Trees are under threat in cities - and Dulwich is no exception. Big street trees are being replaced by smaller ones, many people are worried about subsidence (and blaming trees) and new residents often can't seem to wait to get their hands on the chain saw once they move in - whatever the rules of the Dulwich Estate say to the contrary. In an effort to stem the creeping erosion of Dulwich's arboricultural heritage, the trees and wildlife committees have compiled an A4 information sheet for distribution to householders.
The idea is that members of the society can, if they wish, distribute the sheet to friends and neighbours or post it through letterboxes in their street - particularly if somebody has just moved in. Many residents, particularly new ones, seem unaware of the estate rule banning the lopping or felling of trees without permission and the fashion for garden makeovers often means people want to redesign everything from scratch as soon as they arrive. By the time their neighbours wake up to the destruction, it's too late. Intervening personally can also be awkward: many people do not relish it. Popping a leaflet through somebody's door is one way of forestalling this, and correcting a few misconceptions at the same time.
The information sheet reminds people of the estate's rules on trees and also details the huge benefits trees bring to city-dwellers. These range from increasing property values - by as much as 18 per cent - to combating dust and pollution, preventing respiratory disease, providing shade and generally air-conditioning urban areas. A mature tree, for example, has a cooling and moisturising capacity equivalent to five room-sized air conditioners left on for 19 hours every day. The leaflet makes the point that trees are often wrongly blamed for subsidence and suggests householders get expert second opinions if an insurance company claims a tree has to go.
Trees are also vital for wildlife. More of us, the leaflet suggests, could help avert the national and global biodiversity crisis by making our gardens greener.
If you would like copies of the sheet for distribution, please contact 0208 693 5789 or 0208 693 1447.
Trees and Wildlife committees
This is the first of a series of articles by Ian McInnes on the development of housing on the Dulwich Estate between 1890 and 1914.
This perambulation starts in Herne Hill, on the former Springfield Estate (now Stradella and Winterbrook Roads) and takes in Turney Road and Burbage Road, ending at the southern end of Dulwich Village.
Prior to the Dulwich Estate's reorganisation in 1888 following the introduction of the Charity Commission, development on the Estate had been relatively limited, consisting mainly of large single houses in their own grounds. From about 1890 it is clear that the Estate's Board of Governors accepted that they needed to actively improve the Estate's income for their beneficiaries and were going to have to consider developing smaller houses and do business with speculative builders. However, their idea of smaller houses was five bedroom houses suitable for the relatively wealthy middle class families who might send their sons to Dulwich College. They apparently failed to notice the type of dweling that other builders were putting up just outside the Estate, for example in North Dulwich, which were much smaller houses particularly aimed at city clerks and minor professionals and costing less than £500.
The first area to be developed was the Springfield Estate, at the junction of Half Moon Lane and Burbage Road. Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, had designed Springfield House in 1830. It had extensive grounds and, when the lease ran out in 1889, no buyer could be found, and the house was demolished. Charles Barry Junior, architect of the new Dulwich College and Sir Charles' son, was the Estate Architect and Surveyor. He subdivided the site into individual plots off the new roads, Stradella and Winterbrook - the latter running at that time between Stradella Road and Burbage Road, and the Estate persuaded a builder, Mr G A Young, to commence development. Mr Young had recently rebuilt the 'Half Moon' and several of the shops in Herne Hill.
Work started on some of the sites early in 1894 and correspondence in the London County Council archive shows architect, William A Burr MSA, of New Stone Buildings, 65-66 Chancery Lane, making an application for the approval of wooden balconies on 20 'ramdom' semi-detached houses in Stradella Road. Mr Young had built 4 of them in deal (softwood) rather than the oak (hardwood) that the London Building Act required. The LCC let the deal ones remain as long as the rest were in oak.
It was clear fairly early on, however, that the larger houses in Stradella Road were difficult to sell and many remained empty for several years after completion. A possible explanation is either that potential purchasers did not see the area as one appropriate to larger houses or that the houses were sold leasehold when there were other similar properties nearby that could be bought freehold. The response of the builder was to re-plan the original 1894 road layout (Winterbrook Road was repositioned to run between Stradella Road and Half Moon Lane) to provide more sites for smaller houses costing around £500. These houses apparently sold well.
Towards 1900 the housing market picked up again and Mr Young bought a large site on the corner of Half Moon Lane and Burbage Road, to build 17 further houses, valued at £1450, 5 in Half Moon Lane and 12 in Burbage Road. These were designed by architect J W Brooker who had designed the new 'Half Moon'. Even here, however, Mr Young tried to cut corners and there is further LCC correspondence on an application for approval of deal rather than oak barge boards and porches.
