What might be termed ‘The Heineken Effect’ has recently become apparent in various parts of Dulwich. Translated, it means that those parts of Dulwich which have had pressure exerted by the Dulwich Society are indeed being revived.
You will read elsewhere in this issue about some of these efforts and the good news attached to them. The fact that many of the improvements are at Dulwich’s extremities is therefore faithful to the object of the Society which is to foster and preserve the amenities of all of Dulwich as well as to the message of the original advertisement.
Among the improvements are some listed buildings. These are being preserved through the Society’s efforts despite such action being lamentably low on the local authorities list of priorities. A particular extremity of Dulwich - the junction of Dulwich Common (South Circular) and Lordship Lane is especially disgraceful; indeed the area might even be described as a typical example of urban blight. The deplorable appearance to the entrance of the Streatham & Marlborough ground opposite the Grove Tavern is one example. This has, potentially, one of the most beautiful aspects in London, with the sweep of greensward rising to meet trees of Dulwich woods. Mention has already been made in these columns about the state of the fencing, the unsightly containers and the heaps of rubbish. The Society already has brought the matter to the attention of the Dulwich Estate which leases the land to the club. Around the corner are the debris littered grounds of St Peter’s and its hall. Both are listed Grade 11 buildings and for years the hall has been clad in scaffolding and had an ugly and unofficial wooden canopy put over its entrance. Opposite the church stands what was once a charming Gothic styled villa which has been allowed to sink into total dereliction. Again, the Dulwich Society has campaigned on each of these abominations.
The ‘Heineken ‘comparison in this potentially attractive corner of Dulwich is that some things have started to revive. The long -neglected War Memorial to the Dulwich Volunteer Battalion in the grounds of St Peter’s has been restored. You will read in this issue that the Victorian villa has been compulsorily purchased by Southwark Council and will also be restored. The Society is trying to work with the cricket club to see if the Dulwich Community Council will allocate any funds to replacing the fencing and the club has agreed to re-site and paint the metal container in an unobtrusive dark green colour.
This still leaves the matter of St Peter’s. It is clear that there is no individual or department at Southwark Council which has the day to day responsibility for the borough’s listed buildings, despite Southwark being one of London’s most historic boroughs with a large number listed buildings, of which, incidentally, Dulwich has almost one hundred. St Peter’s was served with a Notice years ago by Southwark to restore its hall. Like the owner of the Victorian villa, it failed to do so. Enforcement must be carried out and Southwark Council held to account that this is done.
Following on from the success of Southwark in the ‘Britain in Bloom’ competition in 2008, where it won a silver medal, the Council is keen to promote Dulwich as a stand alone entry for 2009. As before, assessment is made under three main criteria; public spaces and public buildings, commercial retail areas and residential front gardens. Dulwich does the first one very well, the second adequately but, on front gardens, it does not do so well. While there are some excellent front gardens, walking around Dulwich trying to find a decent group of them for the judges to look at is a depressing experience. Why is this?
Many residents have turned their front gardens over to the car, understandable in many roads, but this does not mean that the rest of the area should look like a rubbish tip. Do we really have to have bins left in front gardens all the time? Can’t recycling boxes and bags be stored somewhere else?
The really depressing thing is the lack of even basic maintenance like weeding, particularly on the street side of front fences - yet the local magazines are full of landscape gardeners advertising for work and there seems to be plenty of gardeners’ vans parked on the roads during the day. What are they all doing? Are they only able to work on back gardens?
Is this a classic illustration of private affluence (the garden at the back) and public squalor (the garden on view at the front). Most of us live in Dulwich because we appreciate its inherent qualities, its rural feel, its trees and its green spaces. Is it too much to ask that we residents make a proactive contribution by making our front gardens look neat and tidy? While no one expects all gardens to be a sea of bedding plants, like the garden in front of College Lodge in Dulwich Park - and the ‘natural’ look is perfectly acceptable as it provides a good base for biodiversity, insects and wild life - whatever the style, they all just need to be cared for.
And residents are not the only culprits, what about the area in the centre of the Village where S G Smith had a petrol station? This is a prime spot yet company does nothing and the Estate seems unable to persuade it to do anything. It should be ashamed.
A Red Post for Red Post Hill?
Discussions have been taking place between the Dulwich Society and the trustees of Herne Hill United Church on the possible siting of a red-painted finger post within their grounds at the crossroads of Red Post Hill and Denmark Hill. The red fingerpost would indicate the direction of Dulwich, Herne Hill, Camberwell and Loughborough Junction picked out in white lettering. An explanatory plaque would probably be also affixed.
Red sign posts are rare in Britain, there being only three in Dorset and two in Somerset. The fact that one existed on Denmark Hill in the 18thcentury and which gave its name to Red Post Hill, which was formerly named Ashpole Lane, is recorded in J. Edwards Companion from London to Brighthelmstone, in Sussex published in 1801 but surveyed in 1789. The Companion describes in detail the route up from Camberwell and along Denmark Hill. ”On the right is the IV mile stone from the Standard, Cornhill and IV from the Treasury, Whitehall. Division of roads, at a cross of direction called the Red Post - The oblique road which leads to the left is the road to Dulwich. On the right. About 60 yards distance, is a small genteel white house just built by Mr Smith. A gradual descent begins, and continues to a road on the left which leads by Ireland-Green to Dulwich”.
