Too Many Balls in the Air?

The Dulwich Estate has a number of redevelopment schemes in hand, some of which are unlikely to reach fruition in the foreseeable future.  One that might, is the SG Smith Motors’ garage workshop site in the middle of the Village for which full planning permission has been applied for. A consultation was held for local residents and those in Gilkes Crescent made objections which were taken into account in a revised scheme, but those living in Calton Avenue woke up to the plans at the last moment, and despite a spirited meeting with the architects, their objections were made too late and they were advised to make them direct to Southwark Council Planning department.

The long-heralded conversion of the Crown & Greyhound into a boutique hotel with restaurant, bar and function room has now started with the demolition of the large garage and some outbuildings. So far, the bar areas have not been affected although it is understood that the Dog will close at the end of the summer season, although a date at the time of writing has yet to be announced.  Its closure will bring to three the number of pubs leased by the Dulwich Estate which will be closed.

One of the others, The Half Moon at Herne Hill, closed because of flooding and the tenant apparently decided not to re-open and handed back the lease.  The Half Moon has the distinction of being a Grade 2 ⃰ listed building as well as having a tradition of being a music venue (local folklore claims that both The Who and Led Zeppelin performed there in their early days).  The Dulwich Estate has announced that it proposes to re-develop the pub itself; a brave venture under the circumstances.  The plans envisage a purpose built sound-proof space for live music while at the same time re-developing the first and upper floors into flats.  There are likely to be objections to this aspect of the scheme and probably alternative uses for the rooms above the bars and music space will have to be found. Certainly one observer has suggested a gym. The building of flats at the rear of the pub will probably meet with approval.  Given the fact the building is listed, do not expect the Half Moon to re-open soon.

Yet another scheme, and one that seems to be doomed never to be completed, is the redevelopment of the former United Dairies site in Croxted Road.  As the dairy closed some 20 years ago, there has already been an unacceptable delay in rebuilding. Now, it is understood, the area health authority has decided not to support a group medical practice on the site.  Much of the remainder of the site was to provide affordable housing (without parking provision). A requirement by Lambeth Council, apparently, is that redevelopment of the site has to offer employment opportunities in the resulting building.  Considerable time and money have been wasted on this exercise and a stronger appeal for housing provision on this brownfield site should be made by the Estate, over the head of Lambeth Council if necessary.

We are also left with the completely unsatisfactory case of the closed Grove Tavern pub at the important junction of Lordship Lane and Dulwich Common.  It is not sufficient for the Dulwich Estate to say that the rent is being paid; clearly the tenants are considering selling the site for development.  They have a requirement in their lease that they should open for trade.  They appear to be in breach of this and should be brought to account promptly.

They are Remembered
Readers will recall the efforts by the Dulwich Society to return three bronze World War 1 memorials to their original location.  Despite publicity from BBC London TV News, the congregation of Christ Church, Barry Road declined to accept them on the grounds that they were a new and amalgamated congregation and had indeed recorded the names of the men of the former church who fell in the war in a Memorial Book which is on view.

The bronze memorials were taken down when the original church (formerly Emmanuel Church) which stands next to Christ Church, was sold to a care home.  They were, with the church’s wooden pews, sent to Wellingborough     Prison in Northamptonshire, apparently for use by the prisoners in the workshops.  The importance of the memorials was recognised and they were rescued and then lost until the prison closed at the end of 2012 when they were rediscovered.  Apparently they had also been rescued in the intervening years from a skip!  The prison authorities handed them to a local aviation museum where enthusiasts traced the names of the men on the memorials to East Dulwich and to a Non-Conformist church.  The former Emmanuel Church was identified and In the autumn of 2012 the Dulwich Society received custody of them.

We are pleased to report that the memorials have been re-instated in the original church (now named Barry House) where they are displayed in a prominent place in the foyer of what is now an out-sourced Home Office facility for the temporary accommodation of asylum seekers.  A formal ceremony of rededication, at which it is hoped members of the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) and a colour party from the British Legion will be present, will be held this Autumn.

At  All Saints Church, West Dulwich, there are also plans to commemorate The Great War.  A leaflet has been issued by the church posing questions  -Do you think that it is important to remember? How important is the ‘Silence’ when you remember? What is the relevance of the of the Great War today? 

The congregation has also decided to find out more about the people who are named on the War memorial in the church.  They hope to find out when and where they died through looking at war archives and diaries of their regiments.  They also are hoping to build up a picture of how the returning wounded soldiers were treated and what life was like for those who did not sign up.  Occasional events exploring the music and poetry of the time will be arranged.

‘Queen of the Park’ Returns (briefly!)
The Journal received an unusual postcard recently – To all my old friends from Dulwich and beyond,  This is just to let you know that I am back on my old spot in Dulwich Park waiting for you all to pop over for a chat.  As you can see from my gay travel stickers, I have been away for some time.  I feel refreshed and ready to stand here for another forty years.  And I’ve lost some weight!  I‘m so glad that nothing is here to take my place – some old piece of metal posing as art.  Please keep all dogs on a lead.  With love from the Queen of the Park xx”

Our anonymous correspondent will be delighted to know that Tate Modern is to stage an exhibition of the works of Barbara Hepworth, the first for fifty years.  The installation of the replacement piece to the stolen ‘Divided Circle’, by Conrad Shawcross will take place when the flood alleviation work is completed.

Dulwich and District University of the 3rd Age

Never Stop Learning! A New Venture in Dulwich for the Retired

A prospective member phoned to express  interest in the U3A. “ I love to learn and I love to teach, and don’t really mind what”, he said. He articulated the thoughts of many of the retired and semi-retired locals who have come along to well attended meetings in Dulwich to get a local U3A branch set up.
The vision of the U3A, founded in the UK in 1982, is to recognise older people as active citizens with expertise, talents and skills to share, through an organisation that they control themselves. U3A groups now flourish throughout the country, with high membership numbers.

We intend to hold regular meetings for all to attend, usually on a weekday afternoon to share information, socialise and hear an interesting speaker. The first few meetings have aimed to raise awareness of our locality – Street Art in East Dulwich, The American Gardens in Dulwich Park, Herne Hill developments and the future of the Carnegie Library.

There is evidently an abundance of talented and motivated teachers  and learners in our local area and convenors have offered a variety of activities. Many of these Interest Groups  are organised in people’s homes on a wide range of subjects, such as languages ( French, Spanish, Japanese) Art and Music ( both appreciation and playing) , Politics, Philosophy, Poetry, Creative Writing, Crafts, Play reading, Computers  and many more, while some groups meet to go on walks or visit Museums and Galleries.

The Dulwich and District branch is run by a volunteer committee who aim to put interested parties in touch with each other and from then on it is up to you all to develop a successful self help organisation.
We are all learning as we go. Come along and meet us at an open meeting, become a member and join or start up Interest Groups of your choice.
Next Meetings 11th Sept. 2.00-4.00 Herne Hill Baptist Church, 6th Oct 2.00-4.00 Carnegie Library
Please contact us: Liz Day ( Chair) on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info.