In the last issue of the Journal we discussed the reduction in the CGS (Cleaner-Green-Safer) grants made by the Dulwich Community Council as part of Southwark Council’s cost cutting. Another piece of information has now come to light concerning cuts, this time to neighbourhood policing. The three wards which make up Dulwich (College, Village and East Dulwich) are to lose the services of one of the three sergeants, each responsible for the policing of a ward. College Ward will retain its sergeant but Village Ward and East Dulwich Wards will share the services of a police sergeant. The number of constables and PCSO’s (Police Community Support Officers) will remain the same in each ward.
On 15th September we will hear what cuts are likely to be made at Dulwich’s libraries. * At present the main Library is at 368 Lordship Lane, which is pictured on the cover of this Journal. Smaller, neighbourhood libraries are situated at Kingswood House and Grove Vale. Dulwich Library is used extensively for private study, internet access and is a very busy lending library. The two other libraries have heavily used juvenile sections. We have got used to longer opening hours of our libraries, including Sunday opening.
We have also got used to better maintained public parks, and in this Dulwich has done remarkably well, winning National Lottery funding for improvements to both Dulwich and neighbouring Peckham parks. The maintenance appears to be good and extensive new play apparatus both for children and adults has been provided. As a consequence our parks are very heavily used. We might all wish to see even more improvement but we should be pleased with what we have got. Will cut-backs in Council funding deliver us back into the bad old days of the recent past?
Compared with other London councils, Southwark has had a good record for house refuse collection and street cleaning and is prompt to deal with fly-tipping and the removal of graffiti. It will collect, free of charge, by special arrangement, larger unwanted household items and furniture. Unlike nearby boroughs such as Bromley, we have the very useful wheelie bin. We have not heard if these services are to be affected, but the appearance of a neighbourhood can deteriorate very quickly if this essential service is reduced.
So where the cuts might be made? With one voice Dulwich is likely to say - “in road improvements!” Such ’improvements’ as there have been are of dubious value; a lady cyclist was seriously injured at the new roundabout in the Village a few weeks ago, the speed humps on Red Post Hill are to be removed at a cost of £40,000 (plus VAT) because traffic thumping over them is affecting house foundations. My grandmother would certainly have made cuts into this budget. Yet we learn that Transport for London’s budget on roadworks is protected.
Yes, we do want winter’s ravages to road surfaces made good, we do want holes in pavements (usually left by service providers anxious to reduce their own costs) filled in. Yes we do like the lovely floral plots around the new improvements, but we could live without them.
*The Future of Dulwich Libraries will be one of the items on the agenda at the Dulwich Community Council Meeting to be held on 15 September at Dulwich Library, 368 Lordship Lane SE22 at 7pm. Be there!
The use of professional dog walkers in Sydenham Hill Woods is an ongoing problem. There have been many complaints in the last two years despite the sign telling them not to. They park their vans in the scout building car park and up to four or five dogs are let out, not all of them on leads. Clearly the walkers themselves are unable, or more likely unwilling to attempt to clean up the mess they leave, and local residents walking in the woods (and particularly their children) suffer the consequences. Also not everyone likes dogs, and large dogs off a leash and running free can be very intimidating.
The Society has been pressuring the Estate for some time to do something about it but the practice continues despite the signs. It may be that the next step is to limit walkers in the woods to no more than two dogs - which unfortunately could have some impact on residents but, on the plus side, should mean no more professional dog walkers.
Surprisingly it seems that there are quite a few Dulwich residents who use dog walkers - I had always thought that one of the benefits of keeping a dog was the exercise it gave you in walking them. It does seem obvious, that if they use professional walkers, they should know where their dogs are taken and they should make sure it is not to Sydenham Hill woods.
Another subject that the Society has been discussing with the Estate, with some success, is fences. Those of you who drive up Dulwich Wood Park should have noticed a marked improvement in the condition of some of the fences that border that road, although there is still some way to go on others. We have also been asking the Estate to deal with small outbreaks of graffiti on the fences in Low Cross Wood Lane opposite Sydenham Hill Station.
Last but not least, the red post, installed on the corner of Herne Hill and Red Post Hill last year, has been vandalised. Two of the arms were broken off when someone swung on them but, luckily they were quickly retrieved, and will be re-fixed as soon as possible.
The Society has recently been shown the Estate’s detailed proposals for converting the Grade II listed Crown and Greyhound into a twenty bedroom hotel.
The existing ground floor bars, the restaurant, and the main function room at the front of the first floor will all be retained. There will be no alterations to the front elevation, the dormer windows or the main roof. The unsightly escape stair and kitchen vent will be removed from the rear elevation and a new lift shaft added - in matching brickwork, which will finish at second floor level so as not to impact upon the appearance of the roof profile. The building will also be completely rewired and re-plumbed.
The entrance to the proposed hotel will be from the passageway on the left hand (north) side. The large garage at the rear of the north side will be demolished and the former skittle alley converted into bedrooms and a manager’s flat. The rear function room on the first floor will be converted into bedrooms and there will be additional rooms built over the restaurant extension at the rear. The second floor will be all bedrooms and there will two more bedrooms in the third floor attic.
Off street parking (20 spaces) will be located partly on the site of the former garage and partly on a currently vacant site on the southern boundary. All the existing trees on the site will be retained as will the large garden area at the rear backing on to the gardens of houses in Woodward Road.