A new sample fingerpost has now replaced the old one at the fountain in Dulwich Village. It utilises a ‘timber effect’ recycled material around a steel core. It looks exactly like the old type but lasts far longer.
In 2004 Southwark Primary Care Trust invited the Dulwich Society’s Local History Group to carry out a survey at Dulwich Hospital to record aspects of the building of historical significance prior to the demolition of the east wings. Among the items recorded or photographed was the base of the First World War Memorial to the 119 soldiers who died as a result of war wounds during the time the hospital was used by the army medical services from 1915 until the end of the war. Some 14,000-15,000 soldiers were treated at the hospital.
The Dulwich Society made an application for a grant for the memorial’s restoration to the War Memorials Trust and Southwark Primary Care Trust has now officially applied to English Heritage for the restoration, using the list of names recorded by the Society on the memorial.
No decision on the future of the remaining part of Dulwich Hospital has yet been made. The Society has pressed for the retention of the attractive centre block and water towers and although a case for Listed Building Status was not accepted by English Heritage, there remains considerable local interest in the preservation of that part of the hospital.
On 17th April 2009 the "Transforming Southwark's NHS" consultation on NHS Southwark's clinical strategy for care outside hospital was concluded. This strategy sets out the vision for the development of four geographically based networks of care covering primary care and community health services in Southwark. The consultation paper proposed that each network would include the development of a central Health and Social Care Centre, with the Dulwich Health and Social Care Centre to be developed on the cleared site at Dulwich Community Hospital.
The network of care services at Dulwich would consist of the Dulwich Health and Social Care Centre and between six and eight linking GP practices and the existing dental, pharmacy and optometry services. The core services proposed for the Dulwich Health and Social Care Centre are:
- GP services
- Services for people who have urgent problems (an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 7 days a week bookable and walk in general practice service which anyone can attend, whether registered or not)
- Outpatients including antenatal and postnatal care
- Management of long-term conditions e.g. diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure
- Sexual and reproductive health and other women’s health services
- Community and social care services including mental health e.g. district nursing, health visiting, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and social workers
- Renal dialysis
- Health and wellbeing advice and support.
- Diagnostics, including; Phlebotomy (blood testing), Ultrasound, Electro-cardiogram (ECG - measures the electrical activity of the heart),
- Spirometry (a test that can help diagnose various lung conditions, most commonly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Mobile diagnostic unit which can be used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and breast screening services, and X-ray.
The next step is for NHS Southwark to consider the responses to the consultation and take a Board level decision on the new clinical strategy. From there further detailed modelling of clinical care pathways, activity levels and finances will be undertaken and then a new specification developed for the design of the Dulwich Health and Social Care Centre.
No decisions have been made on the future of the existing buildings. The PCT will carry out an options appraisal on the future of the part of the Dulwich Community Hospital site currently in use once full approval has been given to proceed with building the planned new Dulwich Health and Social Care Centre on the cleared part of the site.
No Merit all round
An application to demolish and rebuild 39 Alleyn Road was recommended for approval by Southwark planning department but refused both by the Dulwich Estate and by ward councillors at the Dulwich Community Council meeting held at Dulwich Library on the grounds that “The proposed dwelling by reason of its continuous height, extensive depth and overall bulk and mass would result in a loss of visual amenity and is considered inappropriate to the local context. Further the expanse of glazing and balcony to the rear would result in a loss of privacy to the adjoining residential properties.” The planning officer’s report could only say that the design was no worse than that of the existing building.
Local residents from Alleyn Park which backs on to the rear of the proposed new house spoke effectively at the meeting, as did David Roberts, chair of the Dulwich Society Planning Committee who pointed out that the application failed 3 of the 4 Southwark Council written policies on new housing! This is considered an important decision for Dulwich residents and the Dulwich Society to reject gross and poorly designed new houses.
Compulsory purchase by Southwark Council
The Dulwich Society has previously highlighted the run-down appearance of that corner of Dulwich around St Peter’s Church at the junction of Lordship Lane and Dulwich Common. Initially it asked the Dulwich Estate to request their tenant to repair or replace the fencing at the Marlborough Cricket Ground. However, the Society has become aware of the Club’s financial difficulties and has applied to Dulwich Going Cleaner, Greener, Safer for funding to replace the existing derelict concrete and wire fencing with a hardwood paling fence similar to that found elsewhere along Dulwich Common. Discussions are ongoing about moving the metal container and painting it a dark green colour to remove its unsightly presence from everyone going along Dulwich Common towards Lordship Lane.
The attention of Southwark Council has also been drawn to the ignoring of orders under Listed Building regulations both by the trustees of the church hall (used by the Deeper Life Bible Church) and the owner of the derelict Victorian villa opposite.
One positive outcome of pressure from the Society was reported in an article which appeared recently in Private Eye which says that Southwark Council has imposed a compulsory purchase order - subject to confirmation by Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, on the owner of this long derelict house in Lordship Lane. The article is reprinted here by kind permission of Private Eye.
Possibly designed by Charles Barry junior, architect of nearby Dulwich College, it is known as The Concrete House because its walls are, oddly enough, constructed of mass concrete.
Built in 1873 by Charles Drake’s pioneering Patent Concrete Building Company, it is one of the earliest surviving concrete structures in London, and in Britain, and is listed grade 11. The owner has applied to demolish this remarkable curiosity five times and is largely responsible for its present state of shameful ruin, with floors, woodwork and ornamental features stripped out.
