The Dulwich Society Journal for Autumn 2018.
Brian Green and Helen Graham
The first evidence of pressure to achieve women’s suffrage in the Dulwich area dates to the petition to Parliament raised by John Stuart Mill in 1866. Of the 1500 signatories, three are from Dulwich area residents. They are Mary Finch, Elizabeth Hawkins and Eleanor Watson all from 4 Gipsy Hill. Others nearby include Miss M Thornley of Champion Hill, who was the Superior of the Ladies Collegiate School; Betsy and Catherine Green, Luton House Camberwell; and Anne Levey 188 The Grove, Camberwell.
In 1871 there were moves on another front which might also have contributed to the debate over women’s suffrage. This took the form of a public meeting, held in Dulwich Village and organised by the governors of Dulwich College. This was to discuss the matter of women’s education and whether it should enjoy the same standard and access to the same benefits as that for men. One of the speakers was Maria Grey who pointed out the “This glaring inequality (in education) ought surely to be corrected”. Maria Grey was a campaigner for women’s education and later set up the Girls’ Public Day School Trust (Dulwich High School would be one of its early achievements). She, and her sister Emily, were also suffragists and in 1870 Maria published a booklet Is the Exercise of the Suffrage unfeminine?. She demanded that girls should receive an education which would prepare them for their increased civil responsibilities.
It is therefore logical that educated women such as school mistresses were in the forefront of the women’s suffrage movement. Evidence for this can be found in a petition in the Archive of the Houses of Parliament in support of Women’s Suffrage, signed and delivered by the headmistress and mistresses of Dulwich High School for Girls (now Rosemead School) in 1884. It was a a highly well-thought of school with an impressive academic record under its charismatic headmistress, Mary Jemima Alger. The Petition reads:
To the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned the Head Mistress and Assistant Mistresses of the Dulwich High School
Sheweth That a measure is now before Parliament for extending the franchise to all men householders in the United Kingdom. That by this Bill two millions of the least educated section of the Community will be added to the electorate, while educated and intelligent women, who are head of households are excluded from the operation of the Bill although they contribute equally with men to the taxation of the Country. That among the persons so excluded are women landowners, who form one seventh of the land proprietors of the country; women of means and position living on their own property, schoolmistresses and other Teachers, women farmers, merchants manufacturers and shopkeepers besides large number of self-supporting women engaged in other occupations. They believe that the claim of these householders for admission within the pale of the Constitution is as reasonable as that of the County householders and that they would be at least equal in general and political intelligence to the great body of agricultural and other labourers who are to be enfranchised by the Government Bill.
That the injustice of excluding women householders from representation would be greatly intensified by the operation of the new service franchise, under which the servants of a Lady , living in houses for which she paid rent and taxes, would have the vote in right of the occupation of those houses while she herself though the head of the household would have no vote.
Wherefore your petitioners humbly pray that in any measure which may be submitted to your Right Honourable House, for amending the Law relating to the Representation of the People, your Lordships will make such provisions as shall seem expedient for the exercise of the Franchise by duly qualified women.
Mary Alger, Joan Grunner, Clara Arnold, Helen Cemions, Dora Knight, Mary E Swindells, Linacre Everfield, Ada B Hurrell, Emily Collyns, Maud M Eccott, Anna Barth, Sarah Luker, Gertude Smith, Ida Salvage, Bertha Taylor, Alice Russell, Margaret Morrison, Grace Louise Brassime, Catherine S Jones, Mary A Burrell, William Mann, Humphrey Stark MB
The last two names, those of men appear to be the school doctors.
The petition was noted but Parliament declined to act upon it. However, from around the date of this petition, suffrage societies started to liase with each other and by 1897 many came together to form the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. A Mrs Harvey of 46 The Gardens, East Dulwich was secretary of the local branch.
While the earlier campaigners, called suffragists, had sought the right of women to vote through peaceable and constitutional means, their failure to achieve this aim led to the formation of more aggressive campaigners who were called suffragettes.
A recent stiudy by Helen Graham of Dulwich U3A as part of a Royal Holloway, University of London, project has found that some strands of the suffragette movement were taking an evermore militant approach and that from 1911 attacks were made on private property, the campaign being stepped-up by Christobel Pankhurst in the following two years. Arson was a particular tool employed by the militants with fires started with the use of paraffin and there were arson attacks locally, one at Dulwich College and another at St Catherine’s church, near Telegraph Hill.
