The Dulwich Society Journal for Spring 2016.
1616 And All That
For the majority of those people interested in English literature and the theatre, 1616 will be remembered as the year of William Shakespeare’s death. Now, in this, his 400th anniversary year, his works will be scrutinized, performed and reinterpreted, his portrait likenesses argued over, his life in London and Stratford probed. Undoubtedly, the movie Shakespeare in Love will be screened ad nauseam. On the other hand, people living in Dulwich or in any way connected with the Foundation schools will be celebrating a different anniversary altogether. For them, 1616 is a significant milestone in Dulwich’s history. Christ’s Chapel, the Dulwich Almshouse charity (Edward Alleyn House) and the Old Burial Ground can all date their various histories to that year.
1616 was the year that the second part of Edward Alleyn’s legacy came to fruition. In 1605 he , possibly unwittingly, took the first step towards immortality when he purchased the Manor of Dulwich and as a consequence allowed the Dulwich Society to launch its project of raising a statue to him 400 years on, in 2005. In three years’ time we will be celebrating the final Act, when official recognition of his gift, in the form of Letters Patent, ensured his vision would enjoy a permanent legacy.
And so we are here, four centuries later to celebrate Act Two. Each of the elements of the Foundation will play a part in the commemoration. While the schools will wish to keep some of their powder dry for Act Three in 2019, they nevertheless are to stage a gala concert at the Royal Festival Hall on 16th March this year. With four distinguished soloists, an orchestra and choir of over 450 pupils, alumni, teachers and parents performing Verdi’s choral masterpiece, the Requiem Mass it promises to be a spectacular opening to the celebrations.
Several events will highlight the Chapel during the Dulwich Festival. On Sunday May 8th Douglas Tang will give a a organ recital, on Tuesday May 10th Brian Green will give a talk on the Chapel’s fascinating and often turbulent history. The talk will be complimented by some original 17th and 18th century music found in Dulwich College’s archives, as well as other compositions which have a relevance at the Chapel, including works by Handel, Holst and Vaughan Williams. They will be played on the historic 1760 George England organ by Marilyn Harper, Christ’s Chapel Organist.
On Sunday 10th July there will be an Evening Celebration in the Chapel and on Thursday 1st September, the actual anniversary of the Chapel’s consecration, there will be an evening Sung Eucharist . Later that month a history of the Dulwich Almshouses will be published. On 17-18th September, Open House Weekend, the Dulwich Society will give guided tours at the Old Burial Ground and will distribute an information leaflet about those interred, including the 37 victims of the Great Plague of 1665.
Most people will have heard the good news that the Dulwich Estate has come to an agreement with pub operator Fullers to reopen the Half Moon Pub later this year. We now just need the work on the Crown and Greyhound to be finished and for that to re-open as well.
The well-advertised move of the Dulwich Post Office to Rumsey, the chemist, has been smooth - though we do not yet know who will take over the old unit next to the paper shop, but in Herne Hill things are less optimistic. Just Williams, the toy shop in Herne Hill, closed its doors on the 24th January. The reason given initially was that the Dulwich Estate, its landlord, had raised the rent level to renew the lease by 70%. There was a highly critical article on the Herne Hill Forum website and a considerable number of negative comments on other internet forums and Twitter - and an on-line petition asking the DE to reconsider the rent hike was set up at the beginning of January. By the end of the month, it had over 1700 signatures. The Dulwich Estate responded quickly with a factual note which suggested a much lower increase and a rather different scenario on the rent negotiation, but perhaps the most interesting aspect of the whole story was the impact of social media - the Dulwich Estate could not ignore the reputational damage that can arise from it, and had to respond in a much more informative way than normal.
It is no secret that the Estate, like any landlord, is looking to raise its shop rents on both review and renewal - there are rumours of 50% increases in the northern part of Dulwich Village, and this is despite the substantial reduction in footfall following the opening of Gail’s and the temporary closure of the Crown and Greyhound. The maxim on local shopping is ‘use it or lose it’, and if business is down, and residents are not using the shops, is it just a temporary blip or is it that the mix is not right? Or is it a more fundamental structural change in that much of what you could buy there can be bought more easily and cheaper on line - and delivered directly to your home? To increase rents in this situation would seem to be counter intuitive.