In 2007, Wandsworth council successfully prosecuted a developer who unlawfully demolished the former caretaker’s cottage at Brandlehow School. This house was part of the primary school in Brandelhow Road built in 1950-53 which was one of two schools designed by that greatest of modern British masters of reinforced concrete, Erno Goldfinger, and is listed at grade 11. The developer was fined £11,000 and told to rebuild the house according to Goldfinger’s original drawings and specifications by November this year. Two months ago Wandsworth secured a high court injunction that if he fails to rebuild by the deadline he will be guilty of contempt of court and may risk a prison sentence and the seizure of his company’s assets.
Now it is not just that useful but unfashionable building material, concrete, which links these two rather different maltreated listed buildings. 549 Lordship Lane was bought in 1996 by Birballa Chandra, who in 2000 sold part of the land to his associate Rajiv Laxman, who was then allowed to build a block of flats in the same style right next door on condition that he made the Concrete House habitable (which of course, he has not done - but Southwark, stupidly, failed to record that a listed building was involved) Mr Chandra, Mr Laxman and the latter’s company, Abrus Ltd all share the same business address in Croydon. And Mr Laxman, the sole director of Arbus Ltd, is the developer who has been prosecuted by Wandsworth for the unlawful demolition of the Brandelhow caretaker’s house and who, with any luck, will be imprisoned if he fails to rebuild it. It is a small world.
According to Philippa Sadleir of Eastbourne, the Concrete House was actually named ‘Lyddon House’, by her grandfather Philip Lyddon Roberts who was once the owner. The restoration of The Concrete House (Lyddon House) will be carried out by the Heritage of London Trust Operations.
Dulwich Village Traffic Calming
Over many years the Dulwich Society has promoted the concept of 20 mph zones. By slowing traffic, these zones make the street environment quieter and safer for residents.
Until now there have been two 20 mph zones in the Village, separated by Dulwich Village itself. Proposals by the Council last year sought to bring these two zones together by calming Dulwich Village itself. The proposals also sought to make the junction at Calton Avenue safer for pedestrians, to calm traffic on Court Lane and to make cycling safer.
The Council consulted local people on its proposals through an illustrated leaflet to five thousand local homes and by a well-attended public meeting in the Parish Hall in November. Many people expressed dislike of humps, which were a feature of the design in several roads. Nevertheless a majority of local people expressing an opinion supported most of the proposals. Analysis of the questionnaire returns showed very strong support for the proposals in Court Lane and Calton Avenue, and for the overall approach in Dulwich Village itself.*
As we go to press, the Council is doing some more detailed design work on some of the proposals, including alternatives to speed humps in the short roads between Dulwich Village and Turney Road. Work is due to start on the ground in the near future and to finish before November.
Alastair Hanton Chair, Dulwich Society’s Traffic and Transport Committee
*The Consultation, conducted in the roads affected produced 500 replies (10%).
Proposals by the Dulwich Society
The Traffic & Transport Committee has submitted the following proposals for grants by Southwark Council.
- Pots in central strip at North Dulwich Station (£8000)
- Trees in the build-out at junction of Village Way/Half Moon Lane (£3000)
- White posts and chains, Burial Ground side of Court Lane (£2000)
- Repair of the fountain at roundabout, Dulwich Village (£2000)
- Improve entrance to Belair Park opposite West Dulwich station (£10,000)
- Widening of footpath from W. Dulwich station to Acacia Grove (£20,000)
- Widening footpath outside Pickwick Cottage, College Road (£10,000)
- Entry treatments on both ends of Boxall, Aysgarth and Pickwick Roads (£50,000)
Benches installed on Cox’s Walk
The Dulwich Society, through Southwark Council’s Cleaner Greener Safer scheme has placed two benches along Cox’s Walk, where the hill rises steeply. Its suggestion for another such bench on Low Cross Wood Lane, to give rest to weary commuters ascending that steep hill from Sydenham Hill station was rejected on the advice of the police, following incidents of anti-social behaviour in the area (reported in the last issue of the Newsletter).
Southwark Volunteer Star
Dr Martin Heath has been awarded a Southwark Volunteer Star in recognition of more than one hundred hours of volunteer conservation work on Belair Park’s lakeside Community Wildlife Site. In fact, Martin - who is chair of Belair Park Friends and lives in West Dulwich - has put in thousands of spare-time hours since he first began the project - which includes a rush and willow bordered wetland walk and an amphibian “ladder” pond and ditch. At its start, though, the scheme did not elicit official approval, let alone a pat on the back. Martin says; “The council is now much greener in its philosophy and the award is a recognition of the value of the project and bodes well for the future. Belair has pioneered the use of public green space for the creation of carbon banks, through tree-planting, and wildlife corridors across the urban landscape.”
Athol House located at 138 College Road has been providing excellent care to 21 local disabled people since the 1960s. The Home is for adults of any age with a range of disabilities which include severe physical disabilities and sensory impairments, some with acquired brain injury and mild learning difficulties. Situated on a quiet part of College Road, the Home through special equipment and specially trained staff and volunteers, enables residents to get the most out of life. We encourage residents to play a full part in the life and running of the service.
