The Dulwich Society Journal for Spring 2021.
Virtual Dulwich Festival 7th-16th May
Green shoots can be spotted in gardens and hedgerows throughout Dulwich now, bird song is more plentiful and the promise of spring is in the air. These signs are ones of hope as we emerge from a winter quite unlike any in living memory. The virus, which has quietened each and every corner of the world at some point in the previous year, has at least given science its time to shine with the development now of approved vaccines to help stem the tide of infections.
Although the whole Festival team is dismayed that we cannot bring everyone together in the usual way, one of the great joys of the Festival, we were so glad that we were able to re-group last year and put together an online offering in such a short time. It was also heartening to learn of all the ways in which artists and musicians were reacting creatively to lockdown from making masks to giving online tutorials, from portraits for NHS Heroes and participating in the Artist's Support Pledge to presenting live rooftop performances in support of the Trussell Trust. The online Dulwich Festival meant that we could highlight all these endeavours.
As we write, the country is still urged to stay at home and that is exactly where we plan to bring the Dulwich Festival to everyone again this year, with a lively mix of music, poetry, art, history and literature online. Should funding allow, there will be a veritable feast of offerings if you skip over to the website from 7th-16th May. The Flash Fiction Competition will be open to all and the Children’s Art Competition will provide a wonderful reason to settle any young person down to explore their visual creativity. Artists’ Open House, a highlight of each Festival which attracts over 250 exhibiting artists, will be presented in a searchable gallery of delights on the website with some artists offering remote workshops or online purchasable items. We also plan to hold a series of live streamed interviews, talks and music events, about which more will be announced soon.
And if May seems some way away, why not hunt out Dulwich Festival on YouTube to find all our recent films, including the fascinating talk about VE Day given by this magazine’s very own editor, Brian Green. You may also like to take a break from watching a screen, in which case search online for Soundcloud and the Dulwich Festival page where you will find a soothing and enlightening podcast exploring the history of Dulwich Village.
Searchable Gallery 7th-16th May
Life has been turned on its head in the last year, but we can take comfort in the beautiful amenities available in our area, the peaceful nature of the Dulwich Picture Gallery gardens, the glorious trees in Dulwich Park and the creative community all around us which Dulwich Festival continues to highlight.
Gabrielle Bradshaw https://www.gabriellebradshaw.com/
Adrian Chappell https://curiouscurators.org.uk/profile/adrian-chappell/
Janet Tod http://www.janettod.co.uk/
Charlotte Clowes https://www.charlotteclowes.co.uk/
Julia McKenzie http://juliamckenzie.co.uk/
Suzanne Pink https://suzannepink.co.uk/
Priscilla Watkins http://priscillawatkinsart.co.uk/
Dulwich Festival https://dulwichfestival.co.uk/
We look forward to welcoming you to the online Dulwich Festival in May.
Alpha Hopkins & Rachel Gluyas
The Dulwich Festival
The Dulwich Festival is a registered charity run by a team of dedicated trustees, a small number of freelance arts professionals and a band of wonderful volunteers. If you would like to offer your skills in some capacity, do contact the team via
8 Miles - 800' of ascent
If you are looking for something a little extra for your exercise walk and are bored with the same old routes, try this challenging roam around Dulwich’s green spaces and vantage points abounding in great views over London and Kent. Stops for the occasional breather coincide with the opportunity to read the numerous information panels located around the route. As the walk is circular it can be joined at any point, although the suggested start is Dulwich’s new Village Orchard located at the junction of Gallery Road and Dulwich Village. Take-away refreshments and toilet facilities are located at Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich Park and Horniman Gardens.
1. From the Village Orchard cross Gallery Road and College Road into Dulwich Park. Pass the café and continue to the American Garden, turning left at the shelter to cross the horse ride and exit through the gate into Fireman’s Alley. Turn left up Fireman’s Alley (A), turning left in Lordship Lane and crossing the road to Mount Adon Park opposite. Follow this steep twisting road and about 30 yards before the junction with Dunstans Road, turn right along a metaled path. The path passes through the grassed area below Ladlands (B) and affords the first great view over London. Continue straight ahead along this level path and follow it downhill to Hillcourt Road. Continuing straight ahead, reach Underhill Road and the new gates of Camberwell Old Cemetery. (C)
2. Turn right on Underhill Road and follow it uphill around the side of the cemetery to Langton Rise. Turn left here and at Woodvale turn left again, still following the perimeter of the cemetery, to Forest Hill Road. Cross opposite to an entrance gate into Brenchley Gardens (D). When the path forks, follow the grassy path on the left and after about 100 yards exit through a gate on your right, crossing the road (Brenchley Gardens) to the entrance gate into One Tree Hill. At the information board ahead turn left to follow the Hoggin Path and when it forks, keep right on a metaled path going steeply uphill and up steps to reach the summit.(E ) Follow the path past the Oak of Honor, pausing at the WW1 gun emplacement and Beacon to observe the view from the height of 300. feet
3. Continue along the path and follow it steeply downhill, passing the drive to St Augustine’s Church (F) into Honor Oak Rise. Turn right, and at the Sacred Heart Convent (G) cross the road into Honor Oak Park. Follow this road for a half mile to Westwood Park on the right. Follow this road uphill to the junction at the top where turn left into Horniman Drive and continue into Horniman Gardens (H). Walk downhill, past the bandstand and the formal garden to the gate at the bottom right corner. Cross London Road to a small path opposite marked with a Green Chain Walk signpost. Follow the path (Lapsewood Walk) uphill and through a small gate into Sydenham Hill Wood (I), Follow the diverted path beside the bridge and keeping right cross the old railway track bed to Dulwich Wood on the other side. Keeping close to the fence of the golf course, pass the pond and continue ahead to finally reach a T junction of paths near the allotments. Turn left here and follow this path to reach the exit gate into Low Cross Wood Lane.
