There are a number of views expressed in this Newsletter concerning home insurers attitude to trees near property. As any reader will know; an enquiry to an insurance company for a quotation for home insurance will lead to two important questions being asked.
Are there any trees over 5 metres in height and within 25 metres of the property?
Is there any evidence of subsidence in the area?
There can be few residents who can claim their house is more than 25 metres from a tree of over 5 metres, and even less who claim ignorance of knowledge of subsidence within a quarter of a mile. Five metres to the top of a small fruit tree or decorative Acer giving patio shade is not great. And twenty-five metres, a little over the length of a cricket pitch, must surely bring trees planted on the edge of the pavement within this distance of most houses.
Many people, in seeking a new insurance quotation are put off by attempting honestly to answer these questions, and usually end off paying the increased premium inevitably demanded, year on year, by their existing company.
To complicate matters further; Dulwich, following the trend elsewhere, is in the midst of a "green revolution" with the 'Dulwich Growing Greener' campaign appearing to be gathering pace. On other pages in this newsletter David Nicholson-Lord emphasises the importance of trees as part of this issue. Stella Benwell, in her role as chairman of the Tree Committee writes what seems to be a desperate appeal to defend the trees under threat in College Road. John Major, Chief Executive of the Dulwich Estate replies in detail to the problems over the demands of insurance companies to remove trees on its property.
Can all these conflicting demands be reconciled, and can we still get insurance on our houses if (a) there is a tree within 25 metres and (b) there is a case of subsidence nearby? If we are sincerely want a greener sustainable environment which will improve the long term quality of life then they should be.
What is needed is some creative thinking on overcoming the hurdles raised by insurance companies on the question of trees near property. All the commercial properties on the Dulwich Estate as well as its leasehold properties, are covered by a blanket insurance policy issued by the Norwich Union. Each leaseholder is then billed by the Estate annually, to which is added a 15% management charge.
Would it not be possible for properties subject to the Scheme of Management charge to be included in a similar such scheme? It could be made a requirement of the insurance company that the presence of existing trees be acknowledged, and that in the event of a subsidence claim, full root surveys be carried out to determine if a particular tree is causing the problem, before a demand to remove the tree is made.
Insurance after all, all comes down to risk. Three thousand plus freeholders under the Scheme of Management at say £1000 each per annum is an annual premium of at least £3million. Certainly a substantial sum to any insurance company, and potentially a business proposition. Worth a try? Desperate times requite desperate measures!
The Dulwich Society would welcome your views on this subject.
Scheme of Management Consultative Committee
The Dulwich Society has four representatives appointed to this committee and is able to ask representatives from the Trustees of the Dulwich Estate for information on matters affecting those freeholders within the Scheme. The following is a shortened account of the summer meeting.
28 Pickwick Road - statement
As reported at the last meeting of the Committee, the Managers had exercised their rights under the Scheme to carry out works directly to the property in order to put this in a satisfactory state of repair, following the owner's failure to do so. In order to recover the costs incurred, the Estate applied to the court for an order for possession. A possession order was granted and in due course the property will be sold and the debt to the Scheme of Management discharged. The owner of the property will receive the balance of the sale proceeds.
Lyndenhurst - question to the Estate
The Estate has been provided with a copy of Counsel's Advice to the Dulwich Society on the possible course of action for Southwark Council to restore the derelict wall on Red Post Hill owned by Hausman Hughes. What are the Estate's views on the alternatives outlined? What proposals does the Estate have to pursue the owner as to the loss of amenity?
The Estate thanks the Dulwich Society for providing a copy of Counsel's Advice. This advice confirms that the Council cannot take any action against the company under the Listed Buildings regulations since the removal of the wall could be considered as emergency works under the London Building Regulations.
The way forward suggested by Counsel - that Southwark issue a repairs Notice, specifying the works reasonably necessary for the proper preservation of a listed building, appears to offer a solution; if the owner does not act, the Council may after a period of at least two months, exercise its power to compulsorily purchase the property.
The Management continues to pursue the owner of the wall to undertake its reinstatement - a breach notice has been issued and the Administrator is in communication with Mr Hughes. Although the Managers have power to enter the property and undertake reconstruction of the wall, they are reluctant to do so since the actual recovery of the costs from the owner is doubtful. The full costs of the repair would then have to be charged by the Scheme of Management and borne by those who pay the Service Charge.
Flooding in Turney Road
Has the Estate pursued or received information concerning Thames Water's investigation of this problem and the general provision and state of drainage within the Dulwich estate area?
The Estate has, as yet, received no report from Thames Water regarding drainage within the boundaries of the Dulwich Estate.
Beauberry House (formerly Belair House)
The recent planning application for two conservatories by the current sub-tenant has been rejected by Southwark Council. What are the views of the Estate to this proposal for a license as regards both design and the provision of additional facilities?
Neither the sub-tenant nor the tenant (Southwark Council) made a formal application to the Estate for its consent for the conservatories. The Estate will not consent to any alterations to the property which are considered out of keeping with the age and character of the property.
Cash Point at Barclays Bank, Dulwich Village
Would there be any objection, in principle, from the Estate for an external Cash Point on the Bank?
The Estate would consider any application made by the tenant to install an external Cash Point (installed within the Bank) provided this could be accommodated without unduly altering the appearance of the building.
