The Dulwich Society Journal for Summer 2012.
The Diamond Jubilee is an occasion to celebrate being British and there will no doubt be many street parties in Dulwich and elsewhere this June. Indeed, Dulwich has a great tradition of street parties and some roads are well versed in their organisation. The usefulness of street parties is that you actually meet your neighbours. Once met, it leads to reciprocation in looking out for your neighbours’ house if they are away, having a spare key to turn off their alarm, being a refuge for children and teenagers who might be accidentally locked out and a host of other benefits, not least making the road a more pleasant place to live in.
A Jubilee is also often marked by a community by the setting up of a seat, the planting of a tree and sometimes by a large gift such as providing a playground or recreation field. For the Silver Jubilee the Dulwich Society restored the fountain in the Village, this time it is to contribute towards a Dulwich Heritage Room in Rosebery Lodge, Dulwich Park. There is also a plan to plant a memorial tree.
Even the most cursory of readers of this Journal might have noticed a change over the last couple of issues. After much deliberation and with an eye to costs we have finally succumbed to the advantage of colour. Certainly it has in the past been virtually impossible to convey, in black and white, the beauty of trees and wildlife which are regularly featured and which no doubt interest a large percentage of the membership. We know this from attendance at tree walks, garden visits and lectures and a keen interest in wildlife which has led to practical help being extended to the London Wildlife Trust and to the Friends of Dulwich Park.
It is now possible to capture in colour other aspects of Dulwich to which the membership has contributed money and labour: the winter garden in Dulwich Park, the Village copse in the Dulwich Park, the long hedge and wildlife walk in Belair and the newly planted hedge in Gallery Road. Indeed in coming issues we will do just that.
Participation by the membership (and others) has not stopped there. There has been great support for the setting up of a trust to run the Velodrome, and a similar enthusiasm to assist another new trust to take over the playing fields so long run by the University of the South Bank and its predecessors in Turney Road. A full account of the latter will be found in this issue. No greater input of effort can be found than in the Dulwich Festival, held annually since 1993. Like its founders, the current organisers include mothers with young children, and often they are work full time.
All of the forgoing has happened because people can be bothered to do things Community spirit has become a dated and somewhat maligned phrase. That is a pity because that is what makes Dulwich what it is.
In the Autumn 2010 Journal I reported on the increasing pressure on Dulwich’s unique semi rural character from changes in residents’ aspirations - how what was previously considered to be an acceptable size for a family house seemed to be no longer the case. The growth of applications for retro-fitted basements appears unstoppable even when, as noted previously, the houses are located in designated flood risk areas (Dulwich has several). As demand expands, and they are increasingly dug below terraced and semi-detached houses, there is potential for serious impact on neighbours. The Turney Road Residents Association is so concerned that it sent a deputation to the April Dulwich Community Council to lobby Southwark to introduce more controls on basement construction. Camden Council has recently produced a good ‘basement impact assessment’ document and the Society has suggested that the Council use this as a model. A positive meeting has been held with Council officers and we are hopeful that it will move forward very soon.
Dr Gary Savage, Headmaster of Alleyn’s School has agreed to become a Vice-President of the Society. He joins Marion Gibbs, Headmistress of James Allen’s Girls’ School; Dr Joseph Spence, Master of Dulwich College; Peter Lawson RIBA, Ian Dejardin, Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery; HH Michael Goodman and HH Michael Rich as Honorary Vice-Presidents.
Diamond Jubilee Dulwich Archive - good and bad news:
In order to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee the Society is proposing to set up a ‘Dulwich Archive’ - our current plan is to house it in Rosebery Lodge in Dulwich Park. It would be a permanent exhibition of Dulwich History, with reproductions of old pictures and maps, and it would also house the Dulwich post cart that, until recently, used to be in the Post Office. Our aim is to open on certain days in the year to the public, eg summer weekends and the Dulwich Festival, but more frequently for schools and other interested groups.
At the March Dulwich Community Council meeting the Council awarded the Society substantial CGS funding which would have allowed the ground floor rooms at Rosebery lodge to be completed. Unfortunately the Council’s Property Division appears to have a different agenda and seems unwilling to allow the Society to occupy the space, even when we are prepared to make a substantial financial contribution towards the refurbishment.
They intend to go out to ‘the market’ to seek expressions of interest. Has no one told them that it took nearly 10 years to sort out Whippersnappers’ occupation of College Lodge and that, when they previously asked for potential tenants for Rosebery Lodge, they had no response at all?