In the last five years we have developed a therapy programme for the residents. The therapies include music therapy, physiotherapy, massage and reflexology. Therapies such as massage and reflexology are greatly enjoyed by the residents and also provide the additional benefits of muscle relaxation, pain relief, improvements to breathing and circulation. Music therapy, which is run by a qualified and highly skilled music therapist, has proved to be extremely popular as many of our residents have impaired communication and music provides a way of expressing themselves and improving relationships.
We have participated in a course called Practice Development Unit (PDU) run by the University of Leeds over the last two years. The programme aims to develop good practice and assure quality. Assorted goals have been defined and developed by residents and staff including a recycling project, workshops for residents, staff, volunteers and family members and other general improvements in the Home. Following accreditation we hope to become a training centre for student nurses to learn of the needs of disabled people. We have become aware of this need from the negative experiences of our residents when they have had to spend time in hospital.
One of the aims of the PDU programme is to develop links with corporate groups of volunteers and this has been invaluable for one off projects such as decorating and garden improvements. Volunteers on these projects come away not only with an increased understanding of the needs of disabled people but also with team spirit and a sense of accomplishment from a vital task achieved.
Our events program is aimed not only to raise funds for any extras that the Home needs but also to maintain and develop relationships that the Home has with the local community. Such relationships are greatly valued by our residents, staff and volunteers.
Although the Home is part of a large charity, we have to raise the funds needed for any extra services ourselves. Such extras are not provided from statutory funding which can only provide for basic care costs. For example, the therapies mentioned currently cost in the region of £12,000 annually. In the current economic climate raising these much needed funds has become increasingly difficult and we are therefore taking a creative look at ways to improve facilities and raise funds.
The Home has a lovely garden which the residents very much enjoy; however, we have no official gardener, which is why we rely on the help of volunteers to maintain it. For this purpose a new gardening club will be starting this year and we are looking for volunteers to help with this. Any amount of time given would be greatly appreciated. In the long term we hope to improve the garden sufficiently to be able to open it and also to use it for more fundraising events.
We would also like to start an IT project to develop an online presence of the Home in social networking sites such as Facebook. The aim of this project is to improve the way the Home informs supporters and volunteers of any news and events and also to recruit new volunteers.
The Home’s current main fundraising event is the new ‘Funday Sunday’ on Sunday 13th September 2009 between 2-5pm. We aim to make this new event appealing to all ages as we will provide new activities, games and market stalls including a bouncy castle and an ice cream van. This event is very important for us as it has various aims in addition to fundraising. It is a great opportunity for the residents to mix with members of the community new and old and also to promote local music artists, dancers, businesses and performers. Jo Brand, a supporter of the Home, has kindly agreed to draw the raffle.
We welcome volunteers in particular we are looking for an Events Fundraiser and for volunteers for the Funday Sunday and other events. We are also in need of volunteers who have information technology, gardening or flower arranging skills. In addition, we always welcome people from the local community who might want to share their particular knowledge with the residents from time to time or even just once, for example sculpting, art, etc
For more about Leonard Cheshire Disability visit our website: www.lcdisability.org
Contact at Athol House:
Begona Mendez, Volunteer Coordinator/Finance Administrator:
Athol House 138 College Road, London SE19 1XE
Telephone: 020 8670 3740
Continued wrangling at the Velodrome
Wrangling rather than cycling has been the main issue at Herne Hill Velodrome between The Dulwich Estate, British Cycling, Velo Club de Londres (the tenant) and Southwark Council. Tessa Jowell, Member of Parliament for Dulwich has now entered the fray. High time perhaps that she should as she is also the Minister for the Olympics and the stadium is expected to be the London training facility for some of those cyclists participating in the Games in a sport which at present Britain is World champion. In addition to Tessa Jowell, Kate Hoey MP, the Mayor of London’s Olympic advisor has also become involved.
Lengthy articles have appeared in Cycling Weekly providing a national showcase to an unhappy situation in which none of the participants comes out of with much credit. It states that there is deadlock in negotiations which are preventing the extension of the current lease which expires in August. The grandstand is boarded-up and has been declared unsafe and an investment of a reported £1.5million is required to restore the facilities. The one area which is in good order is the race-track itself.
The Dulwich Estate says that it was happy to give the British Cycling Federation a one year extension in 2008 (following the earlier granting of a three year lease) and in the interim it has received a business plan from the VC Londres for the long term future of the property which it is evaluating. “However, the charity continues to be frustrated by the lack of co-operation from Southwark Council in surrendering back to the Estate the lease of a small strip of land which would provide secondary access to the site”.
The strip of land, the lease of which is owned by Southwark Council has, according to the Council, a market value of £750,000 for which the Council requires recompensing. This strip of land is, according to the Dulwich Estate, essential for providing a secondary access to the Velodrome. VC Londres, which operates the track on behalf of the British Cycling Federation claims that the stadium does not require this secondary access.
It is understood that a second approach to the Dulwich Estate for a lease on the stadium, by a fitness company for health and gymnasium facilities has now fallen through, no doubt a casualty of the present recession which has seen the fortunes of such companies plummet. What options has the Dulwich Estate got for the velodrome if the current negotiations completely fail? Not much for the foreseeable future. The huge cost of removing the track would never be recovered if the site was changed to sports fields. There is no possibility of the site being used for building purposes as it is declared Open Metropolitan land. In any event, the Dulwich Estate is reported to be anxious for the cycling to continue there.
