The Dulwich Society has been having discussions with Southwark Council regarding Dulwich's unique finger post signs, many of which were looking worse for wear. Following Rosemary Dawson’s initiative in raising the matter, a grant was made from this year's Cleaner Greener Safer fund to carry out a restoration. However, Councillor Robin Crookshank Hilton investigated producing the finger posts from a new material and as a consequence a prototype of a new sign is being manufactured which should last considerably longer than the traditional timber signs. They will look exactly the same but be made of a 'timber effect' recycled material around a steel core. The first sign should be installed on the Dulwich Village/Burbage Road roundabout at the end of January. . As an interim measure the Council has carried out temporary repairs to the existing finger posts.
A similar specification to the proposed replacement finger posts is also to be tried out on the chain posts which are also prone to rotting, and samples will be installed around the grass verge in front of Barclays Bank in early February
It would be a satisfying nod towards Dulwich’s heritage if a signpost could be placed on Denmark Hill, thus replicating “the sign of the Red Post”, which stood there in the 18th century and gave its name to Red Post Hill.* One arm would point to Dulwich Village with the other arms indicating Herne Hill, Loughborough Junction, and Camberwell. Of course the new post should also be painted red with white letters. There are three such red posts still in existence in Dorset and one in Somerset.
It took several years of lobbying by the Dulwich Society to re-open the lane leading from Green Dale eastwards to the rear of Dulwich Hamlet FC ground and the Edgar Kail Park beside Sainsbury’s on Dog Kennel Hill. This is now a well-used route for shoppers, cyclists and pedestrians but it has yet to receive a name. What about Searchlight Lane (after its wartime use) ? or Observatory Lane (recalling Bessemer’s observatory which stood at its western end) ?, or Tommy Jover Lane (in memory of the Hamlet’s winger) ? or Gaumont Lane (recalling the Gaumont film studio which once stood nearby) ? Please send you suggestions to the Newsletter c/o The Editor.
The article in the last Newsletter about the Dulwich Almshouse Charity mentioned another local charity, and readers may be interested to know more about it.
The purpose of the Camberwell Consolidated Charities (reg no. 208441) is the relief of poverty in the former Parish of Camberwell, which comprised Dulwich, Camberwell and Peckham. The endowment of the Charity brings together a number of gifts and bequests from the nineteenth century and earlier - one of its last remaining properties, now sold, was a small shop on Denmark Hill on what was formerly the site of the parish pound!
The Charity concentrates on retired residents who are having to manage at or just above the minimum income provided by the State, and currently has about 150 ‘pensioners’, most of them elderly women. Under the chairmanship of the late Carol Kay, who will have been known to many readers, the Trustees have succeeded in substantially enhancing the resources of the Charity. The remaining properties have been sold and the proceeds invested, and other investments usefully deployed. Ten years ago, the Charity was able to give £30 a year to its pensioners, in £10 notes sent through the post. In the current year it has been able to distribute £200 each plus £45 from the grant made by the Dulwich Almshouse Charity, sent by electronic transfer into the recipients’ building society or accounts. This is still a modest sum, but very worthwhile to those whose needs are greatest. The work of this Charity reminds us that although the State provides a basic safety net it still leaves many in very straightened circumstances.
The Trustees are always keen to talk to anyone who might be interested in joining them in this worthwhile task, particularly those with financial experience, or those who can help extend the Charity’s reach within our increasingly diverse society. The point of contact is the Hon Secretary John Palmer on 020 8693 6856.
The Society runs two houses in Stradella Road SE24, in the Stradella Road Conservation Area, providing sheltered accommodation for elderly people in a comfortable and friendly environment. Each house has a full time housekeeper and relief and the residents have their own self contained flats or ensuite bedsits, which they furnish as they choose. Two meals are provided each day in a communal dining room and there is a large garden for the residents’ use. Unusually, we currently have one vacancy in each house. These might very well suit residents with elderly relatives they would like to have living near them but who feel they are no longer capable of looking after themselves in their own homes. If you are interested in further information please contact Mobbs Pitcher on 01435 865376 or 0772167 or Caroline Wilkinson on 020-7733 6387.
The society is run by local volunteers and therefore has low overheads. New volunteers are always welcome.
Following the announcement in the last Newsletter that “Dulwich Going Greener” is pioneering A Model Allotment in Dulwich Park, supported by Dulwich Park Friends, I am glad to report that a site has been selected and agreed by the Park Authorities. It is the former garden of Roseberry Lodge.
We are now in a position to start clearing this overgrown site of ground ivy and other weeds and to open it up to obtain maximum sunlight. After this we will initiate a planting programme for the first year, together with suitable landscaping.
A successful outcome depends on the coordinated efforts of our volunteer workers.
If you are hunting for a little cheerfulness then look no further than the wonderful places and spaces we have in Dulwich this May. The Dulwich Festival will spring to life again from Friday 8th May with walks, talks, theatre, music and comedy. There is something in store for every reader, whatever your inclinations.
Exciting music will be on hand with contributions extending from classical to jazz via electro-acoustic. Everyone is welcome to join the scratch choral event on Sunday 10th May at JAGS which this year will be a performance of Carmina Burana under the baton of Leigh O’Hara. Local band, The Effras will be bringing their own special blend of music to the festival for the first time. The festival is also delighted to announce that the London Bulgarian Choir who appeared at last year’s Glastonbury and Latitute festivals will be performing their extraordinary repertoire on Thursday 14th May at All Saint’s Church.
A wonderful evening is promised for those who sally forth to hear critically acclaimed author and public speaker Fran Sandham as he tells the story of his solo journey across Africa. He will be visiting the Dulwich Picture Gallery on Wednesday 13th May as part of the festival to tell of his amazing feat which was accomplished completely alone; no support team, no sponsors, no film crew, no cheering crowds and no strings attached! An event not to be missed!
Children’s events abound in this year’s festival with film workshops, storytelling, theatre and the delightful Children’s Concert which this year will take place on Saturday 16th May at 11am at All Saint’s Church. ‘Bang! Bam! Wham!’ promises much fun for children of all ages!
Art will also be very much on the menu with the Artist’s Open House event which this year will see approaching 100 artists having their work on display throughout Dulwich. The event will take place across both weekends of the festival.
And this is just a selection of the delights in store! Tickets will go on sale from 14th April, so do make a date in your diary to visit the web-site and purchase your tickets to a series of wonderful events! www.dulwichfestival.co.uk
Alpha Hopkins (Director - Dulwich Festival)
In the autumn of 2006 the Dulwich Estate commissioned an environmental survey of the Dulwich Mill Pond as it had concerns over the amount of silt that had accumulated in it. The survey confirmed that this was the case - almost 50% of the potential volume of the water in the pond is silt, and suggested two possible options for dealing with the problem, both of them expensive. The pond comes under the Scheme of Management and any remedial work would be chargeable to local residents. The Society understands that the Estate is currently reviewing options for these works. The survey also noted a large area of Japanese Knotweed on the eastern bank and this has now been removed.