Dulwich Society 50th Anniversary:
The Society was founded in 1963 and next year it will be 50 years old. This is an important anniversary for an amenity society such as ours and we are currently putting together a comprehensive series of events for 2013 which will be publicised later this year.
Oral History project: As part of the Archive project, and the 50th anniversary celebrations, the Society is setting up an oral history project. Our aim is to invite local residents of varying ages to a series of discussions where we will record their memories on tape. These will then be transcribed and kept in the Dulwich Archive and the Southwark Local Studies Library. The project will start in the summer and if you would like to volunteer, either as a participant or as part of the recording and transcribing team, we are keen to hear from you. Please contact Ian McInnes on 0208 693 6313 (
2012 Cleaner Greener Safer funding - good news
Southwark Council has managed to identify some CGS (Cleaner, Greener, Safer) funding for this year and the Society was very pleased to learn that the six of our submissions for funding were successful.
New Finger posts - £5,000*
Dulwich Archive/Museum - £20,650*
Aquatic Plants in Belair Lake - £4,582*
Belair Park entrance gates on South Circular - £4,000
North Dulwich Signs - £750
*The Society will be adding some matching funding to these items
St Peters Church Wall - £16500
(The Society will be adding £3000 to this sum and the Heritage of London Trust has already confirmed that they will contribute a similar amount pending confirmation of matching funding from the church)
The Friends of Belair Park were also successful with their proposal for new playground equipment for the Under Fives and a CGS grant of £13,000 has been made for this purpose.
Dulwich Society grants
The Society has agreed to donate £500 towards improving the rivulet in Dulwich Park and has also planted Black Poplar trees in Long Meadow at a cost of £250 and made available a further £200 for additional tree planting. The Society is also to support the publication of a booklet on The Concrete House, Lordship Lane at a cost of up to £300 once the restoration is completed.
There was a good response to our request in the last issue for members’ email addresses, but we need more. The facility to send our members information and updates is essential and email will let us do this. The addresses would only be used for important local issues and upcoming Society walks and talks or other events which do not fit easily with the Journal’s regular time table.
If you are happy for us to contact you via email please send an email to
The meeting, chaired by Cllr. Barrie Hargrove, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment & Recycling, was held at St Barnabas Church on 19 March 2012 and attended by senior Southwark officers, including Gill Davies, Strategic Director of Environment and Leisure and John Wade, Parks and Open Spaces Manager, together with Cllr. Veronica Ward and all Village Ward councillors.
Read more: Barbara Hepworth statue replacement report by Adrian Hill
A Complete Eyesore at North Dulwich
The lengthy and ugly hoarding which has stood around the Vicarage of St. Faith’s Church for almost two years is a considerable blot on the landscape. How much longer this state of affairs is to continue is anyone’s guess.
The vicarage was closed in 2010 following the retirement of the vicar of St Faith’s, The Revd Hugh Dawes. The majestic Plane Tree standing in the front garden was felled, apparently without consultation, as it is claimed that its roots were causing damage to the building. Nevertheless, the removal of this tree is a great loss of amenity and causes the vicarage to be completely exposed. It is doubtful if a license for its removal was granted under the Scheme of Management before other steps to save the tree could be explored.
Apparently the Parochial Church Council of St Faith’s have had no say in the future of the vicarage as its future is determined by the Southwark Diocese vicarages board. As a consequence, St Faith’s new vicar, The Revd Susan Height is obliged to live in rented accommodation some little distance from the church and the matter is a frustrating one for all concerned.
It is understood that Southwark Diocese has plans to demolish the existing vicarage and build a new one, a scheme financed by the building of additional housing on the site. However, the land was given by the then Governors of the Dulwich Estate in 1950 solely for the purpose of building a church and a vicarage and any variation of this gift is likely to be rejected by the Charity Commission.
Cash for Culture
The announcement that Southwark Council has allocated £54,000 for an ‘event/s that celebrate communities’ in the period up to 2014 in the south of the borough and that it was to consult local groups on possible projects came as a considerable surprise considering cuts to local services elsewhere. Or is it some Machiavellian scheme to cheer-up the community in the face of increasing austerity? There seems to be general agreement that a repeat of large-scale events in Dulwich Park was undesirable, largely because of the damage inflicted to the gates and grounds by heavy vehicles.