The basic construction work is expected to take around 12-15 months and the building will be out of use for that period.
The Estate has confirmed that it will be consulting residents who live nearby but the Society has urged it to hold a public exhibition as the pub is a very popular local amenity and consultation should be as wide as possible.
Covering Shakespeare - and McKellen: David Weston talks about, and performs, cameos from the literature of the Bard and discusses his new book ‘Covering McKellen’. Dulwich Society special lecture by Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre actor David Weston on Sunday 6th November at 3pm Linbury Room, Dulwich Picture Gallery. What they said about ‘Covering McKellen’
Shakespeare's greatest play, directed by the most experienced and acclaimed director in the land, starring one of our very finest actors at the very peak of his powers...”...What could possibly go wrong?
The stage is set for what promises to be one of the greatest tours in the history of theatre. Take a front row seat as a whole host of stars lead by Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Trevor Nunn set off to take the world by storm with their new production of King Lear - only to endure injuries, critical backlash and almost constant controversy.As understudy to the King himself, Weston’s frank and funny account takes us right through from the London rehearsals to the historical Stratford Season, back to the glittering West End, and then out across the globe.
Punctuated with hilarious celebrity anecdotes, insightful travelling tales, and lessons for any aspiring thespian, Weston deftly lifts the curtain on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s much heralded tour and reveals the chaos underneath.
‘Covering McKellen’ by David Weston, published by Rickshaw September 1st.
Dulwich Society member households free, but ticket required (email:
We were very lucky. It was a day of heavy showers but they all seemed to occur while we were on the coach. Our trip took us to Pashley Manor (at Lamberhurst).
The Manor is now owned by James Sellick, an ex Dulwich resident, who was delighted to see a party of us from Dulwich. Mr Sellick gave us a most interesting talk on the history of the house. We then spent some time looking around the gardens which were outstandingly good. We couldn’t find a single weed in any of the immaculately cut lawns. If you have never been there, it’s well worth a visit.
After lunch we drove on to Scotney Castle, where most of us visited both the ‘new’ house (built in 1837) as well as the garden. We were just too late in the season for the rhododendrons and azaleas but we had an enjoyable walk through beautiful parkland, followed by tea and needless to say, a visit to the shop.
Gallery Road Hedgerow Restoration
A welcome sight when drivers turn off the South Circular, the swathe of rural-style greenery that borders Gallery Road is about to get a major facelift. Restoration of the western side of the ancient hedgerow will take place in November, thanks to a £500 Dulwich Community Council grant and a further contribution from the Dulwich Society.
There are not many visual reminders of the pastoral landscape that once ringed London, but here, a handful of miles from St Paul’s, are the remnants of the hedgerow that separated the former mediaeval field networks from the country lane (Back Lane, now Gallery Road) that led into the village. Hedgerows have been in drastic decline since the end of the Second World War but here in Dulwich we are hoping to reverse the trend, with the help of London Wildlife Trust and teams of local volunteers. A range of native shrubs will add to the existing species, in a bid to breathe new life into this ancient, valuable hedge. Its location, alongside a busy road, will work in the scheme’s favour because, interestingly, hedgerows adjacent to roads tend to be particularly species-rich. The enhanced vegetation will also be an invaluable soaker-up of traffic pollutants.
The hedge on both sides of Gallery Road has been shown to contain a rich mix of 50 plant species, including several indicators of unimproved and never-developed land, according to a series of surveys by Roy Vickery, chair of South London Botanical Institute and a former department head of the Natural History Museum. Linking Dulwich’s other bio-diverse green spaces, like Dulwich and Belair Parks, the hedge provides an important corridor for wildlife, including birds, bats, butterflies and other insects.
Angela Wilkes Chair, Wildlife Committee
Future of Southwark Cemeteries
Southwark Council has an urgent need to review the burial provision in the borough as burial space is running out very fast. The Council is keen to hear the views of residents about the future of the borough’s cemetery service, to discuss the lack of burial space and share ideas about the options available to address it. There are currently eight options on which the Council is seeking the views from the public. You can take part in this borough-wide public consultation and submit your views online now by visiting http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200308/current/2231/the_future_of_southwarks_cemeteries/1
Herne Hill Velodrome
The surfacing of the track at the velodrome began at the end of July with funding secured by British Cycling. The velodrome was chosen as Southwark’s Olympic Legacy Project and a bid has been submitted for some legacy funding to improve the cycling facilities so that it can be usable all year round. Part of the proposal is for low-level, low-intensity, track-targeted lighting so that children, particularly, can continue their after school training sessions, as the autumn evenings draw on. It is understood that when funds allow, it is hoped to put an all weather multi-sports surface in the central grassed area of the circuit.
Training sessions resume on Saturday 3rd September from 9am. On Sunday 4th September women’s training sessions resume.
Dulwich Vegetable Garden
The Dulwich vegetable Garden, located behind Roseberry Lodge in Dulwich Park is looking splendid. Sponsored by ‘Dulwich Going Greener’ it had a difficult start; the site required a lot of volunteer labour to clear the dense undergrowth and there were hold-ups with planting. The Garden is now well established both as a garden and as an institution, with work sessions on Sundays and Wednesdays 10.30am-12.30pm. Participants share both the work and the produce. It is run as an organic, wildlife-friendly, disability-friendly garden and invites more volunteers.