37 College Road
Concern has been raised about the late advice as to the number and size of trees whose removal has been applied for in connection with the development of the new house. It now appears that some 20 trees, including some over 40 feet high, are to be felled, although some new planting is proposed. Does the Estate have proposals to require the extent of tree works to be specifically stated in applications for future similar developments and to make the Estate's license conditional on specified tree works, or is this already in place? Can the Estate withhold its consent to the extent of proposed tree works at 37 College Road?
The Property at 37 College Road is unique: it is rare that such a plot of land large enough to accommodate a new house is available in relative close proximity to Dulwich Village. The new house has been carefully designed to take account of the mature garden and the environment. The details of the application for tree works were circulated to Mrs Benwell, the Dulwich Society's Tree Representative in advance (although unfortunately the two appendices referred to were not included). It is worth noting that only 5 trees are required to be removed in order build the new house and that these are not trees of particularly great amenity value.
The Managers conducted a visit to the site (with Mrs Benwell in attendance) to discuss the proposals directly with the owners and their garden designer. Whilst the proposal is to remove 20 trees, some 50 new trees are to be planted, the Managers carefully considered the proposal to remove the trees, in particular two poplar trees in excess of 40 feet in height. An expert from the Forestry Commission has confirmed that one of these is diseased and could become a danger. The other is blocking light to an adjacent cedar and is likely to continue to grow. The remaining trees considered for removal are not considered to be of significant amenity value.
The Managers' decision was that in the long term, the proposal would enhance the amenity: the Cedar of Lebanon tree would be afforded the space and prominence it deserves. The new trees have been carefully selected and will be planted in location most suitable for them to grow unimpeded.
Felling of Estate trees at the behest of Insurance Companies
The view of the Dulwich Society is that the Estate should continue to oppose the felling of the magnificent plane tree on the manor wastes outside 41 College Road whose removal has been demanded on flimsy evidence by an insurance company. We remain of the view that most payers of the Scheme of Management Charge would readily pay any additional charges arising from the Estate making a stand on this case. (The Dulwich Society also raised questions about other trees in College Road threatened with removal at the demand of insurance companies).
The Estate has a duty to act responsibly and to mitigate the risk of financial loss; securing adequate insurance cover and observing terms of the policy are part of this. The Estate does take a robust attitude with insurers who ask for trees to be removed, particularly where the tree in question is of significant amenity value. However, where an insurer can demonstrate that the tree has damaged and presents an ongoing threat to property, there is little choice but to comply with the insurers' request. Failure to do so may result in the withdrawal of cover (for the Estate's own property, including Amenity Areas) or being sued in the case where Scheme of Management consent to tree works is refused.
In response to the suggestion that the costs of taking action to prevent trees from being removed could be added to the Scheme of Management Charge the cost may not seem unreasonable for saving the occasional tree (but) we could be faced with a situation whereby we have many uninsured risks which could result in having to underpin several properties during a particular financial year and this would have a serious impact on the level of the Scheme of Management Charge. Turning to the other trees in College Road, there are three trees and the insurers have suggested the ash and the tulip tree be removed. The ash tree is diseased and there the Estate would consent to its removal but a replacement would be planted. The tulip tree is a fine specimen of great amenity value and the Estate will do everything it can to keep this tree - a root barrier is a possibility.
Autumn Events Organised by the Dulwich Society
Private Visit to The Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Academy Friday 12th October
This year is the 300th anniversary of the Society of Antiquaries and the chairman of the Dulwich Society's Local History Group, Bernard Nurse MA, is also Archivist to the Society of Antiquaries. He has arranged a Private Visit to Burlington House, Piccadilly and will be our guide of the meeting rooms and library and will give a short talk about the exhibition in the Royal Academy next door entitled Making History :Antiquaries in Britain 1707-2007 which celebrates the Society's anniversary with rarely seen treasures from its own collection and other institutions. There will then be time to see this exhibition. There will be a coach from Dulwich Picture Gallery at 6.30pm, returning after the visit. Numbers for this event are limited to 50, any bookings will be on a first come, first served basis. The cost of coach and visit is £17. Friends of the Royal Academy £10. Please complete the form enclosed in this Newsletter
Dulwich In Literature - : readings about Dulwich from historical sources, diaries, poetry and fiction. An Entertainment devised by the Local History Group on Thursday 15th November at 8pm at the Old Library, Dulwich College. Free to Members and their friends. Refreshments.
Trees Committee - Visit to Wakehurst Place - 'Kew in the Country'.
Thursday 1st November - Guided tree walk in the woodland to see the spectacular autumn colour and time to explore the winter garden and Millennium Seed Bank. Please complete the form enclosed in this Newsletter.
Traffic & transport - Community Travel Plan
Many of us are concerned about the congestion and pollution on our local streets and the broader effects of travel habits on the climate and health.
So, the Traffic and Transport Committee is taking an initiative to promote greener travel choices for Dulwich.
To kick this off we are organising, with the new local charity, Dulwich Going Greener, an evening talk by a well respected expert, Lynn Sloman at 7 pm on Wednesday, October 3rd at the Crown and Greyhound, Dulwich Village. Admission free.
Lynn is the author of the book "Car sick - Solutions for our Car-addicted Culture". She runs a sustainable transport consultancy, Transport for Quality of Life, helping the government, local councils and voluntary groups find ways to cut traffic. She is an advisor to the board of Transport for London, a board member of the Commission for Integrated Transport and a board member of Cycling England. She has lived for many years in London and now lives in rural mid-Wales - without a car.