Ideas from the community at the initial consultation in February included building on the existing Dulwich Festival with arts workshops and new themes such as filmmaking and grow-you-own food. Extension by Dulwich Picture Gallery of art education into local council estates was also suggested as was the provision of a bandstand in Dulwich Park (apparently there is considerable enthusiasm for a bandstand as it was also suggested as a Barbara Hepworth ‘Divided Circle’ replacement).
By the time of a second meeting in March enthusiasm seemed to be waning, or at least ideas were thin on the ground. Community theatre was suggested and added to the list. Essentially, it seems that Dulwich and East Dulwich which comprise the area ‘south of the borough’ are already provided for with the excellent community based events organised by the Dulwich Festival in May and that the council would like to replicate this type of event in north Southwark (Bermondsey and Rotherhithe) and central Southwark (Elephant & Castle area). On the other hand, local groups are anxious not to forgo any of .the funding apparently being offered by a bounteous borough of Southwark
Dad’s Army in Dulwich
The story of the Home Guard unit established at the Dulwich & Sydenham Golf Club in July 1940 and told in a recent edition of the Journal has brought to light further information. Mr Patrick Taylor of South Norwood writes to tell us about the rocket battery manned by HG personnel of which his father was a member and which was sited beside Cox’s Walk on Dulwich Common.
Mr Taylor snr. belonged to 103 (County of London Home Guard) Mixed ‘Z’ Rocket Battery, Royal Artillery serving at The Gun Site, Cox’s Walk from November 1942 until the end of June 1944. Initially his cap badge was that of King’s Royal Rifle Corps of which the local unit was the First Surrey Rifles. This unit was also connected with nearby Highwood Barracks. Like his counterpart at the Golf Club, Mr Taylor also initially kept a unit diary and being a school teacher he not unnaturally used an exercise book for the purpose,
The exercise books contain the nominal roll and addresses of those in the unit together with and names of relief members. Although membership of the unit was essentially local, one or two men came from as far away as Beckenham and Farnborough Common and some went on to fulltime service, some even into the Navy or RAF. The rockets, named ‘Z’ projectiles, were fired in salvos and were a British invention dating from 1936 and were in use in London from 1941. What is surprising from the documents in Mr Taylor’s possession is that this appears to be the only case we have heard of where HG members worked jointly with their regular counterparts, the same way as the Territorial Army operates today.
West Norwood Cemetery - new illustrated guide
A new and very attractive guide to West Norwood Cemetery’s amazing variety of funeral monuments has been published by the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery. Printed on two sides of A3 paper, the map and guide folds to a convenient size and illustrates the most interesting of the monuments including those to Mrs Beeton, Sir Henry Bessemer and a host of other important national figures. The design is by James Slattery-Kavanagh who is also responsible for the Dulwich Society website. The guide is available from The Friends of West Norwood Cemetery, 79 Durban Road, SE27 9RW.
‘This has been the best day of my life’ said a 10 year old participant at the Royal Visit to DPG on March 15th. In late January we received a visit from members of the Prince of Wales Foundation for the Arts and to our great surprise and with very little preparation time, heard that HRH The Prince of Wales would make a visit with his daughter-in-law Kate, Duchess of Cambridge during Prince William’s time in the Falkland Islands. Later we heard that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall would come too, making the first outing of the three all together. The purpose of the visit was to meet the 120 nine to ten year old children and their teachers from four local schools involved with the Gallery in The Great Art Quest since October 2011.
For over 25 years the gallery has run a Reach Out service, bringing artists into schools, so following up visits to the Gallery and thereby giving a greater depth of experience to the children. The Great Art Quest therefore fitted well into the Gallery’s mission to engage with the community.
The four month long project involved Langbourne Primary School, Goodrich Community School, St. Luke’s Primary School and the Globe Academy working with a textile artist and storyteller to create original artwork themed to portraits and identity, using the Old Masters’ collection at the Gallery as the starting point. The holistic project involved literacy, story and poetry writing, music, art and drama.
An exhibition, ‘Journey with me, then, now and next’ showed exceptional quality artwork and featured felt portraits, wire mobile portraits, celebration bunting with portraits printed on flags, Mail Art hand prints (delivered via the Royal Mail, and despite the unusual nature of this posted artwork, every single piece reached its destination), and supporting preparatory work in hand made books.
