The Dulwich Society Journal for Summer 2013.
The first of the big guns, signalling the start of thoughts about the 100th anniversary of the First World War were fired in recent months. There was an announcement by the government that £50 million will be spent on commemorating the losses caused by the conflict. A second headline was the discovery, in Northern France, by a farmer ploughing his fields, of the remains of four British soldiers who had been killed in 1917 and the positive identification of two of them. All were buried this April with full military honours in the presence of latter-day comrades of the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) and Prince Michael of Kent, the Honorary Colonel of the regiment. There was also a representative from Alleyn’s School who was there because one of the two men identified, Private Douglas Elphick went to the school.
Readers will recall that in December 2012 we reported that the Society had received the news that three bronze memorial plaques to WW1 fallen had been found in a workshop at Wellingborough Prison and the names of those commemorated had been traced by local history enthusiasts in Northamptonshire to young men from Dulwich who were connected through being Congregationalists.
In Dulwich, we established that the church from which the plaques were removed was Emmanuel Congregational Church, Barry Road and that the church had been sold in the late 1980’s to become a nursing home and its fittings removed. The congregation then amalgamated with Barry Road Methodist Church and now occupies the former church hall of the old Emmanuel and is named Christchurch.
It appears that around 1990 the church pews, together with the plaques, were sent as scrap to Wellingborough Prison for the use of prisoners in the prison hobby shop. The hobby shop was later discontinued and the buildings re-opened as cycle and motor-cycle workshops where machines were repaired by the prisoners. In 1994 the plaques were rescued from a skip by a concerned member of the staff. They remained in the workshop, forgotten, until Wellingborough Prison was announced for closure in December 2012 when they were rediscovered and were passed to Sywell Aviation Museum who then contacted The Dulwich Society.
What would Guardsman Robert Peters of Desenfans Road have thought about this when he gave his life near Cambrai in 1917, or the Powis brothers of Croxted Road who enlisted together into the 5th London Regiment, (London Rifle Brigade) and were both killed in 1915? Or indeed what would their mother Mildred, who no doubt contributed to the plaques, have thought? Or any of the other 47 Dulwich men who are named?
Meanwhile at the newly created Christchurch, a member of the congregation of Barry Road Methodist Church who had a relative named on the memorial inscribed on the altar of that church which was then demolished, paid for all of the names on that memorial together with all those on the plaques from Emmanuel Church to be copied into a Christchurch Book of Remembrance, a book, we understand, which the church still has.
The Dulwich Society has twice written to Christchurch, offering to pay for the re-installation of the plaques close to their original site as recommended by the War Memorials Trust. We have never received a reply. Nor indeed has the Imperial War Museum who has also written twice. The BBC have now picked up the story and the whole matter has the possibility of becoming a national scandal, which is a great pity because Christchurch does considerable good work in the Dulwich Library area by running a Fair Trade shop and a café which are both open daily.
It is hoped that a resolution will be found as we approach the hundredth anniversary of the First World War and that we can still honestly say “We will remember them”.
Pubs are in the news in Dulwich. At the end of March the Dulwich Estate finally received planning consent for its longstanding proposal to turn the Crown and Greyhound into a small hotel or ‘pub with rooms’. Then, in early April, the Society was asked to attend an informal public consultation to turn the upper floors of the Grade II* listed Half Moon pub into 5 flats - and build a new house in the back garden.
I am sure everyone is aware of the number of pubs that are closing and Dulwich residents are very fortunate to have a wide choice in the area. As well as the Crown and Greyhound, there is also the Dulwich Woodhouse on Sydenham Hill, the Alleyn’s Head in Alleyn Park, the Fox on the Hill on Denmark Hill, the Paxton at Gipsy Hill and the Rosendale on the corner of Rosendale Road and Park Hall Road. And if that is not enough there are several more in Herne Hill, a short drive (or should it be walk?) away - the Commercial, the Florence, the Prince Regent and The Half Moon.
The Sir Ernest Shackleton on Bowen Drive on the Kingswood Estate and The Greendale on the Bessemer Estate are the only pubs we have actually lost, though there have been several more on the extremities of East Dulwich - and the Two Towers at the junction of Gipsy Road and Auckland Hill was demolished as recently as April.