4. Turn left and going steeply uphill reach a gate opposite the Dulwich Wood House PH (J), turn right and cross Sydenham Hill to Wells Park Avenue opposite. Just past Longton Avenue turn right into Sydenham Wells Park (K). Bear left, downhill on the path and then turn right along a level path, crossing the park with its lake to the exit at Ormanton Road. Continue ahead, crossing into Charleville Circus and keeping left reach Crystal Palace Park Road turning left, downhill for 75 yards to a gate on the opposite side into Crystal Palace Park (L). Follow the wide metaled path uphill, passing a small lake and when opposite the concert bowl, with the TV mast ahead of you, turn right uphill on a path to exit the park. Turn left and at the second roundabout cross to Fountain Drive opposite. Follow this road into College Road and continuing downhill and passing Dulwich College (M), cross the South Circular Road (Dulwich Common) to return to the start of the walk.
A Dulwich fire station was opened in 1893 and accommodated 10 firemen and four horses. The appliances were a steamer, one manual engine and four fire escapes. It took 25 seconds from an alarm being given to the departure of an appliance.
B This 250’ hill known in former times as Ladlands still showed evidence in late Victorian times of the rectangular earth banks of a probable Roman fort. Other sources have also considered it to be Iron Age or Viking. Chosen for its strategic position, it overlooks the Thames and commands wide views on its other sides.
C Camberwell Old Cemetery was consecrated in 1856 and enlarged in 1876. It covers 30 acres and contains over 310,000 bodies and is the most heavily buried cemetery in Southwark. Among those buried there are 288 servicemen who served in World War 1. Extensive improvements are currently being made, including new paths, gates and the planting of trees. The date for completion of these works is scheduled for December 2021.
D Brenchley Gardens were opened in 1928, laid out on a steeply sloping site with a sunken garden and ornamental displays. The old track bed of the Crystal Palace High Level Railway was incorporated into the garden after its closure in 1954.
E One Tree Hill rises 300’ above sea level and affords wide views over London and Kent. It was used as a telegraph station in 1841 being part of a commercial line linking London with shipping passing through the Channel near Dover. The next station was Knockholt. It was also the reputed site where Queen Elizabeth took rest beneath an oak tree in 1602 when visiting Sir Richard Buckley of Lewisham. The site of the original tree is marked with an oak tree surrounded by a railing. A few yards further on is the circular base of a WWI gun used to fire at Zeppelin raiders. Close by is a beacon placed there in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It is a reminder of the beacon which once stood there to give warning of invasion by the Spanish and later the French.
F St Augustine’s Church built 1872-4 by William Oakley.
G Woodville Hall, the Grade 2 building is now part of the Sacred Heart Convent and school.
H Horniman Gardens and Museum were opened in 1901 and given to the people of London as a free museum. The gardens occupy the grounds of Surrey Mount, the home of the philanthropist and tea importer Frederick Horniman.
I Dulwich and adjacent Sydenham Hill woods are the largest remaining part of the ancient Great North Wood which once stretched from Deptford to the vicinity of Croydon. Both woods are owned by the Dulwich Estate but are leased and managed by the London Wildlife Trust. Dividing the two woods is the former track-bed, now a path, of the Crystal Palace High Level Railway which opened in 1865 and closed in 1954.
J The Dulwich Wood House was built as part of an extensive scheme by Frederick Fuller, a director of the Crystal Palace Company in 1854. Although many of the envisaged 188 houses were built, of the three pubs and two hotels only the Dulwich Wood House was completed.
K Sydenham Wells Park occupies a sloping site with good views. At the lower part of the park were the famous medicinal springs known as Sydenham Wells .and immensely popular from the late seventeenth century. Some of the springs are still active. The park opened in 1901.
L Crystal Palace Park occupies the site of the grounds of the Crystal Palace which opened in 1854 following on from the success of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851. Sir Joseph Paxton, who built the original design, based on that of the great glasshouse at Chatsworth, enlarged his Hyde Park design by 50%. The lower terraces are visible diagonally left on this walk and the larger lake seen is one of the reservoirs which supplied water to the twin towers which powered the huge fountains.
On the evening of 30th November 1936 a fire broke out and within twenty minutes the building was engulfed with flames. Sixty-five fire engines called to the Palace were unable to extinguish the flames and it was completely destroyed.
M Dulwich College was built by Charles Barry Jnr in 14C Northern Italian style and opened in 1870. Finance for the construction came from the sale of land on the Dulwich estate to various railway companies in the 1860’s..
On the sketch map opposite are shown eight photographs of places in Dulwich. Walk to each location and look for answers to the questions. The answers will be found within a 50 metre radius. Allow up to 3 hours to complete. Ages 8-80.
1. In which year was the existence of the red signpost first recorded?
What was the old name for Red Post Hill ?
What time is Sunday Worship ?
List ten different animals on the mural.
2. How many sea creatures are there on the bridge?
What do the initials A C stand for?
What is the number of the bridge?
What is the weight limit on the bridge?
3. How many people were killed In an air raid in September 1940?
What is the full name of Dulwich Library?
On one side is an open book, what is on the other side?