Herne Hill Junction
The junction at Herne Hill, on the borders of Dulwich, is a nightmare for drivers, pedestrians and everyone else who uses it. Six major roads meet there, buses have to make convoluted turns and walking to Brockwell Park is hazardous in the extreme. To cap it all, local retail trade suffers from the unpleasant environment, danger and pollution.
Herne Hill is also on the boundary between Southwark and Lambeth boroughs, so tackling the issues has needed good collaboration between these boroughs, Transport for London and the local community. As a result of such collaboration a comprehensive scheme has been developed. This is based on proposals made by the community group, the Herne Hill Forum, of which the Dulwich Society is an active member.
The key elements in the scheme are;
- Pedestrianisation of the southern end of Railton Road.
- A large pedestrian island offering a high community space and a link between Brockwell Park and the centre of Herne Hill.
- Demolition of the disused toilet block and a new entrance to Brockwell Park with an attractive 180° view into the park.
- Improved bus flow and more convenient bus stops.
- Better provision for other vehicles and for cyclists.
Here is an artist's impression of the scheme, which, we hope will be started later this year.
Alastair Hanton - Traffic and Transport Committee
Sydenham Hill Rail Station
What's in a name? Many of us who have lived in Dulwich for a long time have grown accustomed to the local anomaly of the naming of this station. But, for visitors it is misleading. The station isn't in Sydenham and is a long way, up a steep hill to Sydenham Hill. Quite often travellers get on a wrong train or alight at a wrong station.
Would it not be better named "South Dulwich"? That would place it more accurately. It would give us all four points of the compass, complementing the existing North, East and West Dulwich stations.
The Society proposes to ask the railway authorities to consider renaming the station. This would correct a misleading naming by a long-dead Victorian railway official.
Out of the Blue - A Celebration of Brockwell Park Lido 1937-2007
By Peter Bradley
This new book, published to coincide with the re-opening of the refurbished Lido tells the interesting story of the popularity of swimming and the long fight local enthusiasts have fought to persuade various public authorities to keep the Lido open.
Actually, swimming started at Brockwell Park long before the Lido was built in 1937, and Peter Bradley's book tells the story of these early days of the use made of the largest of the three lakes in the Park. This was used separately by males and females and by local schools, from virtually the opening of the Park up until it was declared in an insanitary condition in 1937 and was closed. The London County Council, which administered the Park was keen on the idea of swimming from the beginning and provided changing rooms around the lake and even allowed swimmers to ride their bicycles through the park on their way to swim in the lake. In addition to keeping swimming separate for the sexes, it was also strict on the type of swimming costume worn and it was not until the 1930's that what was known as the 'slip' was allowed.
In 1935, after years of campaigning by swimmers - the first proposals were delivered in 1923, the LCC announced a 3 year building programme and the new Lido was opened in July 1937. During World War 11, the Lido remained open as part of the LCC's policy of maintaining normality during wartime. Open all summer, it also opened party in winter and galas were held in 1942, 1943 and 1945, the 'Flying bombs' as the V1 rockets were called led to the cancellation of the 1944 gala.
With the amalgamation of the London boroughs and the demise of the LCC, Brockwell passed in 1971 to the control of Lambeth Council. In 1972 the beginning of a rundown of the Lido was noticeable with the removal of the high diving and spring boards. In 1984 it was closed for repairs and the discovery of asbestos leading to costs of £1/4 million. In 1990-93 Lambeth again closed the Lido and it was used for art displays and performances and also taken over by squatters.
In 1994 Lambeth Council offered the Lido on a seven year lease to two local enthusiasts, Paddy Castledine and Casey McGlue, and with a succession of hot summers the Lido became an established asset in South London. Lambeth Council began at last to show interest and ultimately appointed an operator - Fusion to run the refurbished and extended Lido.
Peter Bradley's book has been carefully researched and tells the fascinating story of this excellent local facility. It also contains many local users' reminiscences of the Lido and is profusely illustrated in colour. Price £6.99
May 2007 saw the annual burst of cultural activity for our very own Dulwich Festival. Once again, local residents planned, prepared and many more participated in this ten-day long leap into the arts. It was all made possible through the generous donation of time by many and the much-needed sponsorship of a select group of supportive local businesses.
This year the core team was joined by new local residents who worked tirelessly behind the scenes on event management, sponsorship and publicity. Excitement began to mount just after Easter when the new programme was published with
a beautiful design provided by local graphic designer, Sue Arkell. It is at this point that the unseen army of Dulwich volunteers swings into action. All across the area individuals on bicycles, dedicated dog-walkers and Mums' out with laden prams take on the enormous task of delivering around 30,000 leaflets door-to-door! This is what makes the Dulwich Festival. We aim to ensure that each road in the Dulwich area is covered; this way all residents have the opportunity to join in the various events, many of which are free.
This year's festival opened with the now annual debate at the Dulwich Picture Gallery which examined the food industry. Amongst the distinguished panel of experts was Patrick Holden, Director of the Soil Association. Patrick is a former Head Boy of Dulwich Hamlet Junior School and an Alleyn Old Boy. This was his first visit back to Dulwich in over 40 years; he took an emotional journey back through the area in which he used to cycle as a boy and ended the evening by wooing the debate audience with his advocacy of organic food and farming.