But there is considerable concern that we are likely to lose another, the former Grove Hotel at the corner of Lordship Lane and Dulwich Common. It had been under the ‘Harvester’ brand until 2011 when it was taken over by the Stonegate group who own the ‘Yates’ and ‘Slug and Lettuce’ brands. Its reputation locally had suffered in recent years and, following a kitchen fire last year, it was closed and boarded up. There is no sign of any remedial work and those of us of a more cynical nature have looked at the size of its car park and garden and seen a development coming. The Dulwich Estate has assured us that the tenants have given no such indication but we do know that they are looking to assign the lease. It remains to be seen whether any new development will also include a pub.
Save the Date - The Dulwich Society’s 50th Anniversary Party:
The Society will be holding a 50th anniversary party at St Barnabas Parish Hall in the Village on 12th October at 7.30pm. Further information will be provided in the September Journal.
Subscriptions and Postage
We are very keen to maintain the membership subscription at the current level of £10 per annum (it has been at this level for over 10 years) and we are very pleased that we have been able to improve the quality of the Journal without having to seek additional funds. Most Journals are delivered by hand but the cost of those we have to post to members who no longer live in Dulwich, or have moved abroad, is starting to become a problem - we have members in Australia and Africa and that costs us nearly £4 per issue to send. Over the next 9 months we will be approaching members who receive postal copies to seek a contribution towards postage costs.
As reported at the AGM, Wilf Taylor will be standing down as Membership Secretary during the summer. He has been in post for over 20 years and his wife, Robin, held the position before him. He has overseen a seamless move from a paper system to a computer database and has been a welcoming figure to new members. We are very grateful for his long standing contribution. Diana McInnes will be taking over from him.
Margaret McConnell, who has efficiently carried out the role as Advertising Manager of the Journal (and earlier of the Newsletter) has also announced her retirement after a similar period of long service. Margaret has also until recently been in charge of distribution of the Journal. We thank her sincerely for her long standing contribution to the Society.
We are looking for further volunteers to deliver Journals in the local area. Please contact the chairman on
The Crown and Greyhound
The Dulwich Estate’s planning application to refurbish the Crown and Greyhound in Dulwich Village and turn it into a boutique hotel was approved by Southwark Council on 26th March. The Society welcomes the proposal as it will bring a much needed benefit to Dulwich while retaining the historic character of the pub itself. It is not clear when work will actually start on site as the Estate still has to complete its ongoing negotiations with the current tenant, Mitchell & Butler.
The Half Moon
In April the Dulwich Estate published plans to refurbish the upper floors of this Grade 11* listed pub to provide five new flats and also build a new house on the site of the old garages in the rear garden. A public consultation took place on 12th April. The Society has no particular concerns other than to ensure that the pub’s future as a live music venue is not affected.
The ‘Concrete’ House
The refurbishment work on the well-known ‘concrete’ house on the eastern side of Lordship Lane and Dulwich Common junction has gone well and the work was completed during May. The project, funded by the Heritage of London Trust, started last year after Southwark Council had compulsorily purchased the property from its former owner who had left it derelict. When completed the building will have five social housing flats managed by the Hexagon Housing Association.
Local police safer neighbourhood team
Our local Safer Neighbourhood Teams in East Dulwich and Village Wards moved their home base to Camberwell Police Station during April and, despite a campaign supported by Tessa Jowell, our MP, Val Shawcross, the member of the London Assembly for Lambeth and Southwark, and all local councillors, the closure of East Dulwich Police Station has been confirmed. The College Ward team will retain a part-time local base on the Kingswood Estate and it seems that Gipsy Hill police station is also being retained.
Meeting with Local Councillors
The public meeting arranged by the Dulwich Society on 4th March and held at the Michael Croft theatre at Alleyn’s School was well attended and was very useful in briefing residents on how the Council’s current programme impacts on the local area. Subjects ranged from health to education and traffic. There were questions about the future of the East Dulwich Hospital site, the East Dulwich Police Station, and what the Council was doing to address the shortage of primary school places in the area and its attitude to free schools. Unfortunately, on some of these issues the councillors were as much in the dark as the audience. Concerns were also raised about traffic speeds, problems over parking, and pedestrian safety. Councillors, from all three political parties, and all three wards, answered question for an hour and a half. The councillors present were Toby Eckersley, Helen Hayes, Robin Crookshank-Hilton, Jonathan Mitchell, Michael Mitchell and Andy Simmons and the meeting was chaired by Ian McInnes.