What time does the library close on a Sunday?
4. What is the design of the frieze around Dulwich Picture Gallery called?
When did the Gallery first open to the public?
What material did sculptor Peter Randall-Page use to carve his ‘Walking the Dog’ series?
How many urns on the top of the mausoleum?
5. What species of bat may be found in Belair?
What was once brewed as a popular drink?
Give three examples of what you must not do.
What is the Holly Blue’s favourite tree?
6. When did Edward Alleyn purchase the manor of Dulwich?
When did the College move to College Road?
What theatres did Edward Alleyn own?
What was the Village orchard in the 19th century?
7. What country is named on the plaque on the seat around the tree?
When did the hamlet of Dulwich become a village?
What was the name of the Queen of the Gipsies?
What happened to the hermit of Dulwich?
8. What nationality is the kindergarten that meets here?
When did the Borough of Camberwell build the houses?
What is the name of the Priest in charge?
What’s missing at St Faith’s Centre?
1. 1768 - Aspole Lane (Ashpole Lane) - 10.30AM
2. 12 sea creatures - Alleyn’s College - 1194 - 3 T (Tonnes)
3. 3 killed - Passmore Edwards Dulwich Public Library - crossed quill pens - 4pm
4. Greek key or Meander - 1817 - granite - 5 urns
5. Pipistrelles, Noctules, Daubenton’s- Burdock - Practise golf, fish, swim or bathe, feed the wildfowl - Holly
6. 1605 - 1870 - Little Rose, Fortune - school playground
7. Afghanistan - 1892 - Old Bridget - He was murdered
8. German - 1920-22 - Rev Susan Height - Letter E (missing from CENTRE)
By John Hughes
The deciduous woodlands of North America are outstandingly rich in oaks. Out of this abundance, three species are to be met with in Dulwich: Red oak Quercus rubra; Pin oak Q. palustris; and Scarlet oak Q. coccinea.
The trunks of all three of these American oaks are smooth and silvery-grey, which is the simplest way to distinguish them from our two native oaks - English oak Q. robur and Sessile oak Q. petraea - both of which have much darker, ridged and knobbly bark. The leaves of all three American species are quite deeply cut in outline, with sharp bristles at their lobe ends, giving them a very different appearance from the wavy, sinuous outline of the leaves of our native trees. Both Red and Scarlet oak have the autumnal colouring one would expect from their names, though the degree of redness varies greatly, even on the same tree. The leaves of Pin oak can also turn fiery red in autumn, though on some trees and in some years they turn a rich brown instead.
Red oak has been cultivated in Britain since 1724 and is widely planted in Dulwich, as elsewhere in Britain. It was first recorded in the wild in 1942 and is becoming naturalised in a few places, especially on light, sandy soils in the south. Red oak has been frequently used by the Forestry Commission to provide much-needed colour along the edges of sombre spruce plantations. This is particularly the case in spring when the delicious yellow of its young leaves can be seen from miles away on clear days in the uplands. Two good examples of Red oak in Dulwich are the trees on the central greens of Frank Dixon Way and Close, both enlivened by having child’s swings attached.
Pin and Scarlet oaks are much less common, particularly the latter. I am not aware of any records of either tree from the wild. Both species have leaves with lobes cut more than halfway to the midrib, whereas those of Red oak are cut less than halfway and are in any event substantially bigger. The leaves of Scarlet oak are usually slightly longer and less deeply cut than those of Pin oak but this is not always the case. If in doubt, turn the leaf over. The back of a Pin oak leaf has obvious hair-tufts in the vein axils; that of a Scarlet oak either has indistinct or no hair-tufts on the back.
The best place in Dulwich to see mature examples of both Pin and Scarlet oak is College Road. There are two splendid Pin oaks, outside numbers 23 and 41. And there is a good Scarlet oak opposite the garage entrance to number 48.
In winter, without the leaves, any large tree with a silvery-grey trunk and possessing a cluster of buds at the twig tips (characteristic of all oaks) is likely to be an American oak. The buds of Red oak are dark reddish-brown, whereas those of Scarlet and Pin oak are a much paler brown. Winter is the best time to see the pin-like side spurs of Pin oak, from which it derives its common name. They can give the tree a spiny appearance.
In the midst of this age of lockdowns we may be able to remember the sunny weather of last April and May with those marvelous blossoms, the legacy of which has been a bumper berry crop which has lasted well into winter. This has proved a bonanza for our visiting Redwings which have descended in flocks to gorge on the beanfeast. Hawthorn berries must taste better than Cotoneaster as in my garden they did not embark on the Cotoneaster until the Hawthorn crop was finished. They have now stripped the lot and moved on to pastures new and will probably soon to be seen on the grass in the park or sports fields when they have to revert to worms before returning to Scandinavia.
After my lament in the last issue of the absence of Blackbirds a few have now returned although some may be continental birds that have come in with the Redwings. Apparently continental male Blackbirds do not have the bright golden yellow beaks of Brexit Blackbirds. We will have to wait until we hear how many are singing when they start in February to see the full picture. Starlings alas seem to be absent so perhaps have gone to murmurate elsewhere.
Our most notable new record this winter has been a Hawfinch spotted by Paul Collins in Norwood cemetery in November. Our London cemeteries are recognized as quiet wildlife sanctuaries and this may be particularly so now as our parks are often so full. The Hawfinch is the largest of our finches and perhaps the most difficult to see as their favoured habitat is high tree canopy. Apart from their fine plumage their most distinguished characteristic is their large beak adapted for the opening of tough seeds. The historic record of Professor Peter Branscombe did mention Hawfinches as having been present in our woods in pre-war times and Hornbeam seeds are known to be on their diet which we can provide. There was a national Hawfinch invasion in the winter two years ago but we did not record any here although we could easily have missed them.
