Rus in (sub) Urbis only?
Mayor Ken Livingstone's line in the sand demarcating urban from suburban housing zones in the London Plan appears to have moved since we last reported the issue. Apparently he argues that the Southwark Unitary Development Plan does not conform to his London Plan. Instead of the boundary between the two zones being the railway line between Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill, it is now understood that the boundary is the Tulse Hill/North Dulwich railway line. The dividing line then appears to run along Red Post Hill, Dulwich Village, Calton Avenue, Court Lane, Lordship Lane, Cox's Walk to the borough boundary at Sydenham Hill. However, information on the precise boundary is sketchy. If this is the actual boundary, then houses to the east of this will fall into the 'Urban' classification.
The difference between urban and suburban areas in the London Plan is one of housing density. An urban area is anticipated to have 300-700 habitable rooms per hectare, with a building height of a maximum of seven storeys. Suburban density is for 200-350 habitable rooms per hectare. Southwark Council has succeeded in persuading government to reduce the upper limit for new building of flats in urban areas from seven to four storeys. This is still one more than Southwark wanted but represents a great improvement. The Council is hoping to compromise on urban density by proposing a figure of 450 habitable rooms per hectare. Importantly, conservation areas appear to be excluded from the housing density requirement.
This may not actually make any difference to those who live in the newly demarcated area but are residents on the Dulwich Estate, as applications for planning consent are first subject to approval under the Scheme of Management. The Dulwich Estate comments that since the Scheme was approved by the High Court it is thought that a change of legislation would be required to amend the area covered or a form of redress available to challenge refusal of consent by the Managers to development. Thus the Winterbrook and Stradella Roads Conservation area remains unaffected, as does, presumably Ruskin Walk and Carver Road. Properties in roads in the Dulwich Village Conservation Area also appear equally safe. Less certain are other roads linking Half Moon Lane and Herne Hill and Denmark Hill.
These roads comprise attractive and generally spacious Edwardian terraced or semi-detached properties, and lay in what has become known as the North Dulwich Triangle. There has been very little intrusion by later development and therefore they form an area of great suburban aesthetic value. Together with the architecturally important Casino Estate and Sunray Gardens they should be considered for listing as a Conservation Area and exclusion from the Mayor's designation as suitable for urban density building.
East Dulwich has also been designated as 'urban' by the Mayor and the same argument can also be advanced here. East Dulwich was created from farmland into dense terraced housing in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the area enjoys the period housing atmosphere of a kind of time warp. Most of the housing in East Dulwich is characterised by a harmonious low-rise townscape of simple but attractive terraced housing with front and rear gardens. To consider building flats of four storeys will harm this ambience. There is an urgent case for extending conservation status to much of East Dulwich and ensuring that the designation 'Urban' acknowledges the importance of such islands of interest.
The Dulwich Society, through its Planning and Architecture sub-committee is taking barrister's opinion on the way to proceed in order to seek the satisfactory reinstatement of the Grade II listed wall alongside Lyndenhurst in Red Post Hill. As has previously been reported in these columns, a former owner of the house sold part of the garden in 1990. The purchaser applied for planning consent for a series of different developments, finally losing on appeal to the Secretary of State. In 2002 he sold the site to the current owner, a company named Hausmann Hughes. This company submitted a series of planning applications to obtain access to the property from Red Post Hill. These were refused by the Council on the grounds of safety. In the meantime part of the wall collapsed and a more was taken down by Southwark Council as a dangerous structure in 2004.
Southwark Council conservation officers were advised and served notice on the owner to rebuild the wall. However, no enforcement notice was issued and Hausmann Hughes has taken no remedial action.
The Dulwich Society is frustrated that neither the Dulwich Estate nor Southwark Council is taking the matter further. As a way forward it is therefore seeking legal advice in order to assist these two bodies to find a solution.
A similar example of dilatoriness is to be found at St Peter's Church, Lordship Lane. This too is a listed Grade II building and is also on the Dulwich Estate. An enforcement order was served before 2003 by Southwark Council for the reinstatement of the adjoining listed church hall all which many years ago was externally altered without planning permission. Since then, the gate posts and part of the front wall have become in a ruinous condition.
The Council's failure to take action against these two examples of damage to listed buildings makes the whole idea of the preservation of listed buildings a mockery and invites similar neglect from owners of other listed properties in Dulwich. Southwark Council has a legal obligation to carry out the remedial work if the owner fails to do so, and to obtain reimbursement from the owner.
Knock-on Effects of Neglect
It can be no coincidence that around what should be one of Dulwich's most attractive corners - where Dulwich Common meets Lordship Lane, which has a beautiful view of the uphill sweep of fields, woods and golf course, the sylvan Cox's Walk and a tree-enclosed Grade II listed Victorian Gothic church; there are deplorable examples of neglect and decay. We have cited the case of St Peter's Church and Hall. Opposite, stands what must be one of London's outrageous examples of neglect - a once beautiful Victorian mansion allowed to fall to rack and ruin and become a perpetual eyesore. In the last resort, and residents might feel this point has long been reached, it is the duty of Southwark Council to resolve the long-running question of demolition or restoration of this building - The first course presumably is to find the owner. If this proves impossible then Southwark Council should investigate what measures it can use to bring about a conclusion to the matter - on Health and Safety grounds alone it would appear to have ample reason to invoke its powers.
A few yards away, and this time on Dulwich Estate land is the sports ground of the Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club. The club lets some of its accommodation to a nursery school and in 2004 received additional income of £25,000 from the Dulwich Community Council for "ground improvements access". Although the ground is in splendid condition, the club has done nothing to improve the appearance of the entrance area, with broken down fences, great deposits of rubbish and unsightly temporary buildings. As ground landlord, the Dulwich Estate has a duty to require the club to honour its covenants and the Dulwich Community Council to satisfy itself the large sum of ratepayers' money given has been satisfactorily spent.
These examples of neglect are all preventable; to ignore them is to encourage failure by other trustees and property owners' to care for their buildings. It encourages 'neighbourhood blight', with its attendant dangers of the spread of graffiti, vandalism and other forms of hooliganism to take hold.
Unauthorised changes to Dulwich properties
A policy change by the Dulwich Estate might affect unwary residents who are seeking to carry out alterations to their property. The Estate has now adopted a position that that where a freeholders makes an application to the Scheme of Management for new works but where unauthorised changes to the property were made in the past (such as the formation of a hard standing), the licence for the new works will be conditional on remedial action being taken (to restore the garden).