Whither the Dulwich Hospital Site?
A Report by Sue Badman
The future of the Dulwich Hospital site on East Dulwich Grove depends on a decision on local GP and community health services under the reformed NHS, and while a new health clinic is likely to be built there, much of the site will probably be turned over to other public sector or community use. If funded public sector use cannot be found for the site, however, other developments will be permitted which could be bad news for those who hoped that health and community services would occupy most of the site.
One of the most frequent topics on local message boards and at the Dulwich Community Council in recent years is “What’s happening to Dulwich Hospital?” Tragically it is more than 10 years since discussions first started on transforming Dulwich Hospital and its site into a community hospital, and a huge amount of time and effort has been spent fruitlessly on developing new plans.
By 2013, the stop/start decision making has left Dulwich Hospital, now Dulwich Community Hospital, in a partially demolished state providing a home of sorts to a local GP practice, the key local GP out of hours service, community services such as a diabetic clinic, blood taking and renal dialysis as well as the Dulwich Helpline and Southwark Churches Care and a community garden amongst other services.
In the intervening period acute services have been gradually run down and decanted to major sites such as King’s College Hospital (KCH), and NHS reforms have been set in train which have meant it is no longer a question of just transforming the hospital but all local Primary Care health services.
The Primary Care Trust’s “Community Hospital”
Southwark Council prepared a planning brief in 2005 which provided a framework for the redevelopment of the hospital site as a Community Hospital. The brief set out the parameters for development of a mixed use scheme comprising health facilities (“The Community Hospital”), ancillary office & community facilities and residential development.
Society members will recall that plans for the (then) local Primary Care Trust to proceed with the community hospital were brought to an advanced stage after a full range of consultations and working parties had taken place, when the NHS dropped the idea completely and it was put into abeyance. Regrettably two blocks of the hospital’s eastern wing were abruptly demolished in 2006 when plans were thought to be at an advanced stage to construct the proposed new hospital on this part of the site. This has resulted in a major blight on the area, leaving a huge derelict site enclosed by hoardings in the middle of an historic and characterful neighbourhood, which the authorities have thus far failed to resolve.
“Can’t do much with the hospital site till we know what health services we need”
It then dawned on the local NHS that their health services were no longer meeting community needs. The result was that before any further consideration could be given to the Hospital’s future, there was a need to define the services required to support the community in the next 20 years or so. NHS reform legislation and financial challenges have given impetus to this.
There are particular challenges in terms of the wider Dulwich demographics and health inequalities - lower life expectancy from cardiovascular disease and cancer; increasing numbers of people with long term conditions; variable access to GP services with some practices requiring updated premises; growing numbers of older people and very young children.
Southwark Primary Care Trust (PCT) thus initiated a programme to review the state of local GP and community health services (GP surgeries and community settings to stand alongside services provided by our major local hospitals) in the wider Dulwich area. This started with an engagement process in 2012 to get some firm direction on what local people wanted from their health services.
Ideas explored with residents resulted in more than 1000 comments generated from survey responses and more than 300 face-to face discussions. Concerns included transport links to health providers; better parking provision and more disabled access; better diagnostic services in community settings; better appointment and out-of-hours systems; and access and concern over the size of Kings were real problems for some people. Local mental health service capacity following the closure of services at the Maudsley Hospital was also highlighted by a local pressure group.
NHS Reforms gather steam
On 1st April 2013 came further changes as a result of the Social Care and Health Act 2012 which created Clinical Commissioning Groups to plan and commission (“buy”) health services in local areas. The new NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (“CCG”) took on the responsibility for designing health services in Southwark replacing the NHS Southwark Primary Care Trust which closed down. The CCG took over the Dulwich programme started by the PCT.