Through the Gallery cloister another exhibition of portraits celebrated Face Britain, the theme to mark the Queen’s Jubilee and images of these DPG artworks will join hundreds more from across Britain to be digitally projected onto Buckingham Palace at night to create a mosaic of the Queen. These were created by young people on the Urban Youth arm of the Gallery’s Community Engagement Programme which has for the last 12 years served inner city young people at weekly evening workshops all year round on South London estates or on daytime programmes for those who would never normally get involved with creative programmes.
The Great Art Quest and Face Britain programme took place in the Gallery, in front of the paintings, in the Gallery’s Sackler Studio, in Reach Out workshops in primary schools and in Community Centres on the Urban Youth programme for young people.
March 15th was glorious; the hottest day of the year and the gallery and grounds looked idyllic as the Royal party walked past and stopped to speak with many of the 250 flag waving children. Inside another 150 children were involved in art, drama and storytelling, many working on portraits at easels in the main enfilade. In the Sackler studio all three Royals sat down to take part in a textile workshop. Prince Charles looking confused and showing his silk panel to the child next to him, said ‘Is this all right?’ ‘No it isn’t’ she replied disapprovingly, ‘You have to do it right!’ . There was great hilarity around the table as each Royal laughed at the other’s artistic efforts and much delight among the waiting cameramen as the Prince and Duchess of Cambridge ironed their silk pieces, making the iconic photograph that was in all the newspapers the next day in the greatest amount of press coverage ever received by the gallery from all over the world. Children escorted the visitors around their exhibition and were amazed to find themselves in easygoing conversation with the visitor who said ’just call me ‘Kate’.
The Education Department offers a menu of Public Programmes of after school workshops, portfolio development classes, holiday workshops and Masterclasses. These, along with the Schools Programme and Urban Youth Programme cater for 30,000 young people each year, all in personally taught sessions, all the more amazing when, unlike anywhere else, none of this costs the tax payer a penny since we do not receive any public funding and rely totally on the generosity of charitable donors.
NHS Southwark has opened another round of ‘consultations’ with local residents on the range of health services they would wish to see established or expanded in the Dulwich area. It has produced a new explanatory document (with a young, healthy smiling family on the cover) including a questionnaire which residents are invited to complete. Copies of this can be obtained at Dulwich Hospital by telephoning 020 7525 7888 or emailing
2011 became a momentous year for sport in Dulwich as a group of volunteers rallied together to save the playing fields on Turney Road. The ground, managed by South Bank University and its predecessor organisations since the 1940’s, was closed in the Autumn of 2010 by the University who planned to leave the grounds fallow for the remaining seven years of the lease. The University offered the ground to the Dulwich Estate and also to the London Borough of Southwark but both were unable to assist.
Read more: South Bank University playing fields and new Trust by John Smith
‘What important event happened in 1939?’ ‘I was born Sir’, responded my brother during a history class at Dulwich College some years after the ‘event’. He was given marks for a correct answer.
Tim was born five weeks before the outbreak of the war and it wasn’t long before we - Peggy, Jim, Judith and Timothy - left London for Norfolk to stay with Peggy’s brother on his farm. This interlude should have been respite for Peggy who had been unwell during her pregnancy with Tim yet it was one of the worst six months of her life. After suffering a stressful birth, her much longed-for second child yelled day and night for the entire stay, whilst I teamed up with a toddler cousin and conspired to be as naughty and as much nuisance as possible. Meanwhile Jim continued to live in Dulwich during the week to work on his most important commission so far, for London Transport, which was a significant patron of the arts at the time, with artists such as Jacob Epstein, Graham Sutherland and Eric Gill also contributing work.
Like most other people, we thought that the war would not last long and returned to Dulwich after our sojourn in Norfolk. We stayed until the next bout of bombing which must have been the Blitz, before moving to a tiny cottage situated in the middle of a field in Buckinghamshire. Whilst there, my mother had to cope with unbelievably primitive conditions - no running water, electricity or washing machine - although we did have wringer. My father, who was not ‘called up’ because of deafness in one ear, was working, amongst many other assignments, for the Ministry of Food. His posters, which were designed to encourage people to eat healthily and economically and to avoid waste, were displayed in restaurants canteens and food advice centres and have remained popular to this day. They can be seen now on display at the Imperial War Museum.
