In recent years most of the local churches have been obliged to launch fund raising appeals to offset massive building costs. Both St. Barnabas and All Saints had to contemplate totally rebuilding their churches following destruction by fire. St. Stephen's and St.John's discovered serious roof and spire deterioration which called for immediate remedial action and for both these churches this was quite soon after earlier appeals to build new hall facilities. St. Paul's and Christ Church both launched appeals to adapt the interiors of their churches to meet changing needs.
At the time, each of the churches was faced with the daunting prospect of a massive financial cliff to be climbed yet each has succeeded in either erasing the debt or now has that end in sight. And all this has been realised at a time when we are told that church attendance is falling away. It has partly been achieved (with a satisfying increase in attendance) by making the churches more accessible to non church-going people though a wide variety of concerts, lunch clubs, drop-in coffee shops and playgroups.
The number and quality of the concerts performed for the various appeals has been staggering. Not only have talented local performers found venues and audiences, but enterprising organisers have persuaded national and even international artistes to perform. The entire community has thus benefited from these appeals and apparent disasters have been turned into success stories.
For lovers of church music another benefit is accruing. A number of the churches are installing new pipe organs at a time when churches elsewhere are, because of rising costs, turning to electronic organs. For those who appreciate the clearer tones of the pipe organs this is good news. Soon, Dulwich will be able to boast a splendid array of such new or restored instruments at St. Stephens, St John's, St. Barnabas, All Saints and Christ's Chapel. Time for an Organathon perhaps?
The 42nd Annual General Meeting of the Dulwich Society will be held at 7.30pm (please note new time) Thursday 17 March 2005, at St. Barnabas Centre, Calton Avenue, SE 21.
In order that more time can be spent discussing any matters of concern to members, all committee and sub-committee reports (with the exception of the Treasurer's Report) will be published in advance on the Society's website www.dulwichsociety.org.uk Members unable to access the website can obtain a printed copy by contacting the Secretary in advance. Copies will be available at the meeting.
Following the meeting, Greville Havenhand will present a complimentary Tutored Wine Tasting for those members attending. Greville has chosen a selection of interesting, but less common wines. (see page 33).
Map of Remarkable Trees in Dulwich
The Trees Committee has compiled a map showing the position of over seventy good examples of uncommon trees in the parks and front gardens of Dulwich. A complimentary copy is being distributed with this newsletter. It will be on sale locally for £3.50. It has been beautifully illustrated by Rosemary Lindsay, a local botanical artist. We would be very interested to receive comments from members.
A view on the work of the Community Council by Bill Higman
The Dulwich Community Council has been a popular recent innovation towards achieving more effective local democracy, and its meetings have been well attended. It works because it comes close to a New England -style 'town meeting', is open to all local residents, and regularly attended by our local councillors and the Southwark Council officers who carry the work out on our behalf. The officers can be asked to report on specific matters and are present to receive comments and account publicly for what they do. Meetings of the Community Council have been effectively chaired by Kim Humphreys.
During its first year, the Community Council has inevitably had a 'fire-fighting' role to perform with a backlog of some topics overdue for attention. There have also been some major new proposals to report on and discuss, including large cash investments in Dulwich Park and the Dulwich Community Hospital. There have been some memorable protests to Transport for London over changes in bus routes and services.
Local residents have also been going through a learning process about how to increase the effectiveness of their representations, and in realizing increasingly what the Community Council is able to achieve. One novel feature is that it does have local decision-making powers and the finance to actually achieve local amenity improvement. As residents, this is where we may be able to organise our approach more effectively. We could, for example, keep before us a more coherent picture of where we should like money to be spent in Dulwich.
In the autumn Southwark Council did in fact declare that it had a useful sum of money available to spend on improvements in Dulwich * and asked the Community Council to make proposals. Residents then took some time to decide what their amenity priorities for the area actually were, and to piece these together into an expenditure programme. The Dulwich Society presented its own shopping list but the Community Council probably did not give itself time to evaluate these items in relation to suggestions made from other sources. There were many remaining uncertainties as to the total of what could be afforded, the length of time projects would take to complete, possible overlaps or duplication of existing projects and the existence of other public funds which could be more effectively used. The complexity of decision making was added to by traditional pressures on the Council to budget expenditure within a particular financial year.
Some of this could be simplified if we were to draw up, in advance, a more considered expenditure 'wish list', properly costed, to be taken in stages if some items were to large to be carried out all at once. This would enable us and Southwark Council to make and keep current a more coherent medium-term plan for what would materially improve the amenity of Dulwich area. Major items which require detailed co-ordination, such as road and traffic improvements, probably require the longest advance planning period and consequently the most difficult to implement. For example, although we have been successful in getting a number of traffic calming schemes, we still need to make better provision for protected cycle routes as well as reducing unsightly road and signage clutter.