One outcome could be more national chains, particularly restaurants and coffee shops, coming into the area (as they can afford the higher rents perhaps) - there is a substantial minority of residents against the arrival of Sainsbury’s, but is this a sign of things to come? The proof of course is in the letting. If the Estate can secure new tenants for the shops at higher rents they will do so - but if they can’t we may be back to the early 1990s, when the Village looked very sad - with a large number of vacant units.
There will be a Dulwich Society members’ party on Saturday 8th October 2016 at St Barnabas Parish Hall, Dulwich Village.
The membership secretary, Diana McInnes has reported an increase in the Society’s membership following a recruitment drive held in Woodwarde Road and Court Lane last autumn. The membership now stands at 1124. Seventy one new members joined the Society in the past year, 47 left, most through moving out of the area or as a result they had died. Almost all new members provide an email address and 40% of the total membership receive the regular e-bulletin of up to date news and events. Of this number, 75% open the email.
The Dulwich Society Annual General Meeting 2016
Notice is hereby given that the 53rd Annual General Meeting of The Dulwich Society will be held at 7.30pm on Monday 25th April 2016 at St Barnabas Church Community Lounge, Calton Avenue, SE21 7DG.
1. Minutes of the 52nd Annual General Meeting held on 27th April 2015 to be approved.
2. Chairman’s Report.
3. Secretary’s Report.
4. Treasurer’s Report and presentation of accounts for the year ended 31st December 2015.
5. Appointment of Honorary Auditor.
6. Reports from Sub-Committee Chairs.
7. Elections for 2016-2017. President, Vice-Presidents, Officers, Executive Committee.
8. The following motion to update the Society’s subscription rules is proposed to the meeting:
“This meeting resolves that Rule 4 of the Constitution of the Society be deleted and replaced with the following revised Rule 4:
(a) Unless otherwise determined by the members at an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting, an individual or household shall pay an annual subscription of £10.00. The subscription shall be paid when a person/household becomes a member and thereafter shall become due and payable on the first day of January in every year. Any member joining the Society in the last three calendar months of the year and paying the subscription, shall not be required to pay another subscription until the first day of the January of the next but one year.
(b) If any Member shall be three months or more in arrears with his subscription (ie on April 1st of the year that membership is due) he shall cease to be a member on the day after the next Executive Committee Meeting.”
Proposed: Diana McInnes (Membership) Seconded: Sue Badman (Secretary)
9. Any Other Business.
Note: Nomination forms for election as an Officer or Member of the Executive Committee can be obtained from the Secretary. Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Secretary by two members not later than fourteen days before 25th April 2016 and must be endorsed by the candidate in writing. (Rule 9).
Susan Badman, Hon. Secretary, 109 Turney Road, SE21 7JB
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2015, the Chairman’s report and reports of the Sub-Committee Chairmen for 2015 may be viewed on the Dulwich Society web site www.dulwichsociety.com . The Rules of the Society may be viewed at http://www.dulwichsociety.com/about-the-dulwich-society. The 2015 minutes and the Rules may also be obtained by application to the Secretary.
There will be a short talk on a Society theme after the meeting. Wine and nibbles will be served.
Burglariies: The chairman was interviewed on BBC Radio London at the end of January as a follow up to the Evening Standard article suggesting that the SE21 postcode experienced the highest number of insurance claims in the country for burglary. The local police crime statistics, which are discussed at the regular Safer Neighbourhood Panel meetings, do not show this and the Borough Commander was put under pressure to explain the discrepancy when he attended the Dulwich Community Council meeting on 27th January. He said he did not recognise the figures quoted but a series of critical questions from the floor, and a timely intervention from MP Helen Hayes, made it very clear to him that, whatever the figures, burglary was a serious concern locally, and that confidence in the police to deal with it was low. He assured the meeting that he did appreciate the situation and that additional resources had been provided to assist the local police teams. He added that the current SmartWater campaign would help as it should make any stolen items more easily recoverable but that, most importantly, all crime incidents should be reported. Other speakers noted the importance of Neighbourhood Watch and there were positive contributions about the police response to burglaries.
