New Website for Dulwich Society

The Society has a new and improved website.  This may be accessed at

In addition to listing the aims of the Society, the names of its officers and executive committee and an invitation to join, the new website also has all the editions of the Newsletter on line.  This has already proved useful to the descendents of a number of former residents who have been directed to articles referring to their ancestors by their search engines.

Magazine Deliveries

The Society has relied for many years on having its magazine hand delivered by volunteers. This is a very cost effective method and, if we did not do it this way, most of our membership income would go on postage. We now need more volunteers as several members who have done it for many years quite rightly want to retire. We have divided Dulwich up into 8 zones and we need both street distributors and zone distributors. The latter collect the magazines from the main distributor in Frank Dixon Way and hand them out to the street distributors who actually put the magazine through doors. The two zones that are currently in need of extra help are Zone C (the Court Lane, Eastlands Crescent, Dulwich Common zone) and Zone F (the Alleyn Road, Alleyn Park, Dulwich Wood Avenue zone). You don’t have to live in the zone and only need a spare afternoon four times a year.

If you are interested please contact Ian McInnes, the chairman, on 0208 693 6313.

Green Homes Concierge Service

As part of Southwark Council’s policiy to improve the condition of housing in the Borough, the Society was offered up to ten free home environmental audits from the Green Homes Concierge Service.  These involve a specialist surveyor checking your house’s current environmental performance and making recommendations how it could be improved. This is not about solar heating or ground source heating, though it could be, but it is more about making sure that you have the correct level of loft insulation, an efficient boiler and good heating and hot water controls - and understand how to use then to minimise energy consumption.

The Society decided to offer these to members on a representative selection of homes, stretching from the 1890s to the 1960s, the aim being to obtain information and recommendations that could be used as a resource for all members who are thinking of upgrading the environmental performance of their homes whatever date they were built.

Houses were selected in the following roads and estates;

  • 1890-1900 Stradella Road
  • 1900-1910 Dovercourt Road
  • 1910-1920 Burbage Road
  • 1920-1930 Roseway
  • 1930-1940 Eastlands Crescent
  • 1950-1960 Frank Dixon Way
  • 1960-1970 Ferrings
  • Peckarmans Wood

(see page 25  for the results of the Dulwich Going Greener Survey)


Refusal on appeal for backland development at 9 Dulwich Village.

Development of a house on part of the garden at the rear of 9 Dulwich Village has been refused on appeal for the second time. The first refusal for a larger scheme was in 2005. This refusal was given in September 2008.

Local resident, Julie Greer says, “ It is my view that this is an important case for Dulwich Village generally, as there will be increasing pressure to build in rear gardens in the future, which would potentially compromise the open semi-rural character of the Village.”

The appeal application for planning permission was objected to by adjoining residents, whose gardens backed on to the site. Neighbouring houses in Gilkes Crescent, East Dulwich Grove and Dulwich Village would have seen the new house beyond their gardens.

This was an important point for Planning Inspector, R J Yuille, appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in coming to his decision.

The Inspector comments, in his appraisal of the proposed development:

“ As the ( Dulwich Village ) Conservation Area Appraisal makes clear, an important aspect of Dulwich Village is its open character and well treed gardens. Indeed the appraisal makes specific mention of No 9 Dulwich Village which it describes as a competent example of 20 th century Neo Georgian design set in a very generous garden which enhances its setting. The appraisal also makes clear that it is not just front gardens that are important in giving the area its open nature; rear gardens also contribute to the awareness of open space and are important in establishing the semi-rural character of the area. It goes on to state that development within these rear gardens will not normally be acceptable other than that which is ancillary to the use of the land.”

He comments further,

“ However, the appeal scheme would result in a large house positioned at the very centre of an enclave of open garden land in the Conservation Area. While it is possible at present to see buildings around the perimeter of this area there are no buildings within it other than small structures such as garden sheds. If the appeal scheme were implemented the residents of the surrounding houses would be aware of the proposed house together with its courtyard, associated walls and parking area and  this would, I consider, compromise the openness of this area and deprive it of its semi rural character.”

In conclusion he says,

“Nonetheless, I consider that the proposed house itself would have an unacceptable effect on the open character of the Dulwich Conservation Area when seen from neighbouring houses. In this respect the appeal scheme would run counter to Policy 3.16 of the Southwark Local Plan 2007 (the Local Plan) which reiterates the statutory requirement set out in Section 72(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 that within Conservation Areas development should preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area.”