The festival saw its wonderfully successful Open House Art event grow again this year with over 90 artists exhibiting their work in homes and studios throughout Dulwich. Other highlights included a stunning London premier of a new children's concert 'Red Riding Hood' with the acclaimed Gaudier Ensemble, a fascinating exploration of the world of mathematics with local author Rob Eastaway, some splendid contributions from the world of theatre and a whole host of dance events to tickle the toes. Matters became particularly steamy at the Salsa night at the Thomas More Hall!
The Dulwich Festival was also host to a rare date on the Swingle Singers' world tour, their next UK date after wowing the crowd at The Great Hall, Dulwich College being at the BBC Proms!
Innovations seen this year included a new online ticketing facility provided by local computer company Elrond, a welcome return for a comedy night with acclaimed comedian Robin Ince hosted at the Dulwich Hamlet Football Club and an engaging new element entitled 'Dulwich Festival Bookcrossing' whereby 20 books by authors involved in the festival were released into the community with a bold message emblazoned upon them instructing those lucky enough to find them to Read Me! Readers are then encouraged to note their review on the festival web-site before leaving the book to be found somewhere else. We can report exclusively that one book has made it as far as Lincolnshire! The festival was also able to produce a greater number of children's events this year due to funding from the Dulwich Community Council.
Two fantastic fairs took place in the festival. The delightful Festival Fair took place on Goose Green and was heaving with residents in spite of the inclement weather. The festival closed with the wonderful Green Fair which took place in Dulwich Park. This was a joint initiative with Southwark Council, the Friends of Dulwich Park, the Dulwich Festival and Dulwich Going Greener. A day full of ideas for a greener life was followed by a great evening of music and dance.
Planning will begin for the 2008 festival early this autumn; the dates are already confirmed as being 9th-18th May. Would you like to help fundraise, plan or promote the next Dulwich Festival? Take a moment to consider offering to deliver leaflets to your street next year; just think of the delights of which you could be a part! Do contact us on
Alpha Hopkins - Co-Director, Dulwich Festival
Jimmy Baird was a member of the Dulwich Society since he retired from the Royal Army Medical Corps, of which he was its Director-General, in 1977 and settled in Stonehills Court with his wife Ann who also died earlier this year.
He was born in Morayshire in 1915, the son of a minister in the United Free Church of Scotland. He studied medicine at Edinburgh and was swept into the RAMC with an emergency commission in 1939. Initially posted to a field ambulance unit, in 1941 he was attached as regimental medical officer to the 11th 'Scottish' Commando in Layforce - the raiding force of three commandoes sent to the Mediterranean. After this force was disbanded following severe casualties in the Lebanon he served with the 8th Army field medical units in the Western Desert and later at Middle- East base hospitals. It was there that he acquired a fascination for the study of tropical diseases, in which he would later specialise.
After the war he was admitted to the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and London where he became a Fellow of each. His qualities of an experienced physician and a brilliant lecturer came to the fore when he was appointed Director-General of the RAMC in 1973. At the time the Corps was in a parlous state following the closure of hospitals, amalgamation of medical units and cuts in staff following the reduction in numbers of the army. However the operational demands on the services remained high with engagements in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Belize and Oman.
Baird persuaded the Army Board to take three revolutionary steps to correct the general malaise in the Army Medical Services. First he overcame the prejudices against accepting female doctors into the Army and this proved a resounding success. Secondly he won agreement to use Territorial Army doctors overseas to provide temporary relief for the hard-pressed regulars. Thirdly, he conceived the idea of making greater use of skills of the male nurses with SRN qualifications by appointing them as regimental medical officers' assistants, thus releasing trained doctors for more urgent work.
In his retirement, Jimmy Baird devoted time to playing golf and pursued his interest in post-graduate medical education. He wrote a definitive history of the post-war Royal Army Medical Corps.
The Dulwich Players present
Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker
17th - 21st October 2007 at the Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College
On the 18th of January, 1788 the first fleet of British prison ships, under the command of Arthur Phillip, arrive at Botany Bay in New South Wales, Australia and settle up the coast at Port Jackson, the site of current-day Sydney. Many of the prisoners have been convicted of minor theft (stealing a loaf of bread was crime enough to earn deportation) and many of their wardens are military men who fought and lost the war against the American colonies.
In the belief that arts and culture can have a humanizing effect on even the most hardened criminals, Governor Arthur Philip, in the face of considerable opposition from some of his officers, proposes that a play be staged, to be performed by the convicts. Thus armed with only two copies of the script of 'The Recruiting Officer', a cast of convicts who have never acted before and a leading lady who may be about to be hanged, Our Country's Good charts a moving story of the power of theatre and the ability of individuals to transcend their circumstances.
Tickets available from: The Box Office : 020 8693 4830 or The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village 17th October (preview performance) : £6.00
October 18th, 19th, 20th October : £8.00
Dulwich Picture Gallery - The Age of Enchantment : Beardsley, Dulac and their contemporaries 28 Novemeber - 17 February
With the death of Aubrey Beardsley in 1898, the world of the illustrated book underwent a dramatic change. Gone were the degenerate images of scandal and deviance. The age of decadence was softened to delight rather than to shock. Whimsy and a pastel toned world of childish delights and an innocent exoticism unfolded in the pages of familiar fables, classic tales and those children's stories like the Arabian Nights and Hans Christian Andersen's stories. These were published with lavish colour plates and fine bindings: these were the coffee table books of a new age.