Fitting all this into one sensible plan and carrying it out in the right stages will require closer co-ordination among all the parties and different interests involved. A local plan presided over by the Community Council would help this process. Our response should be to encourage this and to use the Community Council as a tool to enable this to be done more effectively. Everybody stands to benefit.
* Dulwich Community Council was awarded £316,000 in July 2004. Grants made to projects in the Dulwich Society's area include:- £10,000 to improve Dulwich Library Gardens, £25,000 to Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club for ground improvements and community access, four grants to Kingswood Estate for art & recreation,health and youth projects totalling £35,000, £5000 for signage rationalisation between Stradella and Burbage Roads, £4000 for handrails and traffic speed restrictors at Giles Coppice, £25,000 for new security fence at Sydenam Hill Wood, £18,000 for pedestrian safety around the Court Lane entrance to Dulwich Park, £23,000 for Jasper Road traffic calming, £18,000 for traffic calming in Dulwich Wood Avenue, £13,750 for additional lighting in front of Dulwich Village shops, £3000 for safety improvements at Court Lane/Calton Avenue, £2000 for renovation of the historic bus stop on Alleyn Road.
(Source - Dulwich Community Fund Progress update January 2005)
Edward Alleyn Statue
In December 2003, the Dulwich Society promoted a competition to design a life size statue of Edward Alleyn to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his purchase in October 1605, of the manor of Dulwich, with which he endowed the College and the charities which bear his name. By permission of the Dulwich Estate it was to be designed to be erected in the garden of the Old College.
In May 2004 there was an exhibition of the short-listed designs at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The winning entry, chosen by a committee under the chairmanship of Desmond Shawe-Taylor, the Director of the Gallery, was announced by the Right Honourable Tessa Jowell M.P. who is Secretary of State for the Arts as well as the local Member of Parliament.
The design chosen is by Louise Simson (born 1960) who began her career as an artist painting particularly actors in performance. She began working in bronze in 2001 with sculptures of competitors in the Wimbledon tennis finals and has been commissioned each year since to provide small sculptures of the winners of that competition. Her design is a dynamic portrayal of Alleyn positioned to point out his foundation to a second figure which is of a young boy. It will be her first life size work.
At the same time as the winning entry was announced, an appeal was launched by the President of the Dulwich Society, His Honour Judge Michael Rich QC to raise the necessary funds to commission and erect the statue. It opened with the benefit of contributions from 30 patrons and the promise of a contribution of £10,000 from the Dulwich Estate on behalf of the seven beneficiaries of the Estate of which, of course the three Dulwich Schools are the principal.
The Appeal has now raised £45,000, and the Dulwich Society has now obtained the necessary permissions and has commissioned the sculpting and casting of the statue. The society hopes shortly to conclude negotiations for the plinth and landscaping. Subject to contingencies, the sum raised should cover the cost of these works although there is still need to make provision for the unveiling ceremony in October 2005.
Herne Hill Velodrome
The saga of the Herne Hill Velodrome continues. Southwark Council has not been able to formally issue the planning consent for the proposed £7m redevelopment because of queries from local residents over the accuracy of the information given to the planning committee. There has also been a delay in setting up the not for profit trust (The London Velodrome Trust) which the Council had hoped would take over the ownership of the track and the proposed climbing wall facilities.
The Dulwich Estate has now given the Council an ultimatum to renew their lease by 31st January or hand the ground back. They have also advised the Council that they are not prepared to enter into any agreement with the London Velodrome Trust unless it is under written by the Council itself. The Society understands that the Estate is looking for an increase in the annual rent from £5000 to £65000.
The Council has prepared a thorough and detailed report for an executive meeting on 24th January. It outlines three possible options for a way forward.
Option 1 is not to renew the lease and hand the ground back to the Estate. This will involve the Council in paying dilapidations (which are expected to be in the order of several hundred thousand pounds) and also returning the money given to the Council by Sport England to pay for the new cycle track installed in 1992. The potential costs of this option are not set out in the public report but in a separate 'closed report' only available to councillors.
Option 2 is for the Council to renew the lease for 20 years in the expectation that it can obtain sources of outside funding to carry out the development. The report points out that this is a very risky proposition as there is no certainty that the money will be forthcoming and that all the costs might, in the end, fall on the Council.
Option 3 is to negotiate a temporary 5 year extension to the lease to give more time for alternative development options to be considered and funding sources to be found. There would also be the opportunity for an agreement to be reached with the Estate over the London Velodrome Trust.
Planning Applications reviewed by Ian McInnes
Fairfield 9 Dulwich Village
The application for a new house in the large rear garden of this property was turned down by Southwark Council's Planning Committee against the recommendation of its own planning officers. The main grounds were that the house was too large and out of character with the immediate area and that the new entrance would be harmful to the character of the street scene.
This decision will set a precedent for other sites in Dulwich where the Society understands that similar schemes are under consideration.
