Annual General Meetings, important as they might be, are not usually the content of gripping stuff, griping stuff perhaps - not that that happens at the Dulwich Society's AGM!
No, the reason for pointing out the importance of this year's AGM, which takes place on 27 March, is to highlight it as a time when people might find more about how the Society functions, and, if they are so moved, to become more active within it.
As you probably know, the Dulwich Society, now in its 44th year was founded to foster and safeguard the amenities of Dulwich. It does this through the work of its Executive Committee and a number of Sub-Committees. The AGM is an occasion when you can meet the people that lead and form these important committees, and, perhaps offer yourself as a potential member of one.
The Executive Committee appoints four Dulwich Society members to the Scheme of Management Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is composed of the Trustees of The Dulwich Estate, and appointed members from amenity societies such as ours. It meets three times a year and can bring up any matter affecting living in Dulwich. It was appointed by Parliament, following13 representation by the Dulwich Society through the courts, following the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
The Planning & Architecture Sub-Committee is consulted by both the Dulwich Estate and by the planning departments of local councils on all applications made to them. It thus has a powerful voice in determining the visual character of Dulwich. It is currently seeking to maintain a high quality of architecture of any new building within Dulwich and will resist, together with the Dulwich Estate, attempts by home owners to demolish existing houses with a view to rebuilding in what might be considered an inappropriate style.
The Trees Sub-Committee is active in the preservation of existing trees and the planting of new trees throughout Dulwich. It is strongly resisting attempts by insurers to demand the automatic removal of trees, without sufficient evidence of blame, in cases of house subsidence. It has in the past year applied for a number of Tree Preservation Orders from the local authorities to thwart the peremptory removal of trees.
The Wildlife Committee is active in the Greener Dulwich Campaign and supports the London Wildlife Trust and other bodies in the promotion of ecology. It has successfully brought pressure to bear on local authorities on the preservation of opportunities for wildlife to flourish within parks and open spaces. It maintains a record of wildlife sightings in the area.
The Gardening Sub-Committee is active in encouraging gardening through visits to members' gardens through the year in addition to lectures by gardening experts. Three hundred Dulwich Society members are on the Gardening mailing list for receiving garden visit invitations.
The Local History Sub-Committee is active in historical research of the area and its findings are regularly published in these columns.
If you feel passionate about any of the issues raised above, then you could do no better than seeking out the appropriate officers of the Dulwich Society on 27 March, and over a glass (or two!) of wine find out how you might make a contribution.
On the other hand, if you think the pen is mightier than the sword, then you are invited to join the contributors to this Newsletter. Articles connected with Dulwich on diverse, emotive and interesting topics are always welcome by me.
Dulwich Society plants more trees
The Trees Committee have planted over thirty trees in the past ten years in what is now called Long Meadow, but which was once known as French's Field. This is the large meadow lying between Dulwich Wood Avenue and Gipsy Hill. This meadow was leased by the Dulwich Estate to Southwark Council some years ago as a public amenity. As the photograph taken in the early years of the 20th century shows, it was used for pasturing milk cows. There is still one living resident in Dulwich Wood Avenue who can recall this.
The Trees Committee has had mixed success with Long Meadow. There have been acts of vandalism which have caused trees to fail but the main cause of failure has been the condition of the soil. Long Meadow acts as a watershed for water coming down the hill to the south and this causes water- logging.
The good news is that about twelve of these trees survive and they include a Holm Oak, Deodar Cedar, Scots Pine, Beech, Oak, Balsam Poplar, Willows and Alders. The real success story however has been the Native British Hedgerow planted in the gaps around the perimeter fence. With Hawthorn, Briar and Guelder Rose and other hedge species it is thriving.
The Society has also persuaded Southwark Council to stop mowing the top of the field to encourage wildflowers and wildlife. The Buttercup display in summer is quite spectacular.
The Society is to plant five new trees in Long Meadow - a Swamp Cypress, two Coal Bark Willows and two Black Poplars.
There will be a Trees Walk on Saturday May 12th in pretty little Sydenham Wells Park led by our excellent guide Letta Jones. Meet at the park entrance in Wells Park Road at 2.30pm
Edward Alleyn Statue
After some months of negotiation, the bronze statue raised in honour of Edward Alleyn by the Dulwich Society and sited in the forecourt of the Old College is now insured by the Society, through the Dulwich Estate, against theft and vandalism.
Postal Cart Progress
For the past twelve months Society members, Willis Walker and Graham Nash have been carefully restoring what appears to be the original Dulwich Village postal cart discovered in an antique shop near Tower Bridge in 2005. The wheels, which were in need of specialist repair, have been restored by Andrew Ball of the Gloucester Wheel & Carriage Company at a cost of £500.
Dr Ian Bristow, a friend of the Society and a local resident who is an expert on paint restoration has examined the cart. He is at present advising the Corporation of London on the restoration of the Lord Mayor's Coach.
He reports that the springs and wheel-spokes of the cart appear to have had five phases of decoration, the earliest being an undercoat of deep pink, two coats of scarlet with the second layer diluted with varnish. The spokes were also the same ground but picked out in black. At some later date they were overpainted in a thin greenish yellow. The dilution using varnish is typical of high-quality work of this type.