On September 5th 1913, it was reported that the Dulwich College science building was set on fire in two places with an estimated cost of damage as £280.The incendiarists must have considered the school a “posh” establishment for boys, and an easily accessible target for arson, especially for Suffragettes living in South London. A police constable discovered the fire and acted with great promptitude in raising the alarm in time to get three fire brigades on the scene before serious damage had been done. After the fire, Suffragette literature was found pinned to trees in the vicinity with women’s hatpins, and police accepted this as proof that a militant suffragette “Arson Squad” was responsible, but the incendiarists were never discovered. In the minutes of the Dulwich College Governors’ meeting for 19th September 1913 item 8 reads “The Chairman reported that a fire occurred early in the morning of 5TH September in the science building- the estimated cost of the damage being £280. The police are of the opinion that the fire was caused by Suffragettes but up to the present time the incendiaries had not been discovered. It was resolved that a gratuity of £2 and 2 shillings be made through the commissioner of police to the Police Constable who discovered the fire and acted with great promptitude in raising the alarm”. No mention of this incident was reported in the Dulwich College school magazine, The Alleynian. However, in their review of the Greek play “The Frogs of Aristophanes” performed on Founders Day July 1913 there is reference to a servant of Persephone-Hylas- “owing to a fear of suffragettes putting out the fire, only men servants are now allowed in Hades” .
Despite the suffragettes’ campaigns (suspended at the outbreak of the First World War) the generally accepted account of the achievement of partial women’s suffrage in 1918 was the government’s willingness to agree to petitions by women to work in munitions factories from 1915, an agreement later extended to other forms of employment to assist the war effort. Once this had been agreed there was no going back on accepting the role of women in society.
Each of my quarterly articles appear to be predicated on the weather and this is no exception as at the time of writing we are all experiencing a heat wave with daily temperatures of thirty degrees or more, a problem not just for us who swelter but birds that have to search for food in hard ground and also the quest of all species for water. It may indeed be a greater stress for some than the difficulties of winter. However the quarter started with an unseasonal spell of wintry weather which appeared to have caused a delay in the spring migration. Apart from the Willow warblers recorded in the last Journal, migrants that have dropped in include both the Common and the Lesser Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler that was heard singing in the reeds of the Dulwich Park Lake. The reeds are probably not extensive enough for Reed or Sedge Warblers to set up breeding territories but invaluable for drop in posts for Spring and Autumn migrants.
A number of readers have noted the love affair on the lake between a Canada and a Grey Lag Goose that has resulted in the birth of some unusual offspring. Hybridisation is well known to occur in both ducks and geese particularly in feral groups where there is more mixing than in truly wild populations. The offspring usually turn out to be infertile which means that the species remain intact, although the appearances of the so called F1 hybrids can test the identification skills of birdwatchers.
Apart from this, a pair of Little Grebes have nested and I noted at least three families of Tufted Ducks. Kestrels have nested once more on St Peter’s Church on Cox’s Walk and Sparrow Hawks have nested in Sydenham Hill Wood. The regular piles of pigeon feathers that have been noted by the Grange Lane allotment holders bear witness to the young Sparrow Hawks likely diet.
The disappointment this year was that by the second week of May, Swifts that by then should have been here screaming round our houses, had failed to arrive. Eventually a few did turn up and have mostly been seen flying high and it was most unclear as to how many if any were breeding. Swifts have been noted nationally to be in decline and some of this has been attributed to our making our houses too posh for them to find breeding sites in our roofs or eaves. The explanation may be more worrying that there are now not enough flying insects available for breeding nourishment. Many of us will remember a time when a car outing in the summer resulted in an insect cemetery on our windscreens and this now seems a thing of the past. Road waysides are no substitute for wild flower fields and meadows which supplied the basis for much of our insect population. In Dulwich having lost our House Martin colony it would be sad if we were no more to have Swifts breeding here. An ornithological classic book, Swifts in a Tower, by David Lack has recently been republished and my view is shared in its introduction with blame being firmly laid at modern agricultural practices. To this we can add air pollution.
2017 was not a good year for our native butterflies and we are hoping for better luck this year. The extremely cold weather in April may have put paid to the emergence of some of the hibernaters such as Peacocks and Tortoiseshells and I note that our roses have been less infested with Greenfly which may be an indicator, but we will have to wait and see. However the uncut field in Green Dale has enabled the survival of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Small Skippers, the so called Grass Butterflies in good numbers, which of course need the continuation of this habitat for their survival. If this habitat was to go so would they as they rarely stray from their breeding sites.
And finally as ever we have had Stag beetles, this one particularly friendly and photographed by Helen and Andrew Graham in Alleyn Road. The “antlers’ are of course prehensile mandibles which ensure imminent starvation hopefully after these males have performed their required duty. Do keep up your records both with and without photos.
Peter Roseveare Wildlife Recorder (tel: 020 7274 4567 email:
These two closely-related trees are both members of the birch family which, along with birch itself, also contains alder and hazel. All have alternate, simple leaves with toothed edges and all bear male and female catkins on the same tree.