A new consultation is under way about a firm set of delivery proposals for GP and community services based on the 2012 responses which will lead to a business case and implementation from Autumn 2013. The two main options to deliver local services are (a) primarily at a “hub” health centre at Dulwich Hospital Site (b) at GP Practices. But the consultation concentrates ONLY on the health services not specifically about the hospital site.
NHS Southwark PCT owned the Dulwich Community Hospital site, and used approximately 40% of the building in part for patient services but mainly as office accommodation for clinical staff. The building costs NHS Southwark £2.3m pa.
Also from 1st April, under new arrangements for the management of the NHS the ownership of the Dulwich Hospital assets and estate transferred to a new organisation known as The NHS Property Services Ltd which will provide the full range of property services to the NHS and will still be owned by the NHS. This organisation will look after healthcare buildings and be responsible for strategic management leaving the CCGs to focus on services. NHS Southwark CCG do not expect this to affect their plans and the CCG is already working closely with the new organisation.
What will the new local health service proposals mean for the hospital site?
Some good news and some potentially bad news
The reformed local health services will put services into the community and reduce the need for hospital services on acute hospital sites such as those at KCH.
The Southwark CCG does not recommend continuing with the current service arrangements. While the cost of delivering services will remain the same, many patients can’t get some services at local GP practices and the current Dulwich Hospital does not provide a suitable environment for modern healthcare. The CCG believes it will be able to treat more people in community settings for the same amount of money while improving the quality of care. Projected budget and resources for the CCG suggest a £26m gap by 2017/18 and savings of this amount will be needed to balance the budget. There is bound to be rationalisation of buildings; some existing clinic buildings will close down, and services moved elsewhere. The CCG accepts many people are concerned about the current Dulwich Community Hospital building but cannot recommend continuing to use the existing building as it is.
The good news (with a caveat) is that the new delivery proposals assume the new health hub will most probably be on the Dulwich Hospital site. The size of it will depend on the outcome of the consultation. Once the CCG has decided what sort and scale of hub they want, it will have to ensure formally that this represents the best site from a clinical, patient and cost effective perspective. This includes any capacity to expand the health services in the future. The CCG also has to assess whether the best option would be a refurbishment of the existing building or a new build. This assessment has yet to take place. Any land left over must first be prioritised for use by health and then other local public sector users. Once the CCG has decided what it needs for our local healthcare services, other NHS bodies have to be offered the chance to use any of the site surplus to requirements. As the CCG work closely with other major NHS bodies in the area, CCG think it unlikely these bodies will have any needs outside of what the CCG will be proposing.
Any remaining site must then be offered to other public sector organisations, primarily Southwark Council in this case, with whom CCG are working closely. After that, new owners NHS National Property Co will be required to sell any surplus on the basis of best value. At each stage, the NHS are required to achieve best value for any property and land transferred or sold, though value will be influenced by overall planning controls, which are the responsibility of Southwark Council.
Why can’t we have a brand new hospital on the site?
We believe the site covers about 27,000m2. Local NHS experts tell us that it would be wholly inappropriate for the site to be rebuilt as an acute hospital in accordance with modern clinical & NHS standards for the provision of major acute services and specialisms. It wouldn’t be of an appropriate clinical scale.
It would however be possible to use part of the site for health services and it has been suggested that about 5-7000m2 could be used for extended community medical care of the type now proposed by the CCG in their delivery proposals. This would leave around 20,000m2 for other community uses.
What are the options for the site?
Much of the current building is poorly maintained with some older parts in a precarious state, and would need to undergo major works. The CCG consultation document clearly states that the reformed health services will dictate the priorities for the site and a business case for health services on the site will emerge later in 2013. Decisions about other potential community uses will then follow. Some groups have urged a stronger case should be made for conservation of the buildings as currently they have absolutely no heritage protection and could be demolished tomorrow. There have been two unsuccessful attempts to list the building but it has not hitherto been considered sufficiently unusual or significant to justify this protection.
The recently published draft Dulwich Supplementary Planning Document (2013) did not address the heritage significance of the remaining hospital buildings (including the fine arts and crafts nurses’ home), merely describing them as being ‘of varying age, design and quality’. The surviving buildings are of significant historic and architectural interest worthy of reassessment for statutory listing and could be designated as locally listed heritage assets accompanied by conservation area status. This would enable Southwark to ensure sensitive restoration and adaptation of the historic buildings on the site, though at this stage it is unclear what the impact on refurbishment costs would be of the heritage component.