Main body of the cart. The samples appear to show only a single scheme in dark blue-green, with scarlet lining-out and gilded lettering. There were up to five coats of grey undercoat. The lining out was on the earliest scheme. The gilding may have been in a later scheme. An inscription on the side of the body is difficult to decipher, but appears to read 'Queens//Mogleton/Builders/1909/Camberwell and seems likely to be associated with is and to have succeeded physical alterations which can be seen at various points. Thus while the lower part of the body is pine, the upper part appears to be an extension in a different timber (perhaps teak), and the angle irons which support it appear to be associated. The ventilator at the front may also represent a modification.
Threatened Post Office Closure
It appears that the Royal Mail has decided, with no consultation and minimum publicity, to close the Herne Hill Sorting Office in April and move its operations to Station Road, Camberwell which is about a ten minute walk from Camberwell Green.
On behalf of the Dulwich Society, its chairman, Adrian Hill has written to oppose this closure which will bring considerable inconvenience to those members living near Herne Hill or in the SE24 postal district.
Flooding in Turney Road
A number of houses in this road periodically suffer flooding of their cellars and other parts of the premises. Thames Water has offered some of the owners a Floodark device to hold back water seeping through the sub-soil. These are a form of water barrier. The Dulwich Society asked the Dulwich Estate their view of these devices and whether their installation requires approval under the Scheme of Management.
The Estate's response was that the Consultant Architect had reviewed the device and the installation of this would require approval as it requires permanent fixtures at the side of each doorway and this has a visual impact on the external appearance of a property. The initial view is that such fixtures would have a detrimental visual impact. The Managers also question the effectiveness of this device (which is basically a barrier which slots in front of doorways to hold back water - it would not appear to address the problem of water seeping into basements).
Historic Organ under repair
In 2004, Dr William McVicker, Director of Music of St Barnabas Church, and an authority on church organs wrote in these columns concerning the history and future of the historic organ in Christ's Chapel which was in need of substantial repair. He said that the organ which was built by George England in 1760 is of national importance. The instrument has both the earliest surviving Gothic Revival organ case and Cornet stop in the United Kingdom.
The organ is now under reconstruction in the workshop of William Drake Organ Builders in Devon. When the initial examination took place, it included laying out all the organ pipes. It was found that far more of the original pipework has survived than was earlier thought, and there are also indications that the case might have been made in France. The restoration is expected to take much of this year and cost somewhere in the region of £400,000. This cost will be born by the Alleyn Foundation which now includes Christ's Chapel as one of its beneficiaries. A fuller report on the restoration will be published in due course.
Christ's Chapel is used by all three of the Dulwich Foundation schools and Dulwich College now has a Chapel Choir made up boys and staff which sings at a Choral Eucharist and Choral Evensong several times each term It also has its own Director of Music, Mrs Marilyn Harper, and offers Services of Holy Communion and Mattins, using the Book of Common Prayer, on Sundays at 8am and 10.00am. Visitors to these services are welcomed.
Christ's Chapel is administered by the Revd. Canon Diana Gwilliams, Vicar of St Barnabas and Foundation Chaplain.
The St Barnabas Choir under its Director of Music, Dr William McVicker has made its fifth recording. The new CD will be released in time for Christmas.
Marsden Road Restoration
In the same issue of the Newsletter mentioned in the article above, we reported that East Dulwich artist Heather Burrell who designed the wonderful wrought iron gates featuring aspects of wildlife at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening in Marsden Road, was being commissioned by Southwark Council under the Bellenden Renewal Scheme, to design front gates for all the houses in that road to compliment the Centre's gates. The restoration of the whole of Marsden Road is now complete, in addition to repair and repainting, all the houses now have wrought-iron gates, and decorated railings with depictions of wildlife; frogs hop on gates, dandelions bloom on walls and squirrels climb the new lampposts. It gives this part of South London a wonderful mix of art and whimsy.
Alterations to the external appearance of properties located on the Dulwich Estate
Often house owners on the Dulwich Estate appear to be unaware of the need to obtain prior consent under the Scheme of Management, for most alterations to the external appearance of their property.
In many instances, planning or other consent of the local authority is not required - even for extensions to buildings where these fall under the permitted development regulations. However, for those properties which are subject to the Scheme, changes, for example, to windows, doors, boundaries, gardens and additions such as satellite dishes and garden sheds, need the prior consent of the Managers. The Managers have produced a series of Guidelines to assist owners and in the majority of cases, where the freeholder's proposals comply with these, obtaining consent is a relatively simple process - an application giving full details is submitted together with the applicable fee and a licence is issued for the works. As part of the consultation process, immediate neighbours and those members of the Dulwich Society who sit on the Scheme of Management Advisory Committee receive details of all applications to the Scheme.
Although consent may be granted retrospectively, where owners have made unauthorised changes, they are at risk of the Managers requiring them to 'undo' (no matter at what cost) the works carried out in order to reinstate the original appearance of a property. Unlicensed changes can delay (or even thwart) a sale of the property since solicitors and would-be purchasers will usually require evidence that changes to a property have all relevant consents.
Information regarding the Scheme of Management, including copies of the Guidelines, can be obtained from:
Ms. Nina Rees, Administrator
The Scheme of Management Office
The Old Grammar School
Burbage Road, SE21 7AF
Tel: 020 8299 5666, Fax: 020 8299 3105
Edward Alleyn Play on BBC Radio 4
Nicola Baldwin, who has a child at Alleyn's Junior School was one of script writers of the play performed at the School to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Edward Alleyn's purchase of the Manor of Dulwich in 1605. Each child in the play took it in turns to play Alleyn and a very lively and enjoyable piece was presented. From the idea of a play about Alleyn, Nicola developed a script and this was presented as a drama on BBC Radio 4 at the end of December.