Co-operation with the Camberwell Society
An informal link has been made between the Dulwich and the Camberwell Society with a view of sharing information on matters of mutual concern. Following discussions between members of both executive committees it has been found that topics such as traffic and transport, and especially the possible route extension of the number 42 bus in order that it can serve Dulwich Community Hospital are of shared interest. Co-operation may also extend to parks and wildlife and local history (Dulwich was formerly in the parish of Camberwell)
Horniman Play Park and Gardens
Members following the investigation by the Dulwich Society's Local History Group of the series of earthworks in the Horniman Play Park will recall that after extensive research of the history of the site, it was decided to check the period between the end of World War II and when the Play Park was created in the early 1950's. At the same time, Dulwich Society member Steve Grindlay, had discussed the Society's plans for an excavation of the site with a friend who had been a gardener at Horniman Gardens. The friend recalled that the series of banks and mounds had been created with spoil from the digging of the paddling pool to provide a kind of early adventure playground.
Further research at the London Metropolitan Archives reveals that he is quite correct. Although no documentary evidence was found in the LCC Parks department files, the photographic archive produced positive results. The series of mounds was indeed an adventure play ground.
Children's adventure play parks in England were the initiative of Lady Allen of Hurtwood who had seen the success of these in Denmark and Sweden. In 1960 she published the first of two booklets outlining the concept and implementation of their use. She wrote that adult play leaders and counsellors were essential. Stockholm which had 28 such parks which were open all year had 225 playground staff in summer and 60 for the remainder of the year. She said that adventure playgrounds were simple and cheap to provide. In Design for Play she recommended sand pits and earth shaping for imaginative play, "artificial mounds made good wind shields, serve as banks for rolling down".
As the photographs show, the London County Council was sufficiently impressed by Lady Allen's argument that it provided the amenities she suggested, including a sand pit. The reason this facility ended was that neither the LCC nor Lewisham Council which succeeded it, were willing to employ staff as play leaders or supervisors who were responsible for the success of the scheme in Scandinavia. In time, the sand pit was filled in, the paddling pool drained and the adventure area allowed to revert to a hillocky meadow.
Perhaps, with the envisaged regeneration of Horniman Gardens, some thought might be given to including the Horniman Play Park within in its remit. After all, the thousands of children who visit the Museum each year would find the play park an excellent adjunct to the Museum.
Janet Vitmayer, Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens writes :
For over 100 years our much-loved Gardens have provided the public with an opportunity to enjoy ' the open air and sunlight' that Frederick Horniman felt was so important to peoples' well being. The Gardens now need a significant investment to ensure that we can maintain high standards and provide for our visitors needs now and into the future.
As well as consulting with many groups in the area, we would be interested to hear from you if you have any ideas about how you would like to see the Gardens develop in the future.
The areas we are considering so far are:-
- Improvements to paths, fencing, toilets, and services like drainage, electricity and water. We would like to build in more sustainable usage of water and heating where possible.
- Improvements to the buildings in the Gardens - the Bandstand, the Dutch Barn and our Greenhouses.
- Improvements to the animal enclosure.
- New Horticultural facilities with more opportunities for volunteering, training and public educational events.
- Improved provision for events and education and better interpretation about the history of the Gardens and the trees and plants they contain.
- Re-landscaping some areas to provide quiet areas, activity areas and better picnic spaces.
In order to proceed with this project, the Museum will have to raise the majority of the funds required. Work is not therefore expected to commence until 2009, once the funds are in place.
If you would like to share your thoughts with us please email:
(As the Newsletter goes to print, the Dulwich Society is to meet representatives of the Horniman Museum to discuss how, as a society it can help in this project)
Dovercourt Road Centenary
The residents of Dovercourt Road will be celebrating their centenary this year with a street party in June and other events. The road was created around 1906-7 following earlier development of farmland into Dekker, Desenfans and Druce Roads. Two years ago the residents of Desenfans Road celebrated their centenary with a number of events including the publication of the history of the road and biographies of some of its former residents. These were found to include the actor, the late Peter Cushing.
Awards for 1475 Squadron
1475 Air Training Corps Squadron which was formed in 1941 and which has its headquarters at High Wood Barracks, Lordship Lane received two prestigious awards at the end of May at a parade at Dulwich College. In 2001 the unit celebrated its Diamond Jubilee with a concert in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund. Two more concerts followed in ensuing years from which the sum of £20,000 was raised for the charity. In recognition of this splendid effort the RAFBF presented the Squadron with a Poignard, the Fund's highest meritorious award. Since 1919 it is only the ninth time this award has been presented.
It also received the Air Training Corps Certificate of Merit. There are 33 squadrons in London and 1475 Squadron already held one of the two then awarded. This makes it the unit's second such award.
Dulwich goes even Greener!
The Dulwich Goes Greener Group is not only encouraging us to reduce our car use but is also trying in a practical way to reduce our plastic bag use as well. To this end it has produced a handsome, strong brown canvas carrier bag decorated with the group's logo. It is selling the bag through local shops including The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village, at the cost price of £2. A bargain not to be missed. For more information on the campaign go to www.dulwichgoinggreener.org
Green Chain Walk gets Funding
The proposed extension of the Green Chain Walk from Crystal Palace, and into Dulwich via Sydenham Hill and Dulwich Woods and the Upper Wood in Farquhar Road to Dulwich Park, Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Horniman Museum has now received funding from Southwark Council. The Council has approved the sum of £150,000 for capital works for the extension and a £15,000 per year contribution towards its management and maintenance. The Green Chain Walk starts at the Thames Barrier and is a footpath connecting South London's numerous 'green' areas such as Oxleas Wood and Beckenham Place Park. It would also be a challenging route for a sponsored walk.
Swimming Pool Renovation
Despite being proposed for demolition under the London Development Agency's 2006 proposals for the redevelopment of Crystal Palace Park, the National Sports Centre at Crystal Place now looks likely now to be retained. The LDA appears to have changed its mind in the last few months, partly as a result of the many objections but possibly also because of the Government's recent backing down over the demolition of the Commonwealth Institute, another Grade II* listed building. The swimming pool machinery, pumps and other equipment at the National Sports Centre are to be replaced. The work will start in the autumn and will cause a closure of the pool for up to six months
The most recent proposals by Arup Associates, the architects appointed to prepare the redevelopment scheme for the area, show the building being used initially as an ancillary training pool to the Olympic Aquatic Centre. After the 2012 games the pool will be decked over for an indoor sports hall for 5 aside football or similar sports. Initial works will involve refurbishment of the services installations and the changing areas and there will also be changes to the levels of the external landscaping, demolition of the high level concrete walkways and a more proactively managed security policy.