By 1902, the Estate had learned something from the difficulties in Stradella Road and the next tranche of development was for smaller properties. Early in 1903 they let a large site on Turney Road to Mr Bendall, a builder from Streatham, to build 52 houses on both sides of the road going south east from the railway bridge. The same year there was a discussion about a new road to link Turney road and Burbage Road with another builder who had been working in Ruskin Walk, Messrs A J & A H Williams, but nothing came of it.
1904 was a much busier year, the economy was picking up and the Estate agreed terms on two sites in Burbage Road with Mr Watson, another Streatham builder, and Messrs Bass & Blackmore. Between 1904 and 1906 Mr Watson erected 5 pairs of semi-detached houses, on 25 foot frontages, at £675 each, on the northern eastern side (numbers 84-100) and then took plots for 10 more (numbers 64- 82). On the south west side of the road, Messrs Bass and Blackmore took a 300 feet frontage to build 12 semi-detached houses (numbers 61-83) at a value of £675 each on a similar frontage. At the same time the Estate let further land in Turney Road to a Mr David McNeil to build 4 pairs of semi's designed by Wimbledon Surveyor, Ernest L Smith (numbers 101-115 and 150-164).
Work on these houses did not start until 1907 and the last house was completed in 1910, a delay caused by a slump in the local housing market. This was well illustrated by history of the Estate's next major scheme, the site of the former Greyhound Hotel between Burbage Road, Turney Road, and Dulwich Village, then being used as a sports ground. In November 1904 they signed an agreement with Mr Thomas Kingsman who proposed to build 16 semi's in Burbage Road at £700, 2 detached houses and 4 semi's in the High Street at £900 and a further 51 houses in Pickwick Road at £400- £450. The architects for the houses were the firm of North and Robin and building was underway fairly quickly. The small houses in Pickwick Road, described as 'small houses similar to Mr Bendall's houses in Turney Road' sold well. Not so the larger houses.
In April 1906 Messrs. A J & A H Williams offered to take a site on the south side Burbage Road, between the viaduct and the entrance to the new road. In December, however they asked to delay the implementation of their building agreement 'in view of the large number of empty houses in Burbage Road, and of the difficulty builders experience in either selling or letting houses of this class'. The Architect and Surveyor felt that this was due to the high local rates and went on to say 'Messrs Williams feels that to build more houses of this class would only add to the difficulty referred to. They are anxious to avoid anything in the nature of a slump in house property and note that of 32 newly erected houses in Burbage Road by Watson, Bass & Blackmore and Kingsman, only 11 are occupied but of these only three are actually sold. There are also still 22 empty houses in Stradella and Winterbrook Roads nearer the Station. Messrs Williams withdraw amicably and agrees to pay the Governors costs incurred so far'.
In April 1907 the Surveyor recommended that Mr Kingsman be allowed to reduce costs by varying the design of the elevation of two pairs of houses in Burbage Road and in November 1907 he applied to the Governors to reduce the specification of all his remaining houses on this road. 'The stipulated cost per house is £700. The actual cost of each house hitherto erected in accordance with the design originally approved has been £830 and Mr Kingsman informs me that he cannot get any offer for purchase at that price The economy is affected by omitting the stone dressings of the front door and the first floor window'.
Another problem for this particular site may have been the Council Depot opposite. In October 1907 the Surveyor reported 'Mr Kingsman, who is erecting a large number of houses in Burbage Road, Dulwich Village, and Pickwick Road, writes that he is experiencing great difficulty in disposing of, or even obtaining offers for, his houses in Burbage Road, in consequence of the close proximity of the Borough Council's depot, at which are stored a large number of empty mud carts and water vans. A considerable number of car men with their horses, road sweepers etc. are continuously going in and out of the depot, and its general appearance, together with the adjacent cow sheds in the occupation of Mr Parsons, is extremely unsightly'
The Governors took the complaint seriously and over the next 18 months arranged for the depot to move down to the railway arches at the far end of Burbage Road and Mr Kingsman finally completed his development.
South London Gallery
Contemporary Art Society show at the South London Gallery
An exhibition of new works acquired for museum collections by CAS will be on view at the South London Gallery, Peckham Road, until the 19 December. ShowCas Preview presents works by seventeen artists and examines diverse ideas around progress, action and performance and includes large-scale sculptural pieces by Brian Griffiths, staged photographic works by Hayley Newman and Jemima Stehli, alongside wall paintings by Richard Wright and Mark Titchner.