Dulwich Riding School’s 50th Anniversary
This year the Dulwich Riding School celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. It was opened on what was then a waste site in 1961 by Jim Bellman, the father and grandfather of the current proprietors, Linda and Jaye. Starting with the original row of five stables, the riding school expanded, adding more stables, a ring and a much needed covered school. There was then, and still remains a dedicated team of staff and students. Today, it is an accredited centre which trains NVQ students to become qualified riding instructors.
It accepts total beginners and offers classes in novice dressage and some jumping seven days a week. Dulwich Riding School has returned to competition and a team of ten local children recently competed at Hickstead where one young rider won the ‘Most promising rider’ class and where one of the horses won ‘The horse the judges would like to take home’. The School has a total of 21 horses and a foal (named Beaux James in honour of Jim). The biggest horse is Tim, at 15 hands 2”, and the oldest is Gwen who is aged 28 years. Students from Dulwich College, Kingsdale, Alleyns, Oakfield and other local schools attend as part of their school curriculum.
Riding is also conducted in Dulwich Park, into which the School has its own access gate. Early morning rides, when the park is empty are the most satisfactory. Last year, one of the horses, a mare, five months pregnant, was attacked by a pit bull terrier in Dulwich Park. The horse trotted back to the riding school and required 47 stitches to its injuries. Happily, it has made a full recovery.
Price rises have been kept to a minimum and group tuition is £25 per hour, private riding with instructor in Dulwich Park (7.30am) £40, individual weekday instruction £35. Further information: telephone number 020 8693 2944 and the School’s website.
The Friends of Kingswood House Open Day will take place on Sunday 18th September 1-4.30pm as part of Open House Weekend. During the proceedings, a Southwark Heritage blue plaque dedicated to John Lawson Johnson, the one time owner of Kingswood who transformed the original large Georgian mansion into its present pseudo-Scottish Baronial style in 1895, will be unveiled. Johnson was famous as the inventor of ‘Bovril’. A revised version of A History of Kingswood House by Patrick Darby has been reissued, priced £8, by Southwark Council, and will be on sale during the day.
New Christ’s Chapel Guide
Christ’s Chapel or as it is perhaps better known, the College Chapel, is almost 400 years old. It has been a witness of all the national disasters of civil war, plague, religious intolerance and more recently of religious apathy. It is the focus of all the Foundation schools’ end of term chapel services and the venue for Dulwich College’s robed Chapel Choir which holds some fifteen choral services each year. It also houses one of the nation’s most priceless musical instruments, an organ, built in 1760 by George England which was restored at a cost of £400,000 two years ago. The recitals given on this organ are a musical must. The story of the Chapel is documented in a new, fully illustrated colour guide by Brian Green.
Among the more unusual aspects of such a guide is a virtual blow by blow account of the wrangling between the various religious factions of seventeenth century England. The mystery surrounding the Chapel’s extraordinary decoration with numerous carved animals and mythological creatures is finally solved. The booklet would make a pleasing present to visitors or residents alike. Christ’s Chapel, Dulwich : A Guide is priced £5 and is available at the Chapel, Dulwich Picture Gallery Shop and local bookshops.
St Barnabas Church Choir Italian Tour
A party of 59 members from St Barnabas, including 46 members of its choir, with ages ranging from 8-71 gave four concerts in Umbria, Italy in August. Two years ago a similar tour was such a success, it was decided to repeat it and Riccardo Bonci, the assistant organist and native of Terni in Umbria, where the choir will be based, assisted with the organisation.
Concerts were given at Terni Cathedral, the Basilica of the Temple of Consolation in Todi, the 12th century church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Spello and at Foligno Cathedral. Interspersed with the rehearsals and concerts was a full programme of sight-seeing, swimming and relaxation.
Voluntary Care Centre
The Voluntary Care Centre (VCC) is a charity based in Forest Hill that was set up in 1969. It runs The Voluntary Driving Scheme which provides regular or one-off journeys to people who are no longer able to use public transport. Most of our clients are elderly and isolated and over the last 10 years we have taken hundred of people to hospital and doctors’ appointments, and social clubs.
Yet none of this would have been possible without our team of VOLUNTEER DRIVERS, who volunteer their time and vehicles. If you have your own car and are free during the day, then why not become a volunteer driver? Training and expenses are given and in return for your time, you will get to meet some really nice people and enjoy a sense of satisfaction from helping someone.
To get involved call Stephen 020 8291 6336 or email
Two Southwark charities plan collaboration for the benefit of older people. Dulwich Helpline and Southwark Churches Care, two charities working with older people in Southwark, have announced their intention to work in collaboration from the same location in Dulwich Community Hospital. Both charities have been in existence since the early 1990s and have extensive experience of providing support for older people.
The idea has been under discussion since late 2010. The Trustees decided that the two charities, both of whom use volunteers to work with isolated older people in adjoining areas in Southwark, could save money and increase the scope of what they offer by working much more closely together and sharing back office costs.
The Trustees believe that the opportunities for creating viable and sustainable befriending and support services will be greatly enhanced by working together rather than separately. By collaborating, the two charities will have access to a combined volunteer force of 360 volunteers offering assistance to over 630 service users.
Ted Salmon, Chairman of Dulwich Helpline and Adrian Greenwood, Chairman of Southwark Churches Care said ’’ We warmly welcome this initiative to work together more closely and have every hope that the partnership will benefit the older people who use our services now or might do so in the future’’.