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) is a native tree which has a predominantly south-eastern distribution in this country. It is an indicator species of ancient woodland and Dulwich is lucky enough to have it in the older parts of Dulwich Woods. It behaves there in a way typical of it in its natural habitat: as a graceful, rather retiring, component of the woodland rather than being a dominating feature. In other woods around London, however, it can impose itself more. Epping Forest, for example, abounds in hornbeam, some of which are pollard relics of the days when common fuelwood rights existed there. Hornbeam is first-rate as firewood because its wood is extremely hard, as suggested by its name: Horn because its wood is as hard as horn and beam from Baum, the German word for tree.
Hornbeam and its most commonly-planted cultivar, the fastigiate hornbeam (var.Fastigiata), also occur quite frequently in Dulwich as planted trees. Fastigiate refers to a plant with upright branches forming a narrow outline. The cultivar lives up to its name when young but it tends to thicken in middle-age, when its outline can resemble a large round balloon rather than the trim shape of its youth. If you want to see both trees together then a good place is Lovers Walk (also known as Grove Walk), where both have been planted, by the path and in the adjoining meadow to the south.
As to identification, in winter hornbeam’s buds are distinctive. They are oval, pointed, curved and held closely to the stem. This gives them a bent appearance from above, and makes them look like little mice running up the twig. Older books usually compare hornbeam leaves in summer to those of the elm, from which they differ by lacking the elm-leaf’s asymmetric base; more modern ones to those of the beech, from which they differ by having serrated edges and more pronounced veins. A fully mature hornbeam has a beautiful fluted, silvery-grey trunk. Nowhere was this better displayed than on the
splendid specimen that used to stand at the southern end of Dulwich Village, just before the roundabout on the east side. That tree, alas, had to be cut down a few years back.
The two hornbeams on College Road, on either side of the entrance to Frank Dixon Way, are just beginning to show signs of this fluting, particularly the southernmost one. The fastigiate hornbeams in Frank Dixon Way itself are already showing marked Falstaffian tendencies, despite being youngish trees.
Hop-hornbeam Ostrya carpinifolia, or European hop-hornbeam to give it its full name, is a much less common tree. It is a native of Southern Europe and Asia Minor and was introduced to Britain in 1724. There are many small differences between it and hornbeam but the most effective way of distinguishing between the two is to wait until their fruits have dried out in summer. The fruit of both trees occurs in distinctive hanging clusters, but that of hop-hornbeam is enclosed within a papery, inflated husk which makes it look very much like that produced by the hop plant. Hence the common name which, as is often the case, is much more usefully descriptive than the scientific one. Dulwich has two mature examples of hop-hornbeam: one in the Village burial ground, northern end, and the other at the south-eastern end of Frank Dixon Way, just before it meets Dulwich Common. Pleasingly, a third, younger, hop-hornbeam has been planted very near to the spot in Dulwich Village where its close relation, the magnificent hornbeam referred to in the previous paragraph, once stood. So it will be easy to keep an eye on the development of this most interesting tree.
The announced closure of Barclays Bank in Dulwich Village in October will hardly come as a surprise considering the number of branches of banks closing elsewhere. Like other banks, the Dulwich Village bank had staff who could assist worried customers as well as providing a human porthole to the world of personal finance. Long gone are the days when the manager would act as treasurer to the village school or parish council.
Is the day of the local shop itself also well and truly over? Well, one might argue that the village shop was already under considerable pressure in 1911 in what some consider to be the peak period of the golden age of the high street.. This pressure came in the form of competition from the chains of multiples which were springing up and run by grocery companies like Home & Colonial Stores and David Grieg who were able to offer keen prices because of their considerable buying power. At the same time, the sale of milk and bread were fast becoming the monopoly of the giant dairy and bakery companies through mechanisation. The former were taking advantage of better transport facilities such as dedicated early morning milk trains. Both milk and bread deliveries were being made door to door by roundsmen of which milk deliveries are hanging on by a thread today. Fruit and vegetables were still largely the province of the market stall although the long established Bartley family had already opened their fruiters and florists in the Village.
If we take the year 1911 as the high point of the golden age of local shops then a comparison with what exists today might be interesting. (see Overleaf) Accordingly we have Kelly’s Directory for that year as our guide. Then Dulwich Village was named the High Street and almost certainly bore similarities with high streets in villages up and down the land.
The demise of some businesses, the corn chandler, blacksmith, and saddler is of course a result of new technology - horses being replaced by the petrol engine. The loss of the several tobacconists has come as the result of the success of anti-smoking measures. That of a newsagent seems to reflect many people’s preference to receive news through their phone or tablet. An area which has seen recent growth is that of cycle shops (Dulwich Park has one in its Recumbents Hire).. Although the local pub is still very much under threat, the move to add rooms to the Crown & Greyhound recently can be seen as a wise step in offering wider facilities, although local historians will remind us that the old Greyhound coaching inn offered lots of bedrooms and a good restaurant and function room.