Much to the surprise of local residents, and the Dulwich Estate, the current owner of this house on Sydenham Hill appears to be running a night club on the premises. The Estate was not aware of this nor, as far as we know, was Southwark's Licensing Department. The venue was advertised on the internet, with its own web site, as ideal for Xmas parties. In January, the Editor of this Newsletter even received an invitation, extended to all 'staff and members of the Dulwich Society to attend an evening of music soul, pop and jazz.' Too late for the publication date we regret!
Not to be outdone by the other schools in Dulwich who are embarking on a building spree, Kingsdale had no sooner finished its major refurbishment when it submitted a planning application for a new Music School and Sports Hall. The Society has no objection in principle but feels that the industrial type cladding materials proposed for the latter are not appropriate on a relatively large building in a low-rise suburban location.
The Sir Ernest Shackleton, Bowen Drive
Just along from Kingsdale School lies the Sir Ernest Shackleton pub. There is a current application to demolish it and replace it with a three storey block of flats. The existing building is only two stories high and the houses in Rouse Gardens to the rear will suffer a loss of amenity if the development goes ahead, as will the residents of the Kingswood Estate, who will be deprived of their only pub. The Society has objected.
Mobile Telephone Masts
Orange's latest application for an 11.5m column 'disguised as a sewer vent' on the corner of Dulwich Common and College Road has been turned down by Southwark Council on the basis that it fails to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Dulwich Village Conservation Area. Notwithstanding this decision Vodafone have made a similar application along Dulwich Common by Dulwich Park's Rosebury Lodge Gate.
The Dulwich Society is enthusiastically supporting the re-launch of the Dulwich Festival (see elsewhere in this issue for details of the Festival). It will present a history walk led by Brian Green, an architectural walk led by Ian McInnes and a Tree Walk. Additionally the Society will be manning a recruiting and information desk outside the Post Office in Dulwich Village on Saturday 22 May 10am-4pm. Members willing to help on the stand should contact the secretary.
There is to be another Tree Walk on Saturday 21 May as part of the Dulwich Festival along Alleyn Park and Alleyn Road both of which have many fine trees included on our map. It will be led by Letta Jones, a horticultural lecturer who was our excellent guide last year in Dulwich Park. Meet at the junction of Huntslip Road and Alleyn Park at 2.00pm.
As part of the lottery bid, the planting of a number of trees has been planned. Some residents have wanted to give memorial trees to the park and the list is now open. Anyone who would like to have a memorial tree planted should get in touch with Rosie Thornton, the park manager in the Rangers' office in the park or on 8693 5737.
The Group announce that the spring lecture, ' The Herbaceous Border' by David Cheston will take place at 8pm on Thursday 3 March at the St Barnabas Centre, Calton Avenue.
The Garden Group is also holding a Plant Sale on Saturday 14 May at 2.30pm at 163 Turney Road. Members welcome.
The Group's annual visit will be to Sissinghurst and Great Dixter Gardens on Tuesday 12 July. Price £24. Reservations to Ina Pulleine, 1 Perifield, SE 21 8NG. Telephone 8670 5477 (after 11.00am)
Wildlife Walk on Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common wildlife officer Dave Haldane will be leading a walk for Dulwich Society members over the Common's rich and varied mammal, bird and flora habitats (many of them designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest) on Sunday 24 April. Dave will answer questions on habitat creation and restoration in urban open spaces. Meet at The Windmill (where you can park) at 10am. Admission is free (If you would like to join the walk, which should last about two hours, but have transport problems/queries, please call 8693 5789.
Feathers ruffled over tree felling - David Nicholson Lord reports
Two nest boxes have been erected by the Dulwich Society in Court Lane Gardens after five trees were felled there in November by the Dulwich Estate. The felling led to protests from residents, several of whom contacted the Estate to complain. According to residents, the felling took place without warning, several of the trees were still partly alive and at least one tree was thought to contain the nest site of green woodpeckers. Tree creepers had also been seen there. One householder described the felling as "vandalism", adding:" We are devastated by what appears to be very high-handed destruction of the green wood in front of our home."
Following meetings between residents, the estate and representatives of the trees and wildlife committees, the estate agreed to the erection of two nest boxes - for a green wood pecker and a tree creeper. These were put up in January. The Estate, which says that the trees were dead and needed replacing, has also agreed to consider proposals from the Society for an ecologically-based approach to tree management. These proposals have now been sent to the governors and include:
- Consulting local residents before significant tree works that may affect them.
- Planting new trees before felling old ones, to avoid gaps in cover.
- Retention of trees, even if "dead" - so called "standing dead wood" - and as logs or log piles to promote biodiversity.
- More planting of shrubs, bushes and hedges to create an "understorey" - an increasingly threatened habitat in urban areas.
- Avoiding the grinding our of tree stumps wherever possible, to promote the breeding cycles of insects, including stag beetles. Stumps can also serve as decorative features, bird-feeders, seats and sculptures.