Edward Alleyn's Devil relates the story of Alleyn's performance in his signature play Dr Faustus and the apparition of an extra devil on the stage, which so shocked Alleyn that according to the seventeenth century gossip and collector of anecdotes, John Aubrey, "So worked on his fancy that he made a Vow that he worked at this Place." (i.e. turning to good works by founding his College)
Dulwich Society Proposed Excavation
In the last issue of the Newsletter we reported on the proposed excavation on the site of a series of mounds in Horniman Play Park. It was noted that the careful investigations of any changes in this field prior to 1945 had not revealed any activity. It subsequently occurred to the Society that a check should be made up until 1960 in case its change of use into a Play Park was the result of these features.
By coincidence, one of our members, Steve Grindlay, also thinks this may be the case and writes as follows:-
The suggestion that there was any mystery about the "earthworks" surprised me. I had always understood that they were relatively modern, probably post- war.
I discussed this with a friend who was, for many years from the mid-1950's, a gardener at Horniman Gardens. He remembers the triangle (field) during and immediately after the war when it was a smallholding. He remembered walking down Sydenham Rise and seeing chickens and geese in the field and he could also remember the cottage at the top, called Sydenham Rise Cottage, later The Chalet. Of course there was no paddling pool at the bottom, no sandpit where the cottage stood and, he is fairly sure, no mounds in between.
During the 1950's, when the field became a public park, it was landscaped with particular attention to the needs of children. The paddling pool and the sandpit were built, and the spoil from these was, we believe, used to create a series of banks and pits that children could climb over and hide behind.
The land was laid out by the London County Council as "an extension to Horniman Gardens in the summer of 1954".
Another member, Alfred Gates who lived as a child in Underhill Road also writes concerning this piece of land. He recalls there being pig sties there and says he found what he was told was a flint arrow head nearby.
The Dulwich Society will conduct further research in the London Metropolitan Archives on the work carried out by the LCC, so watch this space! Any other reader with memories of this field is invited to contact the Editor.
Were you at Alleyn's in 1977 or 1987?
Alleyn's School is organising a joint twenty and thirty year reunion for all those pupils who left the School in 1977 and 1987. The reunion will be held at Alleyn's on Saturday 16 June. Alleyn's would like to reach as many people from these years to ensure the success of the reunion
For further information, please contact Susie Schofield, Alumni Officer on 020 8557 1466 or email on
1. Minutes of the 43rd Annual General Meeting held on 23 March 2006 to be approved.
2. Chairman's Report
3. Secretary's Report.
4. Treasurer's Report and presentation of accounts for 2006.
5. Appointment of Honorary Auditor.
6. Reports from Sub-Committee Chairmen.
7. Elections for 2007-2008. President, Vice-Presidents, Officers, Executive Committee.
8. Any Other Business.
Note: Nominations for election as an Officer or Member of the Executive Committee must be submitted in writing to the Secretary by two (2) members not later than fourteen days before 27 March 2007 and must be endorsed by the candidate in writing. (Rule 9).
7 Pond Cottages
London SE21 7LE
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2006, the Chairman's report and reports of the Sub-Committee Chairmen may be seen on the Dulwich Society Website www.dulwichsociety.org.uk A hardcopy may be obtained by application to the Secretary.
The 2007 Dulwich Festival will take place from Friday 11th May to Sunday 20th May
Saturday 3rd My Real War 1914-? Play. Directed and adapted by Tricia Thorns. St Barnabas Community Suite, Calton Avenue at 3.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets £8 (concs) £4 Tel: 020 8299 4593
Tuesday 6th Dulwich Picture Gallery Lecture Albrecht Dürer by Frank Woodgate. Linbury Room 7.45pm Admission £9
Saturday 10th - Sunday 11th Exhibition Lilian Clarke (1886-1934) South London Botanist and Educator. Dr Clarke was a Science mistress at JAGS from 1896-1926. She was one of the first women admitted as a Fellow of the Linnean Society. 10am-4.00pm at The South London Botanical Institute, 323 Norwood Road, Tulse Hill, SE 24 9AQ. The Exhibition is also open on 15th and 17th March.
Thursday 8th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - 20th Century Design Classics: A survey of all aspects of design, architecture, furniture and the decorative and fine arts. By Peter Darty at 8pm at James Allen's Girls' School Sixth Form Lecture Theatre.
Thursday 22nd Dulwich Society Garden Group Lecture - 'Roses for Pleasure' by Ann Bird, President of the Royal National Rose Society. This illustrated lecture will cover all aspects of Rose cultivation and will also look at places, at home and abroad, where beautiful roses grow. At the St Barnabas Centre, Calton Avenue, SE 21 at 8pm. Admission free
Saturday 24th Concert - 7.30pm Schütz the Seven Last Words from the Cross, Handel Messiah part 2. Ruth Holton soprano, Tim Garrard countertenor, Andrew King tenor, Andrew Copeman bass, Nicholas Ansdell-Evans organ. All Saints Concert Choir and Orchestra l David Williams leader, Timothy Penrose director. At All Saints Church, West Dulwich. Tickets £15 and £12 (concessions) Tel 020 8671 4455
Tuesday 27th The Dulwich Society Annual General Meeting at 8pm at St Barnabas Church Centre, Calton Avenue, SE 21.