The feedback from my zoom talk in December has been interesting. One of the contributors spoke of seeing a massive raptor flying over; neither a Buzzard nor a Kite. A White Tailed Sea Eagle settlement project is taking place on the Isle of Wight and one bird was reported to have gone off piste and took a flyabout around the south east and was observed flying over London. It has I gather now returned to base but we can be reasonably sure that our observer was correct that this was indeed her bird.
Tawny Owls do not often venture out of the woods but Sharon O’Connor reports one calling near the College Road entrance to Lovers Lane. Following on from this a young branching Tawny Owl had been photographed by Harry Rutherford in his College Road garden where it had clearly bred last year. Tawny Owls are very faithful to their territories so they can be expected to return.
One of the additional benefits of my talk was to hear of wildlife expertise in Dulwich. Czech Conroy is an expert on dragonflies and was able to provide new information on the range of dragonflies here. He was able to identify an Emerald Damselfly in the park last summer which was a species new to me amongst a number of others. Hopefully we will be able to do a wider review with him this year. Harry Rutherford who has written in previous issues of the magazine of his experiences with his moth trap has discovered a species of moth new to Britain. It took him three years to get it accepted but after records came up from elsewhere his discovery was confirmed. Jeff Doodson who is now a member of the Wildlife committee also has entomological expertise which will be particularly useful since we have to focus more and more upon insects as key to the survival of our wildlife not least ourselves.
I was interested to learn this week that the Egyptian Geese that we now see regularly in Dulwich Park are in fact ducks and related to the Shelducks that we see on our muddy river estuaries.. This makes sense as readers will observe that the males and females are dissimilar in plumage whereas in true geese the pairs are identical except of course to each other.
Readers may be frustrated in that their hanging bird feeders are being emptied by Parakeets before the Tits get a look in. Peter Grimsdale has developed the illustrated Parakeet Preventer Screen which apparently does the trick which he is willing to share with anyone who has the problem.
The feedback from the zoom talk was most welcome. Please carry on with any more of your records, photos and observations.
Peter Roseveare Wildlife Recorder
tel: 020 7274 4567 email:
By Ian McInnes
The church was founded in the mid-1890s following a series of meetings held at the house of a Mr Swift in Wiltshire Road, Brixton. A committee was formed and the members ‘called’ the Rev Alfred G Short to join them as their new pastor - at the time he was the pastor at the Baptist church in Brading near Sandown on the Isle of Wight. Born in Bristol, he had moved to London to find work and had come under the influence of Rev Charles H Spurgeon, the famous Baptist preacher and founder of the Metropolitan Tabernacle (still located in Elephant and Castle). He joined the Pastors’ College in 1869 and, after a student pastorate at Battersea, was sent to Irvine in the West of Scotland. In the late 1870s and early 1880s he held positions in Sittingbourne and Newcastle-on-Tyne but then took some years away from the pastorate due to ill-health. His ‘calling’ to join the Herne Hill church most likely came through his friendship with George Hambrook Dean, a wealthy brickmaker, who had sponsored the Sittingbourne church and whose son, John, a Herne Hill resident in Woodquest Road, was both a member of the implementation committee and would become chair of the building committee.
John Hambrook Dean worked for the family firm, Sittingbourne based brickmaker Smeed Dean, as a factor (salesman and distributor). In the final 25 years of the nineteenth century, the company was probably the largest brick manufacturers in the country - in 1877 they produced 60 million bricks, specialising in the cheaper yellow stocks used for the side and back walls of the typical speculatively built house. George Smeed had established the firm in 1845 and was joined by his son-in-law, George Dean, in 1875. The firm owned their own barges to move the bricks up to London and you can still buy Smeed Dean bricks today - though the brand is now owned by Austrian brick company, Wienerberger Ltd.
Initially church services were held in a railway arch at Loughborough Junction. The site on the corner of Winterbrook Road and Half Moon Lane was acquired in the summer of 1897 - the original intention had been to locate the church on the opposite side of the road, but the contemporary Estate minutes confirmed that it was moved because it impacted on the layout of the shortly to be built new shops. George Augustus Young, the builder of the new Half Moon Tavern, the shops and the houses on the Springfield Estate, offered the church the alternative site and the Estate were perfectly happy as long as the church paid £60 per annum ground rent and agreed to build a chapel to cost not less than £500. Charles Barry Jnr, the Dulwich Estate Architect, was appointed to design the first building, the church hall (in fact it was to be his last building), and a series of his sketches were circulated to local Christians to raise money for its construction. An initial £1000, was forthcoming - made up of £300 from gifts and £700 from free five-year loans from members of the building committee; it was sufficient for work to start.
Local Dulwich Village builder, W J Mitchell, completed the hall in May 1899. At the opening ceremony the Rev Short talked optimistically about the future church and school room, but noted that the new building had cost £2259, and that they needed to pay it off before they even thought about a church. In 1899, to help raise the money required, the heads of a local private school in Loughborough Junction, the Misses A & L Ridler, were persuaded to donate the proceeds of their sixth annual pupils’ concert to the church building fund. In 1901 more money was raised by selling part of the site for a new house, No 1A Winterbrook Road. It was constructed by the church building committee’s treasurer, local house builder, Mr Arthur Bendall, best known for his houses in Turney Road, Desenfans Road and Court Lane. The house was called ‘Illinois’ as the first owner, Isaac More, was the London representative for Armour & Co, the large Chicago meatpacking company.
