It is a huge pity that the present severe economic climate is causing the leaseholders of two of Dulwich’s largest playing fields complexes to announce that they are to cease to use their pavilions and sports grounds, especially as 2012 has been designated The Year of the Playing Fields to mark HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The Dulwich Society has learned that Kings College, University of London is to abandon the Griffin Sports Club Ground in Dulwich Village at the end of August, the staff made redundant and the fields fenced off and left fallow, the pavilion boarded up. Although the manager of the clubhouse had put together a number of business plans to run the site these had been rejected by Kings. The ground adjoins the Velodrome site which itself has an uncertain future. Apparently it is the same story at the University of the South Bank ground in Turney Road although there no date for closure has yet been announced.
Perhaps we should not be surprised, after all circumstances change. One suspects a similar mood of despair hung over Dulwich residents in the last decades of the nineteenth century when these same fields ceased to be planted with crops or used for grazing. Quite soon after however, paternalistic banks and firms leased the land for their staff’s benefit with the aim of promoting both esprit de corps and physical fitness. When a century later their employees began to take an interest in D.I.Y and buying a car with their improved wages and their enthusiasm for company- led sports declined, then not unnaturally, the firms closed down the grounds.
This fortunately coincided with a number of schools wanting more sports facilities and the take up was swift - witness the recent replacement of Lloyds Register sports ground by DCPS in Gallery Road or Alexander Howden & Company’s ground by Dulwich College in College Road.
So what is the next phase? It is possible that the Griffin Club grounds might be used by the Charter School or Dulwich Hamlet School but only if their budgets can meet it or their PTA’s are strong enough. The South Bank ground in Turney Road could conceivably be used by the new Academy in Elmcourt Road, again if their budget allows. A second riding school in Dulwich might be an option, or, as elsewhere in this issue as Adrian Hill reminds us, there is a two year wait for allotments so perhaps this is a possibility, although most might agree, that ascetically the jumble of allotments cannot match the appearance of greensward. Perhaps then the answer lies with keeping them as playing fields. There is a huge demand for football pitches for young people and South London is woefully short of providing space for them. How one matches this demand with a regulated supply is more difficult. What is needed is responsible and motivated adults prepared to run the clubs and grounds.
Adrian Hill has also highlighted another matter in this Journal; the unacceptable level of what is termed ‘the night-time economy’ which is blighting the lives of residents who live near Herne Hill. There is an element of ‘own goal’ about this issue. Twenty-four hour drinking was introduced by Dulwich’s own Member of Parliament, Tessa Jowell, when she was Culture Secretary. The ground landlord of two of the offending premises is the Dulwich Estate. The Estate says it is powerless to act as the offending premises are let to sub-tenants.
Speedy action seems to be required. Tabling an amendment by the former and going through the terms of the head leases by the latter. Residents should also wake themselves up as Adrian makes clear. The alternative is likely to be a fall in the price of houses in affected roads.
Over the last few years the pressure on Dulwich’s unique semi rural character has continued to grow. Residents’ aspirations have changed and what was previously considered to be an acceptable size of house to bring up a family seems to be no longer the case. There is a continuing demand for extensions, playrooms, cinemas and mini-gymnasiums, often in the basement. Indeed, several basements have been dug in roads which have a well documented history of flooding - an unwise move perhaps, and one can only hope that the owners have told their insurers.
The Society keeps a watchful eye on the situation through the Dulwich Estate Scheme of Management and Southwark Council, but it does seem that some new residents, and some older ones as well, do not seem to fully appreciate the benefits of living in Dulwich - it is not just the schools, the Park and the proximity to Central London, it is the whole atmosphere - the trees, the open spaces and the architecture.
Frank Dixon Way is a case in point - historically it had medium sized house on large plots - so the character of the area was as much the gaps between the houses as the houses themselves. Some residents have extended their houses on both sides to their boundaries - can’t they see that before long, the road will just be a wall of building and the character will be lost?
But it is not just about architecture it is also about neighbourliness. The number of applications where house owners don’t even have the courtesy to tell their neighbours in advance is surprising - but it is also the lack of thought on how extensions might impact upon neighbours - not just on views that they may have enjoyed for many years, but also the impact of the actual work - the inconvenience and the disturbance.
A recent incident illustrates the point. A resident decided to install a ground water source heat pump (on the face of it an environmentally positive move) - but it required drilling two large boreholes on his property. All of a sudden several neighbours and those living opposite were faced with considerable noise and vibration for a week, large plant parked on the pavements and, to cap it all, the contractor managed to drill through the sewer in the front garden which meant that several neighbours’ drains backed up - not very thoughtful.
Nobody is forced to live in Dulwich, if you want a huge house it may be that this is the wrong place to come. Please think about why you like Dulwich and what the impact of your proposals might be, and particularly think about your neighbours.
