It has been announced that the Dulwich Village Preservation Society is to be wound up. Founded over fifteen years ago in response to plans to develop the extensive garden behind the Crown & Greyhound into a car park, the Society in time extended its function to other aspects of preservation around the centre of the Village. To its credit it was responsible for the installation of additional stretches of lawns and chain-links outside the Crown & Greyhound and Barclays Bank. As the Dulwich Society rediscovered its active role in conserving the area following a somewhat fallow period, the membership of the Dulwich Village Preservation Society's declined. Somewhat ambiguously it was still represented by two places on the Advisory Committee of the Scheme of Management of the Dulwich Estate on which the Dulwich Society also sits and has three members. The DVPS representation has been reduced to one member until its closure is finalised and Michael Johnson of the Whytefield Residents Association (Pymers Mead, Walkerscroft Mead) has been invited to take up thd of vacated place on the Advisory Committee.
During World War ll, Tappen House on Dulwich Common (formerly Glenlea) was leased by its owner to the Dutch Government. It was used as a base for the Dutch Secret Service for agents who were trained as radio operators before being parachuted into German-occupied Holland to work with the Resistance. Many of these young patriots were captured and executed by the Nazis and the full story is described in the Dulwich Society's World War ll history - Dulwich- the Home Front 1939-1945 (published in 1995 and reprinted in 1998) . A new book by Henri van der Zee which highlights the life of Dutch exiles in Britain during the war was published in Amsterdam in April. Mr Van der Zee recently returned to Dulwich together with a representative from the official Dutch Archives with a view to compiling a book of sites such as the one in Dulwich, aimed at Dutch visitors to Britain on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands.
Glenlea was given the code name Huize Anna (House of Anna), by the Dutch when they took possession in January/February 1943. The first agent was dropped into Holland in March 1943, the last in the spring of 1945. Of these young men, two were killed when their plane was shot down on the way to their mission; 14 died in action - either resisting arrest or in subsequent concentration camps; 6 were arrested while in action but survived the concentration camps; 5 completed their mission and returned to allied territory; 8 completed their mission but remained in Holland until the liberation.
In 1985 the Dulwich Society invited one of the survivors, Mr Bram Grisnight, to speak to members on his experiences both at Glenlea and in Occupied Holland. The Society, at the end of the evening presented Bram with a watercolour of Glenlea commissioned from local artist Audrey MacLeod. The Society continues to keep in touch with him and his wife Ann. Ann met Bram (then aged 20) when he was at in training at Glenlea and she was a sixteen year old JAGS schoolgirl. They married in 1945 after his release from Auschwitz.
The Club, which before the school became co-educational, was called the Alleyn Old Boys Club, has announced that the management of its ground and clubhouse in Burbage Road is to be taken over by Alleyn's School. Since its formation the Club's ground has been run by a committee and volunteers. This move will tie the school and its old pupils' club closer. It follows moves by Dulwich College and DCPS to acquire vacant sports grounds on Dulwich Common and Gallery Road. All Dulwich schools have increased their rolls and one suspects that extra sports facilities were becoming necessary. This move, which will give opportunity for daytime use of the former Alleyn Old Boys' ground during the week, appears to follow this trend.
The group of churches that make up Churches Together in Dulwich combined to stage a dramatic depiction of Christ's entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. With a company of his Apostles in traditional costume, the person of Jesus, played by Martin Gwilliams, walked through the Village from Christ's Chapel to St Barnabas. With participation by the large crowd drawn from local churches the dramatisation started and finished with an act of worship. The event was directed by Tricia Thorns, who was also responsible for Passion Play 2000.
The following month, another Faith March took place in Lordship Lane. This was the first inter-faith march Dulwich has experienced. It started at The Deeper Life Bible Church at St Peter's, Dulwich Common which has an has an Afro-Caribbean congregation, and then proceeded along Lordship Lane to Christ Church, Barry Road, the Sikh temple in Shawbury Road and the East Dulwich Mosque in North Cross Road where at each place of worship it was joined by more marchers of each faith. The march ended at St John's, Goose Green where Dulwich's M.P., Tessa Jowell joined the marchers.
If anyone was in the vicinity of Dulwich College during the week after Easter, they may have heard the sounds of ballet music issuing forth - a sound not usually associated with the College. Andrew Ward, a Dulwich resident and an ex Royal Ballet dancer had organised an Easter Dance School for dancers aged 12-18 years. For dancers in serious training, long vacations without classes can be a problem, Andrew knows only too well, so he had the idea of holding a 5 day residential course. The first of its kind to be held in the lovely surroundings of the College, the Edward Alleyn Theatre Studio proved to be an excellent venue.
There were 50 dancers altogether, which included 11 boys, so according to ability they were divided into groups of 25 dancers - an ideal number in a class. They were lucky to be taught by Jonathan Cope, principal of the Royal Ballet; Agnes Oaks, ballerina with the English National Ballet and her husband Thomas Edur, an English National Ballet principal. Ex Royal Ballet dancers Vanessa Donkin and Anthony Dowson, together with Wayne Sleep, all added their own expertise and personality. In the evenings there was a lecture on "A Career in Dance" with Agnes Oaks, Thomas Edur and Wayne Sleep. On another evening dancers from The Royal Ballet gave a performance, and on the final day, a special performance was presented for parents giving an overview of some of the work they had been studying.