Three years or so into the war and after occasional forays back to Dulwich, we exchanged our primitive cottage in Buckinghamshire for a more comfortable one nearby, which at least had running water. Our ‘celebrity’ neighbours included the actor Alastair Sim whose only child, Merlith, became Tim’s playmate, with the duo even sharing their bedtime baths together. Another local figure from nearby Turville Heath was the protagonist of A Voyage Round My Father, Clifford Mortimer. The blind barrister was often Jim’s travelling companion when they took the train from Henley to London early on Monday mornings for their respective working weeks. His son John, of subsequent ‘Rumpole’ fame (and much else) was to become a family friend. He was a notorious young stud with many an attractive local woman having succumbed to his persuasive charm. I was too young to appreciate this at the time though I did think that he was the funniest person I had ever met.
Meanwhile, the war seemed never-ending and my parents like everyone else soldiered on. Peggy was, of course, totally occupied in looking after us with not a moment to herself, while Jim continued his work for the Ministry of Food in addition to newly-acquired commissions from the Ministry of Information, the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts and the War Artists Advisory Committee. Yet despite the complications of life in wartime and his numerous commissions, Jim relentlessly pursued his serious painting, which he executed at ungodly hours, arising early in the mornings and working late into the night. He became a member of the London Group and the New English Art Club and, from 1929, exhibited each year at the Royal Academy. In 1944 he received his most prestigious accolade when he was elected by the Academy to be an Associate Member (ARA).
Aside from his artistic ability, it was Jim’s energy and his commitment to advancing the role of contemporary art in everyday life which made him an invaluable asset to the Academy. He infused the institution with new life, sitting on the selection committees and speaking at the dinners. This did not please the older ‘dyed-in-the wool’ RAs, especially the extremely reactionary President, Sir Alfred Munnings. They had frequent fights over nearly everything, including the selection of paintings for the big annual Summer Exhibition ‘those bloody things you like Fitton’ whilst my father’s ‘outrageous’ suggestion that the women RAs should be included in the Academy dinners brought the response ’Women at our annual dinner. Bloody ridiculous, it would destroy the Academy!’ In spite of these sometimes very public spats, each man secretly admired the other’s tenacity and conviction.
Jim’s attitude and beliefs sprang largely from his Northern heritage and background. He was absolutely straight, incapable of any kind of sycophantic behaviour but extremely kind with deep convictions and a fierce sense of rebellion, which was just what the Academy needed. He was reprimanded on many an occasion after speaking out publically to the media and at RA dinners but was determined to bring life to the flagging institution ’your present pictures are too conventional and dull. You ought to get hold of some really outrageous ones. Hang them in the entrance hall, in the passages, everywhere. That might help to bring life into present day art’.
Although he was tremendously popular he was a constant threat to the old guard so it is not surprising that in three elections for future President in which he was a firm favourite, he missed by a whisker. The first, in 1956, prompted Munnings to fume in the Daily Mail ‘I heard that creature Fitton might be elected, I’ve had letters from members appalled at the prospect of this modern artist being elected’. Jim was undeterred by ‘these old chaps who only turn up on election nights in their bath chairs to keep the old order’.
Shortly after becoming an ARA, when Jim was sitting on the Selection Committee for the Summer Exhibition, he answered a telephone call from Downing Street - had any paintings by David Winter been accepted for the summer show? It just happened that Jim had noticed two rather good paintings by David Winter - an unknown - which the committee had just given a ‘yes’ to a few moments earlier. The request remained a mystery until Varnishing Day, when successful exhibiters are able to view their paintings in-situ and add finishing touches prior to the exhibition, whereupon it was revealed that David Winter was in fact Winston Churchill, who chose to submit his work under an alias and have his work accepted on merit rather than because of who he was. In 1948 he was elected an Honorary Royal Academician Extraordinary. Munnings meanwhile continued his paranoid vendetta against what he called ‘those bloody modern painters’ and thus brought about his eventual downfall. In a speech at an RA dinner where Winston Churchill was present, Munnings misquoted comments that the Prime Minister had made about Picasso. Churchill, an admirer of Picasso, was incandescent and Munnings was forced to resign.
We returned to Dulwich after the war in 1945 and found Pond Cottages to be relatively unharmed. When I say we I should add that there was an addition to the family, Toby, a black mongrel dog acquired in Buckinghamshire. Toby became notorious at the Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club for his regular habit of trotting across the fields to the golf course and absconding with the balls. He brought them home to Pond Cottages, leaving golfers frustrated and furious.