Dulwich Helpline was launched in 1993. Its mission is to improve the quality of life and help to prevent physical and mental deterioration of isolated older people in south Southwark by running volunteer projects designed to combat loneliness, provide emotional and practical support and enable older people to continue to live in their own homes.
Southwark Churches Care was set up in 1994 by the Southwark Ecumenical Borough Deans, in response to concerns of the new Community Care Act, recognising that the legislation enabling older people to remain in their own homes could also inadvertently lead to their social isolation. SCC's one-to-one befriending scheme engages members of the local churches of all denominations in the Borough, as well as volunteers from the wider community, in contributing their time and skills to the needs of vulnerable and potentially lonely older people living in their neighbourhoods,
Both charities offer older people opportunities for social interaction and support including one-to-one befriending and social groups. This has a positive impact on feelings of wellbeing, facilitates independent living and reduces reliance on statutory services. At a time when the statutory services are under increasing pressure to provide services only for the most needy, this is an important initiative which will offer services to more elderly and isolated people by using staff and volunteers more effectively.
Barbara Scott, Dulwich Helpline 020 8299 2623
Marcia Green, Southwark Churches Care 020 725 6381
Autumn Fund Raising Events for Dulwich Helpline
On Sunday 11th September at 6 p.m. in the Holst Hall, James Allen’s Girls’ School, East Dulwich Grove, the James Allen Community Orchestra (JACO) will be giving a concert in aid of local charity Dulwich Helpline. The programme will consist of Elgar’s Cello Concerto (Soloist: Paul Brunner) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. There is now a well-established partnership between the two organisations and this will be the orchestra’s ninth concert in respect of this. Tickets priced at £7 (concessions - £5) can be obtained by sending a stamped-addressed envelope and cheque (payable to “JAGS”) to “Music Department, JAGS, East Dulwich Grove, London SE22 8TE”.
JACO is a vibrant high-calibre orchestra made up of local professional and non-professional musicians. They currently perform twice-yearly, and they always play major works from the orchestral repertoire.
On Sunday 27th November Brian Green will give an illustrated talk entitled Three Spies and an Invention - a different account of wartime Dulwich which tells of an amazing series of coincidences which occurred in Dulwich during the Second World War. The talk will be in the Linbury Room, Dulwich Picture Gallery at 3pm Tickets £7 and £5 (concessions) will be available from Dulwich Helpline telephone 020 8299 2623.
Dulwich Helpline has recently introduced a Friends Scheme and if you’d like to become a “Friend of Dulwich Helpline”, please contact them for a Friends form on 020 8299 2623. You will receive their quarterly Newsletter and will be kept up-to-date on their various events.
Contact details: 020 8299 2623;
Further to the invitation to propose a CGS grant in ‘Looking Around with the Editor’ in the last edition of the Journal, here is my very modest suggestion.
A yield sign on the central divider of the roundabout at the junction of Sydenham Hill and Westwood Hill plus a pedestrian crossing.
This is the northernmost edge of College Ward but the double roundabout is an accident waiting to happen. Traffic eastbound from Crystal Palace speeds off after the 1st roundabout with Fountain Drive and clearly many people hate yielding at the almost immediate 2nd roundabout with Sydenham Hill.
I had the AA’s support when several years ago I proposed this to Southwark but they said a sign (then costing £300) was too expensive. All they did was to paint yield signs in the lanes approaching the second roundabout, which is better than nothing but often disregarded.
You will know that the Highway Code is absolute. Traffic must yield to vehicles already on the roundabout. I maintain a yield sign would be a constructive improvement. A pedestrian crossing at a spot to be decided at Sydenham Hill junction would be an absolute plus.
Fred Emery, Woodsyre, Sydenham Hill
Sunday 11th In aid of Dulwich Helpline - Concert by James Allen Community Orchestra. The programme will include Elgar’s Cello Concerto (soloist Paul Brunner) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4. Tickets £7 (concs £5) Send stamped addressed envelope to Music Dept., JAGS, East Dulwich Grove SE 22 8TE
Thursday 15th Dulwich Community Council Meeting - The Future of Dulwich Libraries. 7pm Dulwich Library, 368 Lordship Lane SE 22.
Thursday 22nd Dulwich Picture Gallery Masterpiece of the Month - Presiding Genius Lecture - Gainsborough: Mrs Sheridan - National Gallery of Art, Washington DC 7 for 7.30 pm Linbury Room £10 (includes glass of wine)
Saturday 24th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery - Jazz in the Garden with the Charles Cary-Elwes jazz group. Tickets £18 (students £5) 6.30pm-9.30pm. Bar available, bring a picnic.
Tuesday 27th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery. Lecture - What is Romanticism? by Val Woodgate. Linbury Room 7.45pm £10
Tuesday 4th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Lecture - Airy Visions painted with Steam: The art of JMW Turner. by Frank Woodgate Linbury Room 7.45pm £10
Thursday 6th Dulwich Picture Gallery Masterpiece of the Month - Presiding Genius Lecture - John Constable: The Leaping Horse - Royal Academy of Arts, London 7 for 7.30pm Linbury Room £10 (includes glass of wine)
Tuesday 11th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery - Lecture: Madmen or Visionaries? By Jo Walton Linbury Room 7.45pm £10.