Wednesday 28th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Recital - Susan Tomes, piano. Mozart Rondo in A minor K511, Haydn Sonata in Eflat Hob, Chopin Ballade No1, and selected pieces 7.30pm in the Gallery. Tickets £20
Thursday 29th Friday 30th Saturday 31st The Dulwich Players present Top Girls by Carol Churchill at the Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College at 8pm. Tickets £6 from The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village.
Friday 30th & Saturday 31st Son of Man Play by Dennis Potter, directed by Tricia Thorns in St Barnabas Church, Calton Avenue at 8.00pm No admission charge but Retiring Collection.
Thursday 12th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - Gallé, Lalique and their contemporary French glassmakers. By Diana Lloyd at 8pm at James Allen's Girls' School Sixth Form Lecture Theatre.
Sunday 15th Dulwich Picture Gallery Exhibition - Canaletto in England ends
Thursday 26th Friends of the Dulwich Picture Gallery Concert - Malcolm Martineau and Jonathan Lemalu music of Schumann, Fauré, Bennett, Quilter. Arias from Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Verdi. 7.30pm in the Gallery. Tickets £20
Sunday 29th Garden Open in aid of the National Gardens Scheme - 5 Burbage Road, SE 24. Garden Open 2pm-5pm. Sale of plants, cards and the famous home-made teas. Entry £2.50 children free.
Thursday 10th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - L.S. Lowry - A Visionary Artist. By Michael Howard at 8pm at James Allen's Girls' School Sixth Form Lecture Theatre.
Saturday 12th Dulwich Society Trees Walk in Sydenham Wells Park led by Letta Jones. Meet at the Park entrance in Wells Park Road 2.30pm
Saturday 19th Concert - Lambeth Orchestra Concert Series. Bax: Tintagel, Frederic Cliffe: Violin Concerto, Rutland Broughton : Symphony No. 3. At All Saints Church, West Dulwich at 7.30pm. Tickets £8, concessions £6 children £1 at the door.
Thursday 14th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - Mr Stubbs the Horse Painter by Carolyn Leder at 8pm at James Allen's Girls' School Sixth Form Lecture Theatre.
Wednesday 20th Garden Open - In aid of the National Gardens Scheme - 5 Burbage Road SE 24. Sale of plants, cards, and wine included in the £3 entry, children free.
Tuesday 19th Dulwich Society Garden Visit - A full day to West Dean Gardens (nr. Chichester). Price £28, includes admission, travel and tips. Reservations to Ina Pulleine, 1 Perifield, SE 21 8NG. Tel: 020 8670 5477 (after 11,00am)
Wednesday 27th Dulwich Society Local History Walk led by Brian Green assisted by members of the Wildlife and Trees sub-committees - Ancient fields and historic Woods - A summer's evening walk for those interested in the past or wildlife. Meet at 7.00pm at Belair Car Park, Gallery Road.
This has so far been an extraordinary winter although there may yet be a sting in its tail. But with temperatures in double figures and early spring flowers mingling with the residual blossoms of the autumn we have yet to see some of our characteristic winter visitors. Instead I watched a newt swimming vigorously around my pond when it should have been respectably hibernating. But the high winds and heavy rain have so far been the main feature and these have brought huge numbers of gulls, with flocks into the hundreds in our parks.
We have four species of gull that regularly visit us. The commonest is the Black Headed Gull, without its black or more accurately dark brown head in the winter, and these stay in increasingly large numbers from August to about April 1st when they all abruptly leave for their breeding grounds out of town. The Common Gull, a little larger in size also visits for the winter but is less familiar as it is quite shy and does not join the Black Headeds in the quest for bread being fed to the ducks, but departs at the same time to the north of England and Scotland where it breeds. This gull looks in appearance much like a smaller version of the Herring Gull, the third of our visitors, familiar as the characteristic noisy seaside gull, but with us in smaller numbers. The fourth Gull is the Lesser Black Backed Gull which is often the only Gull to be seen here during the summer. These gulls do not breed for the first two or three years of their lives, so these youngsters are not welcome on the breeding grounds and hang around with us. Many of the brown gulls that we see are in fact young Lesser Black Backs that have not yet achieved adult plumage.
I have not recently seen the editor's Mandarin Ducks that we featured in the last issue. But visitors to Dulwich Park may notice along with the regular Mallards and Tufted Ducks a pair of Shovelers. These are smaller than the Mallards but with huge spade-like beaks for filtering through surface weeds. The male has a green head like a Mallard but with a white front and a deep maroon belly, and is a handsome addition to the park fauna.
The other feature we are all noticing is the rapid expansion of the numbers of Parakeets. These are quite the noisiest birds and of course alien introductions. They seem to assemble in Dulwich Park at roosting time so that it perhaps sounds more like a park in Jaipur than south London! They often use old Woodpecker holes for breeding and may displace Starlings, which seem to be diminishing in numbers, so we must reserve judgement on whether they are really welcome. But many of our small resident birds are thriving in mild temperatures, so we should have good breeding populations of Robins and Wrens and Tits this summer. People have been reporting hearing birdsong at night. These birds are principally Robins but also some Song Thrushes appear to regard London street lighting as a harbinger of dawn. Sparrow Hawks still hunt through our gardens. The one in the accompanying photograph, which looks like a young male, had killed a Wood Pigeon in Kingswood Drive and had returned for a meal which had unfortunately been removed from the patio where he left it.