The Dulwich Society Commemorates the Sign of the Red Post
The Dulwich Society, in conjunction with The Herne Hill Society will unveil a red-painted fingerpost in front of Herne Hill United Church at the top of Red Post Hill on Saturday October 2nd at 11.am. Everyone is invited to attend. The new fingerpost will replicate ‘the cross of direction’ named the Red Post, which stood nearby, from at least the middle of the eighteenth century to around 1840 and which gave its name to Red Post Hill early in the nineteenth century; originally the road had been called Aspole Lane, probably meaning Ashpole, and is mentioned Dulwich’s fourteenth century Court Rolls.
The Red Post, then standing of the middle of the road now named HerneHill/Denmark Hill, was marked on maps and in the text of guide books to the environs of London. Fingerposts began to appear in England after 1697 when legislation enabled magistrates to order directional signs to be put up at cross-highways. There is a tradition that red-painted fingerposts (which still exist in small numbers in the West Country) marked the route to prisons for convicts sentenced to transportation.
The new red fingerpost, which was awarded a Dulwich Community Council grant, will also have an explanatory plaque.
On the following day, Sunday October 3rd at 2.30pm the Local History Group, which researched and proposed the Red Post, is to hold an Edward Alleyn and the Bankside Walk starting at Southwark Cathedral where Alleyn was a church warden, at 3pm. The walk will then proceed to the remains of the Rose Theatre owned by Philip Henslowe, Alleyn’s father in law and which featured so prominently in the film Shakespeare in Love. It is hoped that Harvey Sheldon, the archaeologist who discovered the site of the Rose Theatre will be available to talk about it. The walk will also visit the sites of the Bear Garden and the Globe.
Southwark Cathedral can be reached by train from North Dulwich Station to London Bridge. The walk is free of charge and members and friends are warmly invited.
Mary Boast died on 21 June 2010 at the age of 88. She was the author of The Story of Dulwich (1975, revised 1990), the second in the series of neighbourhood histories published by Southwark Libraries. After moving from Peckham Rye in the mid-1980s to Ruskin Park House, Champion Hill, Mary joined the Dulwich Society’s Local History sub-committee of which she remained a stalwart member until 2004.
Mary was born in Hove in 1921 and studied history at Royal Holloway College, Egham during the Second World War. After training as a teacher in Oxford and working in schools for a few years, she decided to become a librarian. Mary joined the Library Association in 1948 and qualified as a chartered librarian in 1951, remaining a member all her life. Her first posts were in Brighton and Cheltenham but in 1954 she was appointed a branch librarian in Camberwell. She soon became interested in the history of the borough, which included Dulwich, writing and giving talks on the area. When Camberwell was amalgamated with Bermondsey and Southwark in 1965 to form the London Borough of Southwark, she was based in Dulwich Library working on local history and friendship links with other towns. She began writing well researched and popular booklets for the council; the first in a constant flow were Southwark: a London Borough (1969) and The Mayflower and Pilgrim Story (1970).
In 1972, Mary was appointed Southwark’s first full-time Local Studies Librarian, then based in the Southwark Room, in Newington Library. Very different local history collections from the three former boroughs were brought together with archives from various town halls and greatly added to by Mary with copies of local maps, newspapers and records from other sources as well as photographs which she commissioned of all Southwark’s streets. Fortunately, space originally intended for a Library of Elizabethan Theatre became available in the new John Harvard Library, Borough High Street and much of the local collection was moved there in 1978. Demands on the service increased dramatically, particularly from family historians and local schools. At a time when council services were expanding, she was able to increase the staff and appoint a full-time archivist, the post held by Stephen Humphrey from 1980 until this year.
Mary’s teaching experience and recognition of the value of local history in schools led her to write the series of neighbourhood histories for which she is best known. Before retiring in 1981, she wrote five, from Camberwell (1973) to Rotherhithe (1980); that for Peckham was written by John Beasley. Written originally with young people in mind, they have proved so successful for all ages that they have been revised and kept in print ever since. Mary’s swansong for Southwark was to organize the major exhibition in 1981 at the South London Art Gallery on Herne Hill’s most celebrated resident, John Ruskin. She also compiled the catalogue, but, in typically modest fashion, failed to acknowledge herself as the author.
In retirement, Mary remained just as active, giving talks, writing two new neighbourhood histories, Borough and Bankside, and revising others - Camberwell for the fifth time in 2000 and Walworth for the fourth time in 2005. In the 1980s, she wrote notes for the Alan Godfrey editions of old Ordnance Survey maps, including East Dulwich and Peckham Rye, and a short history of St. Giles’ Church, Camberwell. In 1991, she wrote a history of the church, St John the Evangelist, Goose Green, of which she had been a devout member for many years. She never married but dedicated the major part of her long life to serving the local community, services which were recognized in 1994 when she was granted the Freedom of the London Borough of Southwark. She was much loved and widely respected for her encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of the area as well as for the generosity and enthusiasm with which she shared it with others. She died in King’s College Hospital and donated her brain to the hospital for medical research. A large congregation, including the Mayor, attended her funeral at St. John’s on 5th July.
Bernard Nurse and Stephen Humphrey.