In June 1904 the twelve foundation stones of the new church were laid by the Rev Short and a number of local worthies. The trowel used for the ceremony was provided by the Rev V J Charlesworth, of the Stockwell Orphanage, while the plummet and mallet were those used to lay the foundation stone of the Toxteth Tabernacle in Liverpool. Each of the 12 major participants also provided a cheque. During the ceremony, the gathering was photographed, and as a further source of funds, members of the congregation were invited to buy copies of the pictures, or to lay bricks with their initials inscribed in the well, at a cost of one guinea. The South London Press said ‘we understand, many took advantage of adopting this means of having their names down to posterity in connection with the history of the church.’ The architect for the new church was an Alleyn Park resident, J William Stevens. Stevens, who had offices in New Bridge Street was better known as a designer of worshops and warehouses to the drapery trade. The new church was complete by the spring of 1906 at a final cost was £11,000. The organ was acquired from the Gresham Hall in Brixton, an earlier building designed by J W Stevens (now the Karibu Centre in Gresham Road).
Lady members of the congregation provided the church furnishings including the carpets, the communion table and chairs, the clock and the communion set. Another local builder, and building committee member, George Harris, carried out the paving of the forecourt and paths and also planted the shrubs in the grounds. The church was formally opened on 22nd March 1906.
An unusual feature for a Baptist church was the bell tower. The bell bears the following inscription ‘The Bell was kindly given to the Herne Hill Baptist Church by A Q Tucker Esq. of Onaway, Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, A.D. 1905. Augustus Quackenbush Tucker was a wealthy American born local resident who had made his money through selling patent asthma medicine. There can be no doubt of his affection for the land of his birth; the Stars and Stripes are carved in the stonework of ‘Onaway’. In October 1911 his daughter was married at the church. A newspaper account noted that ‘Miss Tucker, being an American lady, introduced several innovations which made the ceremony unique - these included the double wedding service, the bridesmaids preceding the bride on the way to the altar and there waiting for the bride, and the groomsmen preceding the bridegroom.’ The report added that the church was beautifully decorated, ‘a novel note was the two flags, the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack, tied together with white satin ribbon’. Apparently soft music played throughout the service. and ‘the bride’s trousseau (by Messrs Selfridge) ‘was a creation of the dressmaking art’.’
Rev Short left in 1913 following a breakdown in his health and retired to Farnham in Surrey. Subsequent pastors included Rev Percy A Clements (1914-22) and Rev A E Edwards (1923-37). The latter celebrated the church’s twenty fifth anniversary in January 1924 when the chairman, still Mr John Hambrook Dean, gave a speech to much applause saying that ‘By the united effort of many friends during the years that had gone, culminating in a bazaar last Autumn the church was now entirely free of debt’. The event was attended by the Mayor of Camberwell and special messages of thanks for past services were sent to Mr and Mrs Harris and Mr and Mrs Bendall.
Historic England listed the church in 1989 describing it as designed in ‘a Nonconformist Art Nouveau-cum-Gothic Revival style’. The nave was floored over in the 1970s to form two meeting halls but the arched braced and hammer beam roof remains intact and is exposed to view.
By Duncan Bowie
George Grote, historian of Greece and MP for the City of London between 1832 and 1841, lived at Dulwich Wood, later known as Wood Hall on College Road on the east side, south of the Toll Gate between 1832 and 1837. The house was demolished by a bomb during the second world war and the story of the building and its occupiers was told by Brian Green in an article in the journal in June 2010. The site was redeveloped as Woodhall Drive.
George Grote was born at Clay Hill, between Beckenham and Bromley in 1794. His father was a banker - his grandfather Andreas Grote was a migrant of Dutch and German extraction. George Grote left school to join the family bank at the age of 15, his father not believing in the value of university education. Grote was largely self-taught, studying Latin, Greek, German, history, literature, philosophy and political economy. He knew the economist, David Ricardo, who encouraged his economic studies and Grote sent Ricardo a paper on foreign trade. Grote was also a member of a literature society which met in chambers in the Temple, to which Grote contributed a paper on the Roman poet and philosopher, Lucretius. In 1819, Grote met James Mill and Jeremy Bentham. Bentham was an active writer on political reform and in 1821, at the age of 27, Grote published a Statement on the Question of Parliamentary Reform, James Mill having published his Essay on Government the previous year. The pamphlet was accompanied by a letter to the Morning Chronicle, critical of an anti-reform speech of George Canning, who at the time was President of the Board of Trade in Lord Liverpool’s Tory government. Grote argued for an unrestricted franchise (that is without any property or educational qualifications), the secret ballot and annual parliaments, at the time an extreme radical position, which Grote was later to moderate somewhat. Like his fellow utilitarians, Grote was sceptical of established religion. In 1822, he published An Analysis of the Influence of Natural Religion on the Temporal Happiness of Mankind. This was actually published by the radical atheist, Richard Carlile, who at the time was imprisoned in Dorchester gaol for blasphemy, and written under the pseudonym of ‘Philip Beauchamp’, his authorship only being revealed after Grote’s death. The general argument of the pamphlet was that religion did more harm than good. Given that from 1816, Grote was the main working partner in his family bank, the extent of his studying, writing and political activity is impressive. Grote’s radicalism did not seem, at least initially, to impact on his role as city banker.