Just as we were about to go to press, two unusual sightings were made at the end of January, probably the result of the cold snap then experienced. A Woodcock was seen on the Rosendale Allotments and David Paget reported a Great Crested Grebe on the lake in Belair - the first recorded in Dulwich.
If the winter becomes more wintry there will no doubt be more to report in the next issue, so please continue to report your sightings and observations.
Peter Roseveare Wildlife Recorder
(tel: 020 77274 4567)
By Dave Clark, Dulwich Society Wildlife Committee member & British Trust for Ornithology, Waterbirds Recorder for Dulwich Park
The presence of abundant and varied wildlife enhances our own lives and it's a good indicator of an environment that is surviving and flourishing. But, on the Wildlife Committee, we often find that instead of recording and celebrating what animals, birds and insects live and thrives in our area, we are monitoring sad declines. Our discussions are constantly dominated by dire warnings about global warming, freak weather conditions and the increasing invasion, both locally and throughout the country, of our green and brown spaces - all very bad news for wildlife. It can sometimes feel overwhelmingly gloomy.
However, on reflection, we've come to realise that, even at our local level here in Dulwich, we can have a positive influence on our environment. And we can do so by simple, small but highly effective increments. In this issue, we will focus on our wild bird populations. Our gardens might be modest or grandiose - or we may not have a garden at all - but we can all attract birdlife near our homes to feed and breed and we can help to keep those birds healthy. Here are some useful pointers:
1. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Habitually, we scatter our unwanted bread for birds to eat. That's fine - up to a point - but if you put out bread, please follow the ABC guide:
Avoid bread being the birds' only food source
Break it up into manageable bird-sized bites (to avoid choking accidents) and soften rock-hard crusts with warm water
Compost any mouldy bread or it will harm any birds eating it
Nuts and seeds are the most popular form of food for feeders. Start off with peanuts and /or black sunflower seeds, always avoiding anything that is salted. Peanuts need to be broken up ( or an adult bird might kill a nestling by trying to feed it a whole nut). As you get more experienced, you can then fine-tune and diversify your bird feeds, placing other types of grains into your feeders to specifically attract different species of bird. Never put out uncooked rice or desiccated coconut which are both dangerous for birds.
Fat balls are particularly favoured by many species - but do hang them in places where feeding birds can keep a weather eye out for advancing predators, such as your cat! You might like to put out bruised fruit to attract blackbirds and thrushes; this needs to be placed on the ground (and remove any that has gone brown, mushy and rotten). If you regularly reposition your feeding stations, you will help avoid giving your garden visitors a nasty bacteria-borne infection, such as e-coli or salmonella, which is spread via droppings and saliva and is invariably fatal to small garden birds.
2. A DROP TO DRINK
Birds don't appear in our gardens by sheer accident. They are looking for something vital: sustenance. Like all living things, they need both food and water (which is why gardens with ponds attract such a rich array of wildlife)
It may sound obvious, yet we often forget to offer a supply of clean water for our garden visitors. This does not have to be an expensive customised bird bath. A simple shallow, inexpensive (e.g. washable plastic plant tub base) container on the ground / in the borders will suffice. As long as the water level is not too low in relation to the lip of the container, birds will find and will be able to use this source for drinking and bathing (which is just as important for ridding feathers of parasites like blood-sucking mites).
3. WATCH - AND WAIT A WHILE
Be patient. Like all wild creatures, birds are wary of a new food source and can take time to trust the environs. After all, a fledgling would not survive long if it did not take a while to check the coast was clear before diving in for a meal. Putting out a dependable supply of fresh food and water guarantees that they will come eventually.
4. FEEDERS AND FEEDING AREAS
If you have plenty of flowers, trees, native shrubs and compost heaps, birds will naturally be attracted to your garden because of its supply of insects. But, if you want to attract more birds and help them with a year-round food supply, you could add some designated bird feeders and bird tables, which are the most popular forms of food dispenser. Choice of size, look, design and price is limitless. Don't go mad, start off small and inexpensive, observe the changes and develop your feeding strategy accordingly.
5. ALL YEAR MENU
Once birds have established a food source within your garden, if possible try to keep some sort of supply going all year round. We all have busy lives and take holidays, but your local birds will come to rely on your garden.
6. FEEDING EMERGENCY TIMES
There are key times in the calendar when a garden supply of food can be essential to birds' survival.
In winter, food supplies in more rural districts can be more difficult to find, particularly on really cold days, and so many birds search within urban environments for something to keep them alive.
In spring, when parent birds are scurrying to and fro feeding hungry nestlings, food can become scarcer and birds become more competitive. Additionally, the chicks are protein-dependent. Seeds and nuts maybe OK for the adults, but youngsters need live food (such as caterpillars and other invertebrates) to fuel their speedy growth.
7. FOOD QUALITY
Be particularly careful that food laid on the ground or on birdtables is not left for too long. Not only may you lose the relationship you have developed with our feathered friends, but you could attract unwelcome guests<
Where possible, buy seeds / nuts from a recognised source (i.e., it will ensure that they are free of harmful fungal toxins or pesticides). Beware of cheap offerings!
