the Society’s fiftieth anniversary. While the year’s celebratory events will be covered in more detail at the next AGM in 2014, the year started with the ‘Dulwich 63’ exhibition in the Dulwich College Library, a series of talks and walks held in conjunction with the Picture Gallery, and the first two (of twelve) World War II memorial plaque installations – these will continue through the year. These commemorate multiple deaths of civilians by enemy action in the Second World War and involved very considerable research, mainly by Brian Green, while our secretary, Patrick Spencer, negotiated permission to install them with the property owners – the next one, in Burbage Road, is on Saturday 13th April.
The Society has continued to support the Dulwich Estate in the planning applications to refurbish and extend the Crown and Greyhound as a small hotel or ‘pub with rooms’, and to redevelop the old dairy site in West Dulwich for housing and a doctors’ surgery. Unfortunately little further progress has been made and both projects are still being considered by the relevant Local Authorities.
The Society is playing an active part in the Council’s consultation to produce a flood prevention strategy for the Dulwich and Herne Hill areas and has been heavily involved with the replacement for the stolen Barbara Hepworth statue (the chairman sits on the steering group). We also took part in the discussions on the Council’s ‘south of the borough’ events series (the follow up to its original, but very unwelcome proposal, at the end of 2011). The results will be seen at the Dulwich Festival in May.
Despite strenuous efforts the Society has not been able to come to an agreement with the Council about taking over Rosebery Lodge in Dulwich Park as the ‘Dulwich Archive’. The Council seems to want to dispose of the property on a full repairing lease and the Society cannot take on that level of responsibility.
We continue to monitor the Estate’s implementation of the Scheme of Management through the Advisory group, which met three times during the year. The Society has also been actively lobbying the Estate to make sure that broken fences and posts and chains are repaired. We are pleased to say that some progress has been made particularly in College Road and along Dulwich Wood Avenue. We have now turned our attention to Dulwich Common.
The Society put in bids at the end of 2012 for Cleaner Greener Safer funding (CGS) and projects include the re-installation of a central pedestrian refuge at the end of Burbage Road. CGS works from previous years were completed in 2012, including the renovation of the white fingerposts and replacing the two in Croxted Road which had disappeared.
A short ceremony was held on 22 September to celebrate renaming the lane between College Road and Gallery Road as ‘Lovers Walk’. We were lucky to be able to have two pupils from Alleyns School to help us recreate the well-known Edwardian picture postcard views.
With its wide range of articles on all aspects of local interest, the Society’s Journal continues to be regarded as one of the major benefits of Society membership. To assist the Dulwich Estate in their consultation over new solar panel guidance notes, the Society carried out a membership consultation through the Journal.
The demand for the Society’s annual booklet on ‘Dulwich gardens open for Charity’ continues. The current editor, John Ward, whose idea the booklet was, is retiring, and we are looking for someone to take over this important project. I would like to thank him for the considerable effort he has put in over the last five years.
Once again I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of our Executive Committee and the Chairs, and members, of our sub- committees for the time they dedicate to the Society and its activities - continuing to do their best to maintain Dulwich’s unique ambience. I would also include the members who deliver the Journal around Dulwich and welcome the new volunteer deliverers and co-ordinators who have joined us over the last year.
Ian McInnes, Chairman
HON. SECRETARY’S REPORT
The Executive Committee met six times during 2012 and the Advisory Group, three times.
Following the theft of the Hepworth statue from Dulwich Park we discussed the upgrading of the security for the Edward Alleyn Statue and have put in hand a more sophisticated system for the hours of darkness. It is designed to operate a spot light and CCTV camera if anyone gets very close to the statue.
At our instigation we are delighted that a Southwark Civic Association award was given to Stella Benwell who for many years chaired the Trees sub-committee and remains a dedicated promoter of all things arboreal and is still, literally, active in the field.
Patrick Spencer, Hon Secretary
Despite the economic pressures our numbers held up well in 2012. We lost 42 members but gained 40 new members. In early 2013 numbers seem to be rising well and our current total of 1082 Ordinary and 6 corporate members is very much our usual size in recent years. Our 50th Anniversary celebrations may help to increase these levels this year.
We claimed £2045.67 in Charity Gift Aid for the financial year 2011-12. This is a slightly smaller figure than in recent years and represents a change in income tax rules rather than a decrease in the number of members who signed declarations. As always, we are grateful to over 80% of our members who do so.