Free admission. Gallery open Tuesday - Sunday 12-6pm, Thursday until 8.30pm
Henrik Plenge Jacobsen: Solo Show 14 January - 27 February 2005
Danish artist Henrik Plenge Jacobsen's sculptural objects, scenarios, performance pieces and elaborate installations play upon our responses to controversial or politically loaded subjects. This is the artist's first solo show in the UK
Dulwich Picture Gallery
The Triumph of Watercolour 2 February - 24 April 2005
In April 1895 the newly created Society of Painters in Water colours now known as the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) held its first exhibition. Dulwich Picture Gallery, founded a mere six years later, provides the perfect venue for an exhibition celebrating this bicentenary.
The exhibition will display work by the Society's founders, who include Joshua Cristall, John Varley, W.S. Gilpin, W.H. Pyne and W.F. Wells : it will also cover the period from 1800-1851 in greater depth. There will be works by Thomas Girtin, J.M.W. Turner, Francis Towne, John Constable, Peter de Wint A.V. Copley Fielding, John Linnell, John Sell Cotman and others.
The journey of British watercolour painting from topographical and picturesque views to the challenging, highly coloured virtuoso works of the mid-century is one of the roller-coaster rides of British art history. To celebrate the RWS is to celebrate the best of this explosion of talent.
New Courses at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Cartoon Workshops based on the Twelve Days of Christmas
Session for children. Draw drummers drumming, lords-a-leaping etc. Based on the Quentin Blake exhibition. Sunday 12 December. Morning session 10.45am-12.00 noon, afternoon session 2pm-3.30pm. Suitable for 7 years up. £7 including refreshments. Join your children for refreshments after each session.
A one-day Bookbinding Workshop is offered on Friday 17 December 10am-3pm. Creating personalised hand-bound sketchbooks using a Japanese stab binding technique, with quality papers and the student's own art work for decoration. Perfect as Christmas gifts. Tutor Julia Douglas, textile and multimedia artist.
Colour and Collagraph is a six session course on Thursdays 4.30-6pm 6 January-10 February. Experiment with this relief printmaking technique using shapes, details and colours in the Gallery buildings as a starting point. Tutor Sally Cutler, illustrator-print maker, course fee £50.
A six session course on Saturdays from 8 January - 12 February 10.30am-1pm on Creative Mosaics is now booking. Students will discover traditionnal methods and materials for making mosaics, starting with individual designs inspired by the Gallery paintings. Tutor Sara Lee. Course fee £75.
All courses telephone 020 8693 5254 for bookings.
The Dulwich Players
The next production of the Dulwich Players is Toad of Toad Hall to be performed at the Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College on Thursday 17th, Friday 18th and Saturday 19th February. Performances start at 8pm and there will be a Matinee at 2.30pm on the Saturday.
This is a Half-Term treat for all the family! A story of friendship and innocence set in a rural idyll of riverbank and woodland. A pastoral Edwardian England, where good manners and tranquillity go undisturbed until Toad discovers the joys of motoring and its unfortunate consequences. His friends Ratty, Mole and Badger set out to 'learn him' and persuade him to mend his ways and accept the norms of a polite animal society.
Not to be missed, this is yet another chance to flavour the teasing antics of the 'Wildwooders', the comical proceedings at Toad's Trial by Jury, his incarceration and eventual escape to regain his rightful place as Toad of Toad Hall.
Tickets on sale from mid-January from The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village £6.
How they got there and What Happened to Them Afterwards
By R. Bonnerjea
Review by Pam Le Gassick
Academic research has provided a body of knowledge contained in one cover which also gives unexpectedly fascinating reading. Dr Bonnerjea, a local resident, has investigated sources from such expected places as Greenland and Iceland to the less likely Apocrypha, Pliny and the Manchester Guardian to draw together for the first time a coherent study of the relationship the various Inuit races have had with Europeans.
The description of life in Europe when sailors such as Frobisher and Franklin searched for the North West Passage and found 'savages' set scenes in dramatic contrast to the lives of the Eskimos. Sometimes comparing European plenty with northern hardships, other times making it clear that the Europeans were probably spoiling a contented and efficient lifestyle. The various tribes, using different languages are spread much further than most of us realise (and a modern map would have been helpful). Descriptions of their religious beliefs, amazing expertise with Kayaks and general living conditions are taken from eye witnesses. The dedicated explorers who sailed the northern seas made detailed notes, even to writing phonetic versions of Eskimo words. The settlers imported over the centuries for religious and less altruistic reasons, such as whaling, made a difference to life styles which would probably have happened anyway but the importation of disease worked its usual decimation. Unfortunately few of the Eskimos brought to Europe, Denmark and Britain in particular, lived very long lives, again usually the result of disease. However, it would appear that most of them enjoyed the experience, and one or two profited highly by returning home with European goods which made them relatively wealthy.