In the 1820’s, Grote lived first at Fortis Green in North London and then in Stoke Newington. Grote also had a house next to the bank in Threadneedle Street and it was there that the initial group of young radicals met, apparently two mornings a week, including John Stuart Mill, Charles Buller, J A Roebuck and Grote’s banking partner, W G Prescott. Grote got married in 1821 to Harriet Lewin, daughter of a member of the East India Company. The couple married secretly as Harriet’s parents disapproved of Grote’s views on religion. Harriet was a strong personality and regarded by some of the philosophical radicals as much more dynamic than her husband. As well as being a hostess to the radical group, she had an extensive correspondence with a much wider circle. She was to write a history of the philosophical radicals, which focused on the Grotes’ friendship with Sir William Molesworth, and a very personal biography of her husband after his death as well as publishing many of his early works and papers. It was Harriet who, clearly constrained by living next to the bank, in 1832 sought out a new home and found the house in Dulwich, which had been built some twenty years earlier and had 15 acres of grounds, bordered Dulwich wood and had a view over the city. Harriet described the house as ‘naked and a wilderness, not papered, painted or warmed or anything’. The Grotes paid £4,500 for the house and spent £2,000 on making the house into an attractive country residence. They also rented five more acres of what is now the Dulwich and Sydenham golf course which was then agricultural land.
From 1822, Grote started on his magnum opus - his history of Greece. However, before the first volumes were ready for publication, he had to put aside his work to focus on political activity, with the resurgence of the movement for parliamentary reform. Grote’s father died in 1830 and the Beckenham house was sold. Grote inherited his father’s banking interests as well as estates in Lincolnshire. Grote was now in a position to finance the reform cause. Following the July revolution in France which led to the deposition of the Bourbon monarchy, Grote gave £500 to the French radicals, through his contacts, the French sociologist and founder of ‘positivism’ August Comte and the economist, Jean-Baptiste Say. The following year, he revised his earlier reform pamphlet as Essentials of Parliamentary Reform. His views had been moderated - he now advocated the phased lowering of the property qualification, suggesting that the electorate be increased to one million, and while still preferring annual parliaments proposed triennial parliaments as a more pragmatic alternative. Grote argued that increasing the electorate would reduce patronage and would purify government, ensure economy, produce an improvement in law and an abstinence from unnecessary wars. The pamphlet made no reference to whether women should be eligible to vote, which Bentham had supported. James Mill had opposed female suffrage, though his son John Stuart Mill was later to be a leading advocate of women’s right to vote.
With the dissolution of parliament in April 1831, Grote was urged, apparently by John Stuart Mill, to stand for parliament for the City of London. He declined. However, by October, he was actively engaged in the reform movement and corresponding with Francis Place, the radical tailor of Charing Cross, and with Joseph Parkes, the leader of the Birmingham radicals. Grote organised a petition in favour of reform from city bankers and merchants and presented it to the Prime Minister, Lord Grey. The Reform Bill was carried in the Commons but rejected by the Lords. Grote organised a protest meeting in the City at Mansion House, which led to a further petition being submitted. Grote was still hopeful that parliament would carry the Bill against the opposition led by the Duke of Wellington. while Place was more pessimistic. Place sought to force the issue by calling for a run on the banks - “To stop the Duke, Go for Gold.” Grote was opposed to this tactic as he thought it would damage the reform cause and wrote to The Times to express his disapproval. Wellington however could not form a government, as Robert Peel and his moderate Tories in the Commons supported reform. Grey had persuaded the King to appoint sufficient new peers to drive the Bill through the Lords. Grey returned to the position of Prime Minister, and the Bill was carried. Place wrote in triumph to Grote claiming that it was his own more radical tactics which had forced the issue. The main features of the Act, popularly known to all history students as the Great Reform Act, were an extension of the franchise and a redistribution of seats from rural to urban areas. It did not include the secret ballot or triennial parliaments.
When another general election was called, this time Grote agreed to stand for one of the four parliamentary seats for the City of London. His manifesto focused on the need for the two further reforms - triennial parliaments and the secret ballot. He also argued for limiting public expenditure, economy in taxation with regard to taxes which ‘either press peculiarly on persons of low income, or cramp the operations of industry’. He opposed taxes on knowledge - the stamp duty on newspapers. He also called for the abolition of church tithes and opposed the Corn Laws - the tariffs on imported corn, condemned slavery and called for universal education as necessary ‘to advance the well-being and improve the character of the LABOURING classes.’. In the election in December 1832, Grote topped the poll. He was cheered by a crowd of 4,000 outside Guildhall. A band played The Conquering Hero. His three colleagues, including two former Lord Mayors, were reforming Whigs but not as radical as Grote.
Harriet Grote wrote of these early parliamentary years ‘We could not sleep and the day seemed ever big with events.’ The Dulwich house became the centre of the radical parliamentary group, of which Grote was seen as the leader - Molesworth and Buller both represented Cornish constituencies so often stayed in Dulwich during parliament sessions. The radical group also included Roebuck representing Bath, Henry Warburton representing Bridport in Dorset and John Romilly, also representing Bridport and Edward Romilly, representing Ludlow, both sons of Sir Samuel Romilly, the legal reformer and former solicitor general. At a meeting at Threadneedle Street, attended by James Mill as well as the small group of radical MPs, it was agreed that Grote take the lead on the issue of the secret ballot. Grote unsuccessfully raised the issue annually from 1833 to 1839, though the majority against the ballot fell from 173 in 1835 to 51 in 1836. Models of ballot boxes were distributed around the country - an image of one was to appear in the Chartists Charter of 1842.