The Southwark Planning Brief (2005) sets out other planning considerations for the site. The use of part of the site (say a fifth) for a school would help to meet the requirements of the Southwark Planning Brief. A proposal for a free Primary School is under consideration with a major provider which will help to address the projected shortfall in Dulwich primary school places from 2016. Use of the hospital gatehouse as a touchdown base for our ringfenced Safer Neighbourhood police officers is being considered under the new local policing model which comes into effect on 24th June 2013. This would mean officers can stay in Dulwich without having to travel back to Camberwell police station. This would be a cost-neutral option for the Mayor of London’s office, funded from local public resources. Discussions with the Borough Commander continue.
Assuming that half of the site is allocated for health, school and police uses this leaves a significant proportion of the site for other community uses and potentially other developments, which may not be good news for some people. The old PCT/now CCG have given permission for intermediate uses of the site such as the community garden on a temporary basis that will not prejudice future site use. The CCG now as tenants of the site presume they will be able to continue to do this but this is yet to be confirmed. More is likely to emerge as the consultation progresses and the Society will continue to report on www.dulwichsociety.com. If you would like to receive regular updates on the Hospital, please subscribe to our Dulwich Society E-Newsletter via
Your views on the range, delivery and location of new CCG health services can be expressed at a series of public meetings and there is an online questionnaire available at: [link no longer works, removed by webmaster]
Details of Southwark’s planning process, the Dulwich Hospital Planning Brief and the new Draft Dulwich Supplementary Planning Document can be accessed from [link no longer works, removed by webmaster]
For NHS Property Services Ltd see https://www.property.nhs.uk/
For up to date information on police and school proposals for the site, please speak to your local councillor
We had a very good response to the appeal in our last issue for someone to take responsibility for editing future issues of ‘Dulwich Gardens open for Charity’. We are most grateful that Ann Rutherford has agreed to take this on as from the next (2014) issue. We could not have found a better person. Ann is a keen and knowledgeable gardener and has one of the finest gardens in Dulwich. She was one of the first garden owners in the Dulwich area to open her garden for the National Gardens Scheme, a charity which raises money for cancer, caring and gardening charities. Over the years she has also opened her garden for the Save the Children Fund and St Christopher’s Hospice, and for small groups from this country and abroad. She is a great lover of wildlife except snails.
Baroness Margaret Thatcher 1926-2013
In the pantheon of Dulwich ‘greats’, mostly included in ‘Who was Who in Dulwich’ published by the Dulwich Society in 2002, a list frequently added to within these pages, the name of Margaret Thatcher will undoubtedly rank among the highest. Although she herself spent little time here, preferring Downing Street or Chequers and it was her husband Denis who was the more often seen around the Village, it was still her home from 1986-1990. Indeed, in that memorable moment when she left Downing Street for the last time she was still able to joke that she had exchanged No 10 for No 11, meaning 10 Downing Street for 11 Hambledon Place, Dulwich Common.
The choice of Dulwich as a home for the Thatchers was influenced by the advice given by her Cabinet Secretary at the time, Robin Butler (now Lord Butler of Brockwell) who was himself a Dulwich resident. The suitability of Hambledon Place on Dulwich Common, both from the security aspect - it is a gated community, and its proximity to the Dulwich & Sydenham Golf Club as a diversion for Sir Denis Thatcher are well known. Tony Korris explained much about this in the last issue of the Journal.
Her four years as a resident deserves some permanent memorial. Unfortunately a Heritage Blue Plaque on the wall of her former house would not be seen by the general public. Perhaps the naming of the carriageway from the Queen Mary gate leading from Dulwich Common and into Dulwich Park and which is opposite her old home as Margaret Thatcher Drive might be considered appropriate. After all, her greatest legacy as far as Dulwich itself is concerned was to demand that her transport minister cancelled plans to widen the South Circular along Dulwich Common, a scheme which required driving a highway across part of the Park and playing fields of the Common, so firmly dividing Dulwich into two.
