50th Anniversary Party

All members are warmly invited to attend the Society’s 50th anniversary party on Saturday October 12th 7.30-9,30pm at St Barnabas Parish Hall, Dulwich Village. The cost is £7.50 per person which includes drinks and light refreshments (the Society is subsidising the event!). The evening will include musical entertainment and a further showing of the 1967 Dulwich Millennium remastered film The date chosen is a mere two days off from the date of the Society’s inaugural meeting in 1963.

If you are intending coming to the party please complete the enclosed application form.

Journal deliveries

We are still looking for further volunteers to deliver Journals in the local area, particularly in the Alleyn Road/Alleyn Park area and in Great Brownings on College Road. Please contact the chairman on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are able to help.

Southwark Council gives planning consent for a new development on Metropolitan Open Land in Dulwich

Sue Badman reports:
 On Tuesday 23rd July, Southwark Council Planning Sub-committee A gave planning consent to Southwark Community Sports Trust (SCST) who run the Dulwich Sports Ground in Turney Road to construct a temporary modular standalone building (portakabin) on a site adjacent to the club pavilion and an iconic willow tree, on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) The portakabin would be clad to blend with the environment, and would house a daytime nursery and a wet weather sports teaching facility at other times.
 Planning Confusion and Poor Consultation
SCST submitted a planning application to Southwark at the end of May but the application and drawings were first published on 3rd July due to delays within the Council. After some initial confusion, the Council announced that the closing date for the consultation was 27th July. It then emerged that the planning hearing would take place on 23rd July some four days before the end of the consultation. Residents and local councillors complained but Southwark Planning insisted that holding the hearing before the end of the consultation was perfectly acceptable and not unusual. If objectors raise a material issue before the end of the consultation period, officers will refer the application back to the planning committee in September and the decision notice will therefore be held over. In such circumstances, SCST could not proceed with the work.
Up to now residents have enjoyed good relationships with SCST and were disappointed and surprised that SCST had elected not to hold a pre-planning public consultation with local residents and amenity groups. Furthermore SCST decided to start work on the site foundations early without consent which further enflamed local opinion against the development.
Travesty at the Planning Committee
Some 55 local residents attended two public meetings with SCST, and the application attracted over 90 objections (as well as approx. 10 letters of support) from across Dulwich. The Turney Road residents affected by the proposed building strongly objected on the grounds of inappropriate commercial development on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL)/green space, and the precedent that would set for landowners and developers to trample over our green spaces.
Residents attended the planning hearing on 23rd July in force but the committee didn’t listen to residents’ or local councillors’ concerns. Any exploration of the issues around MOL by the committee members fizzled out or got blocked by planners who were resolved to grant consent.
Consent was granted subject to conditions relating to the tree and a green transport plan, and to no new material concerns emerging before the end of the consultation period.
All is not lost
At the time of writing, a number of residents have written to challenge Southwark’s interpretation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), now in force, in relation to MOL and green space, and the lack of attention to the flood risk.
We’ll report back in the next journal.

S G Smith in Dulwich Village

It has been confirmed that S G Smith are moving their Audi servicing business out of Dulwich though they will still sell cars from the showroom at the front. This is very good news for Dulwich, it will remove the parking stress being experienced by Gilkes Crescent and other roads near the centre of the Village and considerably improve the physical environment. The Dulwich Estate proposes to build nine houses on the site and a public consultation was held on 15 and 16 July at S G Smith’s showroom.

The Society welcomes the principle of residential development but is also keen to see provision for older residents, particularly the introduction of warden controlled flats – this is a central location and would enable those older residents who wish to remain in Dulwich to downsize in the area.

Trees Committee Autumn Colour Coach Trip

The now annual fixture in the Society ‘s calendar, the Trees Committee’s Autumn colour coach trip will this year be to Myddelton House Gardens and Capel Manor Gardens on Thursday 24th October (see booking form page ?). Myddelton House was the home of the famous plantsman E A Bowles and the garden has recently been restored. Capel Manor College trains the horticulturalists of the future. It has 30 acres of themed gardens.