Ms Jowell said “I hope to persuade the Estate (that secondary access is unnecessary) and in doing so resolve the disagreement with Southwark. We are not going to stop until we have resolved this. I am absolutely determined to sort this out. They (the Estate) have an interest in the tradition and environment of Dulwich, and this velodrome is an essential part of the community and something Dulwich Estate should be very, very proud of. There is strong support locally for the velodrome and there is also support from beyond Dulwich itself. It is a time when cycling is one of the fastest growing participation sports. Not to have a proper velodrome - it’s simply unacceptable. We won’t rest until this matter is resolved”. (Cycling Weekly)
Horniman Play Park
It is becoming increasingly rarer to be a bearer of good news, but the future of the Horniman Play Park opposite the Horniman Museum looks considerably brighter following improvements made to play equipment facilities and the re-opening of the café by Lewisham Council in March. Before that, the park was giving the Dulwich Society serious cause for concern; its amenities were poor, it was shunned by parents and children and huge opportunities were being wasted. Indeed it was so concerned that its Trees Committee contacted Lewisham Council with an offer to supply and plant trees in the play park. This has been agreed and six good size beeches are to be planted in the autumn at a cost to the Dulwich Society of £1300.
Since the spring all has changed as our picture shows. The paddling pool has been transformed into a large sand-pit with exciting features. There is an imaginative spider-web climbing frame and walls for the more adventurous. A lack of toilet facilities continues to vex parents, but apparently these are to be provided in some of the closed up buildings on the site. Whether it is the interest shown by the Dulwich Society that has prompted this activity we cannot say.
The site of Horniman’s Play Park was leased to Lewisham Council by the Dulwich Estate in the 1950’s and initially it was a huge success and was one of the first parks to introduce Swedish outdoor play facilities (the outlines of which still remain in the grassy banks). Like many parks in the 1970’s and 80’s it suffered from a shortage of funding which was increasingly diverted to minority programmes.
The World’s Youngest Ref
Harry Goodhew who lives at College Gardens has won a place in the Guiness World Records for being the youngest rugby football referee. He was aged 11 years and 234 days when he refereed two Under 12’s matches at Dulwich College last autumn.
Obituary - Lord George of St Tudy
The private Eddie, or Edward as his wife Vanessa preferred to call him, was shy, warm hearted and witty, treating everyone the same no matter what their station in life, and unfailingly generous minded to friends and neighbours alike. At leisure he was keen on tennis and sailing. On the way to work commuters could for many years spot him smoking assiduously at North Dulwich station, that is until the ultimate promotion earned him a chauffeur driven car.
Once he had retired and moved from Gilkes Crescent to St. Tudy in Cornwall, it was typical of him that he took up the cause of an often overlooked county. His energy and commitment, among other things to Tim Smit's Dome Project, soon had the locals regarding him as an adopted son. He also managed to find time to advise the Central Bank of China and was a non-executive director of Nestlé.
In Dulwich, however, he will be remembered in addition for presiding over Dulwich College for six years as the latest in a line of distinguished Chairmen. This period, under the aptly named Graham Able as Master, with whom he formed a powerful partnership, saw a number of successes including the extension of the ground-breaking overseas franchise in China, and culminated in the construction of a fine new building which bears his name. In Board meetings he was a consummate leader and wise voice, always striving for consensus after first ensuring all views were heard.
He was fond of recalling his modest upbringing as the son of a postman and the benefit he gained from a free place at Dulwich College awarded under the post-war Dulwich Experiment to those boys in London, Surrey or Kent who passed the Common Entrance examination. It was this advantage that he had obtained which gave him the authority, when, newly installed as Governor of the Bank of England in 1993, to launch the Collage’s bursary appeal which he hosted at the Bank. He claimed that without his Dulwich education he would not have achieved that position and was able to give the appeal a powerful impetus.
His schooldays in Dulwich were marked by a skill in hockey and he played in the First 11 for 4 years. He was a founder member of the debating society; successfully arguing against the motion “There is no Great Britain and never will be”, using the ammunition of patriotism, standard of living and national character to support his team’s argument. After National Service in the RAF where he learnt to speak Russian he took up an Exhibition to read Economics at Emmanuel College, Cambridge where he was recruited by the Bank of England.
In 1964 he was seconded to Moscow State University to study central planning. He gradually ascended the bank’s hierarchy, and was seconded to the IMF where as assistant to the chairman he was involved in devising international monetary reform. He became Deputy Chief Cashier of the Bank in 1977 by which time his method of backroom operation became discernible. He successfully defended the Bank during the Thatcher years when it came under attack for jeopardising her economic strategy and represented it in discussions with Margaret Thatcher’s economic advisor Alan Walters and the Treasury’s Peter Middleton. His appointment to Governor for a five year term saw the Bank’s entry into policy areas hitherto in Treasury hands. This led to the Bank monitoring counter-inflation performance and the publication of the minutes of the monthly meetings between the Chancellor and the Governor, and developing into greater operational independence by the Bank’s fixing of interest rates. Under the new Labour government, George was appointed to a second five year term as Governor despite him considering resignation when the FSA was created thereby removing from the Bank its banking supervision arm. He was able to claim when retired in 2003 that there had been 40 quarters of positive growth. Latterly, with the advent of the banking crisis in 2007, this successful record has come under close inspection. The Monetary Policy Committee is blamed for cutting interest rates too assiduously and ‘Steady Eddie’ seemed to acknowledge that in this regard the Bank had been at fault and to the extent had been concerned about the policy implications of low interest rates.