Some local residents have voiced concern about foxes in Dulwich Park and their own gardens. Here are some tips for avoiding problematic inter-species encounters. Non-lethal deterrent strategies are the answer, incidentally, not culling - see the statement from Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) below for reasons why.
Firstly, take a good look around your local “territory” (garden, patio, back yard) and see what lies within that could attract a fox to visit. Bear in mind that any creatures living “wild” will be looking for the same things - water, nutrition and shelter from the elements and from enemies. Foxes aren’t, by nature, nocturnal, as their physiology shows, but tend to forage by night as a result of centuries of human persecution.
Do you have a pond or other fresh water that an animal would want to drink from (especially during this last summer’s bouts of extreme heat)? You may wish to make access a little harder if you don’t want foxes as regular callers, e.g. put in a prickly vegetation surround, wobbly stones, etc., in much the same way you might protect pond fish from cat or heron predators. But do be sure to still provide access to fresh drinking water for the birds (and any hedgehogs you may be lucky enough to have in your area), by positioning water sources accordingly (e.g. suspended bird bath, small water dish under a low plank across two bricks).
Do you offer a fox a meal? You may not be deliberately feeding a local fox group, but inadvertently triggering their hunting and scavenging instincts by having in your garden an inadequately protected outdoor-living prey species, such as a pet rabbit or guinea pig (i.e. not housed in suitably tough galvanised metal caging or run that’s too heavy for a fox to lift. It would need to be underwired below the soil to a distance far enough for the pet not to be dug out). Perhaps there is uneaten cat food around, or spilt bird food. Any wild rodents using your garden or living in and around your premises will also be attracting foxes hunting for food. (The mice will have been raiding the spilt bird food first and the rats will have been chasing the mice...it’s amazing what goes on in the garden at night, when you’re not around ). If you are a keen gardener, be aware that certain fertilizers (blood, bonemeal, manure) will all attract foxes. They will dig into the treated soil because their ultra-keen sense of smell will be telling them - falsely - that tasty carrion lies buried below. All members of the dog family routinely “cache” (hide/bury) surplus prey as a kind of wildlife larder.
Has your garden got the ideal spot to shelter a breeding earth? Foxes will lie up under any vegetation, or sunbathe on flat roofs, and rotate their open-air sleeping quarters, but pregnant vixens usually seek out a dry, secluded spot (e.g. under a garden shed) which offers a ready-made roof and protection from predators (such as an unneutered tom cat or inquisitive family pet dog) who might kill and eat her cubs. So block off such zones if you don’t want fox cubs in your garden.
Damage and soiling problems in gardens are usually the result of young foxes practise digging (which uproots your treasured plants in the process), “playing” to hone their hunting and other survival skills in adulthood, or of territorial marking with faeces or urine which has been impregnated with oily pheronome-rich excretions to send signals to other mammals. Faeces are often placed deliberately to act as visual, as well as scented, markers. Many deterrence methods exploit this - for instance, using dog (male or female) urine can be highly effective in telling a visiting fox that a bigger, fiercer animal has already tagged the territory as their own, so the intruder had better beat it. Human urine is also a good deterrent - but for hormonal reasons, it must be male.
Other methods rely on the scarecrow effect - lights, noises, vibrations, jets of water, etc. But any unexpected object, even one as simple as a large plastic container in the middle of the garden, will put a fox off - until the animal has got used to its presence and no longer views it with suspicion. Then you can find an alternative objet trouve and place it in a new site.
Foxes, like other wild British mammals, are protected by law against cruel treatment and also against the use of poisons and illegal traps or snares. Interestingly, polls have shown that 80 per cent of Londoners like seeing foxes in their neighbourhood. In a recent statement, Defra have said: ”Recent events have heightened public concern about urban foxes, however, attacks of this kind are extremely rare and we have no records of any other such attacks in recent years. In light of this, we have no plans to carry out a government-led cull of foxes...
“Previous attempts to kill urban foxes to achieve a sustained population reduction have not been successful in the long-term because of the mobility of foxes and their ability to produce offspring in large numbers; territories made vacant by culling resident foxes are rapidly colonised by new individuals. The most effective strategies to resolve fox problems have primarily relied on non-lethal methods, focusing on preventative and deterrent strategies. The availability of food is likely to be a key factor in limiting urban fox populations.”
Dulwich Park Friends and Southwark Council are, incidentally, currently taking measures to tackle the problem of scattered litter in the park, which has triggered calls for better fox control. Solutions focus on providing bigger, fitter-for-purpose litter containers at weekends. However, Journal readers are invited to suggest humane control measures to tackle the behaviour of the two-legged park-users who leave uneaten food waste, used nappies and other debris in the environment. Perhaps such items are really ancient territorial scent-mark signals we have forgotten how to read?