Many nest-box requirements are highly specific. The green woodpecker, which feeds on ants on the ground, has a softer beak than the great spotted woodpecker. Its box had to be filled with dry, fibrous birch wood, to encourage it to excavate its own nest without creating too much of a challenge. The tree creeper's box has to mimic the species' preference for space behind large chunks of loose, rough bark so is wedge-shaped and narrow and has tiny triangular side-entrances.
The felled trees included a beech, two Norway maples and a purple plum. The logs, unfortunately, were also removed from the site. Possible replacement species include purple beech, red oak and Japanese pagoda tree.
London Wildlife Trust Walks in Sydenham Hill Woods
Dawn Chorus Walk Saturday 23 April
Led by expert birder Alan Crawford. Experience one of Britain's greatest wildlife events, the spring dawn chorus. Listen as one by one different species enter the chorus as they sing to attract mates and defend territories. Last year we were treated to the Hoot of the Tawny Owls, but they finish early so arrive on time. Bring warm clothes and a torch, and if you like, binoculars and a field guide for later, when the sun rises. Meet at 4.30am at the Crescent Wood Road entrance.
Wildflower Walk Sunday 15 May
Join the plant expert Mark Spencer of the Natural History Museum as he shows us the plants that help to make Sydenham Hill Wood a site of metropolitan importance for nature conservation. Feel free to ask Mark questions as he is an excellent communicator capable of helping either the novice or the professional botanist. Meet at 2pm at the Crescent Wood entrance
For further details call Ian Holt on 020 8699 5698 or email
New Appointment for Dulwich Gallery Director
Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery has been appointed to the position of Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures. He joins the Royal Collection in April and will succeed the present Surveyor, Christopher Lloyd who retires in July.
The Royal Collection, one of the largest and most important art collections in the world, is held in trust by The Queen as Sovereign for her successors and the Nation. The paintings comprise one of the best known and most significant elements of the Collection. The Surveyor has overall curatorial responsibility for some 7000 oil paintings and 3000 miniatures.
Desmond Shawe-Taylor has been Director at Dulwich since 1996. He has overseen the major refurbishment of the Gallery and has been responsible for staging a number of superb exhibitions. He has been active in promoting the Gallery, not least by a heroic sponsored walk from Litchfield to London thus echoing the journey made by Dr. Johnson - the difference being that Johnson arrived penniless but Desmond arrived laden with hard-earned sponsorship money!
He has given whole-hearted support for the Edward Alleyn Statue Competition organised by the Dulwich Society and acted as Chairman of the Selection Panel
The Dulwich Deluge - Southwark Council report
The investigation by Southwark Council environment officers into the severe flooding which affected much of Dulwich last April found that the rainfall was largely confined to the local area which received up to 6inches (15cm) of rain in the space of ninety minutes. The volume of water which drained north- west towards Herne Hill was so great that the bore of the main flood relief and other sewers was insufficient to carry the water away and in some cases emitted from street drains causing further flooding to property. While Southwark Council admitted that some of the street drains for which they are responsible were blocked they say that made no difference on that occasion. However, they stated that they had issued instructions for more frequent clearance of street drains. The matter of the size of the main sewer pipes and their ability to cope with such volume of water as had been experienced on 27 April 2004 has been referred to Thames Water.
Dulwich Festival: 13-22 May 2005
After a year's break, the organisers of the Dulwich Festival are delighted to announce that the Festival will be happening once again this year from 13-22 May 2005. The Dulwich Festival began in 1993 and is run by a team of volunteers
For the past 12 years, the Dulwich Festival has been bringing a fascinating mix of music, words, walks, art and family events to the Dulwich area. Many of the events are free of charge. Venues range from pubs to parks, schools to churches and libraries in and around Dulwich.
Everyone in south-east London can enjoy the Dulwich Festival on their doorstep. The Festival aims to showcase local artistic talent, professional and amateur, as well as Dulwich's buildings, history and wonderful open spaces with a week-long programme of events.
The Festival puts on arts events for all members of the community. Highlights of this year's programme will be:
- 'The Art of Permanence and Change' - an exciting exhibition of contemporary art set within the unique backdrop of Sydenham Hill Woods. Over 20 artists from the UK and abroad have been invited to develop a discourse between the past, present and future function of this uniquely changing habitat. Curated by Helen Morse-Palmer and John Deller in conjunction with the London Wildlife Trust.
- a children's art trail focussing on Dulwich's history since 1605, the year when Edward Alleyn bought the manor and estate of Dulwich
- an open studio weekend where visitors will be able to see local artists' studios and look at their work
- the South East London Community Short Documentary Competition
- Jon Snow in conversation at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
- an evening of 1920s, 30s & 40s music and dancing with Blue Harlem at Beauberry House, Belair Park.