Obituary - Philip Poole-Wilson
The sudden death of Philip Poole-Wilson on 4th March at the age of 65 stunned and shocked his many friends in Dulwich. He and his wife Mary had lived in Dulwich for 26 years bringing up their 3 children and it was the home base from which he conducted an outstandingly successful career as a cardiologist. It was, however, possibly only the publication of lengthy obituaries in the leading national press and the warm eulogy delivered at his funeral in the College Chapel that brought home to those outside his medical world just what a celebrated international figure he was.
Philip held five visiting professorships, gave 39 named lectures, was an honorary member of 13 overseas societies of cardiology, and supervised 48 MD and PhD students, 29 of whom went on to hold professorships. He served on the boards of 31 journals, was involved with 26 major drug trials, was the author or co-author of 538 publications and edited, or contributed to, more than 100 books. He was head of cardiac medicine at the Royal Brompton, National Heart and Lung Hospital (1988) and at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London (1997), was president of the European Society of Cardiology (1994-96) and head of the World Heart Federation (2003-05) and received numerous international honours.
Despite this whole hearted commitment and his outstanding contribution to cardiology, Philip tried to find time for his hobbies of sailing, gardening, amateur ornithology, and the opera. He and Mary were also dedicated supporters of the Picture Gallery. He was an engaging friend who enjoyed discussing a multitude of topics expressing trenchant views but always with wit and natural good humour.
Obituary - Edward Upward
Alleyn’s School was fortunate in having two very distinguished members in its English department in the 1950’s. One was Michael Croft, who went on to found the National Youth Theatre, the other was Edward Upward, friend of WH Auden and Stephen Spender and friend and literary collaborator of Christopher Isherwood.
Eighty years separated the publication of Upward’s first and last books, an incredible record until one realises that the author lived to the age of 105. Educated at Repton with Isherwood, the two schoolfriends were united in their unconformity, a characteristic they carried on to Cambridge where they formed a literary alliance based on the fictional bizarre village of Mortmere which they peopled with a surreal cast of characters.
Upward destroyed most of his stories in 1952, during a period of disenchantment with the literary extravagancies of his youth; possibly the onset of a nervous breakdown. Those that remain reveal him as a writer of hallucinatory power and as a savage caricaturist of an upper and middle-class imperialistic pre-war England. The surviving Mortmere stories were eventually published in 1994. He was amongst the most prominent of the pre-war New Writers.
In 1932 Upward had moved to Dulwich and joined the staff at Alleyn’s where he remained until his premature retirement in 1962, having accompanied the school in its wartime evacuations to Maidstone and Rossall. For some years he and his wife lived in Turney Road following their marriage in 1936. He keenly felt the influence of the 1930’s with its mass unemployment, the rise of Fascism and later horrors and it developed in him a commitment to Marxism and he became a member of a Communist party cell at Bethnal Green. He remained faithful to Marxism after the war, despite resigning his membership of the Communist party in protest to its policy of supporting the Labour government. With his wife they became founder members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958.
Upward kept his political activities quite separate from his teaching responsibilities at Alleyn’s and to fellow staff members he was a modest and patient colleague with a sense of humour. As head of English at the school for twenty years, it is difficult to understand why he persisted in teaching the subject to the middle school when he might have employed his talents more effectively with the Sixth form. Whatever the reason, and it may have been the approach of his nervous breakdown, Upward took early retirement and began his trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels called The Spiral Ascent and featuring his alter ego Alan Sebrill. The first was In the Thirties (1962) which provides a faithful picture of the activities of a communist branch in London before the war with doorstep canvassing, endless leaflet distribution, demonstrations and political intrigue all set against the background of mass unemployment and rise of dictators. The Rotten Elements (1969) charted his alter ego’s disenchantment with the party line after the war. In the final novel, No Home but the Struggle (1977) Sebrill finds a new cause to support - CND, which also becomes a means of expressing himself again, this time in prose-poems.
His last book, a collection of short stories; A Renegade in Springtime (reviewed in the Newsletter) was published in 2003. In 2005 Cecil Upward was honoured by the award of the Benson Medal of the Royal Society of Literature and made a Fellow of the Society. His archive was acquired by the British Library in 1994.
Even more tales from the Village - continuing Brian Green’s reminiscences as fifty years of shopkeeping in Dulwich
James rates a double entry in this chronicle of those eccentrics which make up the litany of my reminiscences. And Hugo is still only twenty-one so he has plenty of time for more. Both instances concern James’s formative years at Dulwich College Preparatory School. James went through fountain pens at the rate of about one a fortnight. Some were lost, some mislaid, some lent, some dropped and some bent. His long-suffering mother marched him into my shop one day and informed me that James could have any pen of his choosing, whatever the cost but it would be positively the last she would ever buy him.
James surveyed my stock and selected a Waterman pen which he might have been awarded for passing a number of starred A levels but not for his more modest efforts in Year 5. His mother appeared, gulped at the price and wagged another finger at her son.
James came in my shop last month. He is in his final year at Imperial College. “I’ve still got the pen!” he told me.
James’s second entry is actually set a year earlier than his foray into writing instruments. For many years I had been conducting classes of boys and girls from local schools on local history field trips around Dulwich. Often these trips included a visit to Dulwich Woods where I would tell the children the uses the timber was put to and some stories connected with the woods. On that particular morning I had the assistance of the class teacher and three mothers (one of whom was James’s mum). At the end of my little homily I told the class of twenty 9 year olds to follow the path for 30 yards and then turn left for the car park where the school minibuses where parked.