As a result, a new generation of illustrators emerged. This new group of artists was intent upon borrowing from the past, especially the fantasies of the rococo, the rich decorative elements of the Orient, the Near East, and the fairy tale worlds of the Victorians. The masters of this new art form were artists like Edmund Dulac and Kay Neilson, whose inventive book productions, with those of Arthur Rackham , became legendary. Disciples gathered, like Jessie King and Annie French, the Scottish masters of the ethereal and the poetic, the Detmold Brothers, masters of natural fantasy, as well as those who remained in Beardsley's shadow: the warped yet fascinating works of Sidney Sime, a joyously eccentric coal-miner turned artist, Laurence Housman, master of the fairy tale, the precious inventions from the classics by Charles Ricketts, the Irish fantasies of Harry Clarke, himself a master of stained glass as well as the gift book, and the rich and exotic world of Alastair.
The exhibition of British fantasy illustration will be the first such exhibition in Britain and the first worldwide for over 20 years. Over 100 works will be exhibited, many never seen publicly before. The exhibition is curated by Rodney Engen.
London Festival of Chamber Music
The 13th London Festival of Chamber Music presents
4 concerts in Dulwich
The 13th season of the London Festival of Chamber Music will take place from 25 September to 20 October, with 16 concerts in 4 venues 'near where people live'. The concerts in Dulwich will take place on Fridays, September 28, October 5 , 12 and 19, 8pm, at the Saint Faith's Community Hall, Red Post Hill, SE24.
The 4 programmes present well known repertoire pieces by Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart (Clarinet Quintet), Brahms, Schumann, Mendelssohn (String Octet) and Spohr (Nonet), together with less familiar works by Galzunov (Novellettes), Françaix (Divertissement for Bassoon and String Quintet), Amy Beach (Piano Quintet) and Dohnanyi (Serenade).
As in previous years the English String Quartet will be joined by several renowned artists, including the oboist John Anderson, the bassoonist Daniel Jemison, the pianist Martin Jones, the clarinettist Andrew Sparling and the horn player Nicholas Korth.
The Festival' policy is to offer low ticket prices and good concessions and discounts. For more information and to receive a brochure please contact our office:
Te. 020 7435 6232 E-mail:
Our address is: 44 Gondar Gardens, London, NW6 1HG
Our website is: londonfestival.co.uk
Dulwich Artist Exhibits in California
Paul Joyce, who is perhaps better known as a photographer, film and documentary maker of programmes such as Reel Women is also an artist. This summer he had an exhibition at the Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica entitled 'Hollywoodland'. It was curated by his friend, the veteran Hollywood actor Dennis Hopper. Hopper said; "I've known Paul Joyce for over twenty years as an exceptional photographer. When I saw his paintings they were wonderfully L.A., perhaps only as an Englishman and a friend of David Hockney's could envision. They embody the colours and primitive renderings of special places lost in L.A."
His paintings take us on a veritable tour of the Southland's architecture; the past and the present, the gaudy and vulgar, the whimsical and beguiling. Along a thousand auto arteries we travel with him past banal motels littered with iron security bars, stucco walls skewed at odd angles, and slathered in sinister colours. Lush tropical plantings ooze saturated colour, taking centre stage in front of Chandleresque bungalows. (Jim Heimann)
One of the most splendid features of Dulwich is the line of trees along College Road from the park gates to the crossing with the South Circular Road. They were planted over one hundred years ago, on what is now called the manor wastes - which is the verge on the east side of College Road and include three magnificent tulip trees and several other unusual trees including a cut-leaved hornbeam and a chestnut-leaved oak.
Four of these trees are now threatened, and one has already gone, because the neighbouring houses have some subsidence and their insurance companies are demanding the removal of the trees on the grounds that their roots have been found in one case, under the garage, and in another, under the porch. The grounds for believing that these trees are the main cause of the subsidence is not proven, and their value to the community has not been taken into account.
A horse chestnut by the crossing with the South Circular Road has already been removed and now the insurance company are demanding the felling of an enormous plane tree. Similarly, an ash, a tulip tree and a copper beech near the park gates are threatened. Trees are, therefore, being sacrificed unnecessarily.
The consents of the Estate and of Southwark Council are required, as the trees are both on the Dulwich Estate and in a Conservation Area. We have appealed to the Estate to risk incurring costs in order to defend these trees because we consider that residents value them and we have asked Southwark Council to put Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on them. But the TPOs only protect the trees for six months, in the first place, and these may not be confirmed if Southwark fears being held liable for costs. Both bodies wish to preserve the trees but in the last resort are not prepared to pay to protect them.
The Dulwich Society is therefore asking you to write to John Major, the Chief Executive of the Dulwich Estate, at the Estate office, Gallery Road, SE 21 7AE to ask the Estate Trustees to refuse to fell any trees along that part of College Road, and to write to Councillor Robin Crookshank-Hilton, one of the councillors for Dulwich, who is very interested in trees, at the Members' Room, London Borough of Southwark, Town Hall, Peckham Road, SE 15 8UB, to ask the Council to confirm the Tree Preservation Orders.