For further information please call 020 8299 1011, or email on
You can also visit our website on www.dulwichfestival.co.uk
Dulwich Community Hospital - Exciting Times Ahead
An outline design for the new £36million Dulwich Community Hospital is now available and a newsletter on progress can be obtained by telephoning Sharon Kesto on 7346 6444. The hospital will provide local people with a full range of primary care services, community health and rehabilitation services including a chronic disease centre to improve treatment for patients with conditions such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. Diagnostic services including x-rays, ECGs and blood tests, and eventually ultrasound, will also be available. Out of hours care will be provided along with twilight nursing services and out of hours social work.
An Exhibition Room at Dulwich Hospital, linking the past to the present and now the future is being prepared. The Dulwich Society Local History Group has been most helpful and has passed on some old photographs. Do go and look, perhaps you have some reminiscences?
Community Warden Scheme begins
The Community Warden Service was launched recently in the Dulwich area. The wardens will patrol those areas where there has been an identified need to improve the environment. Specifically these areas are Lordship Lane and its surrounding roads, Herne Hill and the Kingswood area.
The wardens will report abandoned vehicles, graffiti, fly tips and fly posts and other hazards including defective lighting and footways. They will also make special efforts to contact community groups, residents associations and other organisations that can work to improve community cohesion. The wardens will also watch out for and report instances of anti-social behaviour to the police. The wardens themselves have no police powers and are expected to be non-confrontational in their approach to people and problems.
According to David Potter, supervisor of the Dulwich Community Warden Scheme, "the approach is for the wardens to plan their response to incidents and problems identified involving the relevant authorities in a problem sharing partnership."
Fair Trade for all
Christ Church, Barry Road, which is made up of Methodists and United Reformed members launched an enterprising and worthwhile venture last autumn. It offers the Bread of Life Cafe, open for traditional breakfasts, lunches, snacks and cakes daily from 10am-4pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm either to eat in or take away. The café is situated in beautiful new space, with disabled access and room for buggies. It also has a Fair Trade Centre selling a wide range of produce from countries where the small producers can get maximum benefit. Coffee, rice, pasta, dried fruit, chocolate and confectionary together with gift items are on sale each morning.
Volunteers are always needed for both the café and the shop and currently there is a need for more help on Thursdays. If you can help contact Freda Nevill (8693 7941) or Mary Watson (8693 5062)
Thursday 3rd Dulwich Society Garden Group Lecture The Herbaceous Border by David Cheston. St. Barnabas Centre, Calton Aveneue, SE 21 8pm. Admission Free
Friday 4th Friends of the Dulwich Picture Gallery Gala Concert by English Chamber Orchestra Ensemble Dvorak, Terzetto, Mozart, Brhms. 7.30pm in the Gallery. Tickets £30 to include a glass of champagne.
Thursday 10th Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture Series Art and Ideas Dr A.C. Grayling. Linbury Room 12.30-1.30pm Collection
Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture William Hogarth and Captain Coram's Founding Hospital and New Museum Ann Hopkins-Clarke. James Allen's Girls' School Lecture Hall 8pm Admission charge.
Saturday 12th St. Paul's Church, Herne Hill at 7.30pm Last of the current 'In-Spire' Concert Series - Sydney Carter - a Life of Music and Poetry. Admission free but collection for the Appeal.
Thursday 17th Dulwich Society A.G.M. and Wine Tasting 7.30pm St Barnabas Centre.
Saturday 19th Dulwich Symphony Orchestra present a Spring Concert Wagner: Overture Faust, Saint-Saens: Cello Concert, Dvorak: Sympthony No.5. At 7.45pm at St. Barnabas Church, Calton Avenue, SE 21. Tickets £7.50 & £5 (includes a glass on wine) at the door.
Thursday 24th Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture Series A Factory of Cunning: Honest and Dishonest Women in the 18th century Phillipa Stockley 12.30-1.30pm Collection
Thursday 31st Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture The Modern and Antique Ceramics Roadshow Eric Knowles of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow and Ben Williams will give expert opinions on the audience's ceramics. Bring your own pots! 12.30-1.30pm Collection
Thursday 14th Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture Series Samson and Delilah in Art and Music Lois Oliver. 12.30-1.30pm Collection
Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture Spanish Painting of the 17th Century; Velasquez, Zurbaran, Murillo. Jennifer Morgan. James Allen's Girls' School Lecture Hall 8 pm Admission charge.
Thursday 21st Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture Series Michelangelo and the Medici Chapel James Hall. 12.30-1.30pm Collection
Saturday 23rd London Wildlife Trust Dawn Chorus Walk Sydenham Hill Wood led by Alan Crawford. Meet 4.30am at the Crescent Wood entrance.
South London Chorus perform Elgar's choral masterpiece The Dream of Gerontius at Fairfield Hall, Croydon. 7.30pm Tickets £13 & £16 from Fairfield Hall Box Office or The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village.
Sunday 24th Dulwich Picture Gallery Exhibitions The Triumph of Watercolour and Modern Pots ends.
Dulwich Society Wildlife Walk on Wimbledon Common led by Dave Haldane, meet at the Windmill at 10am.