The absence today of confectioners (sweets shops) reflects the warnings about the effect of sugar on children’s health. Although there has been an absence of 20 years since the village had one butcher, let alone two, now that one has opened it reflects people’s preference to choose their meat rather than accepting what appears in a shrink-wrapped delivery. The same preference may also be seen by the re-opening of a baker’s shop. Interestingly, there are four ladies fashion shops in the Village when in 1911 there were none. Is because in 1911 ladies preferred to look through catalogues and order from those - an early form of Online, or have a local dressmaker make them for them?
So what will happen in the future? Will eateries increase or are these too under pressure from an over supply? Will people get disenchanted with online purchasing? Will legislation and rising costs make delivering goods unviable? Will post-Brexit deliver a rise or a fall in living standards thereby affecting spending power?
Considering World War 1 followed on the heels of 1911 and the shops in the Village survived the 1930’s Depression and post WW2 austerity, it gives good hope that shops will remain but some will inevitably change as we have seen since 1911.
- The Sari Project was Thomas King, corn chandlers?
- Harvey & Wheeler Estate Agents was Edward Bromley, boot makers
- Roger Pope Opticians was Walter Bartley fruiterers
- The Art Stationers & Village Top Shop was William Symcox stationers
- vacant shop was Misses Avice and Emily Fathers drapers
- Scobies Dry Cleaners was Charles Pickup Cycle Maker
- Deli D’Village was Rumsey Chemists
- Kinleigh Estate Agent was Carter & Co bakers
- Biff Childrens wear was Mrs Carter (trade unknown)
- Jigsaw women’s fashion was Alleyn Tobacco & Confectionery stores and public call office of National Telephone Co.
- Fired Earth Tiles was Charles Core Builder, contractor and decorative painter
- Rumsey Chemist was Richard Evans canine doctor
- Harold George hairdressing/Au Ciel café /Aqua fashion/ Knight Frank Estate Agent/Village Books were built in 1920’s on the site of Richard Evans’ blacksmith shop.
- Crown & Greyhound was still the Crown & Greyhound
- Rocca Italian restaurant occupies the former site of two shops - Harry Ames provision dealer and Wraight Dumbrill & Co dairy farmers
- Dulwich Vintners was W E Dean baker, confectioner and Post Office
- Tomlinson’s fashion and gifts was Henry Shinkfield general ironmongers
- Gail’s bakers and café was Price’s Stores and public call office National Telephone Co.
- Barclays Bank (closing October 2018) was London & South Western Bank
- Pedder Estate agent was Arthur Bartlett Bookseller & registrar of births, deaths and marriages for Dulwich. Adjoining was Tyne Main Coal Co.
- Lesley Leale Green women’s beauty salon was Frederick Flashman saddler
- Private house was Frederick Seager laundry
- Porters men’s hairdressers was Robert Wright boot maker
- Romeo Jones was Miss Nye tobacconist
- Bartley florists was London, Gloucester & Northants Dairy Co.
- Jane Newberrry was Samuel Adams butcher
- The Fat Sow butcher was Mrs Rayson confectioner
- Vacant shop on site of WJ Mitchell & Co builders yard
- Pizza Express restaurant was Edward Kingston butcher and public call office National telephone Co.
- The Real Greek restaurant was Richard Dicketts tobacconist
‘The Colour Palace’ - a lively and celebratory fusion of European and African cultural traditions by Pricegore and Yinka Ilori - has been chosen as the second Dulwich Pavilion for summer 2019. The temporary outdoor structure will open at Dulwich Picture Gallery during the London Festival of Architecture in June 2019. This winning entry has been selected through a design competition co-hosted by the Festival and the Gallery. In addition PUP Architects were the winners of the on-site public vote which consituted one vote at the panel judging.
Pricegore and Yinka Ilori’s ‘Colour Palace’ is intended as a celebration of colour, pattern and light, and draws upon both European and African cultural traditions in creating a design that could be relevant to, and representative of, multicultural London.
Dutchwaxprints on display in a Lagos market, and mirrored in London’s ‘Little Lagos’ in nearby Peckham, inspired the bold geometric pattern of the pavilion, which will create a powerful contrast alongside the more sedate and Grade II* listed gallery building, designed by Sir John Soane. Each side of the timber louvres forming the façade is painted a different colour, which in turn creates shifting layers of pattern when viewed from different perspectives around the pavilion.
Pricegore are an emerging architecture practice led by Dingle Price and Alex Gore, and are based in Peckham. Yinka Ilori is a London-based artist of Nigerian heritage, who specialises in creating furniture and other pieces that blend Nigerian traditions with contemporary design. The partnership overcame fierce competition from a field of 150 entries to win the competition, which was judged by a panel of leading architectural and cultural figures including Tom Dyckhoff (writer and broadcaster), Mary Duggan (founder, Mary Duggan Architects) and Oliver Wainwright (architecture correspondent, The Guardian). Members of the public visiting the gallery in June 2018 were also given the opportunity to have their say on the shortlisted designs.