Stella Benwell, Chairman, Trees Committee
Until 4th November Dulwich Picture Gallery - The Changing Face of Childhood: British Children's Portraits and their influence in Europe
Tuesday 11th Dulwich Going Greener - New Tricks for Old Bricks: the best Green Building Ideas to improve your London Home - Talk by Russell Smith. 8pm upstairs at The Crown & Greyhound, Dulwich Village. Admission free.
Thursday 13th Dulwich Picture Gallery Director's Lecture - the Changing Face of Childhood: British Children's Portraits and their influence on Europe. Linbury Room 12.30-1.30pm
At 7pm at the Dulwich Picture Gallery - Jazz in the Garden - Charles Cary-Elwes, Esmé Howard and Friends. Morag McLaren soprano, and Kingsdale Steel Band
Saturday 15th-Sunday 16th London Open House Weekend. Dulwich Picture Gallery admission free (not including the Exhibition).
Christ's Chapel, Dulwich Village built 1616 open, see times in porch.
Friday 28th 13th London Festival of Chamber Music - Concert Haydn: Quartet in D, Op 64 no 5 "The Lark", Beethoven: Quartet in F minor Op 95 "Serioso", Glazunov: Three"Novellettes"Op 15, Prokofiev: quartet in F No 2 "Kabardinian". 8pm St. Faith's Community Hall, Red Post Hill SE 24. Tickets 0207 435 6232 or on the door
Wednesday 3rd at 7pm Dulwich Society Traffic and Transport Committee & Dulwich Going Greener - talk by Lynn Sloman on The Community Travel Plan. Crown & Greyhound, Dulwich Village.
Friday 5th 13th London Festival of Chamber Music - Concert Mozart; Clarinet Quintet in A K581, Jean Francaix: Divertissement for bassoon and string quintet, Spohr: Nonet in F Op 32 for wind and strings. 8pm St Faith's Community Hall, Red Post Hill SE 24. Tickets tel: 0207 435 6232 or on the door
Friday 12th Dulwich Society Private Visit to the Society of Antiquaries and the Exhibition in the Royal Academy Making History :Antiquaries in Britain. Conducted by Bernard Nurse MA, Archivist. Coach leaves from the Dulwich Picture Gallery at 6.30pm For Bookings see insert.(Numbers limited to 50)
13th London Festival of Chamber Music - Concert Brahms: Piano Trio in C minor Op 101, Beach: Piano Quintet in F sharp minor Op 67, Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat Op 44. 8pm St Faith's Community Hall, Red Post Hill SE 24. Tickets tel: 0207 435 6232 or at the door
Wednesday 17th- Saturday 20th The Dulwich Players present - Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker. 8pm Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College. Tickets £6-£8 from The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village or Tel 020 8693 4830
Friday 19th 13th London Festival of Chamber Music - Concert Haydn: Quartet in G minor Op 74 no 3 "Rider", Dohnanyi: Serenade for String Trio Op 10, Mendelssohn: String Octet in E flat Op 20. At 8pm at St Faith's Community Hall, Red Post Hill, SE 24. Tickets tel: 0207 435 6232 or at the door
Saturday 20th Lambeth Orchestra - Concert conducted by Christopher Fifield. Weber: Overture: Euryanthe, Reinecke: Violin Concerto in G minor Op.141, Brahms: Symphony No.3. 8pm All Saints Church, West Dulwich. Tickets £10, £8 (concessions), children £1 available on the door or in advance 07812 984236
Thursday 1st Dulwich Society Trees Committee visit to Wakehurst Place - 'Kew in the Country'. Guided tree walk in the woodland to see the spectacular autumn colour and time to explore the winter garden and Millennium Seed Bank. (For booking details see insert)
Thursday 15th Dulwich Society Local History Group presents an evening entertainment of 'Dulwich in Literature: readings about Dulwich from historical sources, diaries, poetry and fiction. 8pm the Old Library, Dulwich College
Wednesday 28th Until 17th February Dulwich Picture Gallery - Beardsley, Dulac and their Contemporaries
Thursday 29th Dulwich Picture Gallery Director's Lecture - the Age of Enchantment: Beardsley, Dulac and their Contemporaries. Linbury Room 12.30-1.30pm
Saturday 15th Lambeth Orchestra - Concert conducted by Christopher Fifield. Scharwenka: Arcadian Suite, Khatchaturian: Violin concerto, Bartok: Concerto for orchestra. 7.30pm All Saints Church, West Dulwich. Tickets £10, £8 (concessions) Children £1 available on the door or in advance on 07812 984236
An extract from 'The Sporting Magazine' of 1827 ( I am grateful to Alan Poole, of Dovedale Road for sending this article. (Ed))
John Lawrence, a correspondent of the journal writes;
I have not been much loco-motive of late, but I have at last managed to spend part of two days with my good friend David Marjoribanks, Esq. at his residence, Knights Hill Cottage, Dulwich *, where every thing shews health, and comfort, and convenience, where one might fancy oneself a hundred or two of miles from London. There it was, where that surly old chuff, but able and honest lawyer, Lord Thurlow, spent five and twenty of the happiest years of his life. We walked in the noble Lord's favourite and constant walk, and, if I recollect aright, sat in the very same room where the Chancellor telling the poor parson, an old school fellow, he should have the requested living, his reverence, heart-full exultingly exclaimed - "Shall I, by God?" - to which the Chancellor's ready response was - "Yes, you shall, by God!" - I was so fortunate to meet Mr Cooper ** at the cottage, respected for his companionable qualities, as well as for those which distinguish him in his profession. He was putting his last hand to the portrait of 'Richard', a fine specimen of the painter's art, and which certainly loses nothing of its sterling