Tragedy seems to have been the permanent companion of all the expeditions brought together in this volume but the author's enthusiasm for his subject shines through. The book is available from the author at £15 (including postage and packing) by writing to 175 Rosendale Road, SE21 8LW
by Rosemary Warhurst and Brian Green
With the fierce debate over hunting with dogs receiving so much attention, Rosemary Warhurst and Brian Green look back on Dulwich's history of hunting.
When considering hunting in the medieval period, the first question that must be asked is; was Dulwich subject to the harsh forest law of the time? Large tracts of land in England, including villages, were declared royal forest and within these areas the forest law protected deer so that they were plentiful for the king to enjoy his hunting. There were severe penalties for offences such as cutting down a branch or a tree or killing a deer.
What evidence do we have? One hundred acres in the parish of Camberwell (which included Dulwich) in the twelfth century were described as being "out of the forest". The word forest was a legal term, meaning the royal forest. Later these same acres became the manor of Friern which lay in East Dulwich to the east of Lordship Lane.
Dulwich was in Surrey. Parts of south Surrey were freed from Forest Law in 1190 after certain knights paid Richard I two hundred marks. Other parts were still under forest law when Henry III ordered a perambulation in 1248.
There is a tradition that King John was so delighted with a stag he caught near the village of Peckham (also in Camberwell parish) that he gave Peckham the right to have an annual fair. This legend may recall an actual event and indicate that the parish of Camberwell was still within the King's forest during the reign of John (1199-1216).
Towards the end of the thirteenth century because of population growth and the need to bring more land into cultivation, Dulwich was probably no longer in the Forest and hunting by its inhabitants was permissible. One spring day in 1277, a knight, Sir Henry de Dilewysshe was hunting in the parish of Camberwell with his son William and his greyhounds. They went into a field called Purteclense and then into Dryvelherst Wood. There they separated. The barking of their dogs attracted the attention of a certain Stephen Gulafre who was reported as hating Henry. A fight ensued between Stephen and the men with him and Sir Henry. In the course of the fight Stephen was killed. Henry fled and his son William followed him. Both Henry and William were outlawed but William surrendered. He was imprisoned in Newgate and pleaded not guilty at his trial. We don't know the verdict.
The names Purteclense and Dryvelherst are interesting. The English Place Name Society is not able to give a secure meaning for them but in Purteclense the second element could be Old English hlinc meaning ridge or bank. In Dryvelherst the first element might be thry-fealde, meaning three-fold, such as in three parishes overlapping. In the south of Dulwich is the ridge of the Sydenham Hill and Dulwich Woods. At this ridge the three parishes of Camberwell, Lewisham and Penge met. Could Dryvelherst wood have been there? We know that Purteclense was near Lewisham because it was initially stated that Stephen had been killed in Lewisham but the court found he had died in Camberwell.
It was the environment for game in the parishes south of the Thames that concerned Queen Mary and her husband, Philip of Spain in February 1556. They issued a proclamation citing "the great decay of their highnesses game". They wrote not about deer but about the smaller animals; the hare, pheasant, partridge, mallard and 'herne' (heron). The environment had deteriorated for these animals possibly because of need for more arable land which had caused woodland to be felled The proclamation to the inhabitants living in parishes between Camberwell (which then included Dulwich) and Woolwich, stated that they were forbidden to hunt or hawk in these parishes. They demanded that the inhabitants should not "practise any means of destroying the said game but study all means to increase and maintain the same" for the enjoyment of their majesties "when they be disposed to hawk or hunt there". This proclamation from Mary and Philip implies that people had been accustomed to hunt and hawk in Dulwich in parts of the sixteenth century.
A century later, Charles II arranged for four stags to be placed in a park at Addington for him to enjoy hunting and unfortunately they escaped. A royal warrant was issued to protect the stags and it instructed the people in nearby villages, including Dulwich, not to attempt to hunt them with crossbow or guns or any other weapon. Anyone hunting the stags would suffer an "exemplary" punishment.
There is every reason to believe that hunting by Dulwich inhabitants continued unabated although documentary evidence is slight. It can be no coincidence nevertheless that the principal inn in the Village was named the Greyhound or that another was called the Fox under the Hill. We do know that there was a pack named the Old Surrey Foxhounds who had kennels on the east side of what was once called Dog Kennel Lane (now Hill) and that this hunt moved to Shirley when houses replaced the open fields of East Dulwich. According to an early Dulwich historian (D.H. Allport) the white walled huntsman's cottage stood on the other side of the lane until 1906.