Thursday 13th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - When we were Young: a Social and Design History of Children’s China James Allen’s Girls School 6th Form Lecture Theatre 7.30 for 8.00pm
Wednesday 19th October-Saturday 22nd October at 8pm - “Nuts” by Tom Toper directed by ?Isabelle Manevy and David St Clare Nelson? Set in a courtroom in New York's Bellevue Hospital, the story follows a?high-priced call girl incarcerated on a charge for killing a violent client.?The State, represented by a court appointed psychiatrist and an aggressive prosecutor,?say Claudia Faith Draper is unfit to stand trial. As testimony from experts, physicians? and her parents unfolds, with her psyche and childhood dissected, she attempts to prove?that she isn't "nuts" - and claim the right to trial for manslaughter. At the Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College . Tickets £8 from The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village
Tuesday 25th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Lecture - Truth and Nature: The Landscapes of John Constable by Rosalind White. Linbury Room 7.45pm £10
Tuesday 1st Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Lecture - Gothic Nightmares by Peter Scott. Linbury Room 7.45pm £10
Thursday 3rd Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery In Town Series Lectures - Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern 7 for 7.30pm Linbury Room £10 (includes a glass of wine)
Sunday 6th Dulwich Society - ‘Covering Shakespeare and McKellen’ David Weston talks about, and performs cameos from the literature of the Bard, and about his new book ‘Covering McKellen’. Linbury Room Dulwich Picture Gallery 3pm. Dulwich Society member households free but ticket required (email:
Tuesday 8th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Lecture - Neo- Romanticism by Linda Smith. Linbury Room 7.45pm £10 (includes glass of wine)
Thursday 10th Dulwich decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - A Crisis of Brilliance: Young British Artists 1908-1919 James Allen’s Girl’s School 6th Form Lecture Theatre 7.30 for 8pm
Thursday 24th Dulwich Picture Gallery Masterpiece of the Month - Presiding Genius Lecture -David Hockney: Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy - Tate Britain. 7 for 7.30pm Linbury Room £10 (includes glass of wine)
Saturday 26th Dulwich Symphony Orchestra - Concert - Mendelssohn Overture: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Op 27. Alban Berg: Violin Concerto soloist: Amanda Lake. Butterworth: Rhapsody: A Shropshire Lad. Elgar: Enigma Variations Op 36. Guest conductor - Leigh O’Hara. The concert starts at 7.45pm All Saints Church, Lovelace Road SE 21. Tickets £8 concs. £5, children under 16 free. All available on the door.
Sunday 27th In aid of Dulwich Helpline - an illustrated talk by Brian Green: Three Spies and an Invention: a different account of wartime Dulwich. Linbury Room, Dulwich Picture Gallery at 3pm. Tickets £7 (concs £5) from Dulwich Helpline tel no. 020 8299 2623
I graduated from Bristol University two months ago. It is a cliché to say that your university days are the ‘best of your life’ but these last three years in the West Country will certainly take a lot of beating as I grow older. Sadly these things must always come to an end and so looms that horrible period where I must relinquish my freedom, move back in with my parents and start searching incessantly (and often fruitlessly) for employment.
That aside, I am one of the lucky ones. I have loving parents who are more than happy to take me back into their London home, a steady part time job and as of last week, a two month unpaid internship with a London orchestra in September to get me started.
To get your foot on the ladder, the most common procedure at the moment is to obtain an internship - the golden ticket into the working world. An internship is a blanket term for the privilege of being taken on by a company, with the details of the position varying from profession to profession, employer to employer. What I have come to realise is that the word internship is often a very dressed up way of saying ‘general dogsbody/office slave’. The content of the position is not the main sell; the objective is to obtain as many of these positions as possible in order to list them under the ‘previous experience’ subtitle of your CV. Your intimate knowledge of the coffee and photocopying machines and the ability to open letters at lightning speed are all skills which can be honed during an internship.
Rarely are these positions paid, which makes it near impossible for many to undertake them due to extortionate travel/accommodation expenses which they inevitably incur. And with so many applicants, the only way to distinguish between good and bad candidates is to put them through a rather gruelling interview process. At an interview last week I was asked ‘what are your weaknesses?’ What did they want me to say? That I have a proclivity to fall asleep if left on my own in a warm room? Or that as an arts student I am unable to function before 11 am (at the very earliest) and that, like a child, an afternoon nap is a daily necessity? I settled for ‘I work too hard’. Not bad for thinking on my feet. If all this seems rather daunting for an unpaid role, it is a reflection of the scarcity of employment and the competitiveness of applicants.
And as jobs become more and more scarce, sadly the cost of education is increasing rapidly. At my graduation ceremony my head of department asked if I was considering doing a Masters. My reply was that I honestly had not given it much thought, but the past year had really shown that I would love to continue studying, although perhaps not until next year, after I have had some time to experience the working world and to decide what I would like to specialise in. To my shock, he told me that if I were to wait a year to enrol for a Masters, the price was going to go up from £4000 to an eye-watering £8000+. I can’t quite see the logic in raising the cost of education this much, as if the more years that pass, the more money students are magically going to have to conjure up from out of nowhere.