The pavilion will act as an outdoor welcome and orientation space for visitors to the Dulwich Picture Gallery, as well as a flexible public space that can be used for performances, talks and other events. The pavilion’s lightweight timber frame structure is mounted on monumental feet (formed from precast concrete drainage channels) to maintain panoramic views of Sir John Soane’s Dulwich Picture Gallery and its gardens, and also contains a gantry around its internal perimeter that acts as a viewpoint for performances or other events within.
It is hoped that the pavilion will have a future life after its time at the Gallery. Thanks to its modular design, it will be possible to reconfigure the parts to create a shelter of different proportions or multiple structures of smaller scale.
The project builds on the success of the first ever Dulwich Pavilion in 2017 - After Image by IF_DO - which was one of the highlights of that year’s London Festival of Architecture and the Gallery’s bicentenary year. As well as helping the Gallery to overcome space constraints, attract new audiences and broaden its appeal to a wider demographic, the pavilion achieved critical acclaim and won multiple awards. The project was also transformational IF_DO: their first competition win resulted in global exposure, leading to a series of exciting new commissions that have enabled the practice to triple in size.
Dingle Price said:
‘We are thrilled to win the competition. Despite its temporary nature, it is a fantastic opportunity for us to design a prominent and celebratory civic building that will enrich the cultural offer of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and complement Soane’s masterpiece.’
Jennifer Scott, The Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, said:
‘This innovative, colourful space will act as a beacon of creativity and inclusion for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. On behalf of the judging panel (which included illustrious architecture specialists and our youth volunteer judge) I want to congratulate and thank all six of the shortlisted architecture practices for conceiving designs of the highest quality. We’re also hugely grateful to the public for joining in the vote and for supporting us as we showcase emerging talent within the extraordinary setting of the world’s first purpose-built art gallery.”
Tamsie Thomson, Director of the London Festival of Architecture, said:
‘At the London Festival of Architecture we revel in the unexpected, and I can’t wait to start working with Pricegore and Yinka Ilori to bring a little bit of Lagos to Dulwich. Their design for the second Dulwich Pavilion really wowed the judges, and I’m sure the Colour Palace will be one of 2019’s cultural highlights.’
Following the success of the Dulwich Festival Poetry evening we are holding another evening on Tuesday, September 25th at Bell House, College Rd, Dulwich.
7.30-9.30. Admission is Free.
Three readers to be confirmed plus readings from the floor.
Do come! We want to hear your voices and ideas for a new venture in poetry in Dulwich. We want this group to be belong to us all and will initiate a discussion to see what we can achieve in the future. We want your ideas too !
You may have noticed the circular bench which sits on the pavement near the main Dulwich Village intersection, outside the hairdressers, Harold George. You might recall that the bench is dedicated to the memory of Lt Mark Evison, who died in Afghanistan, on 12 May 2009. But you may not know Mark’s story, nor of his legacy, the Mark Evison Foundation.
Mark was a local lad who mostly went to local schools, the Prep and the College, before winning a music scholarship to Charterhouse for his Sixth Form years. He was known as an easy-going, active child, often in scrapes, but always well-meaning.
As a teenager and young adult, Mark embraced as many adventurous activities as he could, but he never cast off his thoughtful, gentler side, loving music making and appreciating the arts. He was intelligent and charismatic, and had a wide circle of friends from all walks of life. In the army, he was loved and respected by his men and his fellow officers alike.
Mark was always in pursuit of the ultimate physical challenge. On one occasion, he ran 500 miles across the Pyrenees; on another, he trekked for two weeks on the Norwegian glaciers. The successful planning and completion of such journeys gave him the confidence for leadership that he showed in abundance in his years in the Army. As befits an Old Alleynian (a former pupil of Dulwich College), there was something Shackletonian about Mark Evison.
Mark was shot while leading a British Army patrol in Helmand Province. Despite serious wounds, he remained conscious and continued to issue orders to his men. Gunner Stuart Gadsby was awarded a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for carrying Mark back to base under heavy fire. The entire patrol reached base, but Mark then fell unconscious waiting for a delayed helicopter. He was finally brought back to Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, on a life support machine. That machine was switched off on 12 May 2009 when he was pronounced brain-dead as a result of bleeding. He was 26.
His closest school friends were with Mark at Selly Oak Hospital and, by the time of his funeral, the Mark Evison Foundation had been born. Those friends wanted Mark’s name and values to live on in a charitable organization that would seek to promote the personal, emotional and physical development of young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Mark’s story, particularly as told by his mother, Margaret, inspires all of the young people who apply for awards from the Foundation every year.