Entertaining Mrs T
(Reprinted from ‘Even More Tales from the Village’ by Brian Green in the Dulwich Society Newsletter - Summer edition 2009)
It was said that Margaret Thatcher was persuaded to live in Dulwich, during her time as Prime Minister, by the proximity to the Dulwich & Sydenham Golf Club as handy recreation for her husband Denis. This was coupled with a hefty discount from Barratt’s the developers of her house at Hambledon Place on Dulwich Common, and finally by the encouragement of Robin Butler (now Lord Butler of Brockwell) then her Cabinet Secretary and himself then a Dulwich resident.
Mrs T was not a permanent resident, she was rather like one of those rare birds (the Nutcracker for instance) which visits only occasionally. Denis by contrast was quite often in evidence. In acknowledgement of the honour the Prime Minister had done to Dulwich by coming to live among us, the Dulwich Village Business Association decided it would be appropriate to ask her to switch on the Village’s Christmas illuminations.
The organisers of the Great Switch On were the two young owners of a Village gift shop. Overwhelmed over by the letter of acceptance from Mrs T at Number Ten, they felt the ceremony should be given greater importance and ordered the construction of a raised wooden podium with a handrail so that the Prime Minister would not only be better seen but perhaps also give Dulwich the benefit of her oratory. Unfortunately, they had failed to get the Association’s permission for this fine gesture, the cost of which hugely exceeded the Association’s total assets. But as it was in a time of great prosperity they just borrowed the cost of the construction from their bank, along with a further loan for another new Jaguar.
The Great Switch On was performed with great aplomb by Mrs T, only slightly marred by a number of eggs being thrown at her by members of various local opposition political parties. Fortunately their aim was poor and Mrs T retired into SG Smith’s car showroom where I, among others, entertained her with wine and undivided attention.
That was not however the end of the story. Soon after, yet another recession struck and the two young owners of the gift shop now found themselves hounded by their creditors. In the end the bank repossessed all their assets, which by then were very few, the Jaguar having gone first. The only item of value left, or so the receivers thought, was the ceremonial podium. Sadly, it remained, unloved and unsold in the yard at the rear of Barclays Bank in Dulwich Village. After a year it finally ended up by being dumped in a skip.
Policing in Dulwich
Reproduced below is the front cover photograph of the Dulwich Society Journal for the Summer edition 2006. There, smiling at the camera is a police sergeant, two constables and two PCSO’s. We knew all the police officers by name. We could ring them up if we scented a problem, or even send them an email. They were very much in evidence and policed Dulwich from Denmark Hill to the top of College Road. They broke up a minor drugs ring, nipped anti-social behaviour in the bud, arrested car-radio thieves (a prevalent crime at the time) and were responsible for the aura of relative peace which settled over Dulwich, and which, it must be admitted largely prevails. The concept was to prevent crime and the fear of crime and work in partnership with the local community. The message was, to get back to basics by providing a significant uniformed presence in Dulwich. All of these worthy objectives have been consigned to the waste bin of policy change.
Actually the plan must have worked too well, if indeed Dulwich is a crime-free zone. Not only has East Dulwich police station been closed and the site to be sold off, but the Village Team, as it was called, has been decimated to one police constable and one PCSO. The outpost of a police presence at Seeley Drive is being retained but the nearest police station is either Camberwell Green or Brixton. However, the mysterious police facility in the former West Dulwich police station next to West Dulwich railway station seems to have been spared. What goes on there? Some have suggested a Special Branch office, others that it is a police procurement office and others that it is some kind of policeman’s bring-and-buy unit. If any reader knows, we should be delighted to be informed.
And as far as taking any notice of ‘consultation meetings’, these are best forgotten. If an authority, be it a health authority, a borough council or the London Assembly proposes to make significant changes, then do not try to justify them by holding fatuous (and expensive) ‘consultation meetings!
Vexillology - here we come!
Just in case you do not know what vexillogy is or what a vexillologist does - and who indeed does, let us enlighten you. The assistant to the chief-vexillologist of the Flag Institute and an advisor to the Parliamentary Flags and Heraldry Committee (did you know we had one?), has, as a personal crusade, designed a flag for every one of the 374 towns and villages across Greater London.