8. YOUR PETS
If you own a cat, a little bell on the collar is often sufficient warning for birds that a predator is near. Leaving clear sight- and flight-lines around feeders and birdtables and not putting them right up against shrubs where predators could lurk is also essential. Keeping cats indoors around daybreak and dusk has been proved (Mammal Society survey) to cut the carnage of catted victims, too - because these are key feeding times for most bird species.
Fledglings are particularly vulnerable. They are not as nimble and fleet of foot and wing as their parents, so take extra care if you know that nests are present within your garden or if you own nestboxes. Where possible, keep those pet predators indoors for the crucial day or two while young birds become independent.
Clean feeders once a month by soaking in boiling water with a small amount of bleach. Birds can be affected particularly by salmonella and canker from other birds' faeces and saliva. Try to freshen your birds' water supply at least once a week. Rule of thumb: if it looks yukky, you can bet it is.
10. GET A BOOK
Now you've got more birds into your garden, enjoy them! Identify them, get to know more about their habits and how you may attract other species. You might even like to set up a mini web-cam in a nestbox and become the local Bill Oddie! Good luck!
For more in-depth information on how to attract and feed your garden birds contact the RSPB: http://www.rspb.org.uk Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, UK; Tel: 01767 680551
In his early days as an artist Samuel Palmer found inspiration in the Dulwich countryside. He was a lover of trees and hills and moonlight. His inspiration from Dulwich and the surrounding areas came before his stay in Shoreham on the river Darenth in Kent, for which he is better known, where with other artists he would go for walks in the night making studies for his visionary paintings of the moonlight.
Samuel palmer was born in 1805 in Newington, South London. As a child, his father, who was a bookseller and stationer in the City, used to take him on long and enjoyable walks in what was then countryside south of Newington, introducing him to the beauties of nature. They particularly liked a walk in the country between Dulwich and Greenwich Park. Palmer later described this countryside as "The Gate into the World of Vision."
By the age of 13 Samuel Palmer had decided to become an artist. According to William Vaughan in his book Samuel Palmer, Vision and Landscape a sketchbook survives dating from when he was 14. In this sketchbook are a variety of watercolours and drawings devoted to landscapes of many of his favourite places between Greenwich and Battersea.
The lovely scenery of Dulwich was still important to Palmer in his 1824 sketchbook compiled when he was 19. It had not yet been replaced by the scenery of Shoreham. Next to a pen and ink drawing in this sketchbook Palmer wrote these notes; " Remember the Dulwich sentiment, at very late twilight, time with the rising dews (perhaps), the tops of the hill (quite clear), like a delicious dream."
A year later Palmer completed six ink, gum and sepia drawings, now known as the Oxford series. These are beautiful drawings studying the effects of light; the light of the sun and the moon, mainly in the twilight or early morning and late evening. He draws the effect of light on clouds, rounded hills and trees, including an ancient horse chestnut in the dusk. William Vaughan writes of these drawings; " All depict fertile valley scenery enclosed by rounded hills reminiscent of the countryside around both Dulwich and Shoreham."
A later watercolour by Palmer, provisionally dated between 1824 and 1826 has some similarities to the Oxford series. It shows twilight with a sickle moon, a rounded hill and a church steeple. Vaughan says of the painting,; "the scenery seems to be inspired by an amalgam of features from Dulwich and Shoreham rather than representing any precise location."
Palmer had been visiting Shoreham since at least September 1824. He moved to Shoreham, where his father had taken a house, fully in 1827. Shoreham is widely acknowledged as the inspiration for Palmer's art. Here his monochrome paintings with their black and brown washes flourished. Dulwich deserves to be better known as an inspiration to Palmer's early art.
Most domestic service performed these days in Dulwich is done by migrant East Europeans with a predominance of young women from Poland and parts of the former Yugoslavia. Few live in these days and those that do usually double up as nannies. A century ago most workers in what was then an industry employing over a million workers lived in. By the Edwardian period however it was becoming more difficult for middle-class households to find domestic help. A Mission church report issued in 1898 stated: "The demand for servants exceeds the supply and the tendency for girls to leave domestic service for other kinds of employment increases yearly." There was competition for staff from the newly opening factories. In south London for example there were a number of textile manufacturers making men's shirts, and other factories were making tin boxes, biscuits and confectionery. Girls leaving school at the age of 12 or 13 often preferred the company of friends in a factory to the closely supervised life as a live-in maid.
The usual way to recruit domestic servants was to advertise in magazines or newspapers. However the best way to overcome the difficulty of securing the service of an honest and reliable maid was to obtain recommendations from friends or acquaintances or through the recommendation of leaders of Sunday Schools in working- class districts. These leaders were paid for this service by the employer. A Sunday school teacher in East Street, Walworth received a small commission from employers for girls she recommended from a register she kept, while the Sunday School Funds received the larger share.
In Dulwich in this period even the more modest homes had the service of a domestic servant. Servants' bells may still be found in houses in Turney Road or Burbage Road where they remain a curiosity from the past. Elderly uniformed maids who had spent their lifetimes in the service to local families were still in evidence in small numbers around Dulwich in the early 1950's. Over twenty-five years ago I interviewed several ladies living in the Village who had been in service. This their story.