Chair, Wildlife Committee
The growth of the night- time economy in the last few years has become a matter of considerable concern to the residents of Herne Hill. It has occurred since the coming into force of the Licensing Act 2003, which took the responsibility for licensing premises for the of drinking alcohol and entertainment away from the Licensing Magistrates and vested them in local authorities, and in principle enabled 24 hour drinking at such premises. No 24 hour licences have in fact been granted anywhere in the Herne Hill area but a number of premises have been licensed to remain open until 5 or 5.30 am.
Problems of anti-social behaviour associated with drinking into the early hours have been exacerbated in Herne Hill by the fact that the boundary between Lambeth and Southwark runs through the centre of the area and historically the two boroughs have not communicated on matters of common interest or sought to harmonise policies for the area. Another problem has been that local residents have been slow to register complaints about disturbances at night. When Southwark was contemplating introduction of a saturation policy in five areas of the borough (including Herne Hill), which could have resulted in a presumption against any further late-night licences in those areas, Herne Hill was speedily eliminated from the running on the grounds that so few complaints had been registered about the frequent incidents of disorder that it did not appear to be a problem area. Furthermore, training given to councillors on the Licensing sub- committees, who make the decisions on licensing applications, appears to instruct them that there is a presumption under the legislation (not apparent on the face of it) in favour of granting licence applications for the hours requested, even though Government guidance on the matter states that one of the aims of the legislation is “the necessary protection of local residents whose lives can be blighted by disturbance and antisocial behaviour associated with the behaviour of some people visiting licensed premises of entertainment.” Notwithstanding this, most representations made by local residents and bodies representing them, such as the Herne Hill Society and local residents’ associations have been ignored in favour of the applicants’ desires. The disconnect between Lambeth and Southwark has however recently been countered by the establishment of a working group on the initiative of local traders, residents and their associations, councillors, police on both sides of the border and the licensing authorities. This has resulted in some significant progress in getting cooperation and follow up action, with the Lambeth police being particularly pro-active in closing down some small licensed premises.
Three larger establishments have been of particular concern, namely Hypnotik Bar (formerly Brockwell’s) at 75-79 Norwood Road; Sebastians Bar (formerly Tsolo Jazz Bar at 49-51 Norwood Road and Destinys (formerly Escape Bar) in Railton Road, opposite Herne Hill station, and these will be looked at in turn. The evolution of events relating to them, particularly in the case of the first two, show what local residents have been up against in attempts to curb their activities. Whenever they have had the opportunity, they have argued before the authorities that Herne Hill is primarily a residential area, a neighbourhood centre in planning terms, and not a town centre suitable for the development of the night economy, but their case has usually been ignored in favour of the commercial interests of the club owners. There is little local demand for the facilities offered by these clubs whose patrons come almost entirely from outside the area, no doubt hoping for a lesser police presence than in some South London town centres. They generally arrive by car and park them in the local residential streets as there is little scope for parking outside the bars. The cars are collected after closing time in the early hours of the morning, with much disturbance to the residents in the form of raised voices, car door slamming and the revving of engines.
First, Hypnotik. After attempts by local residents to restrict their operating hours, this bar was in February 2006 granted an extension to provide licensed activities, sale of alcohol and music and dancing, until 3.30 am on Thursdays through Saturdays, with closing one hour later. Following complaints, the police raided the premises in March 2008 and found on the premises customers in possession of a loaded firearm, knives and Class A and C drugs, as well as minors under the age of 16. Following this the Southwark Licensing Sub-committee reviewed the terms of the premises licence and reduced the hours for licensed activities until 1 am on Mondays through Saturdays and 11.30 pm on Sundays. Local residents were surprised that the review had not resulted in the withdrawal of the licence. Following this there was a marked decrease in anti-social behaviour including noise disturbance and illegal barbeques near the premises. Subsequently the management applied for a restoration of the previous hours but were in March 2009 granted only a 30 minute extension on Fridays and Saturdays. Local residents had made strong representations to the sub-committee against any change to the hours but considered the short extension as something of a victory and took it as a hopeful indication that the Licensing Sub-committee was becoming more favourable to the wishes of residents.
Their pleasure was however short lived as the Hypnotik appealed against this decision to the Camberwell magistrates. At the hearing, the stipendiary magistrate brushed aside the oral testimony given on behalf of local residents and chose to accept assurances given by the manager that he would in future not admit to the premises anyone under 23 years old and would strengthen the monitoring and security provisions of customers seeking entrance. As a result, at the end of July 2009 the 4.30 am closing time was restored. Immediately following this extension there was a considerable increase in noise and disorder in the vicinity, including the shooting of a 19 year old outside the premises, and a resumption of the illegal barbeques fouling the pavements with waste food. In the spirit of the new vigilance and police pro-activity set in train by the setting up of the working group referred to above, the police mounted a number of covert operations by plain clothed officers who reported numerous breaches of the licensing conditions relating to the checking of customers entering the premises, drug taking and the serving of alcohol to underage customers. There was also evidence of an attempted kidnapping of a 16 year old girl outside the premises. On the basis of these the police applied for the premises licence to be reviewed with a view to its being revoked. Local residents and amenity societies supported the revocation and again gave evidence at the hearing in March 2010 before the Licensing sub-committee. The sub-committee regrettably refused to accept the police case linking the premises with the shooting and attempted kidnapping outside it and bizarrely chose to treat the breaches of the licensing conditions as mere technical breaches warranting simply the imposition of a 21 day suspension of the licence. After that it was back to business as usual at the Hypnotik. It remains to be seen whether this rebuff to the police in this case is going to lessen their drive to close down offending premises.