While my brother and I settled into new schools yet again - I must have been to seven or eight schools altogether (and was only asked to leave one) - my parents enjoyed the prospect of peace. Peggy was able to find time to paint and sculpt and design a cover for the magazine Lilliput as well as illustrate a children’s book. Jim painted more although he seemed simultaneously to acquire many important and time-consuming appointments including that of Chief Assessor to the Minister of Education for the National Diploma in Design, a position he held for twenty years. Supporting artistic enterprise at every level he judged scores of children’s art competitions and local artists’ shows. Painters were helped personally. He gave them advice, sent money and helped them find commissions and jobs. Despite his elevated status and benevolence, he remained modest and humorous. When asked to fill in a form for Who’s Who, his entry under Clubs consisted merely of the Black Horse Burial Club, in which his father had enlisted him when he was born, at a penny a week.
Dulwich also was also enjoying peacetime and by the fifties was making a great recovery from the war years. Dulwich Picture Gallery was gaining belated recognition as one of the best galleries in the country and the Village, in particular, was entering one of its most useful periods. It was full of what I call proper shops comprising two butchers, two greengrocers, a fishmonger, a toyshop, a stationery shop, a hardware shop, a bakery, a post office and a shoe shop later to become a hairdressers.
My parents did most of the family food shopping in the Village on Saturday mornings with Jim driving down (he was a pre-test driver) in a canvas-topped Morris Eight. In his later years, under pressure from Tim, he bought a VW Variant automatic which he initially drove with the hand brake on, causing flames to emerge from the exhaust. Not long after that he put his foot on the accelerator thinking it was the brake, and drove it into the garage wall. Although he was not a ‘natural’ when it came to things automatic or mechanical, he did eventually adjust to the more advanced car, and journeys for the passengers became less like a bumper- car ride.
Towards the end of the fifties, we had an interesting visitor to Pond Cottages. Lady Churchill, with whom Jim was acquainted through her husband, expressed an interest in seeing his paintings and it was suggested that she should visit Pond Cottages on her way to Chartwell. Disappointingly, I was away on tour at the time but Tim was still at Dulwich College. He remembers seeing, on his way from rugby practice, a large chauffeur driven car with coat of arms, being parked by the Pond opposite the front row of cottages and Lady Churchill and her daughter emerging to walk up the lane to number ten. Tim was allowed time off to meet them, albeit in his rugby outfit, and was introduced in the downstairs studio where they were being shown paintings. Lady Churchill was very appreciative and had definite tastes of her own. Most people are familiar with the story of the Graham Sutherland portrait of her husband which she so disliked - it was destroyed in a fire, accidentally or otherwise ..
In the sixties, Jim’s activities in Dulwich alone were multitudinous. He was appointed a Governor of the Foundation Schools for whom he judged the art prizes each year and, with the help of the brilliant Head of Art at Dulwich College, Barry Viney, managed to persuade the Master, David Emms, to raise the profile of art in the school and introduce an art scholarship ’Even if you don’t turn out painters, many of your boys will be in charge of institutions that promote art, they should all learn something about it’. Jim both selected the art and interviewed the boys. He also served on many other committees, sitting on the Arts Council, the Royal College of Art Council, the governing bodies of the British Museum, and of course Dulwich Picture Gallery. I remember the odd battle being fought between my father and the governors - none of whom were professional artists. On one particular occasion I was appearing in Court and my father, not wanting to miss anything, came bounding up the stairs just as proceeding were about to begin saying ‘I’ve just left them [the governors] they will come to the wrong decision far quicker if I’m not there’. On that occasion, a new colour was being chosen for the walls of the Gallery and I understand that the right decision was made after all.
During the seventies, the family expanded when Tim and I took it in turns to produce a grandchild a year for four years. First Yasmin (Tim’s) followed by Victoria, Sophie and Tobias. Sunday lunch was never the same again. My parents adored them but Jim sometimes retreated to his garden studio for a long nap. I say the garden studio because Jim did eventually have a decent-sized studio built in the garden, without, it should be said, seeking permission from the College Estates.
My parents never became ‘Granny and Grandpa’ to the children (or heaven forbid Nan). When Tim was at school, he and a school friend decided that it was not ‘cool’ to say ‘Mummy and Daddy’, hence they became known to the family as ‘Ma and Pop’ ever after. Close friends sometimes followed suit, not least our disarmingly precocious young neighbour Jolyon Spencer from number seven Pond Cottages who wandered into number ten one day, as was his habit, and had no compunction in offering his services to Jim with ‘I say Pop, would you like me to do a magic show at your golden wedding celebration?’ He was six at the time.