Half Moon Hotel: There was good news in the first week of the New Year when the Dulwich Estate confirmed that it had agreed to lease the pub to Fullers, and that it should re-open for business later this year. In the meantime the application to Southwark Council to register the pub as an Asset of Community Value was successful. Fullers have now submitted planning applications for the Half Moon refurbishment 16/AP/0167 and 16/AP/0168. The campaign to ensure a music venue is retained within the pub building continues.
Sainsbury’s Micro in Dulwich: The planning application for the new shopfront and signage was submitted to Southwark just before Christmas. The application refs were 15/AP/5020 & 15/AP/5021. Not everyone is in favour of the new arrival, though many are, and there was some concern over whether the proposed shopfront design, and particularly the colour of the lettering, was appropriate for a conservation area like Dulwich Village. The Ward Councillors have made sure that the application will be considered by the planning committee, and not just by officers, and the new shop is expected to be trading in the spring.
S G Smith retail unit: Many people have been wondering what will happen to the showroom now car sales have moved elsewhere. There have been various unsubstantiated rumours floating round that it might become a small Waitrose store but the lease remains with S G Smith, and the Dulwich Estate has advised the Society that it is not aware of any current proposals. The most likely outcome in the short term is that the building could be used as site offices for the contractor carrying out the development on the site behind. Longer term it could become another shop unit (or food store) or alternatively, it might be a good location for a new almshouse development. It is no secret that the existing historic almshouses are not fit for purpose with their high window sills and lack of disabled access. The Dulwich Estate has been considering alternative locations for some time and this end of the Village would be a good one for older people in terms of convenience for local services.
The Charter School East Dulwich (TCSED): Rather than opening in temporary accommodation on the Dulwich Community Hospital site the school has secured the temporary use of the former Lewisham and Southwark College campus on Southampton Way, SE5 for two years while the new buildings are constructed on East Dulwich Grove.
Quietways: There was some surprise at the January Community Council meeting when it was confirmed that the start of the consultation on Quietway 7 (running down Calton and Turney) had been delayed following the local stakeholder meeting on 21st January. Apparently Council officers had been instructed to consider the comments made before going any further. The consultation period should start in the middle of February and councillors gave assurances that the three public meetings scheduled would be retained. Meanwhile, in Lambeth, there were two events in early December to showcase the concept designs for Rosendale Road. Residents were invited to comment and, hopefully, the results will be published soon.
Dulwich Village Burial Ground: 2016 is the burial ground’s 400th anniversary. The Society has encouraged the Dulwich Estate to take a more positive attitude to its maintenance and the first signs of this are the removal of the bushes on the front corner to make the graves more visible.
Townley Road Junction Works: There is still no confirmation on the date when the new cycling facilities will be fully operational and Southwark has yet to respond to concerns raised in a recent safety audit.
Coaches: The recent traffic consultation highlighted concerns over the increase in the number of coaches ferrying children to and from the Foundation schools in the Village. As a result the schools and the Council have agreed to jointly sponsor a study of the current routes and the potential for their optimisations to reduce their impact on the local environment.
The Heber Edwards chair
By Bernard Nurse
The Dulwich Society has been given an unusual chair patented in 1922 by Heber Edwards, who was then living at 80 Lordship Lane. Martyn Harryman has refurbished and re-upholstered it. The special features that Edwards registered were that the height of the seat could be adjusted quite simply by sliding it into different grooves and the seat could also be turned over to form a small table. It could therefore be used as an ordinary chair, a typist’s or music stool as well as a side table. No mechanical aids were required and he said it could be produced quite cheaply. It is not known how many of these were made. This example was found by chance in a Lyme Regis antique shop some years ago, purchased by Kimberly Clarke, a local resident there, and generously donated to the Society in 2015 when she moved abroad.