Sebastians Bar. Though this has given rise to fewer problems than the Hypnotik, activities there have also caused concern to residents. In the face of opposition from local residents and bodies representing them, its premises licence permitted the sale of alcohol and the provision of music and dancing until 4 am each day, with a 5.30 am closing time. Its licence however contained a restricting condition that intoxicating liquor should not be sold or supplied on the premises otherwise than to persons taking table meals as ancillary to those meals, which condition was clearly being widely breached. In October 2009 the management successfully applied to the Southwark Licensing Sub-committee for the removal of this condition. Subsequently, Southwark’s planning department stepped into the scene pointing out that the premises were acting in breach of the planning laws as there had been no planning permission for change of use from a restaurant to a night club and in May 2010 served a planning enforcement notice to prevent continued breach. The bar has appealed against this notice on the grounds that there is no evidence that it was operating as a night club (which is not defined in law) and that the enforcement notice was therefore misconceived and should be set aside. As at the time of writing (late July) the issue has yet to be decided by the Planning Inspectorate. Local residents and organisations had been asked to make comments by 23 July and a number of them have responded to point out that the premises make no attempt to present themselves as a bona fide restaurant as no menu is posted and the black plate glass facia completely prevents any view of the interior and presents a threatening and hostile image to passers-by, the antithesis of the welcoming characteristics expected of a restaurant. On the contrary, its opening hours and the operating conditions under its licence under the licensing regime show all the characteristics of a night club and that therefore the appeal against the planning enforcement notice should be dismissed.
Destinys, in its former guise as the Escape Bar was noted for disorderly conduct and the loud noise of recorded music coming out of its doors and windows, frequently left open, causing considerable nuisance to adjoining residents and passers-by in Railton Road. The premises had to close in August 2009 after a fire, apparently arson, destroyed much of the interior and they remained closed for many months. Earlier this year they reopened as Destinys. In its new guise it is still the source of an unacceptable level of noise, despite the installation of an inner partition with doors behind the shop front which has the disturbing effect of preventing anyone outside seeing what goes on in the interior. It has also been the scene of number of disorders, including fighting. A recent fracas involving customers outside the premises in the early hours of 17 July, the first day of the Lambeth Country Show, resulted in the street being closed off for many hours whilst the police investigated an incident of apparent grievous bodily harm, to the great annoyance of the neighbouring traders whose customers were turned back. It was initially believed that the incident involved knives but it is now accepted that it was broken glass rather than knife blades that caused the bloodshed.
Weaknesses in the current licensing laws under the Licensing Act 2003 and the way they are interpreted and enforced seem to be at the root of the nuisances and deterioration in the quality of life being suffered by residents in Herne Hill - and of course other comparable areas. The new coalition Government has promised to review the workings of the law and to make necessary amendments, including it is to be hoped more protection of the interests of residents and a test of local demand for any new licensed bars in predominantly residential areas. Herne Hill residents long for a happy outcome to this review.
Like the obituary announcing the death of Mark Twain, the report in this column in the Spring of 2004, that Dulwich’s landmark tree, the Zelkova carpinifolia was to be felled was similarly premature. Passers-by of this giant Caucasian Elm have therefore had a further six years to admire this magnificent tree which stands on the corner of College Road and Dulwich Common.
Sadly, by the time you read this it will probably have been taken down. Although it had had a decided ‘lean’ for some years, causing the centre of gravity of the tree to shift 1.8 metres by 2004, this had increased appreciably in recent months and both Southwark Council and Transport for London agreed with the Dulwich Estate that it was dangerous and would have to come down for safety reasons. The Zelkova had a height of some 90 feet, an overall span of 75 feet and a girth of 15ft 8in. It was bigger than the other famous Zelkova at Kew. It was planted at the end of the garden of an eighteenth century house named Corner House which occupied the present green space.
It is hoped that some of the timber might be retained in order that a lasting memento might be made, although experts say the wood is extremely hard to work. The Dulwich Estate is to plant a replacement Zelkova. This will accompany a similar specimen planted a few years ago.
The Dulwich Pottery
Is any reader familiar with the name of The Dulwich Pottery who produced delightful figurines like the one illustrated between 1929-1937? The artists names were J S Bray and V Williams. Louise Irvine mailto:
Two lads and a dog
The Mark Evison Foundation has made its inaugural award to two young people at Dulwich College, Tom Davies and Luke Gbedemah. They intend to climb the four highest mountains in the UK, the ‘four peaks’(Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in the Lake District, Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland, and Ben Nevis in Scotland) over four days with Tom’s dog Anvil. They will use public transport (trains, buses and ferries) between peaks, and stay in youth hostels or sleep on the ferries or trains. They hope to obtain further sponsorship which they will give to charity. They will make a film about their trip.