The Foundation invites 16- and 17-year olds to take complete ownership of their projects, either as groups or individuals. That is, they choose their own challenges, plan them, pitch them to the MEF’s schools’ team and carry them through, with only the lightest touch of mentoring and advice. The MEF awards take them out of their classrooms and beyond the syllabuses that constrain so much of their learning. Many award winners describe their MEF challenges as the most impactful experiences of their young lives. They all comment on the confidence and courage they gain, they value the chance to hone nascent aptitudes and develop new skills. They learn to take on leadership roles, to work as a team and to think laterally. Awards are given for physical challenges of the sort Mark loved, but there are impressive creative and technological challenges undertaken too.
What I have seen, time and again, as a trustee of the Foundation, is that its projects help instil grit, confidence, independence, resilience and self-reliance in those that undertake them. Indeed, even the application process, and particularly the interview at which they pitch their ideas, can be important. All students are inspired by the ethos of the Foundation, and successful applicants help ‘spread the word’ by talking to younger students.
The sense of achievement students feel is clear in the powerful accounts which they write afterwards. (You can read a plethora of uplifting stories on the Foundation’s website: www.markevisonfoundation.org.) Young people’s horizons are widened, their plans become more ambitious. When you see the UCAS forms or CVs of any of the award winners it’s clear that it’s not just the project in itself that has been important, but the life-lessons they’ve learned from it. While the MEF awards explicitly steer clear of supporting academic projects, it’s evident that the knock-on effects on academic performance are important, if harder to measure than other benefits.
The Foundation likes to offer opportunity where little exists, and so offers an outreach programme to all the maintained schools in the London area. In 2017 the schools’ team visited 45 schools to give assemblies to Year 12 students, at which the opportunities available and the process of applying were explained. As a result, over 2000 students expressed interest, and 800 attended follow-up sessions: 112 applications (by individuals or groups) were submitted, and finally 49 awards were made, directly benefiting 162 students, many of whom are from very disadvantaged backgrounds. This year the numbers are set to double.
Specific Memorial Awards are offered in the two senior schools Mark attended. At Dulwich College, not a week passes when an opportunity to engage beyond the syllabus - to engage in what I call “free learning” - is offered by local, national and international organizations. But there is a special place in the Dulwich calendar for the visit of Margaret Evison and the introduction of the MEF Alleynian Challenge Award to each successive Year 11 cohort. They are proud of their association with a brave old boy who died serving his country, when he was not much older than they are, and they understand the importance of challenges that they make for themselves rather than have set up for them.
The Mark Evison Foundation also gives Major Awards (with a different process, and expenses funding of up to £5,000) to young people aged between 19 and 25, to help them pursue more challenging goals. Again, details of these awards can be found on the Foundation’s website, but I would prefer to leave the last word about the core work of the Foundation with a teacher who is in no doubt about the benefits of the MEF awards in the challenging environment of his school:
The opportunity that the MEF provides young people to take part in ‘adventures’ they would not normally be able to afford or, indeed, even think about is unique. Margaret’s assemblies inspire whole cohorts to think about their dreams and then find a way to realise them. The process of pitching an idea is a fantastic launch pad for other things they will apply for - universities, jobs, apprenticeships. The budgetary rigour required of the students is great too. And I also value the opportunity afforded for students to find ways to ‘give back’ to others who follow them.
Since the establishment of the Foundation, the schools’ team has spoken to nearly ten thousand schoolchildren and almost a third of those pupils attend follow up sessions at which they can begin to plan their projects. It is projected that over 100 awards will be made this year, benefitting approximately 300 young people. For many of the recipients, the effect will be transformative.
East Dulwich’s ‘Derbyshire Colony’, the series of roads either side of East Dulwich Grove named after places in Derbyshire, were built between 1871-1884 by developer/builder Ezekiel James Bailey who had moved to East Dulwich in 1866 to become the licensee of the Lord Palmerston. In his authoritative 1977 book ‘Victorian Suburb, a study of the growth of Camberwell’ H J Dyos says that Bailey was undoubtedly the dominant influence in determining the general character of East Dulwich. An article in the South London Press in June 1877 reported that he had raised ‘as if by magic, one of the most charming little estates in the south of London. Tenants have been attracted to East Dulwich in great numbers, which is not to be wondered at, for the neat villas belonging to Mr Bailey are pleasantly situate in shady groves and surrounded by all sides by charming scenery. Champion Hill station, which formerly looked forlorn and desolate enough, is now a busy centre, and East Dulwich is fast becoming one of the most populous and important suburbs of the metropolis.’
Born in Ilkeston in Derbyshire in 1830, Bailey was originally a partner in his father Joseph’s lace making business in the town. In 1856, largely funded by a wealthy local landowner and farmer called Taylor, the firm had built a large lace making plant, ‘Bailey’s Factory’. The local White’s Directory of 1857 described the factory as ‘a noble building, 100 feet long, 34 feet wide, and four stories in height, with a steam engine of 12 horse power, and upwards of 40 machines, suitable offices, and every other convenience, arranged and fitted up in accordance with the most recent improvements. The number of hands employed is 350 to 400”.’ Unfortunately, not long afterwards, overproduction and heavy competition caused a serious slump in the lace business, and in August 1860 Messrs. Bailey, Son, & Co. went bankrupt. The local paper, the Pioneer, reported on the serious consequences for many families in the town.