Heber Edwards can be identified as Walter Heber Edwards, born in Spalding, Lincolnshire about 1883, the son of Heber Edwards, a bootmaker and shopkeeper. In 1901 he was working for his father as a bootmaker and living with the family and his five brothers and sisters at 115 Plashet Grove, East Ham. He clearly had an inventive frame of mind, taking out seven British patents for adjustable chairs between 1904, when he was only 21, and 1924. The first application dated 1903 (no. 19,911) describes him still as a bootmaker living at 425 High Street, Manor Park. His “improved adjustable chair” would now be called a recliner and was claimed to have all the advantages of expensive ones but available at a greatly reduced price. Three years later he had moved to Newcastle and gave his occupation as chairmaker. His next invention (no. 16,216) was for an improved chair arm which moved backwards and forwards with the back rest. The following year he developed a chair with high sides that could be lowered to form a couch or bed (no. 15,483). In 1911, he was living in Monkseaton, near Whitley Bay as a bootmaker and repairer with his wife, Henrietta.
By 1918, Edwards had moved to East Dulwich and another period of inventiveness began. Four more British patents were applied for between 1921 and 1923. The first (no. 184,223, applied for in April 1921) was for a folding chair; it had detachable armrests and foot rest and additional tension springs all designed to make it more suitable for invalids. Edwards was now described again on the patent as a chairmaker. The next patent (no. 188,091), applied for in August, was for the chair in the Society’s possession. An application with the same specifications was also made to the French patent office a year later (no. 555,041). However, this time he made a virtue of its small size by explaining that it was intended specifically for children as there was a need for seats to be capable of being adjusted to match their personal height. He claimed those made at the time relied on mechanical aids which were more expensive and risked injuring children if not used properly. He said his chairs would also be useful for adults working in an office or playing the piano. His last two inventions from 1922 and 1923, proposed improvements to the back of adjustable chairs with the use of springs (patent no. 213,653) and the addition of leg rests that would raise the legs of the sitter or convert a chair into a bed (no. 215,087, applied for in February 1923 and granted in May 1924).
Edwards’ address at 80 Lordship Lane, on the west side between Ashbourne Grove and Chesterfield Grove, was listed in the commercial directories as a boot repairer’s shop in 1918 and as second hand boot dealer’s in the last entry for 1924. Heber Edwards is on the electoral registers with his sister, Melinda, from 1920-1923. It is not known what happened to him after this date, neither have any other examples of his work been traced. His interest in adjustable chairs was shared by many others at the time. One of the most popular designs for an adjustable lounge chair was sold by Morris and Co. from the 1870s. With the growth of office work, use of sewing machines and factory labour there was a huge market for chairs suitable for extended periods of sitting. The period between 1860 and 1920 saw a dramatic increase in the number of patents in this field especially registered in America. However, by using wood and rejecting metal mechanical aids, Edwards’ proposals were going in the wrong direction. Height adjustable threaded steel posts were in use from the 1870s and strong steel tubes, much lighter than cast iron, became generally popular in furniture production in the 1920s. Wood was used by craftsmen such as the Barnsleys in the Cotswolds, but for expensive hand made products. His traditional designs had no place in the modernist age and the small workshop could not compete with factory production at the cheaper end of the market. It is unlikely that many of his products were made but if any readers know of other examples of his work or what happened to him after 1924, the author would be interested to hear from them.
The Dulwich Society's Garden Group has arranged an evening talk on what we can all do to enhance our front gardens, with an expert panel of professional garden designers, Pamela Johnson, Nigel Watts and Anthony Noel. The talk will be on Wednesday March 8th at Alleyn's School and there will be a glass of wine and a chance to meet the speakers afterwards.
Tickets are £7 each, and an application form with further details can be found on page 36 I do hope that you can join us.
We will be running a front garden competition in 2016, with prizes, and the talk should also give useful pointers for this. Details of the competition are on www.dulwichsociety.com/garden-group.
Jeremy Prescott Garden Group
Visit to Nymans and Sheffield Park - Tuesday 21st June
Our annual coach outing will be to Nymans and Sheffield Park in Sussex. Full details and an application form are set out in the Dulwich Gardens open for Charity brochure, and will also be on www.dulwichsociety.com/garden-group .
All are welcome, and we would suggest early application to avoid disappointment.
Alleyn And Shakespeare
By Brian Green
So what, apart from sharing the year 1616, did William Shakespeare and Edward Alleyn have in common? Well actually, quite a lot!