Major sporting events such as the athletics Grand Prix and the London Youth Games will continue at Crystal Palace until at least 2012 but international athletic events will transfer to the Olympic Stadium at Stratford.
P.E.L.O. Football Club
The club, which occupies the ground in Gallery Road opposite the Old College was the brainchild of Mario Fauvrelle. He founded PELO - Positive Education Learning Organisation as a non-profit making community organisation in 1995. Today it has 1100 attendees of whom 95% are deprived youngsters, all from diverse backgrounds.
Each week some 350-400 of these youngsters attend mid-week (after school) and weekends. The club functions through a dedicated team of volunteers. It offers a range of activities which include football, running/athletics, basketball, volleyball, dance and multi-cultural celebratory events.
Mario says that the Club is in the process of obtaining full charity trust status and expects to sign a long lease for the ground with the Dulwich Estate. PELO has ambitious plans to lay new land drains at the ground and to rebuild the present pavilion to provide a new Community Sport Recreational Facility. It also hopes to run vocational and education courses to enable youngsters with no basic skills to get qualifications.
To assist with this project it has gathered support from a wide range of organisations. Tessa Jowell MP is the club's patron.
Village Ward Police Team
In the twelve months since the Village Ward Police team has been established crime has fallen significantly in the area. The original five members of the team have now been joined by Police Community Support Officer Nathalie Fichet, pictured in the right of the front row of the accompanying photograph. The remainder of the team are (L - R) PCSO Sheri Robey, PC Shaun Mulcathy, Sgt Stephen Farrant, PCSO Darren Weems, PC Alastair Gellatly, PCSO Nathalie Fichet.
You can call the team on 020 8721 2446 or Mobile 07920 233 913. The Team does not provide a 24 hour service as it works various shifts, however it will get back to you as soon as possible if you leave a message.
The February edition of Living South contained the most recent example of slander levelled against the founder of Dulwich College , the Elizabethan actor and theatre owner, Edward Alleyn. In an article about the College entitled Secret History, Old Alleynian Chris Coates writes ; "The School was partly founded on the profits of bear-baiting and prostitution". He recounts that he picked up the story while a pupil at the College studying English under Neil Fairlamb, who is now vicar of Aberystwyth.
Chris Coates and Neil Fairlamb are not the only followers of a tradition regarding the life of Edward Alleyn. At the unveiling of the statue to Alleyn, raised by the Dulwich Society in 2005 to mark the benefactor's purchase of the Manor of Dulwich in 1605, the Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, the Culture Secretary and Member for Dulwich, could not resist including the same reference in her opening remarks when she unveiled the statue. A whole series of authors of books on Dulwich (including myself) have also fallen victims of this tradition.
The slander is based on the ownership of a lease of a property on Bankside in Southwark called the Barge, the Bell and the Cock which at one time had clearly been three smaller and adjoining properties, which passed to Alleyn on the death of his father-in-law, Philip Henslowe.
Many years ago Paull Franklin Baum, an American scholar was writing a riposte in the academic journal Modern Language Notes concerning The Bell inn mentioned by Chaucer, and pointing out that there were half-dozen Bell Inns in Southwark, including, in 1723 one in Clink Street. He says "this is probably the same as that given in the token book of 1596 as the residence of Philip Henslowe: 'The Bell, near Horse Shoe Alley'". He also notes that in 1577 John Woodwarde of Southwark is the 'hoste' of the Bell.
We know that Henslowe's wife's name was Agnes Woodwarde, and that he had a step-daughter, Joan Woodwarde, who married Alleyn in 1592. There has long been speculation over the name and occupation of Joan's father, as well as the amount of property, if any, she brought to her husband. Thus Paull Baum's discovery accounts for how the 'Barge, Bell and Cock' might have passed initially to Philip Henslowe, and then to Edward Alleyn, or directly to Alleyn on his marriage to Joan, who then might have agreed to her step-father continuing to live in the property. Or, indeed, they might all have lived en famille especially during Alleyn's absence on theatrical tours. According to a letter in the College archives, this house was situated "on the bank sid right over against the clink". Paull Baum takes this to read that it stood opposite the Clink prison, close beside Winchester House.
So where does the tradition spring from that Edward Alleyn was a brothel owner? It seems writers have taken their cue from John Stow whose Survey of London Written in the Year 1598 devotes considerable space to a description of Bankside and especially what were known as 'the stews': "Next on this bank was sometime the Bordello, or Stewes, a place so called or certain stew-houses privileged there, for the repair of incontinent men to the like women". Stow traces their history from 1345 until 1506 when he notes that the number of bordellos had been reduced from eighteen to twelve and they were allowed "to have signs on their fronts, towards the Thames, not hanged out, but painted on the walls". Amongst the names he mentions are the Boar's Head, the Cardinal's Hat and The Bell. The Stow perambulation then states that next comes the Clink jail followed by the Bishop of Winchester's house.
What later writer's have overlooked is that Stow goes on to say that in 1546 Henry Vlll put down the row of bordellos, " proclaimed by the sound of trumpet, no more to be privileged, and used as a common brothel, but the inhabitants of the same to keep good and honest rule, as in other places of this realm."
Very recently another American academic, the Emerit Distinguished Professor Henry Ansgar Kelly of the University of California Los Angeles, has unwittingly come to the rescue of Edward Alleyn's reputation by claiming that there is no historical evidence to connect properties belonging to the bishop of Winchester, called the Bell and the Barge with the medieval vice-trade. In the Medieval Academy of America's journal Speculum volume 75, published in 2000, Kelly speculates in a lengthy article on long- held accusations that the Bishop of Winchester and Prioress of St Leonard's Priory, Stratford-in-Bow benefited from this trade.
Kelly shows that a Deed dated 1540 from the bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, leased "certain capital messes and tenements called the Barge, the Bell and the Cock properties to William Payne (who built a bear garden on this spot)." The document shows the bishop's property as going all the way to Maiden Lane. He says there is nothing to show the nun's property (which bordered the Barge, Bell and Cock to the west) or the bishop's properties of the Barge, Bell and Cock contained stew houses and the notion of twelve stew houses (mentioned by Stow) surviving closure is based on a rumour reported by the compiler of The Great Chronicle of London, probably Robert Fabyan. Indeed the names of the Bell and the Cock are not included in the list of twelve bordellos mentioned. The Barge which was mentioned in the list of twelve bordellos was originally called the Antelope and briefly called the Barge in 1506. Professor Kelly says of the what became Alleyn's property known as Barge, Bell and Cock, that there was no reason for suspecting the property, which might have become one or more hospices, as containing stew houses.