I shall be retiring as Membership Secretary shortly and, after nearly 20 years, will miss the many pleasant conversations I have had with members via e-mail, the telephone and by letter. I wish you all well.
Wilfrid Taylor, Membership Secretary
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PLANNING & ARCHITECTURE GROUP
Dulwich Estate Licence Applications: The Planning and Architecture Group continues to make monthly visits to the Scheme of Management office at the Old Grammar School - this year 190 license applications were commented on. Loft conversions with rear dormers remain popular and garden sheds have become far more prevalent, but there are now very few applications for solar panels.
60 Dulwich Village: A further application to extend the original Georgian semi-detached house was refused by Southwark Council after taking into account the reasons for refusal of an appeal for an earlier scheme. A new reduced scheme was submitted in December.
The Crown and Greyhound, 73 Dulwich Village: The scheme submitted in October 2011 to provide a restored public house, function rooms and 20 bedroom hotel was withdrawn by the Dulwich Estate. New plans were submitted in August 2012 with additional information in December. There is, as yet, no decision to date.
Dulwich College, Science Block: A planning application was made in November for a new science block to replace the existing two storey one with a part 2 and part 3 storey block. The new building is shown as being 10 metres closer to College Road and 2 metres higher. The new accommodation is considered to be well planned and no objection was made to the scheme in principle but the Society is very concerned about the use of grey concrete as the principle facing material towards College Road, - which would clearly detract from the setting of Barry Building. The building now has planning approval subject to detailed information on materials.
Hillside, 9 Fountain Drive: The planning application for five new dwellings was made in August 2012 and granted in December. Local residents, the Dulwich Society and College Ward councillor, Lewis Robinson, made representations against the application at a meeting of the Planning sub-committee in Tooley Street. Despite a large number of objections, including Councillor Robinson pointed out that the Council’s own Traffic Section considered parking provision inadequate, the application was granted with 21 conditions! This extraordinary number of conditions indicated serious unresolved problems within the application and a lack of resolve by the Planning sub-committee, which has no Dulwich councillors on the committee, to refuse the application.
The West Dulwich Dairy Site: The site has been semi-vacant since 2001. The Dulwich Estate’s most recent application was made in November and included a mixture of retail units, a doctor’s surgery and nine residential flats. The doctor’s surgery would provide replacement accommodation for the Rosendale surgery, which has to relocate in 21 months. Lambeth Council has yet to make a decision.
The Concrete House, 549 Lordship Lane: Restoration work to the Grade II listed building is well under way to provide five 1 bedroom and two 2-bedroom flats. Completion is due later this year.
Dulwich Mill Pond: Work commenced in December in line with the Dulwich Estate’s programme. The cleaning out and improvement scheme is to be completed in April with new planting and installation of a filter unit.
St Peter’s/Deeper Life Bible Church – Boundary wall Restoration: Southwark’s Project team have taken the CGS scheme forward by appointing conservation Architects for the proposed restoration works. However, there is now a stand-off between the church and the Council’s planning department who want to restrict the number of car spaces on the site to five. This is not acceptable to the church (whose members are generally not local) and up to thirty cars can be parked there on Sundays. The Church has appointed its own conservation Architect and proposed seventeen cars paces but there is a risk that Council intransigence will mean that the scheme fail to go forward.
Architectural Poster: The brief for the poster is to be re-written along the lines of providing a Heritage map to have a wider appeal by including local notable non-domestic buildings.
David Lloyd Roberts, Chair
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT COMMITTEE
Consultation on the combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern Franchise: The Herne Hill Society, Southwark Council and the Dulwich Society all campaigned strongly for the continuation of direct trains from Herne Hill Station to St Pancras International. Everyone is now delighted that the Department for Transport has agreed that the proposed alteration will not now take place. This would have required passengers to change trains and platforms at Blackfriars.
Herne Hill Velodrome: Following the resurfacing of the track and the signing of a 15 year lease by British Cycling, lighting is being installed to enable the track to be used for longer hours and more weeks in the year. A junior track is also being built, which will provide training for young cyclists and space for cyclists with disabilities. These improvements are being funded by the Southwark Olympic Legacy Fund.