At the end of it all it is my parents who I feel sorry for the most. You would think that after 21 years of rearing a child you should be welcome to a well earned rest. Yet the current situation for many parents is very different and the prospect of your beloved now-adult-children invading your retirement with the inability to alleviate your parental stress with the certainty of a stable future is to become an all too familiar reality.
To end, I would like to repeat a rather insulting joke which I am frequently told: what do you say to a music graduate with a job? “A burger and fries, please”. Whoever that graduate is, I’d like to know how on earth they managed to get into the employment
In the previous two issues of the Journal, the diaries of Richard Randall, organist at Christ’s Chapel from 1763-1782, have provided a window though which to observe the everyday life of a busy eighteenth century professional musician. Through the pages of the diaries we also have the rare privilege of finding a first hand account of life in Dulwich in that period.
Richard Randall was an engaging character. We have already seen why he was such a popular guest at numerous Dulwich houses and as an eligible bachelor he would also have appealed to its young ladies, or those with an enthusiasm for country walks, music and dancing. He also enjoyed the company of men; he loved cricket, a smoke in the pub, a modest gamble at cards and a willingness to try out new pursuits. When he had dined well, he made a note of it. So we find that a meal at one of Dulwich’s eighteenth century gastro inns would set him back 9/- and he records that he ate boiled goose and gooseberry pudding at both the Greyhound and at The Green Man.
As a diversion from having to continually rush from his music lessons for the twelve poor scholars at the College, or his organist’s duties at the Chapel on Sundays, to professional singing engagements at the opera house or theatre in London, he would take a walk around Dulwich (his favourite, for he mentions it frequently, was to a place he calls Pig Hill. This is probably Peak Hill at Norwood). On the other hand he noted that he went bird catching with Mr Watson one winter’s day in 1764 and skated on the Common on another two years later. He once took drawing lessons, one Sunday after chapel in 1767, for which he paid half a guinea, the amount he earned for a performance at the Opera House.
In May 1763, after he had played the organ for Sunday morning service at the Chapel, he patronised the Bird Fair, held on the Common, with Mr Normandys, a family friend. A month later, he also went to the grander Dulwich Fair, kept on Monday the 6th June. He tells us he visited the Peckham Fair on Wednesday 2nd August in 1769. One summer occupation he clearly looked forward to was hay-making, and he helped with this task for several years. In June 1769 he helped Mr Adams with hay-making during the daytime, and then took himself off to town to see the play The Orphan in the evening. In the summer of 1772 he put in five days of hay-making for his brother-in-law, Mr Hewitt in his fields in Dulwich. As a reward for this agricultural assistance Richard Randall was invited back in September to various ‘Harvest Homes’, a fore-runner of today’s harvest festival, when the wine and beer would flow and tables of food would groan in celebration of getting in the harvest. Undoubtedly, Richard would be asked to sing at these celebrations.
Dulwich seemed to offer plenty of diversions when his College or professional engagements allowed him a break. A favourite was the regular monthly Assembly held on a Monday at the Green Man Tavern (now the site of the Grove Tavern, Dulwich Common). The entrance fee was a guinea and he would either dance or play cards. On occasions, he would act as steward of the proceedings. The diaries tell us of many other relaxing moments, from the summer’s day in 1768 when he amused himself by watching the Long Pond being dragged (it was some 70 yards long and was later drained and is now covered by the St Barnabas Paris Hall), before going to the assembly dance in the evening. On Monday 13th September that year he celebrated his 32nd birthday by again dancing at the Assembly. For dancing, he wore dancing pumps, for which he paid 6/6 per pair. Among his personal expenditure he also noted that he paid the village barber, Mr Ballard, a guinea for one year’s shaving. One item of mild extravagance was in 1766 when he paid half a guinea to an artist named Robson to have his portrait painted. He sat for the painting 29th February 1768 - a Leap Year. He does not say if it was intended for anyone.
Sometimes his diversions were more unusual; he went to watch an Old Bailey trial and later saw a public hanging. He liked the theatre and went frequently, either to town or to Sadlers Wells. One intriguing entry for September 1768 was his excursion to see what he writes as “To Mrs Fenwick’s to the play Dulwich Fair Penitent”. This play, regularly performed, was based on a manuscript in the archives of Dulwich College and may have been one of those taken by David Garrick for his collection in exchange for a number of ‘modern books’ he gave to the College. The manuscript is now in the British Library.
Among the diaries there is not one entry to suggest Richard Randall was ever a victim of crime, in a century famous for its footpads and highwaymen, despite his constant journeys to town, often returning late at night. Perhaps he was just lucky. He tells us sometimes how he made these journeys. Often he walked, sometimes rode in a friend’s chaise or borrowed the Warden’s ‘chariot’. More often he probably took the regular stagecoach.
Richard Randall joined a club which met at the Greyhound on Mondays (when there was no Assembly) and where he would sometimes have supper. He first attended another club, the Dulwich Quarterly Meeting (later renamed The Dulwich Club, which still exists) in December 1776 which then met four times a year on a Saturday, at the French Horn (now the site of Pedder Estate agency and ‘Rokeby’ in the Village).