The class teacher, three mothers and I arrived at the car park. There were no boys there. We retraced our steps the few yards into the woods and all that could be heard was the undisturbed song of birds. We pressed further into Dulwich Woods and found some woodcutters (it was beginning to resemble a fairy story). No, they had not seen a class of twenty noisy 9 year olds that morning.
I remembered a play about a party of Australian schoolgirls who had vanished on a picnic at Ayers Rock at the end of the last century - it was not a comforting memory. The class teacher was visibly getting paler, the mothers more frantic - until James’s mother’s head sharply lifted like a Bloodhound getting scent. The rest of us could hear nothing but she led us to the furthest extent of Dulwich Woods where of course we found 4D and, naturally enough - James.
The Dulwich Lily
Lilian Gandy lived in Dekker Road, a road already featured in these reminiscences as being seemingly populated by some of the cream of Dulwich’s characters. Lily Gandy was one of these and was the frailest creature I have ever met. She seemed to sway in the breeze rather like the flower she was named after. Sway as often as she did, miraculously, she never actually fell. I would help her down the 1inch step from my shop door, where she would pause, sway back and forth and then set off slowly but determinedly for Dekker Road. In later life she dedicated herself to providing me and most of Dekker Road with a small bowl of flowering hyacinths. In the autumn Lily would spend weeks potting up a prodigious number of flower pots and putting them in cupboards and dark places in her home. They always flowered at Christmas and Lily would totter around Dulwich in her alarming manner, distributing these much loved tokens of her affection for people.
Entertaining Mrs T
it was said that Margaret Thatcher was persuaded to live in Dulwich, during her time as Prime Minister, by the proximity to the Dulwich & Sydenham Golf Club as handy recreation for her husband Denis. This was coupled with a hefty discount from Barratt’s the developers of her house at Hambledon Place on Dulwich Common and finally by the encouragement of Robin Butler (now Lord Butler of Brockwell) then her Cabinet Secretary and himself then a Dulwich resident.
Mrs T was not a permanent resident, she was rather like one of those rare birds (the Nutcracker for instance) which visits only occasionally. Denis by contrast was quite often in evidence. In acknowledgement of the honour the Prime Minister had done to Dulwich by coming to live among us, the Dulwich Village Business Association decided it would be appropriate to ask her to switch on the Village’s Christmas illuminations.
The organisers of the Great Switch On were the two young owners of a Village gift shop. Overwhelmed over by the letter of acceptance from Mrs T at Number Ten, they felt the ceremony should be given greater importance and ordered the construction of a raised wooden podium with a handrail so that the Prime Minister would not only be better seen but perhaps also give Dulwich the benefit of her oratory. Unfortunately, they had failed to get the Association’s permission for this fine gesture which in any event it hugely exceeded the Association’s total assets. But as it was in a time of great prosperity they just borrowed the cost of the construction from their bank, along with a further loan for another new Jaguar.
The Great Switch On was performed with great aplomb by Mrs T, only slightly marred by a number of eggs being thrown at her by members of various local opposition political parties. Fortunately their aim was poor and Mrs T retired into SG Smith’s car showroom where I, among others, entertained her with wine and undivided attention.
That was not however the end of the story. Soon after, yet another recession struck and the two young owners of the gift shop now found themselves hounded by their creditors. In the end the bank repossessed all their assets, which by then were very few, the Jaguar having gone first. The only item of value left, or so the receivers thought, was the ceremonial podium. Sadly, it remained, unloved and unsold in the yard at the rear of Barclays Bank in Dulwich Village. After a year it finally ended up by being dumped in a skip.
Pieter and the hooch
My arty friends are forever grateful to me for occasion I introduced them to the Good Life which had so far eluded them, one evening at the end of the last recession in the late 1990’s. Most of them had felt the cold draught of the shortage of commissions, the evaporation of illustrative work from publishers and the general absence any kind of demand for their art. Not only were the roofs over their heads threatened, but the concept of an evening of gay abandon was merely a distant memory.
What had caused this turn of events was a morning telephone call from the Dulwich Picture Gallery. It transpired that someone from a PR company had seriously slipped-up. Not actually slipped-up, but REALLY SLIPPED-UP. It reminded me of that scene from Keith Waterhouse’s Billy Liar, when our anti-hero opens his wardrobe and out fall all the invitations he was supposed to have posted. The rather frantic telephone call was to ask if I could get together a bunch of people for a private view of the extremely popular Pieter de Hooch exhibition where the sponsors were expected to appear that evening.
The Pieter de Hooch exhibition was one of the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s most successful exhibitions. So large was the attendance that a special awning had to be erected from College Road to the entrance to protect the queuing public from the elements. To get a ticket for the show was a triumph; to be invited to a Private View was little short of a miracle - especially one of the nature that transpired.
I have a vague memory that the sponsors were an American firm, perhaps dealing in aircraft or armaments, something like the Colt Revolver Company or the Winchester Rifle Corporation. At any rate I contacted as many artists as were sober, unemployed and conscious that morning and invited them to bring themselves and any relations they could lay their hands on, to the Gallery that evening.