Paxton Green Gyratory: This roundabout is on the border between Southwark and Lambeth and Southwark Council has responsibility for the roads there. The roundabout is frightening for cyclists and, despite Boris Johnson’s desire that roads should be made as safe as possible for cycling, Southwark Council has funds for only limited changes to the road layout. Following a consultation event held in January 2013 the Dulwich Society has stressed the need for a drop-off/collection point for patients visiting the health centre which fronts on to the gyratory. Changes to the traffic lanes might free up space for a small number of restricted short term parking bays.
Access to West Dulwich and North Dulwich Railway Stations: Following consultation with a representative of Network Rail it has been accepted that lifts at North Dulwich would involve major and extremely expensive structural changes, so their installation at the present time is not practicable. However, it would appear that the installation of ramps to give improved access to the platforms at West Dulwich might be possible. Network Rail and Southwark Council are considering a feasibility study and means of funding, with local support from the Society.
Safe Routes to School: The Traffic and Transport Committee believes that safety on Dulwich roads is of major importance and has pledged to support the Safe Routes to School Group in any way it can. There are approximately 5,000 children attending many schools, both state and independent, in this very small but heavily trafficked area. The physical layout of road junctions, zebra crossings, green man lights and the length of their pedestrian phase, the sequence of traffic lights, the provision of lollipop personnel and 20 mph speed limits are all vitally important in making Dulwich safer. The Society is collaborating with the Safe Routes to School Group in order to optimize the benefits of changes being planned at the junction of East Dulwich Grove and Greendale, and to developing a network of safe routes for pupils to get to and from school by cycle or by walking.
Road Safety: A few months ago a local resident and a member of the Society was hit by a speeding motor cyclist at about 7am on a weekday on Gallery Road, near Lovers Lane, suffering a broken leg. We are now seeking support for the installation of a raised zebra crossing linking the new pedestrian entrance to Belair Park with Lovers Lane.
Traffic Speeds: The Traffic and Transport Committee has also summarized information on vehicle speeds measured by Council speed monitors, and this information shows speeds at danger levels on some roads, in spite of slower speeds observed by police enforcement teams. Consultation with the police continues.
Gallery Road Roundabout: A 20 mph speed limit is to be imposed on Gallery Road. Southwark Council is seeking approval from the Department for Transport to install a ‘Stop’ sign at the northern end of Gallery Road, although the Council warns that such approval is rarely given.
Pigeon droppings beneath the railway bridge at Herne Hill: There is a high footfall under this bridge and, when it rains, pigeon droppings cause problems for pedestrians as the pavements become very slippery. Responsibility for this bridge lies with Lambeth Council but contact is proving to be very difficult. We have asked ward councilors in both Lambeth and Southwark to intervene. We are also seeking action from the Chair of Health and Well Being at Lambeth, as from the beginning of April health issues will become the responsibility of the local authority.
Alastair Hanton, Chair
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE LOCAL HISTORY GROUP
2012 has been a very active year for the Local History Committee. In the spring, two walks during the Dulwich Festival, led by Brian Green and Ian McInnes, proved so popular that it was difficult to control the numbers. In November, Nicholas Reed gave a fascinating talk on his father’s MI5 activities during the last war - the family lived for over 30 years in Dulwich.
Spies on Dulwich Common also featured in an article in the Society’s Journal. Articles on famous past residents and the lost houses of Dulwich have ‘On the Street where you live’, have continued. All issues have included the results of new research into local history. Articles on Dulwich in World War II have been especially prominent because of the project to commemorate multiple civilian casualties in the area with a series of plaques. The first two were erected in January 2013.
Much planning has also gone into other events in 2013 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Society. In particular, the exhibition at Dulwich College and the series of three talks at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
The Post Office cart is still in temporary storage awaiting the location of a suitable place to display it; as is a group of First World War memorials from Christchurch, Barry Road found in Wellingborough prison.
Bernard Nurse, Chair
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE GARDEN GROUP
Our year got off to a splendid start with a talk by Gordon Lucas, Head Gardener of the Horniman Museum Gardens. He gave a detailed description of the major, partly lottery funded, re-development of the Gardens that was currently taking place. This was our first meeting in the excellent, new, Belair Recreation Centre.