In February 2007, in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, The Dulwich Estate, as Managers of the Scheme of Management, was successful in appealing an Arbitrator's Award which had ruled the Manager's actions in refusing consent for a side dormer window, as part of a loft conversion, to be unreasonable.
The owners of an end of terrace house on the periphery of the Estate had made an application to the Managers under the Scheme of Management to convert a loft on their property but including a side dormer window. From the outset the owners were advised that a side dormer window in such a property was contrary to the Managers' Policy Guidelines and was therefore unlikely to be approved.
The freeholders, who had received planning consent from the Local Authority, insisted on making a formal application for a loft conversion including a side dormer window and this was subsequently refused by the Managers. The freeholders then exercised their rights under the terms of the Scheme of Management to refer the matter to arbitration.
The Arbitrator, Mr Richard Inniss received representations from both the freeholder and the Managers and made his award, declaring:
- The Managers had followed the proper procedures and their decision was consistent with their guidelines;
- The applicant was fully aware of the Scheme and its provisions; but
- The circumstances of the owner's application for consent rendered unreasonable what otherwise would have been a reasonable decision.
The Award was therefore made in favour of the applicant.
The Managers were surprised by the Arbitrator's Award since the test which an arbitrator is to apply had been previously established by case law - Estates Governors of Alleyn's College of God's Gift at Dulwich v Williams in 1994. This followed on from an earlier decided case concerning a Scheme of Management - Mosley v Cooper in 1990. The Williams case had established that the jurisdiction of the arbitrator only extends to determining whether the managers acted reasonably and not as to whether consent should or should not have been given.
The Managers were most concerned by Mr Inniss introducing a further test requiring them to have regard to the circumstances of the applicant and therefore application was made to the Court for leave to appeal the Arbitrator's Award. The Judge, Mr Jonathon Crow QC, found that Mr Inniss had made an error of law in applying the additional test - taking into consideration the circumstances of the applicant.
Counsel for the Managers has asked that the Court vary the Award to determine that approval from the Managers was reasonably withheld. However, the Judge declined to do so and remitted the matter back to the Arbitrator for Mr Inniss to apply the correct test in law in order to reach his decision.
The Judge in deciding the Appeal also considered as part of his judgement the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on the grounds that it involved an interference with the peaceful enjoyment of the freeholder's position under Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Judge left open the question as to whether the Dulwich Estate is a Public Authority for the purpose of Section 6 of the Human Rights Act. Although Article 1 of the First Protocol merely protects the peaceful enjoyment of possessions, the property owners had acquired the freehold subject to the Scheme of Management and a restriction on the ability to convert the loft is an incident of their property rights and not an interference with them. Even if this analysis was incorrect, under Article 1 of the First Protocol, this allowed interference with property rights if three conditions were satisfied:
- The interference is in accordance with the law and that test is satisfied by the Scheme which has received Court approval;
- There must be a legitimate objective and that is satisfied by the provisions of section 19 of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967;
- The interference must be proportionate.
The Judge's conclusion was therefore that any consideration under the Human Rights Act would produce the same result as under the Scheme and the Arbitration Act.
Disappointingly for the Managers, the Judge refused to make any order for costs against the Defendant but stated his decision "is in no way prompted by any suggesting that proceedings were in any way inappropriately brought. They were entirely reasonable and in a large measure they have been successful in a sense that the key issue in the case was whether or not the Arbitrator's decision was wrong in law and, in my view, it was and it is entirely reasonable for the Estate to have proceeded as it did and it has been successful on that crucial point."
The Dulwich Estate believes the judgment is mutually beneficial to freeholders and the Managers in clearly defining the role of an arbitrator appointed under the Scheme of Management and the question of whether the Scheme conflicts with the Human Rights Act has been addressed. The Managers seek to continue to exercise the rights and powers conferred on them by the Scheme for the purpose of enabling them to preserve the amenities of the Estate for the common benefit.
The Dulwich Society fully supports the actions of the Managers over this issue and joins with them in their surprise and regret that costs were not awarded to the Estate. Unfortunately, as a consequence, all freeholders subject to the Scheme of Management will be required to share these costs, estimated at £5 per household.
A Sylvan Jubilee
This year is the 25th Anniversary of the London Wildlife Trust at Sydenham Hill Wood and as such the Trust will be holding a celebratory "Sylvan Jubilee" Festival from Friday the 24th August to Sunday 2nd September.
The event will be launched with the "Upstaging Nature" art exhibition to be held over the August bank holiday weekend. Following on from art exhibitions at Sydenham Hill Wood in 2005 (the Art of Permanence and Change) and 2006 (Eco Vandalism) this years theme considers the consequences of placing art work in an environment which has a tendency to dominate everything around it.
Artists of various disciplines from sculpture to dance will be exhibiting/ performing throughout the weekend.
Other events planned for the Sylvan Jubilee include talks on the history and management of Sydenham Hill Wood at the Horniman Museum, guided walks including bat and moth evenings and a concert at the Dulwich Wood House Pub on Crescent Wood Road. It is hoped that the culmination of the festival will be a 2 day Woodland Fair along Cox's Walk with stalls, entertainment and educational activities for all.
Further sponsorship for this festival is still needed and any offers or ideas will be gratefully received. Please contact Ed Dean on 020 7803 4273 or email
For further details of Sylvan Jubilee events please visit www.wildlondon.org.uk
Woodland Bat Roost Project
London Wildlife Trust has launched its Woodland Bat Roost Project at Sydenham Hill Wood Local Nature Reserve. The three year £60,000 project which is funded by the SITA Trust through the landfill communities fund with 10% match funding from the Dulwich Community Council and support from Lewisham Council is designed to meet UK, London and Southwark biodiversity action plan targets.
The key elements to the project are to train local volunteers in bat ecology and survey techniques, assess the local habitat for potential bat roosts and activity, record and monitor bat activity, and enhance the local habitat by increasing roost opportunities.
Work to date has included the running of a bat ecology workshop at the Horniman Museum, and tree surveys where those trees that best meet bat roosting criteria are tagged and mapped for further investigation. The criteria include rot or woodpecker holes, splits, loose bark and ivy cover. Throughout the summer months night time surveys will take place in a bid to identify bat species and locate active roosts. In September new bat roost boxes will be installed in especially identified areas within the reserve and within the disused high level railway tunnel between the Wood and Vigilant Close in the Hill Crest Estate. The tunnel will be the centre piece of the project as enhancements to the grilles and the construction of hanging walls within the tunnel are planned to create micro climates favourable to bat hibernation.