The two boys perfectly represent what the Mark Evison Foundation stands for. The Foundation is a registered charity providing funds which, in its words, ‘will enable you to stretch yourself constructively, and so gain more confidence, courage to try new things and self-reliance, as well as new skills.’ It encourages a can-do attitude, caring for others and mutual support, and team work: Funds are made available for projects which will contribute to the ‘personal, mental and physical development of young people particularly those who have less opportunity’.
The Foundation was set up following the Mark’s death from gunshot wound received in Afghanistan at the age of 26 whilst leading his men as a lieutenant in the Welsh Guards. It is a charity run partly by young people for young people. Both the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and HRH The Prince of Wales have been active in their support of it.
The Foundation wishes the two young men every success, and looks forward to their account of their adventures. We are grateful for the support of the Master of Dulwich College, who has been exceptional in his encouragement of both us and his pupils. After this trip Tom and Luke intend to describe their trip and show their film to other young people at local secondary schools as part of the Foundation’s ‘Heroes for Schools’ scheme.
The Foundation’s website is www.markevisonfoundation.org. If you are between 16 and 30 and would like to apply for a grant, please see the website: or if you would consider donating there are many ways in which you can contribute and help raise funds.
Tel: 020 8693 2254 -
PO Box 59519, London SE21 9AL
Registered Charity Commission Nº 1130281
Dulwich Garden Safari
This event, in aid of Dulwich Helpline was again a great success and in beautiful June sunshine some hundreds of visitors made their way around the five lovely Dulwich gardens. Over £3000 was raised for the charity.
In May fifty members of the Dulwich Society Garden Group visited Leonardslee Gardens near Horsham for the final visit to the gardens which are to be closed to the public. John Ward reports that the group saw a splendid display of rhododendrons, azaleas and bluebells and admired the lakes. Shortly after, another group toured the gardens of Buckingham Palace. It was a really interesting visit and the gardens were immaculate, but they were not at their best. It seems the gardeners have instructions to ensure that whenever possible, plants are in bloom in late June to coincide with Royal Garden Parties (about six weeks after the visit). However, everyone enjoyed the visit and the Palace shop did a roaring trade!
Creating the UK’s Largest Wildlife Garden
In May pupils from The Charter School began a chain of events set to lead to the creation of the UK’s largest wildlife garden - The Concrete Jungle. Members of the school’s environmental committee worked with local resident Jane Langley of Cool it Schools to launch the project. The aim is to give pupils the inspiration and information they need to transform a blank canvas of clay at the back of the school ground into a paradise for nature. With the help of the environmental charity Groundwork, pupils will design the garden. David Sheppard, the Headteacher says “Climate change had long been a topic of discussion and debate amongst our pupils both within lessons and in playground discussions. The opportunity to create something to highlight such a crucial issue and then to showcase it physically not only in our school but also electronically across the world was a chance too good to miss”.
The event coincided with the launch of the International Year of Biodiversity by the Natural History Museum. The Charter School hopes their project will inspire other schools across the UK to join the campaign to create wildlife gardens in their school grounds.
Southwark Heritage Plaque for Sam King
Former resident of Warmington Road, Herne Hill, Sam King was present when a Southwark blue plaque was unveiled earlier this year in his honour. Born in Jamaica in 1926, King began his distinguished career with active service ion the RAF. He organised the first Notting Hill Carnival and the first black newspaper, The West Indian Gazette. He and his wife moved into his house just off Half Moon Lane in 1958 and were residents for 26 years during which time he became a Councillor and Britain’s first black Mayor. He was also governor of three London schools and was awarded a MBE in 1998.
Dulwich Picture Gallery to close for a new entrance and shop
Dulwich Picture Gallery will be closed from 1 - 14 September 2010 while Small Back Room design and refurbish both the entrance and the shop. Small Back Room have worked with companies including Tate Modern and the London Transport Museum and have also been seen recently on BBC2’s Mary Queen of Shops.
The shop will be moved to the side gallery where visitors currently enter whilst the entrance will now be situated in the room in the middle of the gallery as originally intended, restoring the natural pathway approach up to the Gallery from the College Road entrance. The new entrance will provide improved ticketing facilities as well as room to cater for a new audio-visual guide programme ready for the Gallery’s 200 year celebrations in 2011. While the Gallery itself is closed, the Sackler Centre for Arts Education will be open, as will the Linbury Room for lectures, the café and the garden.
The Gallery will reopen on 14 September the day before the start of the next exhibition - Salvator Rosa (1615-1673): Bandits, Wilderness and Magic (see page 17).
The New York Times has reported that although the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art has completed a major round of layoffs (74 employees) and voluntary retirements (95), it has announced three curatorial appointments, including Xavier Saloman, chief curator at the Dulwich Picture Gallery who will become curator of European paintings in January 2011.
