The scheme for young offenders to make community reparations by clearing the 80 metre stretch of overgrown and debris laden land beside the ‘down’ platform at West Dulwich Station and creating a garden has been up and running for two years under the eye of its mentor, Vinnie O’Connell. A great deal has been done. Hundreds of bricks, tiles and pieces of concrete have been cleared in what has been a mammoth task. The rubble has been laid out in a large mosaic and a start has been made to plant out the remainder of the site with shrubs and plants. There are still some areas of bramble yet to be tamed but Vinnie is confident that the scores of young people involved in the project are up to the challenge and have benefited from it.
Vinnie is the Lead Mentor with Southwark Youth Offending Team, and trustee of Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses. He envisages the area, enclosing the path, garden and building (known locally as ‘The Nook’) as an ‘outdoor museum. The garden has received a ringing endorsement from Lord Norman Warner, a local resident who designed the current youth justice system, as ‘very much the kind of community scheme that those of us involved in setting up the system wanted to see’.
Called New Leaf, the scheme also runs a Community Shop in the former Nook premises as an ‘ethical garden centre’ and community information point. Open daily from 12-8 (although times may vary in the short term), it sells a large variety of locally sourced garden plants, herbs and seasonal flowers, organic compost and fertilisers. Local gardeners and the wider community are actively encouraged to contribute to the garden through the donation of plants, and to support the project in any way they can.
The garden now has an official name and address – New Leaf, Path to Platform 2, West Dulwich Station.
Jan Piggott, who has written an account of Charles Barry’s building of Dulwich College and also a history of Crystal Palace has completed a new history of the College. Two chapters describe the extraordinary career and enterprises of its founder, the Elizabethan actor and theatre owner, Edward Alleyn. The 400 pages cover the daily life, fortunes and personalities of the College, which began life as a charitable ‘hospital’, caring for the needs of the aged and the young. It describes the remarkable characters who transformed the school halfway through the nineteenth century into the famous and prosperous institution it has become.
Although the book will appeal to former pupils, it will also interest those with affection for Dulwich and the educational and social history of this part of London.
Jan Piggot joined the staff of Dulwich College as an Assistant Master in 1972. He subsequently became Head of English, and until 2006, Keeper of the Archives.
Dulwich College: a history will be published on 12 June price £24
On Sunday 12 June a talented team of cricketers, formed for the occasion into the UK Sparrow Xl, will take on the Lashings World Xl, a team made up of international cricketers, at a match at Dulwich College. The Lashings Xl includes Phil Defrietas (England), Richie Richardson (West Indies) and Chris Cairns (New Zealand). It promises to be a day of excitement, fun and excellent sport that will raise money for Sparrow Schools for over 500 disadvantaged children in Johannesburg.
The link between Dulwich and Sparrow Schools started with a visit to South Africa by boys from DCPS in 1997 and since then several other Dulwich schools have been involved in fundraising for Sparrow and many young people from Dulwich have been out to South Africa to work as volunteers in the schools. In addition the choir from Sparrow has been over twice and has performed at various venues in Dulwich and the children have stayed with Dulwich families. The choir is expected to visit again this autumn.
Thames Water’s flood investigation which covered 100 roads in and around Dulwich and Herne Hill is now complete and Thames Water says that it now has a better understanding of the mechanism of flooding, the extent of properties at risk of flooding and the scope of solution required to reduce the risk of flooding within the Lambeth and Southwark catchments. The best value solution identified is a new strategic sewer across South London plus significant local enhancements to the sewer network. This solution, which the company says has a very high price tag, is however believed to be the best solution for the area. An initial estimate is in the region of £200million. A further £20million is earmarked for ‘local enhancement’. For this reason the company is currently considering the options, one of which is to persuade Ofwat to agree to this expenditure. If it is successful it is possible that the project will be included in the business plan for 2010/2020.
We are pleased to report that, following an article in the winter Newsletter, a Southwark Heritage Blue Plaque has been awarded to Anne Shelton, the popular singer and wartime “Forces’ Favourite”. This will be placed on the house in Court Lane where she lived over fifty years. There was strong support for the award from around the country as well as locally, many with touching tributes to her work in helping morale during World War ll and afterwards with the “Not Forgotten Association” for disabled ex-service personnel, as well as for her wonderful songs.
Five other Southwark blue plaques were awarded for 2007, including those to Edward Turner who designed the Triumph motorcycle and lived at Peckham Rye, and to Sir Henry Cooper, the heavyweight boxer, born in Camberwell.
The garden of Anne Shelton’s former home at 142 Court Lane will be open on Sunday 8 June from 2-6pm for the National Garden Scheme charities and St Christopher’s Hospice.
Sanjiva Senanayake emails that she is researching the life of her grandmother, Hilda Muriel Westbrook and would appreciate any help. Hilda was born in Dulwich in 1895 and attended JAGS from 1903. She lived in Glengarry Road and Calton Avenue. She went on to read Modern Languages at Newnham College, Cambridge in 1914, returning to JAGS as a Pupil Teacher in 1917 (at the time JAGS was a pupil teacher training centre. Ed.) She subsequently went to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1919 as a teacher. She married a prominent Ceylonese educationalist (Sanjiva’s grandfather) and stayed to become one of the country’s the leading educationalists in her own right, setting up several schools and playing a prominent role in social reform in the period leading up to Independence in 1948.
The Antiques Roadshow will be televised at the Dulwich Picture Gallery on Thursday 19 June. Doors open at 9.30am to 4.30pm, though filming will continue until 7.00pm, after which the Gallery will be open for Late Night Opening. The new presenter will be Fiona Bruce and the Antiques Roadshow will be in the Gallery itself, and also in the garden.
Admission to the Antiques Roadshow at the Gallery is free.
The word comes from PRO(fessional) and BUS(isiness) and it is the name given to a loose association of retired businessmen’s groups around the world. It is strictly non-profit making, non-religious and non-political. The club’s only purpose is to meet and be entertained by a variety of speakers once a month although the local club goes one better and its members enjoy a good lunch at the same time! If you would like to think about joining or perhaps just coming along to try lunch next month, please contact Ben Bourke on 020 7738 6446.