Bats are very susceptible to disturbance and the destruction of roost sites in buildings is thought to be a key reason for their decline. By providing secure hibernation sites it is hoped that the decline in urban bat populations can be steadied or reversed. Records for the Dulwich area to date have found several species including, common and soprano pipistrelle, daubenton, noctule and brown long eared bats (first Southwark record in Sydenham Hill Wood, Oct 2005).
For further information on this project please call the London Wildlife Trust on 020 8699 5698.
Hearts of Oak
Oak is the key to the new visitor and education centre now nearing completion in Dulwich Upper Wood Local Nature Reserve, Farquhar Road, West Dulwich. "This five-acre site is mainly oak woodland, a fragment of what was the Great North Wood," says Trust for Urban Ecology warden Jim Murphy, who manages the reserve and its teams of conservation volunteers.
He gestures around the nature trail, its pathways spiralling ever-skywards in a series of terraces. Crystal Palace's mast can be glimpsed, framed within a small blue hole in the dense green canopy. "We have Sessile and English oaks, a few Turkey oaks, some hybrids. It seemed fitting, when we decided to replace our volunteers' portable cabin with something more suitable for visits from schools and ecology and conservation students, that we should have a building that was mostly oak, too."
Indeed, the walls of this latter-day cabin in the woods are of oak throughout. So is its flooring - reclaimed ships' decking, relaid reverse-side-up to present an unridged surface more suitable for its new land-locked lifestyle. When the centre opens to the public later this year, its furniture will include a set of fine, solid, stackable wooden chairs (in oak, naturally), handmade by a local craftsman and donated, free, by the Horniman Museum. The doors are made of a foreign hardwood, "But it comes from an ecologically-sustainable source", adds Jim. "We are trying to do the work in as 'green' a way as possible".
There isn't a green living roof, like the one at the Horniman. Instead there is a more traditional pitched, clay-tiled one. "We didn't put grass there because it wouldn't have survived in that position. We needed something strong, too, because of the odd branch dropping and the weight of so many leaves falling down". However, atop the roof is a turret with overlapping wooden-boarded sides which, it is hoped, will be used as a bat roost. Dulwich Upper Wood is used by two kinds of Pipistrelle bats, and the occasional Daubenton's, en route to local park lakes - "because we are so high up, many things land here and rest." Other ecological point-scorers are sheeps' wool insulation, reclaimed cast iron guttering, and the huge plastic former chemical-storage tanks which will harvest rainwater from the roof, for the three outside compost toilets (although the resultant compost will have to be used off-site since the woods are sufficiently nutrient-rich already). Visitors will be able to use loos of the more run-of-the-mill variety, including one for wheelchair users, inside the building.
The Bridge House Trust, a City-based charity, paid for the erection of the 12 metre by 6 metre building and its roof. The reserve also received some grants, including one from the lottery-linked Awards for All scheme. But almost all the hard manual work on site, including digging out the metre-deep foundations, has been done by volunteers, both the reserve's regulars and outside teams from the corporate sector. None, says Jim, had any pre-existing building skills before they started. "I've learned a lot," says Jim, whose previous professional training, pre-conservation days, was in public administration and politics. "Especially when it comes to bricks, floors and joists".
"Some people might question why we are putting a building in the middle of a relict ancient woodland," says Jim. "But we haven't really had to change much - we lost one sycamore and two false acacias - and we've raised the ground level around an existing yew, to build the new visitor path and wheelchair access. In fact, this place has been built on before - just once, in its history. There was a line of Victorian villas with big basements here, in the 1870s. They had the woods as their gardens. Some were bombed during the last war. The last one, close to where we are standing now, went in 1960".
When the centre opens, visitors will be able to see some of the Victorian "treasures" recovered during construction work.
Angela Wilkes, Dulwich Society wildlife committee chair
More Green Successes
An alliance of ecology bodies has campaigned for many years to promote an integrated approach to wildlife in the local landscape; amongst them, the Friends of Belair Park down in the Dulwich Basin and the Ridge Wildlife Group on the Crystal Palace Park hill top. The RWG lobbied throughout a decade-long scrum as groups vied. Some became stalking horses for large developments to replace the multiplex, which failed as the financial climate changed. However, survey after survey showed that the overwhelming majority of people backed the RWG's green vision. Tilman Latz and Partners (for the LDA) have now put forward a scheme for the hill top, whereby the footprint of Joseph Paxton's historic 1854 Crystal Palace would be marked out by tree planting, retaining existing trees and undergrowth (though LDA plans for housing in the Park face mounting opposition).
The Friends of Belair Park are an independent stakeholder group for West Dulwich public open space, representing the Belair Wildlife Group, Dulwich Society, Friends of the Earth, and local residents. They have worked with ecology experts since the late 1980's to create wildlife areas along the lake, combining lake-margin, ditch and hedgerow habitats. On March 28th, 2007, the Committee met with Southwark officers and McMorran-Gatehouse Architects to discuss construction of new changing rooms and the fate of the "paddock field," presently closed to the public.
The Friends welcome the architects' enthusiasm for a benchmark innovative multi-use 'green' building, and ecological/public use for the paddock field. Southwark aims to involve the public at every stage, in a model of genuine consultation. With a documentary maker, we are investigating possible production of a DVD for planners, highlighting the area between Belair and Crystal Palace to illustrate retention and enhancement of urban wildlife corridors.
Green Failures - Bumblebee Decline
Spare a thought, as you garden this summer, for the humble bumblebee. It may surprise you to know that there are some 25 species in the UK, although local gardens are likely to attract a mere half-dozen varieties, including ones that nest in bird-boxes and under garden sheds.
So familiar is their drowsy buzz, that we take it for granted as background to a sunny afternoon spent in the garden. But bumblebees are in trouble. Several species have already gone extinct nationally in recent decades, and others are rapidly heading that way. Intensive farming methods, use of pesticides, habitat losses are all thought to be to blame. One new theory suggests that interference from mobile phone masts could be disorientating bees and preventing them navigating back to their hives or nest holes when they become cold, or tired.
The recently-launched Bumblebee Conservation Trust has put together a life-saver list of plants that could make all the difference. Bumblebees and their young only eat nectar and pollen and they're totally dependent upon finding the right plants flowering at the right times, when they are active between March and August. Many modern flowers, alas, look dramatic and colourful - and that includes most bedding plants - but they are of no use to bees because they don't provide enough nectar for them to eat.