Unemployed artists en masse are a frightening sight; enough to make even the most hardened member of the Metropolitan Police on crowd control quail. Yet my ‘rent-a-crowd’ were silenced and awed by the stupendous reception that awaited them. Several waiters, with trays laden with flutes of champagne lined the entrance and encouraged my guests to enter with glass in hand. Once inside the Gallery they were faced by the largest floral arrangement they had ever seen and which I found out later had cost £800 and would be thrown away later that evening. In the corner of the Gallery a harpist plucked sweet melodies as more waiters and waitresses emerged carrying platters of tasty morsels while outside, in his own marquee a chef cooked bite-size pieces of tender steak.
It is amazing how much better one can appreciate art with a full stomach and liberally refilled glasses of champagne. Especially if one cannot remember when the last time such a state of euphoria had occurred. The one or two representatives of the sponsoring firm who were present were clearly impressed by the interest in the works of Pieter de Hooch by their guests. And why should they not have been? After all, they were all professionals and were almost as serious about art as they were serious about where their next meal might come from. And I can honestly say that in all the history of Private Views at the Dulwich Picture Gallery never was an exhibition so appreciated.
Strictly Come Dancing
Once the Parish Hall in the Village had been returned to the Parish after the end of World War Two by the local authority that had used it for all manner of wartime emergency uses, it was in need of extensive repair including the laying of a new floor. In 1947 the hall was back in use and occasional dances were arranged by various clubs or the church’s own youth fellowship. By the 1950’s these dances had grown very popular and were open to the public. It was usual for the dances to have an interval halfway through the evening for refreshments and some dancers took the opportunity of taking a different kind of refreshment from that on offer by slipping along the two hundred yards which separates the Parish Hall from The Crown & Greyhound. Not unexpectedly, this fuelling with alcohol sometimes led to incidents of fisticuffs between the waltz and the foxtrot.
Eventually the organisers decided to ask the police to station an officer on the door for the dances and the local ‘bobby’ - PC Les Potter would usually oblige. What made the dances a great deal more peaceful was the fact that PC Potter was a dog handler and his dog, Maxie was a huge Alsatian . The sight of Maxie at the door to the hall was enough to intimidate the most intoxicated. What few people knew however was that Maxie was the friendliest of dogs to all law-abiding citizens.
Tuesday 2nd Dulwich Picture Gallery Lecture Great Sculptors of the 20th century- Jacob Epstein by Linda Smith. 7.45pm Linbury Room tickets £10.
Wednesday 3rd Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery lecture The Tudor House and Garden by Paula Henderson. 10.30-11.30am Linbury Room. Ticket £10 (3 lectures £25)
Sunday 7th Dulwich Helpline - Garden Safari six beautiful Dulwich gardens. Ticket and map available on the day from 4 Woodyard Lane (off Dulwich Village). Adults £5 children under 16 free. No dogs. Tea and cakes available. 2-6pm
Tuesday 9th Dulwich Picture Gallery Lecture Great Sculptors of the 20th century - Elisabeth Frink by Frank Woodgate. 7.45pm Linbury Room tickets £10.
Thursday 11th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society lecture The Turner Prize - its History and Controversies by Barry Venning. James Allen’s Girls’ School, 6th form lecture theatre 8pm. (coffee 7.30pm) Free to members. Visitors £7, students £1
Monday 15th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Film - The Station Agent 7.45 pm, bar opens 7.15pm Linbury Room £8
Wednesday 17th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery lecture Gardens of a Golden Afternoon : the Lutyens and Jekyll partnership by Jane Brown. 10.30-11.30am Linbury Room £10.
Tuesday 23rd Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery lecture - Mozart and his Operas Anthony Burton in conversation with Dr Jane Glover. 7.30pm Linbury Room. Tickets £10
Thursday 25th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Midsummer Mozart: a summer’s evening of music from four great Mozart operas. Long interval for picnic. 6.30pm Champagne Reception - included in ticket price. 7.15pm Performance. Tickets £40
Wednesday 1st Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery lecture The Outdoor Room by Barbara Simms 10.30-11.30am Linbury Room £10
Wednesday 8th July The Dulwich Picture Gallery Exhibition - The Best of British opens.
Thursday 9th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society lecture Great Houses and Castles of Bohemia and Moravia by Barbara Peacock. James Allen’s Girls’ School 6th form lecture theatre 8pm. (coffee 7.30pm) Free to members. Visitors £7, students £1.
Thursday 9th & Friday 10th The Dulwich Players present The Adventures of Alice in the Dulwich Picture Gallery Garden at 8pm. Tickets £12 seated, £6 on the grass & children under 12. Refreshments available Box Office 8670 0890.
Saturday 11th at 5.30pm and 8.30pm as above.
& Sunday 12th at 6pm
Wednesday 15th Dulwich Picture Gallery Lecture J M Waterhouse; The Modern Pre-Raphaelite by Graham Greenfield. 7.30pm Linbury Room tickets £10.
Sunday 19th Kingswood Festival at Kingswood House, Seeley Drive SE 21 1-6pm. Bring the family
Monday 20th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Film - William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (1996) 7.45pm bar opens 7.15pm Linbury Room £8
Thursday 30th Dulwich Society Wildlife Group BAT WALK. Belair Park, Gallery Road . The walk will be led by Chantal Brown of London Wildlife Trust. Expect to see (or hear) Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s and Noctule bats. Meet in the car park 8.45pm. Wear stout shoes and bring a torch. Walk lasts around one hour.