On Saturday 9 October 2005 most of the strands that make up Dulwich life were represented at the unveiling of the statue of Edward Alleyn in front of the College he founded. It was appropriate that the 400th anniversary of his purchase of the Manor of Dulwich should be commemorated in this way, because without Edward Alleyn, Dulwich would not be the pleasant place it is today. It was also appropriate that the project for the long-overdue statue to this far-sighted man should be carried out by the Dulwich Society.
The Dulwich Society represents most of the varied interests of this unique suburb of London. Many of its members are closely tied to Edward Alleyn's Foundation, either as former pupils or governors of its schools or parents of pupils. Others have an interest in the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the existence of which is in no small measure the due to Alleyn's legacy. A great number of others have chosen to live in Dulwich because of its beautiful and well-kept open space, another legacy of the Foundation.
The cost of providing the statue, together with its plinth and inscriptions, far exceeded the original estimate of £30,000. This was largely because the Selection Panel chose a design which had two figures, rather than the expected one! The difficulties with site access also made the treatment of the plinth a much more complicated and expensive issue. Fortunately, the sums subscribed by thirty-five generous patrons, a large donation from the Dulwich Estate on behalf of all its beneficiaries, including the Foundation Schools, together with almost 100 donations from individuals almost kept pace with the costs. As a result, there was a shortfall of £1500 on final expenses of just under £50,000. Further donations to erase this small deficit would be welcome.
While the statue is, perhaps, the Society's most significant contribution towards the Dulwich scene, it continues its role of fostering and safeguarding the amenities of Dulwich as set out in its object. It is therefore equally important to note the work its members do in the sub-committees through which it functions. Major improvements to pedestrian safety have been achieved by the Transport and Traffic Group, details of which are reported elsewhere in this issue. The Local History Group has assisted with the itemising of papers passed on to Dulwich College's Archives by the Dulwich Estate and with the cataloguing of Bill de Baerdemaecker's collection of slides presented to Southwark Local Studies Library. The Trees Group has continued to plant trees to enhance the Dulwich landscape and with the Wildlife Group has made an important contribution to the dialogue on the re-ordering of Dulwich Park and securing areas for wildlife to thrive. The Garden Group continues its extensive programme of garden visits to members' gardens, a useful medium through which members are able to keep in touch. Finally, the Planning Group keeps a vigilant eye on development proposals which might impact on Dulwich, and next year plans an architectural exhibition showing successful examples of local building which have taken place in recent years.
All these sub-committees welcome new members from the Society. If you think you can make a contribution to their work through your own expertise or are interested in being of help, then do contact the chairmen each group whose contact details are printed on the previous page.