Sarah Robertson was born in Scotland in 1897. Her father's trade of deep sea line fishing brought her and her step-mother to North Shields where she spent her early teenage years. On nearing the age of 21 she noticed an advertisement in a local northern newspaper, offering a position for a maid to work for a local family soon to move south, to Woodvale, near Dulwich. Seizing the opportunity to get away from her step-mother, Sarah (or Sadie as she was called) applied and got the position. This was not to last long after arrival in Dulwich however. An unfortunate incident in which the favourite dog escaped led to an exchange of heated words with her employer. This exchange was overheard by the laundry-lady who persuaded Sarah to throw up her job and stay a few days with her in her cottage in Lloyds Yard.
Today Lloyds Yard is a gated development leading off Aysgarth Road in the centre of the Village. In 1918 it belonged to W.J. Mitchell & Company, builders. It dated back several centuries and at one time was also the site of a blacksmith's forge. It had three cottages arranged down its north side, backing on to Boxall Road. On one side of the laundry lady lived Mr Davis, the Village lamplighter, and on the other side were two elderly sisters who also took in laundry.
Sarah's new found friend suggested that she went to the hostel for female domestic servants in Peckham. Sarah was lucky enough to get accommodation there and after only a few days she was engaged by what turned out to be a delightful family named Negus (related to the later famous Arthur Negus). The family took Sarah at face value and did not require references, which after the dog incident might have been difficult to obtain!
So Sarah commenced her duties at Camden House, Dulwich Village, which stood next to the Crown & Greyhound but which was destroyed in World War II and the site is now occupied by a terrace of reproduction Georgian houses. As a living-in maid, Sarah wore an apron and print dress in the mornings and a black dress with white cap, cuffs and apron in the afternoon. Her wages were a generous fifteen shillings per week plus meals and accommodation (by comparison, a female shirt machinist at this time earned 10/- per week). The household also employed a nursemaid, who was to become a lifelong friend.
She recalled a particular New Year's Eve when she was despatched to Rumsey's Chemists to buy a siphon of soda and was bidden by her mistress to invite a couple of friends back that evening to Camden House. That evening the Negus's gave a Hogmanay party for the young Scottish maid and her friends. It was a party she remembered vividly down the years. Mrs Negus had prepared the buffet herself, in the sunken drawing room and later around the grand piano Sarah sang 'Annie Laurie' which made such an impression on the assembled party that she was encouraged to sing professionally. Plucking up courage a few days later she placed her name on the list of an agency run by the Village newsagent, Arthur Bedell.
Elsie Barrett was born in 1909 and at the age of 14 she travelled with her mother from her home in Southampton to the vicarage in Mill Hill where her mother was to be housekeeper and Elsie a housemaid, to the Reverend E. H. Cobb, Vicar of Mill Hill.
Previously, the Revd Cobb had been an assistant curate at St Barnabas, Dulwich and had become a great friend of the then vicar, Howard Nixon.
Not long after her arrival the Revd Cobb developed a type of 'sleeping sickness' and became very ill and prayers were said for him in church. It was while Elsie was in the house that a faith healer visited the Vicar and over a period of a number of such visits, the sick man made a full recovery.
The effect on the Revd Cobb was quite startling recalled Elsie, and it was not long before Cobb and his wife, together with Elsie and her mother, plus furniture, made a move to the village of Crowhurst in Sussex where the cleric founded a hospital for those who wished to be healed by faith as well as by medicine. Elsie and mother continued to perform their usual duties, but in these new and different surroundings. She recalled that the hospital had a chapel and was staffed by two nurses as well as the Cobbs. The patients numbered twelve, often including children suffering from polio.
In 1927, through the connection with Cobb's curacy in Dulwich and his continued friendship with Howard Nixon, Elsie and her mother learnt of a new position in Dulwich, at Lake House (now the site of the 'new' building of Dulwich Village Infants' School), and formerly the home of the Revd. Nixon before the present vicarage was built. Lake House was then the home of a widow named Mrs Moore, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Queen Victoria. Here she lived with her companion, Miss Dean, and her pet dog. Lake House had long been used by the parish as a Sunday school, a rehearsal room for the dramatic society and as a venue for numerous other parish groups.
Mrs Moore's friendship with Howard Nixon and his sister ensured that much of the use the parish made of Lake House during Nixon's occupancy continued. It was no doubt a reciprocal gesture which prompted Nixon to write to his old friend Cobb and bring up the subject of a housekeeper and maid to live in at Lake House.
Elsie's wage was £25 per annum and all found. As maid, Elsie was to wear two changes of uniform daily; blue in the morning, with white apron and straps, green and coffee in the afternoon. Permission was required at all times to leave the house and a hat had to be worn even if to post a letter at the box in East Dulwich Grove. The day started for Elsie at 6.30am when tea had to be taken to Mrs Moore and Miss Dean. Then fireplaces had to be cleared, cleaned and re-laid and lit. A certain amount of attendance was necessary when the parish had use of the house and Elsie recalled the rehearsals which continued to be held in a small cottage adjacent to the main house (St Barnabas had a long established Shakespearian dramatic society). The sewing class used Lake House and as the house was built in a Chinese style the St Barnabas Bazaars (also held at Lake House over three days) often had a Chinese flavour with the ladies looking after the stalls dressed in the appropriate costume. Elsie remained in service at Lake House for eight years.