merit by being a correct likeness.......Mr M., with plenty of garden ground for useful and ornamental purposes, has forty or fifty acres of excellent meadow- land for horses or sheep. The air is soft and salubrious, and the views cheerful and pleasant. As I paced alone and musing "so blithesome o'er the dewy mead," I said to myself, why, barring unfortunate or fortunate break-neck accidents, might not a man, on a spot like this, reach the patriarchal age of those old codgers, whose memoirs and familiar days have been handed down to us in a style and manner so delectably amusing? - taking into the account moreover, that their reckoning differed from ours, inasmuch as their years are supposed to have tallied in point of time with our months. I then suddenly came nearer home in my cogitations, fixing on the era of our "merry Monarch, scandalous and poor," and of Rochester, whose wit and satiric powers cannot redeem his memory from the stain of immorality and a want of principle. Who but we, who delight to delve in the stale and musty gossip of History, now recollect Dulwich was, in those days, a famous watering place? - what or where the water was, I cannot conjecture; and that London hebdomadaly poured out its myriads to replenish this proximate and convenient Spa? - Joe Haines *** among the rest, from Saturday to Monday, to purge off his metropolitan impurities.... I am, however, not quite in order; for the truth is, I visited 'Richard' in the first instance, as well may be expected; and the good-natured animal received me, as he ought to receive an old and true lover of the horse. For colour, and form, and bone, he recalled to my remembrance the 'Devonshire Surly' (by Blank) of my early days. This 'Richard' was a stout and true runner, honest and of excellent temper; and as our turf has long been in want of a real kill-devil, to afford us some variety, and the opportunity of looking wise by setting us a wondering, surely he is fit as any stallion of the day to initiate such a phenomenon. But it must be out of a proper mare and - oh that I could have the selecting of such a one on my own account. I was too late to see many of the mares and foals; but I observed a forward filly, well formed, and with particular good substance in the thighs and forearms. - This horse has been very successful this season, and the balance of his account of profit and loss stands boldly on the right side. Exclusive of his bred stock, I apprehend that Surrey, Kent and Middlesex will anon have to thank 'Richard' for some capital hunting, hackney, and coaching stock. Knights Hill has plenty of yard room, stabling, and sheds, with good water near at hand, and its proprietor seems to enter into the spirit of the whole with the energy of a true lover of the horse.
* Lord Thurlow's cottage was Knights Hill Farm on the west side of Dulwich Common.
** Abraham Cooper (1787-1868), battle and animal painter who was a contributor to the Sporting Magazine from 1811. He provided 189 subjects which were engraved in the magazine. Between 1812-1868/9 Cooper exhibited 332 pictures at the Royal Academy.
*** Probably Joe (Joseph) Haines (d. 1701) actor and writer. His satiric style of writing sometimes landed him in trouble. He was also continually hounded by his creditors.
The article is interesting because it provides local evidence of the enthusiasm for horse racing and hunting which were such popular pursuits in Georgian England. There were frequent hunts in an around Dulwich as Joseph Romilly (1791-1864), a near neighbour of David Marjoribanks, records in his diary which he kept while living at The Willows, Dulwich Common 1820-37, the very period of the article in The Sporting Magazine. Romilly tells us that in 1831 he went to watch a stag hunt at the Beaulah Spa- "Margaret and I were nearly rode over by the hunt near the turnpike. The hunt galloped over the Common by our house."
Another Glimpse at Georgian Dulwich
Alderman Thomas Wright
Thomas Wright built Bell House in College Road in 1767. Recently I discovered some references concerning him in the Guildhall, Library. Among a folder of papers were prints of a portrait of Wright who died in 1798 aged 75, and his wife Ann who died in 1809 aged 82.
Thomas Wright was a fabulously wealthy wholesale stationer who had started as a humble apprentice or servant in the warehouse in which he afterwards became master. It is possible that he married his master's daughter! The warehouse was in Abchurch Lane near St. Paul's. Wright went into partnership with a Mr. Gill who later became his brother-in-law. Curiously, both were Aldermen and both became Lord Mayors of London. They were the same age and were buried in the same vault, one a fortnight or three weeks after the other. Their business partnership lasted fifty years. Thomas Wright's coat of arms includes the use of gules in order to acknowledge the Gill association.
Wright and Gill were approachable businessmen, talking in a young lad, Richard Dalton, who had come to London from Wigtown, Cumberland as an employee. They were so satisfied with the lad that they later made him a partner in the company which after Wright's death also included four brothers named Key who had bought up the vast stock. Dalton lived at Camberwell Green, and the eldest of the Key brothers lived on Denmark Hill and was a in the commission of the peace for the county of Surrey.
Wright was chosen alderman in 1779, was Sheriff in 1780 and Mayor in 1785-6. The following is an account of installation as Sheriff.