In 1834, Melbourne succeeded Grey as Prime Minister, though early in the following year Peel led a Conservative ministry, to be replaced by Melbourne’s Whigs in April. Grote and his colleagues tried to establish a Radical party separate from the Whigs and their Irish nationalist allies. Most of the radical MPs however wanted to maintain the Whig alliance as did the Irish MPs led by Daniel O’Connell. This however did not stop some Radicals standing against Whigs in the 1835 election. By 1837 the Grotes were favouring this alliance but a grand dinner at Drury Lane on 23 January to celebrate the alliance was a disappointment. Grote argued for the true Radical doctrine, but found that the Radicals were drawn into supporting the Ministry without winning any concessions. Harriet Grote recorded with reference to her husband that ‘never have I seen him so ashamed and contrite’. A general election followed the death of William IV and the succession of Queen Victoria in July 1837 resulting in a Whig government under Melbourne opposed to reform and the radicals weakened.
Despite the lack of further progress on parliamentary reform, the radical-Whig alliance did produce some results. Harriet Grote records a celebration in 1835 at the Dulwich house of the passage of the Municipal Corporations Act and the reform of the poor laws. However, by 1837, the radical group was in decline. Grote only scraped back into parliament by 6 votes, coming 4th out of the four-seat contest. By 1841, Grote had become disillusioned with parliament and decided to stand down. He would probably have been defeated as the city was no longer that radical -it elected two Whigs including Lord John Russell, the future Prime Minister, known as ‘Finality Russell’ for his 1837 speech opposing further parliamentary reform, and two Conservatives. In 1837, the Grotes left Dulwich and moved to Eccleston Street in Belgravia. Grote was apparently tired of spending nights in lodgings in the city after late night sessions as it took too long to travel to Dulwich - the railway line to Sydenham Hill station, just opposite the Dulwich house had not yet opened. Harriet was reluctant to leave Dulwich - “I had bestowed a great deal of time, trouble and expense on our present house and grounds, it had become suited to our wants, and I knew that London would prove injurious to my health.”
What was left of the radical group therefore moved their social hub to Belgravia, where Harriet continued her role as hostess. In fact. with the dispersal the radicals, the Grotes began to circulate in more establishment circles, including being invited to Holland House, the social centre of the traditional Whigs, and to Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s ball. In Grote’s last few years in parliament, despite his declining interest in politics, he managed to speak in favour of an unsuccessful household suffrage bill in 1839, support self-government in Jamaica, comment on penal policy in New South Wales, suggesting this be funded by the home country which had transported the convicts and criticised Palmerston’s imperialistic adventures in the Middle East. He also turned his attention to higher education. Despite never having himself gone to university, he joined the council of the new University College, known at the time as ‘the Godless college’, becoming president in 1868. He also joined the senate of the reformed London University, becoming the third vice-chancellor in 1862, a post he held until his death in June 1871 at the age of 76. He used his position to argue for the right of women to take degrees. He did not live to see the passage of the Ballot Act the following year, which introduced the secret ballot in British parliamentary elections.
The story of Andrew Hume, an assistant master at Dulwich College, and his 1877 High Court libel action against the undermaster, the Rev James McCall Marshall, is well told by Jan Piggott in his ‘Dulwich College, a History 1616-2008’. The school organisation at the time appears to have been quite dysfunctional, with two opposing factions constantly fighting against each other, one supporting the Governors and one supporting the Master, Canon Carver. Hume’s case against Marshall was that he had falsely accused him of drunkenness. ‘Hume v Marshall’ divided the staff, even wives were involved, and reportedly took to ‘lowering their parasols’ when they met members of the opposing faction out walking. In court Carver claimed that the only reason the case had been brought against Hume was because he was ‘loyal’ to him and his plans for the College. However, local residents, including a clinical lecturer at Bart’s, testified that Hume had been seen coming home from London, night after night, the worse for drink, and pupils gave evidence that he drank spirits in the buttery (the boys’ nickname for him was ‘B&S’ - Brandy and Soda). In fact, it appears that Hume was not the only master who drank on duty, some were known to imbibe at morning break in full view of their pupils. Hume’s sister, who kept house for him, also gave evidence and said she had never seen him the worse for liquor. In the end, the jury accepted Hume’s version of events and he won the case - but was awarded only 40 shillings damages against the £1,000 he had asked for. Not surprisingly the Governors sacked him, though Canon Carver, appreciative of his support, gave him a golden goodbye of almost £300, a reasonable sum in the days when that figure bought a good-sized house in East Dulwich.
Born in Donegal, Ireland on 21 April 1840, Andrew W Hume was the second son of William ‘Lord’ Hume, JP (1784-1849), an oppressive landlord who clashed with the local Catholic clergy and once only escaped an assassination attempt because he was wearing a protective coat of chain mail. The family lived in some style on the Glen Lodge Estate at Glencolmcille, Donegal - it was just under 11,000 acres in extent and extended three miles along the coast and included the beautiful Silver Strand - considered today to be one of Ireland’s best beaches. ‘Lord’ Hume died in 1849, just after the end of the Great Famine, leaving the family in substantial debt. The estate was finally sold in 1857 through The Encumbered Estates' Court - established by an 1849 Act of Parliament, to facilitate the sale of Irish estates where owners, because of the Great Famine, were unable to meet their financial obligations. Hume was educated at Trinity College Dublin (taking first class honours in the classical tripos) and in 1861 he sat, and passed with high marks, the Indian Civil Service Examination - he was related to Major General J J Hume of the Bengal Army and perhaps he had thoughts of going to India but, in the end, he remained in Ireland, becoming a classics master at Ennis College in County Clare.