Herne Hill Velodrome Local Residents' Open Day Report
An Open Day was held at the Herne Hill Velodrome (HHV) on Sunday, 6 June 2010, to encourage local residents to come and see this hidden gem in their midst. First built here in Dulwich in 1891, before any of the houses which now conceal it, the gates at number 104 Burbage Road are the only outward evidence of its existence.
Despite the cool, mostly grey day, a steady stream of visitors of all ages arrived at the Open Day gazebo on the bank behind the track, which afforded an excellent view of the day’s cycling - men’s advanced training in the morning, vintage cycle racing in the afternoon, including some on penny farthings, and then junior track cycling.
There was opportunity to look at the proposed plan for modernisation and extension of facilities at HHV to create a comprehensive Community Cycling Centre - adding children’s track, BMX track, bicycle polo pitch, family cycle path, cycle training area, better mountain bike course and replacing derelict grandstand buildings. Visitors were able to discuss the plan with HHV Manager, Peter Cattermole (also British Cycling’s Regional Manager for London and Chairman of the home cycle club, Velo Club Londres), or talk with the volunteers. More than a hundred registered their support for HHV, with many leaving email addresses to receive news of progress.
It was gratifying to be able to welcome several local Councillors, some newly elected, and bring them up to date with developments at HHV. It was also good to meet local teachers, including a strong contingent from Dulwich College, whose sports masters had organised the inaugural Dulwich Inter-Schools Cycling Championships at HHV on 19 May 2010, showing the potential for schools of this exciting non-ball sport.
Unsurprisingly, the visitors seemed in favour of continuing cycling on the track and those there for the first time were impressed by its sheer size and the tranquillity of the setting, even with cycle racing in progress. Many parents came with young children and were keen to know when they could start on the track, which is age 7 to 8yrs, or 6yrs for the Saturday morning, mountain bike sessions, run by Herne Hill Youth Cycling Club. And Bill Wright, one of their cycle coaches, was in that area of the site to give information and advice. Visitors expressed interest in safe cycling opportunities for adults and children and thought the family cycle path would be a good place to get back into cycling. There was also interest in cycle-craft classes, expanded perhaps to include cycle repair. Parents wanted off-road paths round Dulwich for children to cycle to and from school, as proposed by the Dulwich Society last year, and some Charter School parents wished their school had access to more open space for outdoor sporting activities.
Neighbours inevitably mentioned traffic in Burbage Road, especially with children being dropped off on Saturday morning, occasional friction with cyclists, and noise from the race starting pistol (now banned and replaced by a whistle). No-one expressed a desire for cessation of cycling or for a major leisure development on the site. But there was some suggestion of possible demand for year-round, daytime, weekday, exercise classes in that part of Dulwich.
Further negotiations on HHV between the Dulwich Estate and its advisers, Southwark Council and British Cycling are eagerly awaited.
Salvator Rosa - Dulwich Picture Gallery Exhibition 15 September - 28 November
Salvator Rosa (1615-1673) was one of the boldest and most inventive artists and personalities of the Italian 17th century. He introduced new styles of painting; allegorical pictures distinguished by a haunting and melancholy poetry, fanciful portraits of romantic and enigmatic figures, macabre and horrific subjects. Others are philosophical, bringing into art some of the major scientific and learned concerns of his age. His early works, particularly the landscapes, are bright and rich in picturesque motifs; crumbling towers, boats on the sea shore, colourful travellers crossing perilous bridges and bandits lying in wait in rocky ravines. But he also moved towards a grander style and his mature works are full of atmosphere, characterised by a dazzlingly free technique and the use of dark but rich colours. No other artist has created windswept landscapes of such expressive and emotional power, or figures of such dark and brooding intensity. Rosa invented an emphasis on freedom and sincerity. He aimed to intrigue powerful patrons by his mysterious and independent personality. Unlike Caraveggio, Rosa was truly a rebel, a radical and anti-cleric who was often associated with libertine thinking often placing himself in very real danger from the Inquisition.
The last major Rosa exhibition was held at the Hayward Gallery in 1973. Rosa’s paintings will be hung thematically. This will deepen our understanding of the different genres of painting to which Rosa made so fundamental a contribution. Themes will range from a selection of portraits to landscapes pastoral, heroic anchorite. Some of these are stark works and the power of the elements pulses through them. Linked to themes of magic and science, they convey a 17th century sense of the awesome grandeur of the natural world revealed by the new science. Throughout his life Rosa mixed with scientists, philosophers and men of letters and delighted in the most unusual and learned subjects. A section of the exhibition will demonstrate this fascination. The climax of the show will be a group of large figure paintings at the centre of Rosa’s interests. Together they show the strangeness and eccentricity of the artist and his gifts for creating intense and highly personal poetry.
Letters to the Editor
Public Access to Dulwich Old Burial Ground
Dulwich Old Burial Ground sits in the heart of Dulwich Village as an historical site hosting Grade II listed tombs and wrought iron gates. The grounds were declared ‘full’ in 1858. There have been no new burials since; and the public are denied access. I believe that Dulwich residents should have access at least during daylight hours and call upon The Dulwich Society to persuade the Estate Trustees to allow this.