Yesterday morning the two new Sheriffs, viz. Aldermen Wright and Pugh, went in their carriages to Stationers -Hall, where they breakfasted, and afterwards proceeded with the Master, wardens and Court of assistants of the said Company to Guildhall, where they were sworn into their offices, with the usual formalities. Their chariots were very elegant. The livery of Alderman Wright is a superfine orange-coloured cloth, richly trimmed with silver; Alderman Pugh's is a superfine green cloth, with a rich broad gold lace, and both make a grand appearance as any Sheriffs have for several years.
The old and new Sheriffs returned from the Hall to the Paul's-Head Tavern, Cateaton- Street when, according of annual custom, the keys of the different jails were delivered to the new Sheriffs, and they were regaled with walnuts and sack by the Keeper of Newgate.
After the ceremony at Guildhall, the Sheriffs &c. returned to Stationers Hall where an elegant dinner was provided by Mr. Sheriff Wright. The whole was conducted with the utmost propriety, and was the better attended than any feast given on a similar occasion, there being sixteen Alderman present besides the Sheriffs.
A Correspondent has favoured us with the following description of the painting on the new Sheriff's chariot: Mr. Alderman Wright's - 'Liberty, in a fitting posture, with her rod in one hand, and her other on the Roman faces, while a little-winged Genius is presenting her with a code of laws.'
Another newspaper cutting dated 1785 in the file states;
Mr. Alderman Wright, the present Mayor of London, is said to have property in the 3 per cents, to the amount of near £180,000. The very interest of this sum exceeds the Prince of Wales actual income! And independent of it, Mr. Wright's profits in his trade, as a stationer, are supposed to be very little short of it!
Thomas and Ann Wright, their daughter Ann who married Mr. John Willis of Belair, Gallery Road, are all buried at Wynandisbury Church, near Colnbrook, Buckinghamshire. At his death Thomas Wright left the immense sum of £400,000.
Most people will know Sir Giles Gilbert Scott for his design of Liverpool Cathedral, Battersea Power Station, and the original red telephone boxes. Others will know the William Booth Memorial College, his splendid Salvation Army headquarters in Camberwell, but few will realise that Dulwich has its own Giles Gilbert Scott building at Atholl House, 138-140 College Road, now Dulwich's Cheshire Home. Not listed in his complete works and, in fairness, probably designed by someone in his office, the house was originally built for a Mr Basil Aldous, a prominent local resident and later Chairman of the Estate Governors. It was the most expensive house to be built in Dulwich before WW II costing over £8,500, nearly twice the cost of the next most expensive house.
In the Report of the Building Operations Committee in the Estate Board Meeting Minutes dated 23rd July 1936, C E Barry, the Estate Architect, is recorded as saying 'I submit sketch plans prepared by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott RA of the house which Mr B C Aldous wishes to erect on the site to be leased to him. The house shown would be built with external walls having a 2" cavity, and 1' 3" thick, the external thickness being of light coloured facing bricks. The roof would be covered with brown pantiles. The ground floor comprises a large hall, drawing room, billiards room, dining room, study, kitchen, maid's sitting room and laundry. On the first floor there are seven bedrooms, a dressing room, study and three bathrooms. The house contains 127,727 cu ft, which, at 1s 4d per foot would give a cost of £8,515. I recommend that these sketch plans be approved, subject to the submission of the complete working drawings.'
Scott's other connection with Dulwich is perhaps more tenuous and comes from his work as the designer of the K2 telephone box. He was one of three architects invited by the Royal Fine Arts Commission to submit designs for new telephone kiosks - the invitation coming at the same time that Scott had become a trustee of Sir John Soane's Museum. His winning design was in the classical style, but topped with a dome reminiscent of Soane's self-designed mausoleum in St Pancras Old Churchyard, London (though you can also see some resemblance in the original photographs of the rear of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, also by Soane). Later designs adapted the same general look for mass-production and the K6, known originally as the Jubilee kiosk, introduced for King George V's silver jubilee in 1935, eventually became a fixture in almost every town and village in the country.
Scott was the grandson of Sir George Gilbert Scott, architect of the recently refurbished and extended St Pancras Station Hotel. He was brought up by his mother after his father was declared insane when he was aged 3 and he was articled to church architect Temple Lushington Moore in 1899. Moore, who had been a pupil of Scott's father, actually worked at home leaving Scott in his office, allowing Scott to develop his own architectural knowledge of his father's designs - which he regarded as the work of a genius, and superior to those of his grandfather.
When the competition for a 'Design for a twentieth century cathedral' in Liverpool was announced in 1902, he began work on the drawings at his home in Battersea in his spare time and was surprised to be one of the five architects selected for the second round (his employer's designs were rejected) and even more surprised to win. The choice of Scott was a shock to the architectural establishment because of Scott's youth (he was 22), his lack of experience (at that point he had only designed a few private houses), and faith (he was a Catholic).
Scott was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects gold medal in 1925 and he was elected President of the RIBA in 1933, its centenary year, at the height of his reputation - the late 30s saw him complete the University Library at Cambridge as well as a huge number of churches. In his inaugural address he criticised both the diehard traditionalists and the up and coming modernists, calling for a 'middle line' in which architects accepted new methods of construction while seeking to always retain the place of a human element in architecture.
Scott's reputation as a church architect and work on the reconstruction of the Houses of Parliament, and projects such as the Bankside Power Station and the Guildhall extension in the City of London, kept him in work after WW II, despite his style seeming old fashioned. He was still at work when he died in 1960 and is buried with his wife outside the main entrance to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.