What was to facilitate hunting in Dulwich was the enclosure of Dulwich Common in 1808 which followed on from the removal of common rights from leases in 1787 caused by pressure from better-off residents to prevent access, probably from local gipsies. However, fencing off the Common would be an expensive operation and the College agreed to lease it in 1812 to Thomas Lett who offered to lay it out with plantations, single trees and clumps. There were to be no internal fences or divisions across the Common other than ditches and with the opportunity this scheme offered to hunting, Lett's plan was welcomed.
Joseph Romilly, a Cambridge academic, lived at the family home at The Willows, Dulwich Common (still standing) during his vacations between 1820-1837 and kept a detailed diary. In 1831 he went with his sister and nephew to watch a stag hunt which started at the Beulah Spa, Upper Norwood, then a fashionable resort. He writes..."George and his Dad were of the party: Margaret and I were nearly rode over by the hunt near the turnpike (Toll Gate). The hunt galloped over the Common by our house."
From other evidence it appears that the stag was sometimes released at the start of the hunt at the Beulah Spa because on one occasion a stag was caught in the yard of The Greyhound in the Village, placed in a box cart and released on the following Saturday's hunt. On that occasion the resilient animal made for the Millpond, where it swam across, chased by hounds and outran the field in the direction of Croydon!
There is no doubt about the enthusiasm for hunting in and around Dulwich in the early nineteenth century. Even a kangaroo hunt was staged but this resulted in the animal bounding for the hills on being released and that was the last that was seen of it! The last College Warden, R.W. Allen, kept sporting dogs and hunted in Dulwich with his steward and bailiff.
Even the less wealthy enjoyed hunting. According to Thomas Morris who wrote about his life in the Village when he was nearly eighty in 1909 noted that some of the shopkeepers kept beagles for hunting hares and rabbits and on occasions held a competition for the best dog. This started at the bottom of Court Lane when a dead rabbit would be dragged on a length of string by a good runner. After 10 - 15 minutes the dogs would be released to follow the scent. Once again the hunt finished on the Common.
Growing urbanisation after the arrival of railways in Dulwich ended both hunting and the presence of foxes. There was great excitement in 1947 when the ancestor of the now prolific Dulwich urban fox was again seen after an absence of almost a century.
The Dulwich Helpline provides volunteer services to isolated older people in an around Dulwich. We run four main projects, all of which are delivered by volunteers.
Neighbourhood Care: practical help, e.g. transport to appointments, gardening, odd jobs.
Home Link: informal group activities, including craft, reminiscence and hydrotherapy.
Side by Side: long-term support through one-to-one visits, telephone befriending and befriending groups.
Alone in Hospital: visits to people during hospital stays and after discharge.
Helped by 150 local volunteers, Dulwich Helpline provides these services to over 300 older people. Our contribution was recognised through the Southwark Community Services Group of the Year Award for 2003.
Like many voluntary organisations, our future funding is increasingly uncertain. We can no longer rely solely on funding from statutory bodies and grant-making trusts. If we want to continue our work and expand our services for the growing population of older people, we must explore new methods of fund-raising. We want to recruit a volunteer fundraiser, who can spend a day or two a week, possibly working from home, to help organise local fundraising activities. Previous experience is not essential although an administration background would help. We cannot afford a salary but we will pay expenses.
If you think you can help please call Ted Salmon on 020 8693 7546 for more information.
Scouting in Dulwich
You may remember that, many years ago, there used to be Cubs and Scouts in Dulwich Village and they amalgamated with the Group at St. Stephen's. Unfortunately, the Leaders of the Scouts, Beavers and Cubs all moved away and the Beavers and the Scouts were forced to close. It is only due to the kindness of a Leader in another Group that the Cubs are able to continue.
Unless a new Leader or Leaders are found by Christmas then it is feared the Cubs will close. Experience in the movement is not essential as training will be provided. If you think you can help please telephone Robert Crow on 020 7274 2659 or e-mail
1. Minutes of the 41st Annual General Meeting held on 11 May 2004, to be approved.
2. Chairman's Report.
3. Secretary's Report.
4. Treasurer's Report and presentation of accounts for 2004.
5. Appointment of Honorary Auditor.
6. Reports from Sub-Committee Chairmen.
7. Elections for 2005-2006
President, Vice-Presidents, Officers, Executive Committee.
8. Any other business.
Note: Nominations for election as an Officer or Member of the Executive Committee must be submitted in writing to the Secretary by two (2) members not later than fourteen days before 17 March 2005 and must be endorsed by the candidate in writing (Rule 9).
Patrick Spencer, Hon Secretary.
7 Pond Cottages
London SE21 7LE