Thursday 12th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture The Drama of Donatello -the most important sculptor in the 15th century Warren Hearndon. James Allen's Girl's School Lecture Hall 8pm Admission charge.
Friday 13th Dulwich Festival begins (see separate draft programme)
Saturday 14th Dulwich Society Garden Group Plant Sale 163 Turney Road, SE 21 2.30pm
Sunday 15th London Wildlife Trust Wildflower Walk in Sydenham Hill Wood led by Mark Spencer. Meet 2pm at the Crescent Wood Road entrance.
Saturday 21st Dulwich Society Trees Walk led by Letta Jones along Alleyn Park and Alleyn Road. Meet at junction of Huntslip Road and Alleyn Park at 2.00pm
Friday 13th May Inaugural Peal of Bells
Christ's Chapel, Dulwich Village
Saturday 14th May Art: Permanence & Change
Sydenham Hill Woods 10-5pm daily
Children: Poetry & Art Workshop
Dulwich Library 2-4pm
Songs of VE Celebration - Tricia Court
Christ's Church? 2pm followed by tea
Concert: Concordia Chamber Choir
St Barnabas Church 7.30pm
Art: Children's Arts trail: Finding Edward Alleyn in
Dulwich Village & Park. Map avail all week
Sunday 15th May Woodland Wildflower Walk: London Wildlife Trust
Sydenham Hill Woods 2pm
Literature: Children's workshop with author David
Roberts Dulwich Picture Gallery 2-4pm
Poetry: South London Poetry Group Festival
Dulwich College 2-5pm
Dulwich Society History Walk: Spies, Traitors &
Fine Houses led by Brian Green Meet Belair car park
An Evening of Music & Dance from 1920s/30s/40s
Belair House 7pm
Music: Southwark Concert Band
Dulwich College Great Hall 7.30pm
Monday 16th May History: Dulwich History Uncovered - illustrated talk by Brian
Green Dulwich Library 2-4pm
Tuesday 17th May Music: Lunchtime recital by Foundation Music Scholar
St Barnabas Church
Quiz; Alleyn's Head Public House 8pm
Wednesday 18th May History: A Tour of College Archives with Dr Jan Piggott
Dulwich College 2pm
Concert: Piano trio or Clarinet/Piano recital
St Stephen's Church 7.30pm
Thursday 19th May Dance: English Country Dancing Open Evening
St Barnabas Parish Hall 8pm - 10pm
Literature: Jon Snow in conversation
Dulwich Picture Gallery 8.30pm
Friday 20th May Art: Open Studios
Various venues around Dulwich
Film: Mystery Film Event
Crown & Greyhound 7.30pm
Saturday 21st May Film: Children's Film Event
Crown & Greyhound 10.30am
Art: Open Studios
Venues various around Dulwich
Literature: Children's Workshop with author Ken Wilson-
Max, Dulwich Library 2-4pm
Film: Documentary Film Festival and Prize-giving
Crown & Greyhound 2pm
Dulwich Society Trees Walk 2pm
Concert: Youth Gala Concert
St Faith's Church 7pm
Sunday 22nd May Art: Open Studios
Venues various around Dulwich
Dulwich Society Architecture Walk in Dulwich
Village led by Ian McInnes 2pm
Art: Display of children's artwork from Art Trail
Dulwich Picture Gallery 12-4pm
Christ's Chapel Open Afternoon
College Road, SE21 1-4pm
It is not often that one gets a phone call from the editor of the Dulwich Society Newsletter to state that he had just witnessed murder being committed, but this was the case on a bleak Monday morning in January. He was quick to qualify this to state that it was strictly ornithological and that a large raptor had done a pigeon to death in his back garden, and that he had photographic evidence for proof (in the absence of CCTV). I had in fact seen a raptor harrying birds over the velodrome and felt convinced that this must be a Peregrine Falcon as pigeons are standard Peregrine food. However, as the accompanying dramatic photograph shows this was in fact a female Sparrow Hawk. I was amazed that a Sparrow Hawk would take such a large prey as their usual fare are smaller visitors to our bird tables up to the size of a Blackbird. (It was the Duke of Wellington who famously recommended their use to Queen Victoria to clear Sparrows out of the Crystal Palace). So we still have to await our first visit to Dulwich from a Peregrine. It should not be too long as a pair now breeds on Battersea Power Station (in lieu of a convenient cliff).
Apart from this a mild winter has given few wildlife surprises. Sian Evans has spotted a Little Grebe or Dabchick on the lake in Brockwell Park which is an unusual occurrence so far from their habitual waterways. Few Redwings and Fieldfares have come into Town this year due in part to the exceptional berry crop in the countryside, but a few are tricking in now. A resident reported Redwings in her garden and noted the similarities to the Song Thrush from which it differs by having a striking pale stripe over each eye and a deep red underwing from which it gets its name. I have also seen a wintering Blackcap, normally a summer visitor though the winter birds appear to be visitors from other parts of Europe where they breed.