Edward Alleyn established the burial ground as part of the Foundation of his College of Gods Gift; it was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on September 1st 1616.
Whilst numerous famous people were buried in the grounds there are also unmarked graves where 35 village residents who lost their lives during the Plague in 1665 are buried.
Throughout London, there are several Victorian cemeteries and pre-Victorian burial grounds that exist and which are free to access by the public. Cemeteries have always provided a respite from the bustle of city life as well as a fascinating insight to long gone eras. Victorians saw cemeteries as a place to visit, a place to reflect and contemplate.
I do not understand why such a gem as our own burial ground remains closed off to public access.
Reviewing the CABE Space briefing (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) in 2005 it cited that many of the difficulties faced by local communities in keeping their cemeteries and burial grounds open to the public was the cost of upkeep and maintaining safety as tombstones go into disrepair. Despite these concerns the briefing was overall in favour of burial grounds being considered as being ‘places of specific local heritage interest, as well as being very much a part of the historic townscape’.
‘The 1994 report on the management of old cemeteries (Dunk & Rugg1994) enumerated 4 different kinds of values which cemeteries represent to today’s society; historical, ecological, education and leisure.’
Whilst that statement is now 16years old I believe it is as true today as ever.
The ministry of Justice issued a report on Burial Grounds in 2007. This followed a survey throughout England and Wales which captured information on all burial grounds ranging from open modern cemeteries through to historical closed burial grounds and churchyards. The survey found that the vast majority of burial grounds permit public access to the site at any time. Just fewer than 30% of grounds were closed to public access at night and only 6% were closed to the public except by prior arrangement. Burial grounds in London had reported a higher incidence of antisocial behaviour and vandalism acts compared to other regions; this was reflected in the closure of many grounds over night.
Please can we look into the practicalities of reuniting the Dulwich Old Burial Ground with the community which cherishes it?
Preventing Heart Attacks from being fatal
In the last issue of the Journal an article by Annie Price entitled A Life-saving chain of events in Dulwich Village was received with much interest. Two specific responses have been received. The first is from Katherine Opie-Smith. She writes:
I read the article by Annie Price, about Boris Lams life-saving at Pizza Express (I’d heard the story already on the grapevine but it was good to read how kind everyone was). It reminded me that I’ve been meaning to publicise something for a while which has a bearing on what happened.
A little while ago I bought a defibrillator for my dental practice for emergency use (I hope we never have to) and it is stored in the surgery at my house at 112 Dulwich Village. I am aware that it is probably the only one in the Village at the moment, unless any of the shops have one. I should like to make its presence a bit more widely known for precisely the sort of scenario that happened at Pizza Express as I would obviously be happy for it to used in an emergency elsewhere.
Defibrillators are the most successful way to get a heart started gain if it goes in to fibrillation, I believe, so it might be useful to somebody. The staff at the practice are trained in its use too, and as Dulwich has such a high density of doctors and medically qualified personnel, I’m sure there are lots of people locally who have come across them before. Actually, it is one of the types which have a voice-operating flow of instructions so really anybody can use it, you don’t need to have qualifications….it tells you what to do. The staff here also have training in Emergency Procedures every year, and have a full set of emergency drugs and oxygen as well.
I’m not suggesting anyone should rely on us rather than calling 999, which is clearly the best thing to do and should be done immediately in any emergency situation, but rather as an adjunct to what is available in Dulwich, just in case!
Dogs in Dulwich Park - a response
In response to an article regarding the presence of menacing dogs in Dulwich Park, Dianne Flynn writes-
As a 365-day-per-year user of local parks, I fully support the increased police presence in Dulwich Park targeted at careless dog owners. The park should be a safe place for all of its users, even when the police aren’t present and while we are waiting for better legislation against irresponsible owners of all breeds of dogs, such as the Dog Control Bill (http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2008-09/dogcontrol.html) currently being considered by Parliament.
In areas where dogs are present, it is important to remember that just because a dog seems to be all muscles and teeth, it isn’t necessarily dangerous or aggressive. Conversely, the cute ball of fluff isn’t necessarily safe, either. Safer Pets has some very good information on their website (http://saferpets.co.uk) about safety around dogs. Most importantly, you should always ask the owner for permission before approaching or petting a dog and you should stand still if you are approached by a strange dog and you are frightened.
There are several areas in Dulwich Park where dogs are forbidden, including the children’s playground which offers grassy space and picnic tables. Perhaps this area could be expanded further into the East Lawns to allow for more dog-free eating and play space. The park also requests that dogs be on leads on the paths around the boating lake and in the wildlife conservation areas. These areas are also off-limits to cycles, making them ideal for leisurely strolls. If you see anyone breaking the rules in these areas, you should report them to the Park Office on 0208 693 8635. In case of emergency and to get immediate police assistance, you should always dial 999 first.