Other flower varieties, such as those with double petals, have also opted for style over content and they can be impenetrable to a variety of insects. Traditional cottage garden favourites, like lavender, sage, aquilegia and lupins are, in contrast, life-savers. Native bluebells, foxgloves, comfrey, teasel, viper's bugloss, sainfoin, tufted vetch, knapweed and bird's foot trefoil, are also good for bumblebees. Many UK wildflowers totally depend on these bees to pollinate them, so if the bees disappear from our landscape, so will many plants. A more complete list can be had from the charity's website.
The Trust is working with the British Trust for Ornithology, through its Garden BirdWatch (sic), to record bumblebees and they are currently recruiting recorders who can log sightings from their gardens. Unlike wasps, bumble bees are not aggressive (and only the females can sting) - they will not hurt unless they feel threatened, or get trodden on! A colour chart to help you identify different species is available with the free information pack, via
THE DULWICH SOCIETY INVITES YOU TO
a summer evening walk through
DULWICH'S ANCIENT FIELDS AND HISTORIC WOODS
On Wednesday 27 June at 7pm.
Meet outside Dulwich college p.e. centre, pond cottages
The walk will be led by Brian Green assisted by members of the
Wildlife & Trees committees who will advise on Bird and Bat life and tree identification.
(Access to private sports fields, by kind permission of the Master of Dulwich College, and the Headmaster of Dulwich College Preparatory School.)
Until 24th June - South London Gallery - Group Exhibition - Stay Forever and Ever and Ever - Curated by Andrew Renton Tuesday-Sunday 12-6pm. 65 Peckham Road SE 5.
Until 15 July Dulwich Picture Gallery - Exhibition - Artists' Self-Portraits from the Uffizi.
Sunday 3rd Sydenham International Music Festival - at 7.30pm The Endellion String Quartet performing Beethoven, Mozart, Debussy. St Bartholomew's Church, Westwood Hill, Sydenham. Tickets £12.50 concs. £8.50 Box Office tel: 020 8778 4701
Wednesday 6th Lecture - Modernism: designing a new world 1914-1939 Dulwich Picture Gallery Linbury Room 10.30am Tickets £10
Saturday 9th Sydenham International Music Festival - Children's Concert at 11.15am Hansel & Gretel by Humperdink. Soprana: Suzannah Clarke, mezzo-soprano : Emma Selway, Conductor: Robert Trory. At St Bartholomew's Church, Westwood Hill, Sydenham. Tickets £4. Box Office tel. 020 8778 4701
Sunday 10th Garden Open - North House, 93 Dulwich Village 2pm-5pm. Wheelchair access. Children welcome. Refreshments. Large mature garden with lawns, trees, climbing roses and flower beds. Garden Open in aid of National Gardens Scheme nominating Dulwich Helpline as the designated charity.
Southwark Concert Band - featuring the works of Holst and Grainger- including The Planets, First Suite in Eb ,Japanese Suite, Tuscan Serenade, County Derry Air. The Great Hall, Dulwich College at 7.00pm. Tickets £9 concs £5, children under 11 free Tel. 020 7733 6024 or on the door.
Wednesday 13th Lecture - Post- War Architecture of the 50s and 60s. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Linbury Room 10.30am. Tickets £10
Thursday 14th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - "Mr Stubbs the Horse Painter" by Carolyn Leder at 8pm at James Allen's Girls' School Lecture Theatre
Saturday 16th Sydenham International Music Festival - St Bartholomew Festival Orchestra perform Sibelius: Violin Concerto, Brahms: Symphony No 4. at 7.30pm St Bartholomew's Church, Westwood Hill, Sydenham . Tickets £15, concs £10. Box Office tel. 020 8778 4701
Wednesday 20th Lecture - Post- Modernism and Beyond Dulwich Picture Gallery, Linbury Room 10.30 am. Tickets £10
Garden Open - 5 Burbage Road SE 24. Garden open 6pm-8.30 pm for charity within the National Gardens Scheme. Sale of plants and cards. Wine included in £3 entry (children free)
Friday 22nd Dulwich Picture Gallery Garden - Opera in the Gallery Garden - The Perfect Picnic, a light hearted operatic entertainment set to the music of Mozart and presented by Opera on the Run. 6.30pm for 7pm. BYO picnic supper for the interval or buy one from the Café for £11.75 per person. Garden open 6pm. Tickets £35 (chairs) £18 (sitting on the grass - bring your own rug!) includes glass pf champagne.
Sunday 24th Garden Safari - In aid of the Dulwich Helpline 5 gardens open in Dulwich 2pm-6pm. Programmes available on the day £6 (children 16 and under free) from North House, 93 Dulwich Village which will also provide refreshments and be the 'hub' garden for the event.
Wednesday 27th Dulwich Society Local History Walk - Ancient Fields and Historic Woods led by Brian Green assisted by members of the Wildlife and Trees sub-committees - A summer's evening walk through Dulwich fields and woods for those interested in the past or wildlife. Meet 7pm outside the Dulwich College PE Centre, Pond Cottages (note change of starting point). Binoculars recommended for bird watchers.
Thursday 12th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - Imperial Gardens of China by Dr Patrick Conner 8pm James Allen's Girls' School Lecture Theatre
Thursday 26th Summer Love - an evening of contemporary poetry Dulwich Picture Gallery Linbury Room (Café open from 7pm for light supper and snacks) Tickets £8
Wednesday 1st Dulwich Picture Gallery Exhibition - The Changing Face of Childhood: British Children's Portraits and their influence in Europe - Exhibition lasts until 4 November.
Sunday 19th Dulwich Picture Gallery - The Seaside Comes to the Gallery. Summer Family Day 12-4pm. A fun-packed afternoon of art workshops, donkey rides, Punch & Judy, storytelling. Admission £2
Plans being drawn up for regeneration of this historic Grade II* park are nearing conclusion with a master plan expected to be finalised this summer, followed by a planning application to implement this being made to Bromley Council, the local planning authority, in September 2007.
The background to the present position is that following Bromley's withdrawal of its abortive multiplex cinema project in May 2001 in the face of fierce local opposition, including that of the Dulwich Society, a Stakeholders' Dialogue Process, led by an independent facilitator, was set up in 2002 to consider the future of the park and of the National Sports Centre that it hosts. The aim of the dialogue was to establish a consultation process between the local community and the authorities responsible for the park. The matters that the dialogue addressed were the future of the National Sports Centre, which since the 1960s has dominated the centre of the park; the regeneration of the remainder of the park, and governance and management issues.
