Both the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Horniman Museum recently won major awards. Dulwich Picture Gallery won the Independent Award at the Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence 2005. The gallery was nominated by the British public as their favourite attraction. The Horniman Museum, which last year was awarded the title 'Museum of the Year', while its gardens won Green Flag status in both 2004 and 2005 has this year been awarded a £1.1m grant from ReDiscover - a pioneering fund for science centres.
With the money Horniman Museum is embarking on a £1.5m aquatic venture, scheduled to open in 2006. The area in the basement, currently housing the Horniman Library, will be completely transformed. Fifteen captivating life displays in seven distinctive zones are scheduled for construction with more than 250 different species of animals and plants going on display. It will replace the popular old aquarium. Transferring the animals in the now outdated aquarium presented a challenge as some of the fish were over ten years old.
It was the intention of the museum's founder, Frederick Horniman to show the Victorian public the living world close up. The displays will try to be true to his vision. The first zone - Drawn to Water - will display a typical Victorian-style parlour aquarium. British Pond Life is dedicated to educating visitors about the variety of life forms in endangered ponds across the UK. There will be viewing dens and an interactive learning zone so that visitors can view microscopic marine life beyond the reach of the naked eye. Drifters will be devoted to saltwater jellyfish and plankton. Seashores will show marine life found along the coastlines of the British Isles and will include a mesmerising display of seahorses along with a North Devon rockpool complete with crabs, shellfish and realistic wave surges Viewers will also be able to study examples of a Fijian Coral Reef, a Mangrove Swamp and a breathtaking South American Rain Forest featuring atmospheric sounds and a mind-boggling array of flora and fauna.
Although the Plough P.H. changed its name to the ridiculous Goose & Granite a few years ago, such was the outcry that it bore the even more ridiculous name of The Goose & Granite at the Plough. Corporate madness knows no bounds, who, in his (or her) right mind would pass up the 200 years of tradition and the free advertisement on those London buses (and trams before them) that terminated at The Plough? Transport for London, not unexpectedly re-titled their bus terminus in East Dulwich as Dulwich Library in the face of intransigence by the pub owners. We now note that the pub has been given its old name back on large hoardings at front and side. What is now urgently needed is the hiding of the bare walls by the introduction of some ivy and the replacement of the fine old Plane tree that once softened the angular but distinctive lines of the Plough.
Although relegated over thirty years ago by the Vatican to be classed as a second-division saint, England's patron saint - St George, has had further ignominy cast upon him, this time by a rather less elevated body - Messrs Mitchells and Butler Leisure Retail Ltd. The company is the current owner of the Crown & Greyhound in Dulwich Village and has made an application to extend the operating hours of the pub from 10am-Midnight daily. In addition, extensions to these opening hours by 1-2 hours are being sought on Valentine's Day, Burns' Night, St. David's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Halloween and all the Bank Holidays. * But no St. George's Day! Are we to be offended that our Patron Saint is omitted from the year's festivals, or relieved we are spared being awoken by revellers at 2am? Scottish readers should direct their complaints for the omission of St. Andrew to Messrs Mitchell and Butler, not the Editor!
On a sad note with regard to the Crown & Greyhound we are sorry to record the death this year of both Dorene and Sydney Kitching who were very popular licensees for over twenty years from 1950's. Sidney became a publican following his leaving the RAF in which he served as a fighter pilot in World War ll.
*The Dulwich Society has objected to the proposed extended opening times.
The vacancy on the board of trustees of the Dulwich Estate, which is the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his capacity as Visitor to Alleyn's College of God's Gift, has been most appropriately filled by The Venerable Robin Turner CB. Robin Turner was Chaplain in Chief of the Royal Air Force and on his retirement was obliged to forgo the benefits of the rank of Air-Vice Marshall and chauffeur driven car and turn to decorating his house at Forest Hill under the direction of his wife! Shortly after, he took up the post of Chaplain of Dulwich College with the added task of teaching boys of all ages. After initial qualms, Robin settled down to thoroughly enjoy his new career. He also acted as honorary curate at St. Stephen's, South Dulwich until his second retirement. He was then appointed Canon of Southwell. The Archbishop's choice of Robin as his representative on the board of the Dulwich Estate is an inspired one.
Marie Curie Cancer Care is promoting a sponsored walk with a difference, in Dulwich, on Sunday 2nd October. The Devoted to Life Walk will offer a historical tour of Dulwich, taking in landmarks from the fascinating history as you stroll through its prettiest parts. There are two options: a 5km walk and a 10km option - depending on how fit you are feeling. Many walkers take part to remember a friend or a loved one. Others simply enjoy a day's walking in a beautiful setting. By walking you can make a difference to the lives of cancer patients and their families by raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. For more information please call 0870 240 1021 or visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/events/devotedtolifewalks
Following on from the two previous successful lecture series, The Victorians and The Georgians, Dulwich Picture Gallery's Education department has assembled an impressive list of lecturers for The Stuarts its new series which commences on September 27 and concludes on July 25, 2006. The cost of the 19 lecture series is £133 and takes place on selected Tuesdays 10.30-11.30am in the Linbury Room. Bookings to Georgina Pope 020 8299 8732.
The Friends of the Gallery present a Tuesday Evening Lecture Series - A History of British Art. This course of 6 lectures starts at 7.45pm on Tuesday 20 September in the Linbury Room. Course fee £48. Bookings to Brenda Jones (020 7771 1409).