The eighteenth century was a very clubbable era. Clubs opened to cater for a variety of interests, ranging from science, the arts and literature to ones devoted to the singing of unaccompanied rounds, called ‘catches’ between the courses of dinner. The composers Henry Purcell and Thomas Arne are credited with being the prolific composers of such songs, some of which were crowded with innuendo and the obscene lyrics which only became apparent at the end of a line, at which, no doubt, the attendees fell apart in laughter. Such a club, which still exists, was named ‘The Noblemen and Gentlemen’s Catch Club’ better known simply as The Catch Club. Today it meets at the House of Lords. The Catch Club was founded in 1761 and its secretary for the first thirty years of its life was Thomas Warren. Richard Randall sang on a number of occasions at the invitation of Mr Warren and composed catches himself. His remuneration for the evening was a half guinea, but one assumes he was also entertained to supper.
More financially rewarding were his appearances at the three main pleasure gardens of London in the second half of the eighteenth century - Vauxhall, Ranelaugh and Marylebone. Vauxhall was the earliest to be founded, in 1661 and it was only closed in 1859 because of competition from the newly opened Crystal Palace. Ranelaugh entered the scene in 1741 when a syndicate, led by the proprietor of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, purchased the site (now the venue for the Chelsea Flower Show and grounds of the Chelsea Hospital). Marylebone Gardens opened in 1731 but was never in quite the same class as its rivals. Nevertheless, composers such as G F Handel and James Hook performed their works there and the gardens lasted until 1778. The manager from 1768 until it closed was the composer Samuel Arnold.
Richard Randall and Samuel Arnold were friends; both had begun their musical careers in the choir of the Chapel Royal under the hand of the renowned Bernard Gates. It was Arnold who engaged Randall to sing at Marylebone Gardens in 1770 when he sang Johann Christian Bach’s Oratorio. He had previously sung at both Vauxhall and Ranelaugh and at the former had, that same year, composed the music for a poem he had chanced upon in a newspaper. This song gives a good indication of what became known as the Vauxhall song - the pop music of the eighteenth century. It was the first music to attract a mass audience (of over a hundred thousand each season) drawn from all sectors of society, and from all parts of Britain and overseas. The singers became huge stars - people like Thomas Lowe and Cecilia Arne in the early years, and Joseph Vernon, Charles Dignum, and Mrs. Weichsell, later on. Charles Dignum was regularly engaged to sing at the Dulwich Club’s quarterly meetings.
Some of the song titles will still be familiar to modern audiences - Nymphs and Shepherds, Black-Eyed Susan, Sally in our Alley, Delia, and the Dashing White Sergeant, for example, or the hugely successful Lass of Richmond Hill, written by the prolific James Hook amongst many songs he composed for Vauxhall. In 1780, reflecting the more turbulent times a popular song was ‘The soldier’s farewell at parting with his wife for America’. In 1770, the year Richard Randall composed his song there were six collections of ballads sold by music publishers which were sung at Vauxhall. Some of this sheet music was published by William Randall, Richard’s uncle, a music publisher in Catherine Street off the Strand and where he had the monopoly on publishing Handel’s music.
Here are three verses of the song, sung at Vauxhall Gardens by Richard Randall
To please me the more and to change the Dull Scene
My swain took me oft to the sports on the green
And to every fine sight would tempt me to roam
For he feare’d least my heart should grow weary of home
To yield to my Shepherd so fond & so kind
I left my dear cot & true pleasures behind
And oft as I went saw t’was folly to Roam
For false all the joy was that grew not at home.
Ye nymphs and ye shepherds so frolick & gay
Who in roving now flutter your moments away
Believe it my aim shall be never to roam
But to live my life here & be happy at home.
Richard Randall unquestionably enjoyed the company of young ladies and one name in particular recurs in the pages of the diary time and time again. The person was Sally La Cour, one of two sisters who, according to Patrick Darby, lived in a house to the north of the old Greyhound, possibly in the still-standing converted Georgian house now divided into two as The Hollies and The Laurels. The two sisters ran a school for young ladies and such was the effect of the eligible young organist and Fellow of the College upon them, that he was able to suggest that they might declare a half-day holiday for their young charges, a request which apparently could not be denied by Ms La Cour. But we rush on apace. The first encounter took place over a month earlier, on Friday 22 May 1768 when a walk is mentioned. Richard pays another visit to Ms La Cour on the 31st May and then returns almost daily for supper or another walk for all of the month of June and the first half of July. He mentions enjoying a hot loaf for breakfast on one of these occasions.
It was a professional engagement to sing at Canterbury Cathedral on 2nd August which might have cooled the romance. Richard was clearly going to make a decent holiday out of this booking by extending the visit to Kent. On the Monday following the recital he visited Margate. It was there he indulged in the then popular craze of sea-bathing, hiring one of the famous bathing machines offered by Benjamin Beale. Beale had invented a bathing machine in 1750 with a modesty hood to allow naked bathers to enter the sea unobserved, an improvement on the original bathing machine which made its first appearance in Scarborough some twenty years earlier.
After a bathe, it was time, according to Richard’s diary, to wave at the Parade before dining at the Fountain Inn. The Fountain Inn was not only the main coaching inn which offered connections to London via Canterbury, but it also had a stable at the rear which had been converted some years earlier into a theatre. It was there that Richard Randall enjoyed a performance of The Beggar’s Opera, still hugely popular 40 years after its first performance (and still presented at the Theatre Royal Margate). The following Monday, he took a walk to view Lord Holland’s extraordinary Fort Pleasant and in the evening he made a visit to the Assembly Rooms for dancing before rounding off the day by having dinner at the Fountain. It would appear that Richard Randall’s lodgings were actually in nearby Minster although the trip to the seaside apparently presented little difficulty because further sea bathing took place two days later, followed by a visit to the village of St Lawrence where its fair was in progress and where Richard recorded enjoying ‘very good ale’..