The dialogue process, which still continues, consists of a Main Group on which is represented about 200 self-selected local individuals and organisations concerned about the park, and which meets about four times a year. In addition there is a much smaller Park Working Group of about 20 local stakeholders, including the Dulwich Society and other amenity groups and various public bodies and their advisers, which meets about monthly. Finally there is an even smaller Sports Working Group mainly concerned with sporting activities in the park, which also has frequent meetings. The dialogue was initially conducted with Bromley, who funded it, as the owners and managers of the park, but they never showed much enthusiasm for major regeneration (though they did undertake restoration of the dinosaur area and other restoration works, not always successfully).
The Park and the London Development Agency
In late 2005 the London Development Agency, part of the Greater London Authority, became seriously involved in Crystal Palace and took over the lease of the NSC in the summer of 2006 and has an option until March 2009 to take over the running of the rest of the park. They are now major players in the dialogue process and fund it. In the view of the writer they have shown a genuine interest in consulting with the local community through the dialogue. In the autumn of 2006 the LDA appointed Tilman Latz and Partners as master planners with the brief to prepare a master plan for the regeneration of the park as a whole which was to be the basis of a planning application to Bromley. Latz is a leading international firm of landscape architects with an impressive record on the restoration or creation of public parks on the Continent and further afield. Since their appointment, Latz have participated strongly in the dialogue process and have kept it informed of the evolution of their ideas for restoration. In general their ideas have been well received by the community, though their plans are not yet finalised.
Currently their plans envisage leaving the top site open with a tree-lined broad walk and no large building, though there may be a viewing tower and the Crystal Palace museum may be relocated to be adjacent to the vaulted subway, now inaccessible, under Crystal Palace Parade which was the main access to the old Crystal Palace. The plans also envisage the greening of the centre of the park, which is now largely taken up by sports facilities, roads and car parks. It is planned that the sports centre will be relocated to a site between Crystal Palace station and the existing athletics stadium, which will remain. The new centre will be regional rather than national, but should consist of state-of-the-art facilities, including a 50 metre swimming pool and diving facilities (see page ?). Its structure will be put out to an international design contest. It was originally hoped that construction work on this would commence before 2010 but the Mayor of London has decided, without consultation with the dialogue process, that this will not now commence until after the 2012 Olympic Games.
National Sports Centre
It was never intended that Crystal Palace would be part of the facilities for the Games, though it will have a role for training. It had originally been proposed by the LDA that the present NSC building be demolished but, this being Grade II listed and widely regarded as an iconic example of 20th century architecture, it became apparent that English Heritage was unlikely to support its demolition. The LDA has therefore decided that the shell of the building should remain as a dry-sports area, though the surrounding unsightly concrete walkways and tarmac will again become open green space. Through this will run a restoration of Paxton's central walkway through the park, lined by a series of small defined spaces for various recreational uses. The swimming pool in the NSC will be closed, though temporary arrangements will be made for continuation of swimming until the new pool is built, either in a new 50 metre temporary pool near the station or in the existing NSC building, with upgraded servicing plant as the existing plant is on its last legs and could fail at any time. No decision has yet been made on this. As a start to the greening of the park, the existing ugly turnstiles and concrete bridge near the station are in the process of being removed. It is estimated that the new sports centre will cost in the region of £50 million and the restoration of the remainder of the park an additional £35 to 50 million.
Former Crystal Palace Farm
Though most of the current proposals are widely supported, there remain a number of points which are highly controversial. Opposed by some people is a proposal to establish on the site of the presently disused "farm" buildings (which have suffered fire damage) a youth training centre for horticulture and animal husbandry. Subject to planning permission from Bromley, this will be run by Capel Manor who have a number of similar centres around London. Present plans involve no new buildings other than a greenhouse and the proposals will make it possible for there to be again a range of animals in the park, including guinea pigs, alpacas, Shetland ponies and small reptiles. It is intended that the new farm will be open to the public, especially children, four to five afternoons a week free of charge, with school parties able to visit in the mornings.
Housing Development Proposals
Most contentious are proposals for building housing in parts of the periphery of the park, mainly near the Rockhills Gate (at the junction of Crystal Palace Parade and Westwood Hill) and to a lesser extent at the Sydenham Gate (near the current car park opposite Sydenham Avenue). The LDA has proposed this to raise funds to finance some of the improvements in the park, though despite numerous requests it has not yet indicated what will be lost if finance from this source is not forthcoming. Its plan for the Rockhills Gate is to recover the six acre site on Metropolitan Open Land which is currently occupied by the Caravan Club (and not open to park users) and to build the housing on two acres of this nearest Westwood Hill and to return the other four acres to the park. The Caravan Club has this land on long lease and the LDA's plans are dependent on their being induced to give up their lease and move to a site somewhere else in London. Currently it appears that the Caravan Club has no intention of moving. The possible housing near the Sydenham Gate is less contentious as it is not on MOL and would be mainly infilling between existing villas, though many find objectionable the proposal for a four story apartment block on the site of the lodge by the entrance to the car park. The LDA's original proposal to build additional apartments and commercial buildings at the Norwood Gate (at the top of Anerley Hill) has been dropped as a result of public pressure.
Dulwich Choral Society
Elgar Anniversary Prom - Saturday 23 June, 7.30 pm
Dulwich Choral Society presents a Promenade concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Edward Elgar's birth. The programme is narrated and conducted by Aidan Oliver, and follows Elgar's remarkable rise from provincial obscurity to become one of Britain's best composers. It features some of his best-loved choral and instrumental works. The concert features Christopher Cromar, piano and organ, and David Brodowski, violin.
The beautiful Wren church of St James's, Piccadilly, has been chosen as the historic setting for this exceptional event. It is close to restaurants and bars, for those who wish to continue the evening in the West End. Tickets are £12 or (restricted view) £10, with £2 reduction for under 17s, from the Box Office, St. John's, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HA, tel: 020 7222 1061, or can be booked via www.sjss.org.uk.
Aidan Oliver has recently become a Dulwich resident, and was appointed conductor of DCS from September 2006. Under his leadership, DCS has performed to capacity audiences in Dulwich - Haydn's Creation (St Barnabas, December 2006) and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and Faure's Requiem (St John's Goose Green, March).
Aidan is also Director of Music at St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey (the Parliamentary Church), and Chorus Master of Philharmonia Voices, a professional chorus of young singers formed to give high-profile oratorio and opera performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra. He was educated at Eton College, and undertook postgraduate studies at King's College London and Harvard University (as Kennedy Scholar), after gaining a double first in classics at King's College Cambridge in 1998.
