Successes for the Planning & Architecture Committee

In the summer edition of the 2007 Journal (then named the Newsletter), the Editor drew attention to the failure of Southwark Council to exercise its statutory duty in regard to Dulwich’s listed buildings. It highlighted the protracted delay in dealing with a partially collapsed listed wall at the foot of Red Post Hill.  Although the Council and the Dulwich Estate had served Dangerous Structures and Breach of Covenant notices on the owner, these had the effect of causing the virtual demolition of much of what remained of the wall.  The Dulwich Society’s Planning & Architecture committee then took up the case and sought and obtained legal advice on enforcing the covenants requiring its repair.  Through the tenacity of the committee chairman David Roberts,the owner of the wall and garden, who is not the actual owner of Lyndenhurst, but a developer, has reluctantly but finally, in the face of legal action in a case brought by Southwark Council through the Dulwich Society’s intervention, carried out a rebuilding of the wall under the close scrutiny of the Council’s officers. 

David Roberts also followed through, with commendable thoroughness, another black spot; the state of the fencing in front of the Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club’s ground on Dulwich Common. What was potentially one of the most beautiful vistas in Dulwich had been made an eyesore because of the dumping of rubbish, a badly sited container and fallen-down fencing. He succeeded in persuading the officers of the club, which had been experiencing financial difficulties, to resite the container and repaint it a more harmonious colour and David then made a bid on the Club’s behalf, through the Dulwich Society for a CGS grant for a new fence towards which the cricket club and the Dulwich Society contributed half of the £10,000 cost.  The Dulwich Estate also played its part by preparing tender documents including drawings and obtaining tenders.

The result of this successful CGS bid is an attractive boundary using natural materials and providing safety to children in the Cricket Club parking area. The light colour of the wood will darken and become the pale grey characteristic of weathered Oak over time. The Oak fencing came from a sustainable source, Hever Castle Estate in Kent. The project was completed within the agreed work period at the beginning of March within budget. Altogether it was a remarkable exercise in co-operation.

Dulwich Community Council Grant Allocations

In the allocation of Community Council Grants (Cleaner, Greener, Safer – CGS Grants) for 2010-11, the Dulwich Society was awarded six grants for its proposals.* In addition the Wildlife Committee supported the successful bid of Friends of Belair Park in dealing with the water quality in the lake and the Traffic & Transport Committee supported a successful for £10,000 for street tree planting.
1.  £1000 to improve access to Cox’s Walk for people with buggies and wheelchairs through the existing metal pedestrian gate at the bottom of the pathway opposite The Grove Tavern.
2. Replacement of the circular bench surrounding a tree in Dulwich Village.  £2000
3. Replacement of the vandalised bench formerly outside Barclays Bank, Dulwich Village presented in memory of the late Bernie Webb.  £1200.
4. To provide a red-painted finger post to replicate the historic post formerly at the junction of Red Post Hill and Herne Hill/Denmark Hill. £1600.
5.  Returfing of the green areas in Dulwich Village between the graveyard and the pedestrian crossing opposite the Post Office.  £5000.
6.  £25,000 to enable  Rosebery Lodge, Dulwich Park, to be used by community groups/council staff.

In total, the sum of £314,730 was allocated for schemes proposed in Dulwich.  In addition to those above the others are:

£5000 to improve the visual appearance of the Paxton Green roundabout.
£26,000 to improve security with footpath lighting at Little Bornes, Alleyn Park.
£2000 for new grit boxes in Dulwich.
£16,700 for a new lighting scheme and embellishment of existing lamp standards in Ildersley Grove.
£15,000 to supply two further pieces of outdoor gym equipment at the Fitter Estate, Lordship Lane.
£5000 to improve the appearance of the railway banks on both sides of West Dulwich Station.
£7000 to investigate and draw up plans for community space on Croxted Road estate.
£7500 to replace existing lighting at Paxton tunnel.
£20,000 to improve signage, provide speed humps and deal with subsidence problems in the driveway area of Kingswood House.
£2000 to provide notice boards in the East Dulwich area.
£5000 to install gates to the alley way in North Cross Road.
£25,000 for traffic calming in East Dulwich, to include speed humps in Matham Grove, Melbourne Grove, Lordship Lane.
£10,000 to fund preventative measures to reduce incidence of crime in East Dulwich.
£12,400 for more street trees and new build outs on East Dulwich streets.
£6000 for extra covered waiting area at East Dulwich Station.
£30,000 to fund CO2 reducing ideas.
£8000 towards the collection and repair of disused bicycles and their distribution to local primary schools in East Dulwich.
£2000 to encourage East Dulwich dry cleaners to use eco friendly chemicals.
£5000 to improve Goose Green with a planting and gardening project.
£1500 to grass replacement in Melbourne Grove.
£20,000 towards Half Moon Lane shopping parade regeneration.
£3000 for shrubs and perennials for Dulwich Park’s volunteer programme.
£2500 for East Dulwich Grove community allotment project.
£500 for completion of Lytcott Grove orchard and community garden.
£1700 for publicity equipment for local police surgeries.
£4130 to purchase traffic speed measuring device for Village Ward police.
£10,000 for planting street trees for Cherry Blossom Festival project in Village Ward. (Bid supported by The Dulwich Society)
£1000 for edge planting scheme
£20,000 to improve Belair Park lake. (Bid supported by The Dulwich Society)
£1000 to install owl boxes in Dulwich area.
£1000 towards a top up fund for pensioners and youth club hut in Village ward.
£3000 to create and promote more recycling for Dulwich Park by providing proper recycling bins.