Although the factory was later taken over by another firm, the Baileys were obliged to move away. Ezekiel James was employed for a short period by another lace manufacturer, Thomas Shaw and Co. - in 1861, he and his family were living in Goldsmith Street, Nottingham, but they moved down to London shortly afterwards. He must have still had]some funds behind him as the next we hear of him is in 1863 when he becomes the licensee of the George Canning Pub in Grove Lane, Camberwell. Like many publicans of the time, he took advantage of the large cash flows that pub operations provided to set himself up as a house builder. He started in Tulse Hill on the Tulse Hill Estate in 1865, commissioning Frederick Chadwick, an architect with offices in both Croydon and Victoria Street, to design the houses. They were built by a local firm, Walker and Co. at an estimated cost of £10,500.
In 1866, having sold the George Canning to a Miss Pamela Hudson, he moved to East Dulwich and purchased the Lord Palmerston Hotel, recently completed on Lordship Lane but, as yet, unlicensed. After several applications to the Newington Magistrates, a license was finally granted in March 1867. At the same time, he acquired two properties on the opposite side of Lordship Lane, Rosedale Villa and Blackwater Cottage. He lived in Rosedale Villa - it is still there, and Blackwater Cottage was redeveloped later as Blackwater Street.
He also purchased a large field opposite the Lord Palmerston and, by 1871, work was well under way. Ashbourne Grove, Chesterfield Grove and part of Melbourne Grove were largely complete by the end of 1876. It appears that Bailey sold his houses at the Lord Palmerston - see advertisement below from the South London Chronicle in September 1874:
TO LET, rent £32, semi-detached villas; ten minutes from London Bridge Station; eight rooms, good garden back and front, plots 140 feet deep, on main road, near Champion Hill Station. Apply at the Lord Palmerston, East Dulwich.
An article in the London Daily News in August 1877 gives us a clue perhaps as to why his houses might have sold better than others. In a report about Henry Harrison, a clerk, being charged with ‘wilfully breaking a number of young trees in Chesterfield Grove and Melbourne Grove’ it noted that Mr Bailey had planted a large number of trees along the roads on his estate which he had called, rather optimistically perhaps, the ‘Dulwich Wood Estate’.
While successful, Bailey’s initial operation was still relatively small scale compared with some other house builders in Peckham and Nunhead. The impetus for him to expand came from two fortuitous events. The first was the death in 1876 of Thomas Farmer Baily (no relation) whose grandfather, Thomas Baily, had been a very wealthy City ironmonger and ‘local character’ who had owned large areas of land in the area. At his own expense he had built the original East Dulwich Chapel, the forunner of St Johns Goose Green, on part of his garden at East Dulwich House, (the property stood roughly where Gowlett Road is today). He had died in 1838 but when his grandson died in 1877, the trustees of his estate saw the potential demand from house builders and decided to liquidated his assets by selling all his local land holdings. At the same time the Dulwich Estate was under pressure from other builders in the area to complete the construction of East Dulwich Grove, intended to link Dulwich Village with Champion Hill (from 1888 East Dulwich) Station. A joint venture to build the road between the Dulwich Estate and the Baily’s Estate had been set up in 1866, a route had been agreed, and tenders obtained, but the Dulwich Estate had prevaricated, and no work had been carried out much beyond the junction with Melbourne Grove - it was finally connected through to Dulwich Village in 1879.
At the auction of Thomas Farmer Baily’s holdings, E J Bailey acquired several sites between East Dulwich Grove and Grove Vale. He called his new development the ‘Grove Vale Estate’ but, because it was on a much larger scale than his previous developments, he needed more finance - and assistance from a building society to grant mortgages. He sold the Lord Palmerston to John Parsons & Sons and, at the same time, secured mortgage funding from the Fourth City Mutual Benefit Building Society of 2 Coleman Street, City of London. By 1880 around 400 houses were complete and, after purchasing additional land from the Trustees of the Sir J C Selwyn Estate, he also built part of Ondine Road on the north side of Grove Vale. He advertised regularly in the South London Press and sold the houses from his sales office in Melbourne Grove opposite the station. This advertisement on 15 November 1879 was typical:
THE DULWICH GROVE ESTATE exceptional advantages to intending residents. It is well drained, and pleasantly situate, and it’s neat and attractive villas are substantially built, and well found in every particular. Is it within one minute’s walk of Champion Hill railway station, And not far from Peckham Rye station, Rents £32-£40. Also, on other parts of the estate smaller houses from £26 per annum. Occupiers on this estate have educational privileges in connection with Dulwich College. The further particulars apply to Mr Bailey Estate Office, adjoining Champion. Hill Station SE.
