World War Two Civilian deaths to be commemorated

As part of its celebrations for its fiftieth anniversary in 2013, The Dulwich Society is to mark with plaques, the sites where there were multiple civilian deaths as a result of air-raids in World War II.  The engraved metal tablets will indicate the date of the raid and  the numbers of those killed, and will be affixed in prominent places in the roads where the incidents occurred.  The area expected to be covered will include all of Dulwich including adjacent roads in East Dulwich, and neighbouring roads in Lambeth such as Rosendale Road.  So far fifteen sites have been identified including Burbage Road, Court Lane, Dog Kennel Hill, Dovercourt Road,  Dunstans Road, Friern Road, Grove Vale,  Lytcott Grove, Melbourne Grove, Lordship Lane, Park Hall Road, Underhill Road, Woodvale, Woodwarde Road.  As a result of further research there may be additions to this list.  To date 155 are known to have been killed in the roads mentioned.  Many of those killed are commemorated at the civic war memorial at Honor Oak Cemetery dedicated in 1995.

In several instances whole families were killed when bombs exploded on individual houses.  One case in particular is especially tragic.  Herta Loebenstein , aged around 20  had fled from Hanau, Mainz, Germany as a refugee in 1939 because she was  Jewish  and was killed in an air raid  at 72  Half Moon Lane on13th September 1940.  A suitcase belonging to Herta was discovered many years later in the loft of the house where she was working as a live-in maid.  The contents of the suitcase were examined by staff at Lambeth Archives and it was found that Herta had died from her wounds in Dulwich Hospital and is buried among the Camberwell War Dead at Honor Oak Cemetery where her name is recorded on the memorial.  The papers, letters and photographs in the suitcase are now held at Lambeth Archives Department. Through the organisation Genes Reunited, another researcher traced a Heinz Boley, a person Herta had written to in New York.   According to Heinz, now called Henry, all of Herta’s relations had perished.

St Peter’s Church/Deeper Life Bible Church

Through the involvement of the Dulwich Society in seeking to improve the appearance of the former St Peter’s Church, a Grade 2 listed building, an award of £3000 has been offered by the trustees of the Heritage of London Trust towards renovation works to the stone boundary wall and cast iron railings along Lordship Lane.  The Dulwich Society is now looking to the Deeper Life Bible Church, the Dulwich Community Council and other Southwark grant sources to raise the remainder of the sum required .  An estimate of £36,000 including VAT has been received for works and other quotes are being sought.

License Applications to the Dulwich Estate

Four members of the Planning and Architecture Committee visited the Scheme of Management offices on 10 February when 15 license applications were commented on. On 10 March 22 license applications were commented on.
Objections were made on ; 60 Dulwich Village for a large rear and side extension ; 8 Frank Dixon Way for substantial demolition and large rear and side extensions ; 136 Woodwarde Road for a rear ground floor extension.

Freeholders of the Dulwich Estate are reminded that they can now check online on the Estate’s website to see if works underway at a neighbouring property have been authorised or not.

Former United Dairies site, 13-15 Croxted Road

Copies of the draft design document have been provided to the Dulwich Society Planning & Architecture Group for comment and the Society has discussed the scheme with the architects Panter Hudspith. The scheme is for eight dwellings and one retail unit covering most of the ground floor. Initial concerns raised by the Society were for car and commercial parking and a single retail unit. The architects are to  hold a public consultation event by the site for local residents and others to see the scheme and comment

Dulwich Tree Committee Visit April 2011
Twenty five lucky people went on a Tree Walk to Buckingham Palace Garden on a glorious sunny day in April. We were led by Mark Lane, the Gardens Manager, who has been in the post for over seven years, but having been working in the garden for many more, knows the history and name of every tree. Walking briefly through the Palace and taking tea in a reception room close to the garden we stepped out on to a broad terrace. It was an amazing sight to see the great lawns and the surrounding thick ring of trees which Mark explained have been planted to screen the garden from the surrounding buildings, and it helps with reducing the traffic noise. The first stop was at two enormous Plane trees (Platanus x hispanica), 26m high and a spread in excess of that, in full leaf already, known as 'Victoria and Albert' as they were planted by them but no one knows who planted which one. Mark told us these trees retain their leaves longer than the others of that type. Like so many other London parks and gardens, the Palace garden has many fine London Planes.

On the edge of the lawn there is an avenue of Indian Horse Chestnut (Aesculus indica) with fresh young bronze leaves. These trees flower later than the Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) and have conkers with no spines on the outer covering. Further along the path we encountered a Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum) which had been struck by lightning but had been pruned to encourage a new leader. In shrubberies nearby were a Chinese Tulip tree (Liriodendron chinense), an Indian Rain tree (Koelrueteria paniculata), a Cast Iron tree (Parrotia persica) and two Handkerchief trees (Davidia involucrata var.vilmoriniana) just progressing to full 'Handkerchief ' mode. There are lovely camellias and a yellow Magnolia from America. Mark has planted several rare trees, such as a Sassafras tzumi and a collection of different Pittosporums .The Garden also holds the National Collection of Mulberries - 34 varieties in all including cultivars which are mixed into the general landscape, not as a collection all in one place. The scent of the yellow flowered Azara from New Zealand was delicious and none of us had heard of the Northern Indian Melia azadarach, a young specimen which later bears blue flowers, and we observed one yellow fruit.

Finally near the Mound there is a trio of splendid Acer platanoides 'Aureum'. These are considered to be very rare and it is hoped that it will be possible this year to propagate material from them. The wonderful bright yellow leaves looked at their best against the clear blue sky. The accessions policy for the gardens has been to bring together a collection of unusual and interesting trees whilst encouraging native species to thrive. Marginal areas abound with natural wild plants.

We are very grateful to Mark for giving us such a splendid tour - Jill Manuel Trees Group

A win-win at Red Post Hill

There is a win-win for traffic and pedestrians at the Red Post Hill cross roads with a changed layout at the traffic lights at the junction with East Dulwich Grove.

We now have two instead of three lanes of traffic approaching the junction eastward at the end of Village Way.  The pavement has been built out across the third lane.  This lane had been intended for vehicles turning northwards into Red Post Hill.  It was little used.

As a result of the recent alteration, pedestrians can cross the end of Village Way more quickly and safely.  In consequence of this, the traffic lights were re-phased to give more time for buses and other traffic.  This change was suggested some years ago by the late David Hollis, a member of the Society’s Traffic and Transport Committee.  Thank you David.
Can you think of other places which could benefit from similar win-win changes?

Alasdair Hanton