He joined Dulwich College in January 1871, initially as form master for the Upper Third. He was also the School Secretary from 1875-76 and, for a brief period in 1877, he was Captain of the Rifle Corps. He first lived at 30 Knowle Road in Brixton along with his elderly mother and two sisters, Annie and Rebecca Sarah (nicknamed Raby), but in 1875 he took over the lease of No. 1 Allison Towers, a tall semi-detached house on the north side of Dulwich Common almost opposite the Millpond. It was here, following his dismissal from the College, that he set up his own school. He was joined by two of his younger colleagues but, in reality and despite his aspirations, it was more of a crammer to prepare boys for entrance to Sandhurst and the Civil Service - as this advertisement in the South London Press on 12th December 1877 confirmed:
‘Mr A W Hume MA, late Second Senior Assistant Master, and School Secretary of Dulwich College INSTRUCTS RESIDENT and NON-RESIDENT PUPILS in all the branches of a liberal education, and prepares them for the Universities and Public Schools, and for the Army, Civil Service, and other examinations, and for Business. Mr Hume will be assisted in the higher classics by Messrs R R D Adams MA and J T Hutchinson, both first classical tripos, Cambridge, and late of Dulwich College: and in all branches by experienced and competent teachers, including a resident foreign master.’
Hume was an active Freemason, and a member of two local lodges, the Beadon and the Ionic. A rather biased article written by a fellow Freemason in the South London Press in June 1878 implied that the new school was a great success, saying ‘those who sympathise with Bro Hume, among them many Freemasons, will learn with satisfaction that all the success which might have been anticipated from his high character as a gentleman and a scholar has attended his new start in life as a tutor for the army, civil service and other examinations. Among many others, Bro Horatio Lloyd PPGSW Cheshire, and Bro Henry Parsons PPGSW Surrey have withdrawn their sons from the more pretentious Dulwich College, to place them with Bro Hume.’
Over the next two years Hume placed regular advertisements in local newspapers, one in 1879 gave the fees for resident pupils as 50-65 guineas, and for non-resident pupils 16-25 guineas in the senior department, and 6-12 guineas in the junior department, per term of 13 weeks. Hume encouraged sport and there were certainly enough pupils to field a number of teams. In November 1880 the rugby team was reported to have won seven out of nine matches although, much to Hume’s annoyance, Dulwich College had refused to play them. The same month saw a series of newspaper articles on his pupil’ exam successes - a Lieutenant Galt placed fifth in order of merit for the exam for lieutenants of militia while five others passed the Sandhurst preliminary examination.
The 1881 Census showed him living at No 1 Allison Towers, along with his sister Raby, 13 pupils, five servants and two teachers. Directly across Allison Grove, at No 3 Allison Gardens, was his 79-year-old mother, with his other sister Annie, and a further five pupils and two more teachers. On 16th December, at St Giles Camberwell, Raby married one of the teachers, Captain Ferdinand Wollenhaupt, a former captain in the Prussian Army. He was five years younger than her and, prior to coming to England, had served in the 1st West Prussian Grenadier Regiment No 6. He had been awarded the Konigsgratz medal for service in the Austro-Prussian war of 1866 and had also served in the Franco Prussian War of 1870-71, taking part in the battle of Weissenburg. He was severely wounded at Worth - where he was awarded the Iron Cross. From 1871 to his retirement from active service, he was a maths Instructor at the German Military College in Potsdam. Wollenhaupt was made a partner in the school early in 1882 and the South London Press advertisements remained optimistic:
ALLISON TOWERS, Dulwich Common, SE, Army examinations etc. Mr A W Hume MA, First Class in Classical Honours, Trinity College, Dublin, high place at the open competition for the Indian Civil Service, 1861, and Captain Wollenhaupt, late of the 1st West Prussian Grenadier Regiment, No. 6, assisted by an exceptionally strong staff of professors and lecturers. PREPARE for all ARMY and other Examinations at their residence, Allison Towers, Dulwich Common SE. In the last two years one hundred and thirteen have passed, one hundred and four on first trial. Work has begun.
Unfortunately, the final line was wrong, work was ending rather than beginning. On 30th December 1882, the South London Press reported on A W Hume’s bankruptcy, describing him as an army tutor with estimated debts of £7000 (his assets were only £650). The article added that the court had recently appointed a receiver and granted an injunction restraining proceedings by creditors, specifically the Vestry of Camberwell. Despite his bankruptcy Hume continued to run the school though his advertisements in 1883 were in a lower key, this example is from April:
Allison Towers, Dulwich, SE. Thoroughly practical education and preparation for any examinational career. Terms moderate. The list of successes, references etc - apply to A W Hume MA.
The school finally closed early in 1884, Hume auctioning his household furniture in June - included a semi-grand piano by Broadwood & Sons, a cottage piano by Cramer & Co, various plated articles, 650 school books, and numerous effects. Captain Wollenhaupt and his sister Raby moved to Guernsey where, early in 1886 he joined the staff of Elizabeth College in St Peter Port to teach German and military instruction - the couple were still there in the early 1900s. As to what happened to Andrew W Hume and his other sister Annie after 1884, there is no record.