Historic Organ under repair

In 2004, Dr William McVicker, Director of Music of St Barnabas Church, and an authority on church organs wrote in these columns concerning the history and future of the historic organ in Christ's Chapel which was in need of substantial repair. He said that the organ which was built by George England in 1760 is of national importance. The instrument has both the earliest surviving Gothic Revival organ case and Cornet stop in the United Kingdom.

The organ is now under reconstruction in the workshop of William Drake Organ Builders in Devon. When the initial examination took place, it included laying out all the organ pipes. It was found that far more of the original pipework has survived than was earlier thought, and there are also indications that the case might have been made in France. The restoration is expected to take much of this year and cost somewhere in the region of £400,000. This cost will be born by the Alleyn Foundation which now includes Christ's Chapel as one of its beneficiaries. A fuller report on the restoration will be published in due course.

Christ's Chapel is used by all three of the Dulwich Foundation schools and Dulwich College now has a Chapel Choir made up boys and staff which sings at a Choral Eucharist and Choral Evensong several times each term It also has its own Director of Music, Mrs Marilyn Harper, and offers Services of Holy Communion and Mattins, using the Book of Common Prayer, on Sundays at 8am and 10.00am. Visitors to these services are welcomed.

Christ's Chapel is administered by the Revd. Canon Diana Gwilliams, Vicar of St Barnabas and Foundation Chaplain.

The St Barnabas Choir under its Director of Music, Dr William McVicker has made its fifth recording. The new CD will be released in time for Christmas. 

Marsden Road Restoration

In the same issue of the Newsletter mentioned in the article above, we reported that East Dulwich artist Heather Burrell who designed the wonderful wrought iron gates featuring aspects of wildlife at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening in Marsden Road, was being commissioned by Southwark Council under the Bellenden Renewal Scheme, to design front gates for all the houses in that road to compliment the Centre's gates. The restoration of the whole of Marsden Road is now complete, in addition to repair and repainting, all the houses now have wrought-iron gates, and decorated railings with depictions of wildlife; frogs hop on gates, dandelions bloom on walls and squirrels climb the new lampposts. It gives this part of South London a wonderful mix of art and whimsy.

Alterations to the external appearance of properties located on the Dulwich Estate

Often house owners on the Dulwich Estate appear to be unaware of the need to obtain prior consent under the Scheme of Management, for most alterations to the external appearance of their property.

In many instances, planning or other consent of the local authority is not required - even for extensions to buildings where these fall under the permitted development regulations. However, for those properties which are subject to the Scheme, changes, for example, to windows, doors, boundaries, gardens and additions such as satellite dishes and garden sheds, need the prior consent of the Managers. The Managers have produced a series of Guidelines to assist owners and in the majority of cases, where the freeholder's proposals comply with these, obtaining consent is a relatively simple process - an application giving full details is submitted together with the applicable fee and a licence is issued for the works. As part of the consultation process, immediate neighbours and those members of the Dulwich Society who sit on the Scheme of Management Advisory Committee receive details of all applications to the Scheme.

Although consent may be granted retrospectively, where owners have made unauthorised changes, they are at risk of the Managers requiring them to 'undo' (no matter at what cost) the works carried out in order to reinstate the original appearance of a property. Unlicensed changes can delay (or even thwart) a sale of the property since solicitors and would-be purchasers will usually require evidence that changes to a property have all relevant consents.

Information regarding the Scheme of Management, including copies of the Guidelines, can be obtained from:

Ms. Nina Rees, Administrator
The Scheme of Management Office
The Old Grammar School
Burbage Road, SE21 7AF
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 020 8299 5666, Fax: 020 8299 3105

Edward Alleyn Play on BBC Radio 4

Nicola Baldwin, who has a child at Alleyn's Junior School was one of script writers of the play performed at the School to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Edward Alleyn's purchase of the Manor of Dulwich in 1605. Each child in the play took it in turns to play Alleyn and a very lively and enjoyable piece was presented. From the idea of a play about Alleyn, Nicola developed a script and this was presented as a drama on BBC Radio 4 at the end of December.

Edward Alleyn's Devil relates the story of Alleyn's performance in his signature play Dr Faustus and the apparition of an extra devil on the stage, which so shocked Alleyn that according to the seventeenth century gossip and collector of anecdotes, John Aubrey, "So worked on his fancy that he made a Vow that he worked at this Place." (i.e. turning to good works by founding his College) 

Dulwich Society Proposed Excavation

In the last issue of the Newsletter we reported on the proposed excavation on the site of a series of mounds in Horniman Play Park. It was noted that the careful investigations of any changes in this field prior to 1945 had not revealed any activity. It subsequently occurred to the Society that a check should be made up until 1960 in case its change of use into a Play Park was the result of these features.

By coincidence, one of our members, Steve Grindlay, also thinks this may be the case and writes as follows:-

The suggestion that there was any mystery about the "earthworks" surprised me. I had always understood that they were relatively modern, probably post- war.

I discussed this with a friend who was, for many years from the mid-1950's, a gardener at Horniman Gardens. He remembers the triangle (field) during and immediately after the war when it was a smallholding. He remembered walking down Sydenham Rise and seeing chickens and geese in the field and he could also remember the cottage at the top, called Sydenham Rise Cottage, later The Chalet. Of course there was no paddling pool at the bottom, no sandpit where the cottage stood and, he is fairly sure, no mounds in between.

During the 1950's, when the field became a public park, it was landscaped with particular attention to the needs of children. The paddling pool and the sandpit were built, and the spoil from these was, we believe, used to create a series of banks and pits that children could climb over and hide behind.

The land was laid out by the London County Council as "an extension to Horniman Gardens in the summer of 1954".

Another member, Alfred Gates who lived as a child in Underhill Road also writes concerning this piece of land. He recalls there being pig sties there and says he found what he was told was a flint arrow head nearby.

The Dulwich Society will conduct further research in the London Metropolitan Archives on the work carried out by the LCC, so watch this space! Any other reader with memories of this field is invited to contact the Editor.

Were you at Alleyn's in 1977 or 1987?

Alleyn's School is organising a joint twenty and thirty year reunion for all those pupils who left the School in 1977 and 1987. The reunion will be held at Alleyn's on Saturday 16 June. Alleyn's would like to reach as many people from these years to ensure the success of the reunion

For further information, please contact Susie Schofield, Alumni Officer on 020 8557 1466 or email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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