Bailey also funded the construction of the East Dulwich Congregational Church in 1886 and continued to live at Rosedale Villa until he retired to Brighton, where he died in March 1899. His short death notice in the Brighton Gazette said nothing about his impact on East Dulwich, only the terse ‘Ezekiel James Bayley. Gentleman, formerly of Rosedale Villa Lordship Lane and No 7 Stanford Avenue, Brighton Sussex.’
The ‘Old Ilkeston’ website (www.oldilkeston.co.uk/up-heanor-road) notes that, sometime in 1892, an old acquaintance of E J Bailey from his time in the town, visited East Dulwich and wrote in the local paper how he ‘was quite taken aback by getting lost in streets with Derbyshire names and amongst villas, each pair bearing the name of a village in Derbyshire.’
George Widdowson was born in Lincoln on 25 August 1804, the son of William and Elizabeth; William kept the Rein Deer Inn in Lincoln. George was a silversmith and goldsmith, though a retailer rather than a craftsman and by the age of 28 had taken over his uncle’s shop. This had already been a successful silversmiths and John Salter, his uncle, had supplied Nelson with many pieces of jewellery including mourning rings still highly collectable today. John Salter had been a close friend of Horatia Nelson, Emma Hamilton and Nelson’s daughter, and he had been godfather to one of her children.
Widdowson developed the company into the highly fashionable Widdowson & Veale at No. 73 Strand, on the corner of Adam Street and opposite the Adelphi. Widdowson had a good eye for publicity. He once had a long and detailed newspaper article dedicated solely to his idea of making a copy of Aeneas’ shield, as described in Virgil’s Aeneid. There is no evidence the shield was ever made.
The company made swords and other weapons for the British army and navy. They also made orders and decorations for the British court and were goldsmiths and jewellers to the court of Spain. In 1842 on the christening of Queen Victoria’s eldest son (later King Edward VII) the firm gave ‘an immense silver coronet supporting the Prince of Wales feathers’; ‘of a large size’ added the Times report, in case the splendour of the gift had not been clear.
In 1844, George was 40 and his business was doing well, as was the economy as a whole. The firm were able to advertise for apprentices, asking for a premium of £100. On 11 February 1847 George married Eliza Duffield (nee Boville), the daughter of a Putney wine merchant who had been living in Gibraltar when she became a widow after John Duffield, her first husband, died. George and Eliza were middle-aged when they married and did not have children.
The Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace
At the Crystal Palace Great Exhibition in 1851 Widdowson & Veale exhibited (at their own expense) an enormous silver ‘plateau’ with candelabra, dessert stands, dishes, flagons, jugs, coffee pots, teapots, jewellery and an equestrian statue of Wellington. At the 1862 exhibition the following year they produced a similarly lavish display. George was a steward of the Goldsmiths’ Benevolent Institution and the firm made donations to the then newly-built Charing Cross hospital. George had an older brother, Joseph, living in London at this time but he was a less successful jeweller than George. He set up shop at 100 Fleet St but in 1832 he went bankrupt. In 1840 he was confined to Bethlem Hospital, known as Bedlam (now the Imperial War Museum). After the 1834 Poor Law workhouses had been set up for those suffering from poverty and asylums for those with mental illness, though the two conditions were often lumped together. Over the century from 1800 the number of people housed in asylums rose from a few hundred to 100,000. At first these were peaceful places where it was believed mentally ill people could be cured by ‘moral treatment’ but this changed when it became widely believed that such people were ‘incurable’. Joseph Widdowson had suffered a fall which ‘caused confusion’ and, said his wife, meant he was ‘likely to set the house on fire’. He told Bethlem he ‘had plenty of money’ and indeed at the time inmates had to pay for their own care. While it might seem strange to us that George would have allowed his brother to be admitted to a place such as Bedlam, there was little choice at the time and in fact Bethlem was a state-of-the-art institution. In any case, Joseph was not there long as he was discharged later that year for ‘being paralytic’. To our ear this might sound as if he was drunk but it seems he was suffering from ‘general paralysis of the insane’, an illness increasingly recognised in asylums at the time, specifically affecting middle-aged men and connected to syphilis.
Eliza Widdowson died in April 1861 leaving George a widower with no children. He lived at Bell House with his unmarried sister Ann and his brother-in-law John Boville, a barrister. John Boville was also a governor of the extraordinarily named Royal Humane Society for the Recovery of the Apparently Drowned or Dead. The household employed a footman, coachman, cook, housemaid and lady’s maid. In 1866 George moved into the White House in Dulwich Village. Perhaps Bell House was too big and too full of memories. George Widdowson died on 10 December 1872 aged 68 and is buried in Norwood cemetery in a Grade II listed tomb. He left around £30,000.