Both acted, Shakespeare with the King’s Men, Alleyn with the Lord Admiral’s Men. Both had a financial interest in the theatres - Shakespeare at the Globe on Bankside and Alleyn at the Fortune in Golden Lane. They both had a connection with Bishopsgate. Alleyn was born there, ‘at the sign of the Pye’, where later his brother John continued their father’s inn keeping business and Shakespeare was renting rooms in the parish. At other times, Shakespeare lived for a spell in Cripplegate where Alleyn had his theatre and both lived on Bankside. They shared some of the same friends and acquaintances, Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson come to mind.
Tantalisingly, Edward Alleyn’s diary which is in Dulwich College archives does not commence until 1617, a year after Shakespeare’s death. Earlier years, if there were any, are missing. The only reference in the Alleyn archive that is not a forgery, is a reference to Alleyn buying a copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (price 6d) in 1609.
So convinced was J P Collier, the eminent Shakespeare scholar of the nineteenth century, of a close connection between the two men that he seeded the Dulwich archive with some 40 fictitious references which he forged over a five year period. This was the subject of an article by Dr Jan Piggott in the Journal (J P Collier: scholar and rogue published Spring 2013) which may be read online in the Journal Archive. To his credit, and he needed as much credit as he could muster, it was Collier who drew attention to the important place Alleyn had in the late Elizabethan and Jacobean stage.
An odd piece loosely linking the two men was printed in the 1770 Annual Register Vol XIII p.107 under the title - Anecdote of Shakespeare, never printed in his works.
‘Ed. Alleyn, the Garrick of Shakespeare’s time had been on the most friendly footing with our poet as well as Ben Johnson. They used frequently to spend their evenings together at the sign of the Globe, somewhere near Blackfriars, where the play-house then was. The world need not be told that the convivial hours of such a triumvirate might be pleasing as well as profitable, and may truly be said to be such pleasures as might fear the reflections of the morning. In consequence of one of these meetings, the following letter was written by G Peel, ª a Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford and a Dramatic Poet who belonged to the club, to one Marle,(ƅ) an intimate of his.
I must defyre that my syfter (sister) hyr watche, and the Cookerie book you promyfed may be fente bye the man - I never longed for their company more than last night: we were all very merrye at the Globe, when Ned Alleyn did not scruple to affyme pleafauntely to my friend Will, that he had stolen his speeches about the qualitys of an Actor’s excellence in Hamlet hys Tragedye from converfations manyfold which had passed between them and opinions given by Alleyn touching the subject - Shakespeare did not take this talke in good forte; but Johnson put an end to the strife with wittinglye remarking “This affair meeteth no contention, you stole it from Ned, no doubt, do not marvel: Have you seen him act tymes out of number?
Believe me most sincerelie
Yours G. Peel”
As Mr Alleyn is a character at present little known in the theatrical world, though we need not subjoin any other testimony to his merit than the above compliment from such a judge as Ben Johnson, we shall however beg to leave to add (by way of showing it was no friendly partiality) the openness of the two Gentlemen, whose established literary characters are too well known to doubt their complimenting at the expense of their genius and sincerity. Dr Fuller, in his Worthies says that Alleyn made any part especially a majestic one, become him and Burbage. “The best actors of our time”, and adding, “What Plays were ever so pleasing as when their parts had the greater part”, and in his Chronicles we find more joining Alleyn with Burbage in the following encomium: “They were two such actors, as no age might ever look to see the like.”
Dulwich Composer Celebrated
Richard Dawre (1847-1881) was a talented composer and organist at St Peter’s Church, Dulwich Common until his untimely death in 1881. He composed a number of lively Victorian marches. Some of these can be heard on YouTube played on the organ by Riccado Bonci, organist at St Barnabas.
The St Barnabas director of music, Dr William McVicker is presenting the Dawre Project at St Barnabas on Sunday June 12th at 7pm. Both he and Riccardo and the St Barnabas choir and musicians will perform and the programme will be narrated and introduced by David Beamish.
Dulwich Village Post Office
Nathan and Sandra Rajan completed their fifth year running the Dulwich post office and tried hard to tempt customers with their books, especially those for those young ones facing examinations.
They were stalwart in their commitment not the least coping with the demanding journey from their home in North London. It was always comforting to know that come what may, one or other would be at the counter doing their duty to a public mostly brought up on the Post Office tradition rather than delivery firms; they realised that the world was changing.