DCS is a friendly and go-ahead group which welcomes new members - especially sopranos and basses - who wish to be part of the musical success and growth of the leading large choir in south London. Phone Jo on 020 7737 3169 for more information.
Dulwich Picture Gallery Forthcoming Exhibition - The Changing Face of Childhood: British Children 's portraits and their influence in Europe
The British have always enjoyed portraits. Portraits of themselves, their houses, their wives, their dogs and their children.
As early as the 1630's Van Dyck was producing portraits of Charles l's children as loveable innocent creatures, though he subjected them to the established style of courtly representation. Gainsborough, 100 years later, set new standards: in keenly observed renditions of childlike behaviour; the children he painted developed a carefree presence emphasised by dynamic loose brushwork - and landscape played an important part in placing the children in their own environment. Sir Joshua Reynolds and his successor Thomas Lawrence also adopted the motif of children in a landscape setting, making it popular throughout Europe. And European artists (like Angelika Kauffman) travelled to England to see the works and contributed to the wide dissemination of the 'modern' portrait type, which originated in Britain but was fast becoming popular abroad.
All over Europe, in the Age of Enlightenment - the second half of the eighteenth century - the interest in children's portraits was spreading through not only the royal and noble families, but more widely, generating also an interest in the moral concepts associated with the bourgeois family. Children began to be seen as independent characters, not just as future rulers, but also as childlike figures. It was a time when sensitivity observed portraits of royal children gave no indication that the French Revolution would soon shatter their sheltered world.
The Changing Face of Childhood, Dulwich Picture Gallery 1 August - 4 November
South London Art Gallery Exhibition - Stay Forever and Ever and Ever
This group exhibition brings together the works of 10 international contemporary artists, whose practice involves assembling familiar objects that connote feelings of nostalgia. At the heart of the exhibition is a discussion around the idea that memories and objects are inexplicably linked: that our memories are stored within objects and objects arouse our memories.
Many of the works presented are inspired by various artistic movements from the latter part of the 20th century, such as Art Povera, High and Post Modernism. Concepts of appropriation, sampling and archiving, issues of authenticity and originality are raised by the work, as is that of figuring contemporary sculpture as object. The ambiguous status of Spartacus Chetwynd's cardboard props, exhibited after their use in performances; Georg Herold's wall-based 'drawings' which incorporate a curious selection of everyday objects, such as vodka bottles and bricks; or Tony Conrad's preoccupation with the physical elements of film in his Yellow Movie, that play out, or age, over decades, all challenge traditional conventions of sculpture, painting and installation.
The exhibition proposes that our understanding of art is driven by our desire for a physical encounter with it, and a need to retain something of the work beyond illusion or memory. De Rijke/De Rooij's vase of flowers, replenished daily throughout the show, has particular resonance here, as does Ann Veronica Janssens's work which demarcates wall space using colourful lamps. Even the installation itself, which encourages visitors to pass through, around or under the works, emphasises the significance of making connections between assembled elements, challenging the way we encounter the objects around us.
Stay Forever and Ever and Ever South London Gallery 65 Peckham Road SE 5 until 24 June. Gallery open Tuesday- Sunday 12- 6pm
"With a Smile and a Song" - the biography of Anne Shelton, the Forces' and family favourite
by her niece Kelly Richards. 227 pages.
Anne Shelton was a well-known Dulwich resident, living in some style in Court Lane for over 50 years until she moved in 1994.
Born Patricia Sibley and educated at the Sacred Heart Convent in Forest Hill, she shot to fame as a singer after auditioning with the Ambrose Orchestra in 1940. The wartime "Forces' Favourite" (Vera Lynn was the "Forces' sweetheart"), Anne Shelton became hugely popular with the forces and civilian population alike, with a wonderful voice, youthful appearance, blond hair, blue eyes and large bust. It was Anne who recorded the first English version of Lili Marlene; and she sang with Bing Crosby and Glenn Miller, only by chance not joining Glenn Miller on his fatal last flight.
Her successful career continued after the war, with tours of the United States and a number one hit in 1956 Lay down your arms (and surrender to mine), which caused controversy with the authorities in Suez-torn Britain. In the 1980s and early 1990s she was increasingly associated with wartime reunions and revivals, including the organisation of shows for disabled ex-servicemen and women for the Not Forgotten Association, for which she was awarded the OBE in 1990. She died in July 1994, a few days after entertaining at a Not Forgotten Association concert at Buckingham Palace.
As well as documenting Anne Shelton's career, Kelly Richards records the private life of an essentially private person with a close-knit family, who were also her professional and personal support team. Their deaths in the early 1990s led to her move from Dulwich. The book includes a complete list of the songs that Anne Shelton recorded, running to over 25 pages, and many photographs.
Kelly Richards will be signing and selling copies of "With a smile and a Song" at 142 Court Lane from 2-5pm on Sunday 3rd June 2007, when the garden of Anne Shelton's former Dulwich home is open under the National Garden Scheme. The book is also available from www.anne-shelton.co.uk, at £10.99+£2.00
The Story of St Stephen's Church, South Dulwich
By Michael Goodman
The book traces the history of the church from its consecration in 1868 until the present day. St Stephen's, which is a listed building was built by Charles Barry jnr. in the fashionable Victorian Gothic style and contains a highly decorated interior. In the chancel is a fresco of the martyrdom of St Stephen by Sir Edward Poynter PRA. The church was one of the local subjects painted by Camille Pissarro when he was living in Penge during the Franco-Prussian war.
Considerable interesting detail is given by the author, a member of the congregation and a retired circuit judge, of the life of the church during World War II when it suffered bomb blast on several occasions and then was severely damaged by a VI 'flying bomb' in 1944. The congregation was forced to meet elsewhere and there were fears that the church might have to be demolished as the walls were starting to lean outwards. An ingenious solution was proposed; to hold the walls together with the use of steel bars (which still remain). Restoration included the installation of new stained glass to replace that destroyed, although almost miraculously, the great east window had survived. Insufficient funds prevented a full restoration of the highly decorated interior which had to wait until the centenary in 1968 when much of the original design was reintroduced.
The book gives a fascinating picture of the ups and downs of a suburban parish church; the challenges of a changing social fabric and liturgy are met with the devotion of its congregation and priests.
The Story of St Stephens by Michael Goodman is available at price £7 from local bookshops from 14 June. Books may be ordered from the church by post and will be delivered free of charge to addresses in Dulwich. All proceeds will go to church funds.