Over five hundred visitors attended the Dulwich Quilters ninth exhibition last November, the most successful to date. The group quilt made as a raffle prize raised £1000 for the year's chosen charity; Southwark Young Carers Project. Another piece, to which all contributed, was a patchwork hanging commissioned by the Paxton Green Surgery.
Dulwich Quilters was founded in 1986 and grew out of a group of the eight original members who were attending a course on patchwork and quilting and who all wanted to continue practising together. Five are still members today. The group thrived and in all forty members were part of the group. Today it has a membership of 25, a necessary restriction on numbers as meetings are held in each others homes.
The group meets twice a month, on a Friday afternoon and a Monday evening when guest speakers, workshops and demonstrations, challenges and discussions are enjoyed. The Dulwich Quilters are quick to point out that they are not to be thought of as women who sit meekly at home quietly sewing. They will argue that they are strong minded, vociferous and adventurous in their work, exploring new design possibilities, techniques and materials.
The group has links with Fine Cell Work, a project which teaches prisoners to sew, embroider and quilt. One of its members, Caroline Wilkinson teaches patchwork and quilting to the (male) inmates of Wandsworth prison; one or two have exhibited at major quilt shows and they will work to commission if required.
Dulwich Quilters have made a number of small, brightly coloured quilts for Project Linus which gives them to very sick children in hospital and who are able to take them home when they are able to leave.
The Dulwich Players present Top Girls by Carol Churchill
An amusing play, following the life of Marlene , and set in 1980 at the start of "women's power". Marlene has been promoted at work over the heads of her male colleagues and her celebrations involve historical characters coming to dinner. Through interviews and discussions at work we see the career-orientated, dominant woman that Marlene is. Only when we are taken back one year to her sister's house, do we see where she has come from and what she has turned her back on.
Performances: Thursday, 29th, Friday 30th Saturday 31st March 2007 at 8pm
At The Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College.
Tickets £6 from The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village or from the Box Office 020 8693 4830
Two's Company present My Real War 1914-?
This play, adapted from the diaries of Havilland Le Mesurier by director Tricia Thorns, is the fourth in the series of forgotten plays about World War 1 that she has brought to a modern audience. Lieutenant Le Mesurier's letters home tell of his unusual adventures in an out of the trenches. It is a true story, told for the first time, of how a lively and funny young man slowly succumbs to the horrors of the war.
These two performances at Dulwich are the last in the play's national tour.
Saturday 3rd March at 3.30pm and 7.30pm at St Barnabas Community Suite, Calton Avenue, SE21. Box Office call 020 8299 4593
Son of Man by Dennis Potter
The Dulwich Community players - Passion Players 2000 present Dennis Potter's Son of Man, directed by Tricia Thorns on 30th & 31st March in St Barnabas Church, Calton Avenue at 8pm The play, which has a cast of forty, covers the last few days of Jesus' life on earth and is an illuminating and thought-provoking experience. The play was originally produced for television in the 1970's and the script has been adapted from that performance. It is the first time it has been performed on stage. There is no admission charge but there will be a retiring collection.
Will the real Jacob van Ruisdael please stand up!
In 1831 John Constable, England's greatest landscape painter, copied Dulwich Picture Gallery's Landscape with Windmills near Haarlem by Jacob van Ruisdael. Dulwich has always known about this copy - it was borrowed from the English private collector who owned it for the exhibition of 1994, Constable A Master Draughtsman. On the back it is inscribed 'copied by John Constable RA Feb 1831 from the original picture by J. Ruisdael in the Dulwich Gallery.' The painting was lent by the Gallery to the Royal Academy where Constable used it to teach his students about landscape painting.
Recently the Constable came up for sale. The Dulwich Picture Gallery has no acquisition funds but it seemed there could be no better home for the picture than in Dulwich - especially as the Gallery has no Constables in its collection. But it has now - thanks to an anonymous gift in memory of Bill and Anita Greenoff, two local Friends who loved the Gallery and gave it much of their time.
Comparing the copy with the original is fascinating. Constable has included the figure on horseback that at the time trotted on the right of the painting - this later addition was cleaned off the original in 1997. He has diligently recorded the effects of chemical degeneration of the original greens in the foreground. In his painting of the sky there is the strongest possible sense of Constable's respect and awe in the face of the Dutch 17th century master. And one can just imagine the Englishman's earnest exhortations to his students to learn from this diminutive painting in which the sky goes on forever, the light bounces from cloud to earth on a cosmic scale, and every wind that ever blew seems trapped on a few square inches of canvas.
The new picture is on display alongside the Ruisdael.
Canaletto in England
A Venetian Artist Abroad 1746-1755
The current exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery which runs until 15 April shows thirty nine paintings and fifteen works on paper. They give an outstanding topographical image of mid 18th century London with a wealth of highly detailed minutiae. The sweep of the Thames, both upstream towards the new London Bridge and Westminster Abbey or downstream from the terrace of Somerset House looking towards St Paul's reveal Canalletto's uncanny eye for detail. Riverside trades work in the shadow of great architectural splendour, shot towers loom, tenement upon tenement crowds around Westminster Hall and Inigo Jones's Banquetting Hall in Whitehall. Beside these packed scenes of London, there are splendid paintings of Eton College, Windsor and Warwick Castles. His commissions showing some England's great houses, now owned by the National Trust, look sterile by comparison.
Lovers of Canaletto's Venetian scenes will not be disappointed by this exhibition, there are several Venetian canvases the artists completed during his English sojourn.