*In the 2009-10 Allocation, Dulwich Society Wildlife committee member David Nicholson-Lord successfully obtained a grant of £3000 for signage in the wildlife areas of Dulwich Park (the perimeter of the Woodland Walk).  The Wildlife Committee, working with the Friends of Belair Park obtained a £8000 grant for an extended native hedgerow and wildflower plantings in Belair which were carried out by Walworth Garden Farm.

Edward Alleyn’s statue

The commemorative statue of Edward Alleyn offering assistance to a poor boy was installed in 2005. The figure of the boy was removed and hidden in bushes during the winter of 2007. The boy was re-fixed on the stone plinth with a new secure baseplate in November 2008.

Following the re-instatement of the boy to the plinth, the Dulwich Society decided to provide and install 24 hour CCTV surveillance and Smart Water marking with the agreement of the Dulwich Estate.  CCTV 24 hour surveillance and Smart Water DNA forensic marking are now in place. The CCTV has been running for some months. The camera has been installed close by and records day and night. Note that the camera is far more discrete than the CCTV symbol on the sign. If an incident was to occur, a recording can be provided to the Police.

The Smart Water DNA forensic marking has been applied to both statues. It is a durable non-visible unique DNA marked liquid that is promoted as being 100% effective in securing a conviction when used as evidence in a prosecution.

To let the observer know that these security measures are in place, stainless steel plaques have been fixed to concrete within recessed gravel strip around the perimeter of the plinth.

Dulwich Hospital

The rededication in March of the restored World War 1 war memorial at Dulwich Hospital was carried out by the Revd Canon Dianna Gwilliams, vicar of St Barnabas and a successor to Canon Howard Nixon, the original priest who officiated at the ceremony in 1920.  The hospital is situated within that church’s parish and Nixon was the chaplain of what was then the St. Saviour’s (later Southwark) Infirmary. There were other similarities too.  In 1920, at the original dedication, Alleyn’s School supplied a choir, this time the school’s Cadet Force supplied a Colour Guard.  Wreaths were laid by the Mayor of Southwark, Tessa Jowell MP, the chair of NHS Southwark and the British Legion (who also provided a Colour Guard).  Just as in 1920, nurses and medical staff attended the ceremony.  The Dulwich Society was represented by a number of members, including Major General Norman Kirby RAMC (retd).
Local resident Frank Ralfe read the poem ‘The Dead’ by Rupert Brooke and Hannah Robathan,  a pupil from JAGS, sounded The Last Post and Reveille.  The names of those who died at the hospital and who are inscribed on the memorial were read out by Rosemary Dawson, who represented local amenity societies on the Southwark Primary Care Trust, and by John Knightly, the Site Manager at Dulwich PCT who saw the entire project through.

The Dulwich Society became involved in the restoration of the memorial in 2004 when Kings was preparing to vacate Dulwich Hospital and proposals were made to demolish some of the former hospital wards. The project manager for the Trust, Tony Johnston, approached the Society for assistance in recording its historic features. Members of the Local History committee took up the challenge and agreed to carry out a survey. Two visits were made in May and July of that year, photographs were taken and some historical research carried out with the help of Bryce Caller. The two main discoveries were a large quantity of archives going back to 1887 and the remains of a war memorial. The archives were transferred to Kings College Archives. The central section of the war memorial with the dedication and names of the deceased was found to the east of the main entrance, some of the stones for the plinth were found in the grounds, but the column and cross known from an early photograph were missing. Patricia Reynolds recorded the list of names and a report was sent to Kings.

Funds for the restoration project were received from the War Memorials Trust and English Heritage.  The Dulwich Society donated £1000 to providing a seat beside the memorial and a contribution towards the landscaping.  The cost of the remainder of the landscaping was made possible by a grant from The Metropolitan Gardens Association.