The Society on BBC Television

The Society appeared on two programmes on BBC London local news in June and July. The first instance was in an article about the war memorial plaques from Christchurch East Dulwich recently found at Wellingborough Prison. Brian Green from the Society described the importance of the plaques and our wish to return them to their original location.

The second was the dedication of the memorial plaque for bombing victims of WW2 at Park Hall Road. The plaque was unveiled by one of the survivors who lived nearby.

Gardens Group Summer Visit

The Autumn colour trip compliments the Summer trip organized by the Society’s Gardens Group which this year visited Parham. Bernard Victor reports:

The house and gardens of Parham were specially opened for the Dulwich Society, so we did not have to contend with other visitors. We were greeted by the Curator, who split us into two parties, one to tour the gardens in the morning and the other to be taken around the house, the process reversing in the afternoon. However before starting on our visit we all enjoyed coffee and cake in the 15th century Big Kitchen.

I was in the gardens’ morning group, which was led by the young, witty and very knowledgeable Head Gardener. After a short talk on the development of the garden, we were conducted through the conservatory to the walled kitchen garden ( which is still dedicated to producing a regular supply of flowers to decorate the house and vegetables for use in the kitchen). We then moved onto the small but very well planned rose garden. Unlike some rose gardens which are filled with many different varieties, the number of varieties here was restricted to just a few to get the maximum effect. Our garden visit ended at the herbaceous borders and the old orchard and there was a chance to buy some plants before we enjoyed a pre-ordered cold lunch. After lunch, my party was taken for a tour of the house. This too was led by a very knowledgeable guide.

Premier Hire, Burbage Road

This plant hire business which operates from the northern Network Rail railway arches in Burbage Road is seeking to expand its operations. Local residents are already concerned over the number of trucks parking illegally in the road and the amount of noise and disruption that they are experiencing early in the morning. The Council parking enforcement teams have promised to monitor the situation but questions are being asked as to whether this is an appropriate type of business to be carried on in a residential area.

Judith Kerr Free School, Half Moon Lane:

The Society welcomed the new school on the former Sir James Black Laboratory Site in Half Moon Lane in principle but shares local residents’ concerns over the traffic and parking implications. Although the plans suggest that parents will drive in and out of the site, the proposed gate is not wide enough to allow two vehicles to pass. Traffic will back up along Half Moon Lane and impact on cars coming down Holmdene Avenue directly opposite. It is likely that the new access will lead to changes in the layout of Half Moon Lane, including moving the adjacent pedestrian crossing, and the introduction of a 20mph zone complete with raised tables and footway build outs.

Dulwich Society Newsletter Digitalisation

For the past ten years, firstly the Newsletter and more recently the renamed Journal has been available to be read online and has been a valuable tool for anyone interested in Dulwich. The Archives Department of Dulwich College has now offered to digitalise the earlier issues. Our secretary, Patrick Spencer has a complete run for our own archive with the exception of nos. 58 & 72. He would be very grateful if any member could supply these. The process requires a second set which can be taken apart for the digitalization process. There is a second set but we are missing Newsletters nos. 85,88,94,98, 103-4.

The Concrete House – Restored at last!

The listed Concrete House, 549 Lordship Lane, has for several decades been a worsening eyesore on the edge of Dulwich opposite St Peter’s Church in Lordship Lane. Under the guidance of Diana Beattie (who is a Dulwich Society member) Director of the Heritage of London Trust and with the assistance of Southwark Council, English Heritage, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Dulwich Society the house has been rescued from the brink of ruin and restored. Interestingly, it was Piloti of Private Eye who first flagged up the dodgy owner of the property who was interested in seeing the house crumble so that the site could be redeveloped.

The Concrete House was formally opened by the Duke of Gloucester on 13th June. The Hexagon Housing Association is now managing the property which accommodates five affordable flats. Members of the public will be able to see the house during Open House Weekend / September.

The full story of the builder of the house, Charles Drake was the subject of an article by his grandson, David Scott Cowan which appeared in the Journal in the winter edition 2010 (it can be read on the online Journal archive). The restoration itself was so complex that we asked the architect, Paul Latham. to allow us to reproduce his account of the work, which appeared in the booklet put together by Ian McInnes for the opening ceremony.