“In coming to this view I have taken into account that this building would be in a private garden that is not easily visible from any public viewpoints. However, it was pointed out to me by local people at the Hearing that the borrowing of views from neighbouring properties is a common feature in the Conservation Area and one which makes a significant contribution to the open character of that area. From what I saw of the Conservation Area generally at my site inspections I agree with this point.”

This decision is in line with the refusals for development on the garden behind the Listed Wall on Red Post Hill, next to Lyndenhurst and will present a serious impediment to future development proposals there or other backland within the Village.

Link to Southwark for the full appeal document :

David Lloyd Roberts

Garden Group’s visit to Lullingstone World Garden

Nearly 50 members of the Garden Group had a really interesting visit to Lullingstone Castle and The World Garden, near Eynsford in Kent in July.  We had arranged for our party to be the only visitors, which gave our tour much more focus.  After a tour of the grounds, we were welcomed to the house by Guy and Sarah Hart Dyke - familiar figures to most of us from the two BBC 2 TV series on Lullingstone’s World Garden, the inspiration of their son Tom.  Tom conceived the idea for a ‘World Garden’ during his long captivity, after being ambushed by guerrillas while he was on a plant hunting expedition in Panama.  Members will recall the riveting story he told us at our Garden Group evening in 2006.

Following a fascinating tour of the house, which was in very much more pristine condition than we had expected from the TV series, we were taken on a detailed tour of the garden by Tom Hart Dyke himself.  

The garden is laid out with large flower beds representing the outline of each continent - 340 tons of different rocks were used to create the outline and contours of the continents.  We could not have had a more enthusiastic guide!  Tom was leaping from ‘continent’ to ‘continent’, showing us the magnificent specimens he had collected.  Our visit ended with a tour of Tom’s splendid ‘Hot and Spiky Cactus House’.

John Ward

Gardens open for Charity 2009

Work on this new Dulwich Society Directory is progressing well.   The Directory is designed to provide a central focus for information on local garden openings.  If you plan to open your garden next year or are planning an event which involves gardens, and have not yet sent in the necessary information, please contact John Ward

(Tel.  020 7274 5172   Email.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) as soon as possible.   There is no charge for entries or copies of this publication, which will be available in March 2009.

Model Allotment for Dulwich Park

The park authorities have given permission for the Dulwich Park Friends to develop a model allotment in the Park and the Dulwich Society Garden Group is to support this project.  The case for a well kept allotment on display as a resource and an encouragement cannot be disputed in these ecologically critical times.  The success of the project will depend on volunteers coming forward to assist.  David Smart, who is organising the development of the model allotment is a member of both organisations and is willing to assist volunteers who are gardening novices by showing them his own allotment in Dulwich Village.  Please contact him at 5 Roseway, Dulwich Village SE 21 7JT, tel: 020 7733 8335, email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.     

Letter to the Editor - Solar Heating

I read with interest in the last Newsletter of your unsuccessful attempt to be a greener Green!

Last year I had an extension built on my kitchen in Dovercourt Road.  At my suggestion the architect organized for a solar hot water system to be installed on the south facing roof of the extension at the same time as a new condensing gas boiler was fitted.  Neither the Dulwich Estate nor my neighbours raised any objection.  The company is based in Brighton and it took just two days for two men to install the system.  I received an automatic grant of £500 from Southwark Council, and £400 from the government’s Energy Saving Trust, so the cost to me was just over £4000.  I was told that at last year’s prices I would probably recoup the cost in ten years.  Perhaps in less time, since heating costs have soared this year.  I have certainly seen a reduction in my gas bills.  There has been some sunshine this year.

I absolutely agree about the lamentable failure by local and central government, and, I have to say, the ‘green lobby’ to positively encourage us to look to this particular form of alternative energy to supplement our heating needs.

I’d be very happy to show interested parties the installation in my home although I’m not keen to answer any technical queries!

Yours sincerely Barbara Richardson

The Editor also acknowledges with thanks, letters from David Wells and Robert Holden who both forwarded leaflets on solar heating which had come through the doors at their homes in Lambeth.  I received one myself a few weeks later. Barbara Richardson is in good company with her solar heating system; the Vatican has announced that it has installed solar panels on its roofs to supply heating and air conditioning needs.  Perhaps the subject of solar heating is something the Dulwich Society should itself debate?

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