The main visitors to our feeders have been the stalwart Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits and Greenfinches with also Great Spotted Woodpeckers which in January are already making their drumming display. The feeders remain an important resource for our garden birds which have been estimated to lose up to a third of their body weight in overnight roosting. Perhaps not so our local Blue Tits which I see heading into my neighbour's roof space at dusk, presumably to take advantage of his central heating. The park watchers continue to see the Ring Necked Parakeets which we can expect to breed this year and by the time this article goes to distribution the breeding season will have started and I shall continue to welcome your reports.
Wildlife Recorder (tel: 020 7274 4567)
Members of South London Chorus (formerly The Dulwich Choral Society), with their musical director Susan Farrow Topolovac and organist Mariyn Harper, travelled to Bosnia-Herzegovinia last October to perform in Sarajevo, the capital and Mostar. This was their most ambitious concert tour so far. Previous trips have included Tallinn, Prague, Venice and Leipzig but never before such an exotic destination. In Sarajevo, a beautiful city surrounded by hills but still bearing the scars of the war of the 1990's, the chorus stayed near the Muslim quarter and were able to enjoy interesting eastern restaurants, as well as shopping and bargaining opportunities.
Concerts in Sarajevo included a joint venture with the Pontanima Choir. This well-known, multi-denominational chorus, which performs works from all the Bosnian faiths, was set up to promote healing and reconciliation in the wake of the war. A large audience at St. Anthony's Franciscan Monastery, including the British and U.S. ambassadors, heard a polished programme. SLC's repertoire included works by Scutz, Purcell, Bach and Elgar. The two groups combined to sing a lively rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah and were treated to a reception and plied with wonderful home-made plum brandy.
The chorus then travelled by train to Mostar, south-west of Sarajevo. This lovely town, nestling among barren hills, also suffered badly in the war. Notably its Old Town Bridge, built by the Turks in 1566, was destroyed. Happily, a replica has been built and was opened last summer. Its graceful single arch spans the fast-flowing, clear green waters of
the River Neretva. All around are mosques, minarets, markets and tiny stalls and although the town appears to be thriving again it is impossible to ignore the ubiquitous skeletal, roofless and pock-marked buildings. The chorus sang in Mostar's Pavarotti Music Centre, a newly completed project funded in part by the great tenor himself, and set up as a War Child venture to promote reconciliation through music, by teaching, concerts and music therapy.
The South London Chorus join the St. Cecilia Chorus from Banstead to perform Elgar's great choral masterpiece, The Dream of Gerontius at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon on St. George' Day, Saturday 23 April. Tickets from Fairfield Hall Box Office or The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village.
On the Street where you live - Ian McInnes continues his series of articles of Housing in Dulwich around 1900
An article in the magazine 'Builder' dated 29/1/1876 noted that 'there is a probability of a large number of dwellings for the industrial classes being shortly erected on the Dulwich College Estate. This is in addition to the mansions and other residents for the wealthy which are springing up so rapidly on other various portions of the Estate. The Company has been registered within the last week or two, and we understand that negotiations will immediately be entered into with the Governors of the College for acquiring the necessary land for the first block of cottages to be erected. We also learn that the promoters of the undertaking are desirous that the cottages to be built should harmonise, as far as possible, with the general character of the locality'
At this time the general character of the locality was largely agricultural land. The 1893 Ordnance Survey map shows the Village shops and a few houses behind with the future Calton Avenue a footpath leading to the recently completed St Barnabas and the Presbyterian Church in East Dulwich Grove. Eastlands House was the only other major building in the area.
Only one block of working class dwellings was actually built but the demand remained and, over the next twenty years, rents for such housing rose because of the limited supply. By 1900 several residents, and particularly members of the local clergy, had been complaining about the Governors attitude to such housing, one of the latter saying 'they know very little about the district - most living at a distance, only paying occasional visits, taking none but a strict business interest in the property'. In addition, early in 1901 Camberwell Council wrote to the Estate requesting a grant of land to enable them to build housing for the working classes in the Dulwich area.
Attacked on three fronts the Governors were finally pressured into building their own working class housing and instructed Charles E Barry, the Estate's Architect and Surveyor, to carry out a development in Dekker Road.
Just before this the Estate had also finally responded to the large amount of housing being built in East Dulwich and decided to sell off some of the agricultural land at the far end of Woodwarde Road to speculative builders. The first area was Eynella Road leading down to Court Lane; it was known as the 'ploughed field', area 608 on the Estate Map, and they entered into a building agreement with a Mr John Frampton of 32 Belvoir Road, East Dulwich. The Estate's Surveyor said 'he builds well for a speculative builder. He owns a number of houses in East Dulwich and Peckham and is believed to be a fairly substantial man. His solicitors, Messrs Moser & Sons of Kendal, Westmoreland, would be prepared to finance him and Mr Frampton states that they would no doubt, be able to satisfy the Governors in regard to security of the performance of the building agreement'.