They are now about to enjoy their retirement and we hope they will carry away fond memories of serving the Dulwich public however impatient especially when the Christmas queue was beyond the door but happily still under cover.
We wish them well and hope they sleep soundly - and for longer.
Long Term Investment Pay Off
Many readers will have heard of Philip Henslowe, the father in law of Edward Alleyn who was his business partner in various theatre ventures and bear baiting on Bankside. Henslowe was a very astute businessman, and, perhaps surprisingly, a devoted churchman at St Saviour’s Church which in 1905 would become Southwark Cathedral.
The parishioners had bought the church for parish use and one of those involved was Henslowe. Later, he was also responsible for buying a house two doors east of his own home on Bankside as a clergy house. Overtime this became Southwark Cathedral’s Provost Lodgings and is adjacent to the present Globe Theatre in a handsome Georgian house built on the site in 1712. Later it was extended to include the neighbouring property. It was recently valued at in excess of £6 million.
Part time, full-on journalism course to launch
Dulwich Village is to host a new training centre for would-be journalists. Newly formed Splash! Journalism Training is recruiting for its first part-time course leading to a gold-standard qualification. It will based in Au Ciel café on Calton Avenue. Splash! is run by Roger Wilkinson and Andrew Kelly, both previously tutors with the Press Association and other training organisations.
Roger says: ‘Most new entrants to journalism complete a full-time training course soon after graduation. But there is an unmet demand for part-time training from those already in work, who would rather not lose income. The Splash! course, on Saturdays and Wednesday evenings, plus distance learning, is, Roger says, ‘a fast-track course; part-time, but full-on.’
Andrew adds: ‘Splash! will prepare candidates for the National Council for the Training of Journalists diploma exams towards the end of the year. The diploma covers digital, print and video journalism. It opens doors. More than 90 per cent of diploma holders are in paid media work within a year. ‘We chose Dulwich because it’s a stress-free, accessible location with fine facilities close at hand.’
Splash! will hold free explanatory seminars in spring and the course will begin in the early summer. See splashjt.com
Dulwich Festival 2016
As we enter a new season, the centre-piece of the cultural calendar is in sight as preparations for the 23rd Dulwich Festival gather momentum. This annual celebration of the arts once again promises a wealth of cultural entertainment and stimulation for everyone, and takes place from 6th-15th May 2016.
This year, the Festival is honoured to welcome Professor Robert Winston who will be speaking about the nature of happiness. In a world where happy people tend to live longer, Professor Winston will be discussing what makes us happy and considering how science can help us achieve it.
In the year marking 400 years since Edward Alleyn established Christ's Chapel in Dulwich Village, Brian Green will delight listeners with an evening exploring the history of the Chapel and the following evening, the Joglaresa ensemble will be on hand with their show Nuns and Roses to give us an insight into the musical backdrop to this era in their show of minstrelsy from the Middle Ages to the 17th century.
The internationally-acclaimed Tangram Theatre will be bringing their much-lauded performance, Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking to this year's Festival. Their collaborative, challenging and entertaining approach to theatre seeks to actively engage the audience, so be ready to join in! And before you get the chance to catch your breath, Nedwardo and the Rumbanauts band will be taking up residence at The Grafton, playing some infectious music and encouraging us all to cast off our inhibitions and take to the floor - no experience is necessary so everyone can have a go!
Over 200 artists will once again be throwing open the doors of their studios and homes to offer us an insight into the artistic process for Artists' Open House which will take place across both weekends of the Festival. We also see the return of the Street Art Walk around Dulwich and new to the very popular walks programme will be a Dawn Chorus Walk and a Bat Walk at dusk for local wildlife enthusiasts led by the London Wildlife Trust team - so there's something for the early bird and the night owl!
This is just a flavour of the line-up for this year's Festival, with so much more on offer over the 10 days of its duration, including the always popular and well-attended Festival Fair, Love West Dulwich Fair and Dulwich Park Fair which bookend the Festival week.
If you'd like to help out as a volunteer at the Festival, we'd love to hear from you. Details of how to contact us, and further information on all Festival events, venues and dates can be found on our website: http://dulwichfestival.co.uk/