CHURCH, Richard 1893-1972. Poet, novelist and essayist. Born in Battersea, his father was a post office mail sorter and mother a schoolteacher. To escape the industrial and river fogs, as both he and his mother had poor health, the family moved in 1905 to Warmington Road, off Ruskin Walk. He attended Dulwich Hamlet School and described his three years there as ‘almost impossible happiness’. He blossomed physically and intellectually in the improved environment.

He graphically describes life in Dulwich, and pays tribute to his teachers, in the first volume of his autobiography Over the Bridge. He became captain of the school, and excelled in art and won a scholarship to Camberwell School of Art, but his father insisted that he made a career in the civil service, where he stayed for 24 years. Frustrated by his employment he began to write poetry, his first ‘Elm-Waif’ was inspired by the elms that then lined Dulwich Village. He moved from Warmington Road in 1911 and later published over a dozen volumes of poetry, novels (the best known probably being The Porch) and essays.

Patrick Spencer