The golden wedding was celebrated in 1978 (without a magic show) and my fit and well parents continued their active lives until 1982 when my father suddenly seemed to fail. It must have been a stroke though he didn’t lose his incisive way of speaking. He died in Dulwich Hospital a week later aged eighty-three. Our wonderful mother was devastated and I and the children moved into Pond Cottages for three months. She was determined, however, to remain independent and insisted on staying there after we left, continuing to look after grandchildren, regularly walking to the Village to the shops or my house, and painting. A marvellous bust she did of my father was exhibited at the RA in the year he died and several of her paintings were exhibited in subsequent RA Summer Exhibitions.
My mother was a very talented painter indeed but her output was probably smaller than it should have been. I can only respond by quoting her: ‘I don’t think it would have worked so well [the happy marriage and family] if we had both pursued high-powered careers’.
Two years after the successful retrospective exhibition of Jim’s at Dulwich Picture Gallery in 1986, Peggy became ill and died after thirteen days in Dulwich Hospital. She was eighty-six.
Sadly, because she will never know her grandparents but happily because she is here, Emily, the fifth grandchild was born five weeks after Peggy died.
Monday 4th 6-8.00pm Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery - Diamond Jubilee Garden Party -an elegant evening in the Gallery gardens with music from the 50’s and a traditional tea. Croquet available for gentle or competitive exercise. Wine bar. The Director and his team will conduct short tours of the Gallery.
£18, £16 Friends
Tuesday 5th Cultural Olympiad - The Austerity Olympics: London 1948 Lecturer: Rosalind Whyte
Art at the Modern Olympics, Series of four lectures at 7.45 - 9.15pm, Linbury Room, Dulwich Picture Gallery. £35, £27 Friends, Single lectures £10, £8 Friends
Saturday 9th Friends of West Norwood Cemetery - to celebrate the London Olympics - Sportsmen’s Walk in the Cemetery led by Colin Fenn. Meet 2.30pm at West Norwood Cemetery entrance. The walk coincides with Open Day and there will be two general guided tours at 11.30am and 3.00pm.
Tuesday 12th Cultural Olympiad - Poor Art: Rome 1960 Lecturer: Peter Scott (see DPG above)
Thursday 15th Dulwich Decvorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - Art for an Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Tomb Scenes and Funerary Goods by Lucia Gahlin. James Allen’s Girls’ School 6th Form Lecture Theatre 8pm.
Friday 15th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery 7.30pm in the Gallery- The David Rees-Williams Trio. This popular trio, known to BBC radio 3 and Classic FM listeners, recreates the works of classical masters in a jazz-inspired idiom - a feast for all music lovers.
£26, £24 Friends, includes a glass of wine
Tuesday 19th Dulwich Picture Gallery - Contextual Lecture series - Jubilee Series - The Queen and her Prime Ministers from Churchill to Blair Lecturer Dr R Thorpe. Linbury Room 10.30am tickets £10 (£9 concessions and Friends)
Saturday 23rd Friends of West Norwood Cemetery - to celebrate the London Olympics - Walk the World at West Norwood Cemetery meet at the Cemetery entrance at 2.30pm.
Sunday 24th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery 11am - 5pm at Dulwich Picture Gallery and Herne Hill Velodrome Going for Gold - A Summer Party to celebrate the Olympics
A cornucopia of events to entertain the whole family; balloon races, food and drink stalls, carousels, flying falcons, fancy dress and a vintage cycle race to the Velodrome.
Entrance via purchase of Gala programme only £1.00 per family
Tuesday 26th Cultural Olympics - Art and Angst in post-war Germany: Munich 1972
Lecturer: Alan Reid (see DPG above)
Tuesday 3rd Cultural Olympics - Up, Down and Around, Involving the Viewer: London 2012
Lecturer: Melanie Paice (see above)
Wednesday 4th - Sunday 7th The Dulwich Players Present - Pericles by William Shakespeare in the open air in Dulwich Picture Gallery Garden. (see page ?? for details)
Thursday 12th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture - Italian Memorial Sculpture 1820-1940: a Legacy of Love by Robert Freidus. James Allen’s Girls’ School 6th Form Lecture Theatre 8pm.