In March, our annual publication – ‘Dulwich Gardens open for Charity’ was published. In it over 40 local gardens were illustrated and described. Between them, they raise substantial funds for a range of charities including the National Gardens Scheme (which raises money for cancer, caring and gardening charities), St. Christopher’s Hospice, Dulwich Helpline and many others. Although 5000 copies were distributed, demand for the booklet was stronger than ever.
In June, 53 of us packed a coach for a visit to the Savill Garden in Windsor. It was a fine day and the garden was at its best. We spent two very enjoyable hours there. After lunch we went to Runnymede to board a boat on the Thames to Windsor and back - one of our most successful outings ever.
John Ward, Chair
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREES COMMITTEE
The Dulwich Festival Tree Walk in May was again led by Letta Jones and sponsored by the Society. On a sunny Saturday afternoon well over 100 people, including families and children, joined the group walking up and down College Road from the Park Gate to the traffic lights, carefully inspecting the long line of trees. Letta’s descriptions were as interesting as ever, helped by the use of the megaphone.
The Tree map continues to sell well – over 120 copies this year, mostly through the Gallery and the Pavilion Café. The Committee has been undertaking a full review of trees that have been lost in the last several years and new ones planted, noticeably the Silk Tree outside the Crown and Greyhound. A new up to date edition is being planned. The design and drawings by Rosemary Lindsay make the map particularly attractive.
Members of the Committee continue to contribute profiles of Interesting Trees in Dulwich to the Journal, usually calling on Brian Green for excellent photos. These included the Silk Tree, the Bhutan Pine, the Monkey Puzzle and Ashes.
The autumn outing took us to Audley End House and Garden where there are some very tall Cedars and an oak specimen unique to that area.
A number of Black Poplars were planted in Long Meadow, and we joined the Wildlife Group in planting whips along Gallery Road. In recognition of the Queen’s Jubilee the Society has provided £800 for the planting and subsequent care of two trees in Dulwich Park, beside the Lake and near the Café. These will be a Sweet Chestnut and a disease resistant Huntingdon Elm.
Jill Manuel, Chair
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE WILDLIFE COMMITTEE
We have made the protection and enhancement of the natural habitats for wildlife our priority and we are therefore coordinating our activities with other environmental groups in the area in order to make a bigger and more long-term impact. Some of our work has been hands-on and on site, the rest has been behind the scenes, lobbying and raising awareness and enlisting the expertise of professional environmentalists. During the last year we have concerned ourselves with creating specific areas for bumblebees and other wild bees, as well as butterflies, in both Dulwich and Belair Parks. This work is ongoing. We are also taking a particular interest in the water bodies in the area to increase their value for fish, amphibians, water birds – and bats. In Dulwich Park, beefing up the reed beds has brought a result: last year for the first time a reed warbler, which is a rarity, was seen on site.
2012 was not generally a good year for wildlife – and London was no exception. Prolonged wet weather and lack of sun for weeks on end, for example, meant that there was a significant fall in numbers of bats recorded locally. This was a bad sign. Dulwich, with its enhanced and monitored hibernaculum in the Woods, and its good lake feeding areas in Dulwich and Belair parks, its wealth of green spaces, trees, hedgerows and “meadows”, has hitherto attracted several bat species, including both types of Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s . But last year there was a dramatic drop in activity – up to 75% down for one common species. But Dulwich does provide good habitat, so even when Nature has temporarily withheld its larder, all is not lost.
This is why our Committee will continue to focus on increasing good natural habitats for bats along with good quality hedgerows, with meadows alongside, to boost insect breeding and feeding, and reductions in artificial light nearby, as this prevents foraging - because what works for bats will also benefit all other species, including our own. Increasing natural homes and feeding areas for all kinds of wildlife are we believe the optimum conservation tool. Research by bodies, such as the British Trust for Ornithology and the Wildlife Trusts, has shown that this is more effective in the long term than introducing artificial nest/roost boxes, etc.
We will continue to work closely alongside Park Friends’ groups, the London Wildlife Trust and Southwark Council’s ecology and parks staff, to enhance our local environment and to introduce, or reintroduce, new habitats.
Angela Wilkes, Chair.
7:30pm on Monday 4th March
Location: Michael Croft Theatre at Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, Dulwich, SE22 8SU
The Dulwich Society is hosting an open meeting with the local Southwark councillors - all three political parties will be represented. This is an opportunity for residents to question the Council’s current and future policies and how they impact on our locality.