The Bathing Machine
Although he continued to see Miss La Cour on his return, she had now become his music pupil. His diary now refers to her as Sally La Cour. The years went by and they still went for walks and he was still invited to the La Cour home for meals.
An intriguing entry in the diary of 1774 June 9th reads ‘Dine and sup at Lord Stanley’s. Home at 3 o’clock in the morning’. It seems that his lordship was making the most of both attaining his majority and thereby succeeding to his title (his father had died two years earlier when he was aged 19) as well as celebrating his victory at the general election of 1774, when he was elected for the county of Lancaster, and held his seat in Parliament as such until his succession to the peerage as Earl of Derby. Nearly a fortnight later he was to marry Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, only daughter of James, sixth Duke of Hamilton and Brandon, so it must have been some bachelor party.
The entry about Richard Randall’s own matrimonial plans seems to come without any previous indication of such a big step but as several of the previous years diaries are missing, there might have been a reference in those. A lady named Nancy begins to make frequent appearances in the pages of his dairies; was she a cousin perhaps? And then another cousin named Sally is mentioned and before we know it Richard Randall in his diary tells us that he marries on 2nd April1782, after having breakfast with his brother-in-law, Richard Morphets, who lives near Dulwich Common. The marriage takes place at the Chapel and the celebrations afterwards are held at The Grove House, where he dines, has tea and sups. The expenses of the Wedding Dinner amounted to £17.0.0. So was it the Grove House which succeeded the Green Man Tavern or was it the house named the Grove House, which lay on the other side of the highway we now call Dulwich Common?
Richard Randall’s nuptials required his resignation from the College as organist and he must have been disappointed that his friend Thomas Attwood’s son, who would later become a famous composer and organist, failed to succeed him. Richard and his bride left Dulwich to take up residence in their house at Foots Cray, a village where he had relatives.
He seems contented with married life, although his wife barely gets a mention in the pages of the diary. He tells us that the house in Foots Cray has a room with a bow window where he likes to sit and look out on his garden. That summer he again joined in the hay-making, watched a cricket match at St Mary Cray, took walks, gathered currants in the morning, shelled peas and played the harpsichord every day. Later in the year he resumed his professional engagements. He also took employment at a school in Eltham and made himself available to coach private pupils. He was still a snappy dresser; treating himself to a new silk waistcoat and buying a fashionable ‘round hat’ price fifteen shillings. He returned to Dulwich immediately after Christmas for two dinners amongst his old colleagues, one held at the College and the other at the French Horn.
There is a final entry, on the back cover and dated 1785. Richard attended a reunion dinner of the former choristers of the Chapel Royal at the Star & Garter in Pall Mall. He is listed among those who sang that evening, including the famous John Beard. Richard Randall continued to sing and play the organ professionally and was still getting good notices at the age of 76. By 1794 he was living in Stockwell, possibly in his mother’s old house. He died, aged 92 in 1828.
A genus of about eleven species of spectacular late-summer flowering deciduous trees, mostly of low spreading habit, which were introduced to this country in 1726, from the E.United States, being native in N.America, the Caribbean and E.Asia.
In London the most popular is C.bignonioides or the Indian Bean Tree, occasionally called a cigar tree, which can be found in many parks, and can tolerate city pollution. It is a medium sized tree with exotic scented white flowers, with yellow and purple markings resembling fox-gloves, its leaves are broad and heart-shaped. The beans, which form after the flowers, and hang pendulously, are long (18cms) and slender brown-green pods which contain many small flat seeds with wings attached for wind dispersal. These pods generally remain on the tree until the following year when they open with clicking sounds in the wind before dropping. This year has been an exceptional one for the flowers of this species, all across the capital.
Because of their large leaves these trees provide superb sun shade and also excellent shelter from rain, making them popular with birds - especially, and rather unfortunately, with parakeets, another burgeoning pest. This tree is happy in most soils but prefers good drainage.
There was a magnificent Catalpa which grew in the Chaplain’s Garden (now part of Dulwich Picture Gallery garden), photographed in 1917, when it was already large and mature and enjoying a sheltered spot.
Other splendid examples, of different ages, can be found in our local parks and the C.b. ‘Aurea’ is the Golden variety, which can be seen at the cross-roads of Dulwich Common and College Rd., and one of the most recently planted is in the Village as a memorial to Mark Evison, so tragically killed, aged 26, in 2009 in Afghanistan. Another good example is in the garden of St. James’s Piccadilly, planted in 1923, opposite the Royal Academy of Arts.
The name is a corruption of Catawba, the Native American name for these trees, whose wood was sometimes used for the tribal totem pole. The oldest Catalpa of 150 years, is in the graveyard of St Mary Butts, in Reading, where I was born.
Correction (from the Spring 2012 edition of The Journal)
At the time of writing about Catalpa trees in the Autumn 2011 issue, it was thought that the village tree planted in memory of Mark Evison was a Catalpa. It is now found to be a Paulownia, easily confused in the young state, and as such is rather more appropriate in the village position that it occupies. We can already see the buds of the mauve foxglove- type flowers, which blossom in May and are said to have a lovely scent.