However, as often happened on the Estate, things did not go quite according to plan. Mr Barry was critical of the design of the houses and, in August 1900, Mr Frampton's architect, Messrs Allen & Hoare of West Hampstead, wrote complaining over the delays. 'We may say that from the beginning of the negotiations our client fully intended to build the Eynella Road houses first. As you are aware, with this end in view, he has already put upon the land nearly 100,000 bricks and other materials and, if any long delay ensues, it will entail serious loss both in money and the building season will have gone. If progress is not made at once, no houses can be tenanted this year and the carcasses will not be roofed in before the winter'. We forget that, before the widespread adoption of cement mortar, which dries in any weather, building houses using lime mortar was not feasible in the winter.
The next road to be developed was Calton Avenue. Here, a builder called Mr Cooper entered into a building agreement in March 1901, offering to build seven pairs of semi detached houses to cost not less than £675 for a 30 foot frontage and £550 for a 25 foot frontage. The following month the Estate's Surveyor reported 'the houses will have a frontage of 26 feet and will contain, on the ground floor, drawing room, dining room, kitchen, scullery and other offices and a conservatory. On the first floor three bedrooms, bathroom and separate WC and, on the second floor, two more bedrooms and a box room. The house will have red brick fronts with the flank and rear walls in stock bricks with tile roofs. They will cost £900 -6s'.
Although these houses were relatively expensive, this development appeared to be more successful than Mr Frampton's in Eynella Road (he was still building as late as 1907) and Mr Cooper followed it up by taking a 386 foot frontage on the east side of Woodwarde Road at the Village end. Further sites were sold to another builder, Mr Eastman, and a substantial number of houses in the road were complete by 1905.
Desanfans Road was next. Here another builder, Mr Bendall, took the site in late 1905 following his successful development in Turney Road. He agreed to build 52 houses within five years.
In the same year the Estate entered into another building agreement with a Mr Gale Branson on Druce Road. The road was originally to be named Bourgeois Road but the Governors were forced to change it by the London County Council who thought the name would be too difficult to spell. The road and its sewer cost £1024 2s 3d and was built by a Mr Charles Pearce of Forest Hill. It cost £5 2s 3d more than the original quotation because of 'certain additional minor matters required by the Borough Engineer'.
The next major development was in Dovercourt Road. Messrs Williams offered to 'erect on the land within six years 62 semi detached houses in accordance with plans to be submitted to and approved by the Governors and to cost not less than £450 each house'. The name Dovercourt Road, which has no local connections, was put forward by the builder to the LCC without consultation with the Governors as the Estate had forgotten to include a clause in the agreement requiring them to do so.
Messrs Williams were clearly very customer focused and had carried out some market research on what their future tenants might want, particularly with regard to kitchens. The Estate's Surveyor reported 'After exhaustive enquiries of the tenants of other houses of similar size, erected by them on the Estate, Messrs Williams find that the ordinary kitchen is to a great extent a wasted room. All the cooking is done on the gas stove and that a separate wash house is most desirable. Many of the replies (to the survey) pointed out that, as no servant was now kept, the new arrangement would be of great advantage to the mistress of the house, who, in these cases, did all the cooking'.
By January 1909 Messrs Williams had further changes in mind, the removal of a separate tradesman's entrance. This was too much for the Estate's Surveyor who advised 'I think it is important that, even in such small houses as these, the main entrance to the street should not be used by tradesmen, street hawkers etc.for the entrance of stores and fuel, or for carrying out dust and refuse. As the front doors of each pairs of houses are adjacent, the use of one of them for carrying in and out of coal dust might be distinctly objectionable to the occupant of the neighbouring house'.
The Governors saw Court Lane as the prime road in this area and restricted the sale of sites to individuals who would build detached houses. The first site sold was 128 Court Lane, on the corner of the northern entrance to the park. Mr Barry, the Estate Architect, argued over the design and, in the end, sketched something himself. However, there was very little interest in the sites from other wealthy individuals and, by 1906, the Estate were negotiating with their favourite builder, Mr Bendall, to develop Court Lane Gardens.
The houses were initially approved in February 1907. The bigger houses were valued at £591 and the smaller £534. However, just before construction started, the Estate's Surveyor suggested that the houses be pushed back behind the three rows of trees on the front of the site and a new road formed to give access. Mr Bendall was not happy and he wrote to the Estate saying that 'he himself is a lover of tree, but he finds that the majority of persons who offer to take houses of the class he is building have a strong objection to trees in front of them and frequently ask for their removal. Many owners complain of the constant expense of clearing leaves from gutters and also damage to the properties from the overflowing of gutters' The Estate maintained their position but agreed to fund and maintain the new road themselves. They also allowed larger houses to be built with a sale value of £850. The final plans were agreed in April 1908 and work was complete by 1911.