There is no official backing to Mr Philip Tebbetts’ great effort, perhaps just a sense of personal flaggelation. What he has come up with for Dulwich has so far found no champions, although we must admit we have not canvassed the views of the supporters of Dulwich Hamlet FC. If we had we might have found that Mr Tebbetts’ choice of Dulwich Hamlet’s pink and blue club colours into which he has woven the heraldic cinquefoil plucked from Edward Alleyn’s coat of arms, very popular.
What does the Dulwich Society membership think (or even care?). Has anyone got a better idea, perhaps incorporating the dill flower from which Dulwich gets its name, or perhaps the effigy of King Edgar who bequeathed it in AD 967? Or why bother. According to estate agents, an area’s standing is defined by its post code. Perhaps we should have SE21/SE22 emblazoned d’or on a field vert.
Barbara Hepworth Statue
The commissioning process for a replacement for the stolen Barbara Hepworth statue in Dulwich Park is moving forward. As announced in the Spring issue of the Journal, the steering group has named a shortlist of four artists: Anya Gallaccio, Ryan Gander, Eva Rothschild and Conrad Shawcross. They are all preparing their formal submissions which will be presented to local residents in three public consultations in the late summer. These will be on three weekends between the end of July and mid-September -at Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Francis Peak Community Centre in Dulwich Park, and the Lordship Lane Library.
Dulwich Sub aqua club
Dulwich BSAC diving club is run voluntarily by fully Qualified BSAC Instructors and offers Try-Dive nights at Dulwich College Sports club to potential members. The membership ranges from the complete novices to the advanced - and, most importantly, everything can be taken at one’s own pace. There is no pressure to complete qualifications in record breaking time. As well as diving, the club offers several social events throughout the year. Previous diving trips have been taken to the Philippines, Lanzarote, Malaysia and Egypt, as well as dive sites in England and Scotland.
For more information about membership or if you just want an informal chat about diving please call John Green on: 0750 3261445. www.dulwichdivers.co.uk
Old College Croquet
Croquet at the Old College club in Gallery Road celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year after it was revived in 1963. Old College is one of the oldest tennis clubs in London, going back to 1884. Croquet was also played from early on but ceased in the 1930s. After the Second World War tennis was quickly revived but it was only later that croquet restarted. The club has gone from strength to strength boasting seven fine tennis courts and the one croquet lawn. With over 600 members, including many juniors, it benefit from having good playing facilities as well as the bespoke clubhouse and bar. The club combines a long sporting tradition, catering for players of different abilities and competitive inclination, with a friendly social side, with activities for all. Not many local organisations can boast active members born in every decade from the 1920s through to the noughties. New members are always welcome. More information about Old College and croquet in particular, including this year’s introductory sessions, is found on the club’s website www.oldcollege.co.uk.
Camber Tennis Club
We are extremely sorry to report that Camber Tennis Club, which can trace its history in Dulwich back for 100 years has had its pavilion destroyed by a fire at its ground on Dulwich Common. Largely built by the members themselves, it was the most recent clubhouse for the club which started life in 1913 in what is now the Griffin Club ground and was located in other venues in Dulwich in the ensuing years.
Return Visit to Highgrove
HRH the Prince of Wales has again very kindly made his garden at Highgrove, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, available to the Mark Evison Foundation on 2 July 2013. It will begin with a private extended tour of his garden including his famous wild meadow. A Pimms reception will be followed by a two-course meal with wine in the beautiful setting of the Orchard Room..
Since 1980 when he arrived at Highgrove, Prince Charles has devoted his energy to transforming the gardens around the house. A series of interlinked areas, each with their own character and purpose, weave around the garden, with the beautiful house always visible in the distance. For the last 25 years, the gardens have been managed to the organic and sustainable principles that he has for so long championed; the garden has been developed to be as self sufficient as possible. His wild flower meadow boasts over 30 varieties of native plants, creating a rich tapestry of colour and diversity. The gardens are also home to part of the national collection of Beech trees and large leaved hostas, and an extensive and unusual kitchen garden and orchard.
Do join us for this opportunity to see the Highgrove gardens and to learn from the HRH’s innovative techniques and style with one of his excellent garden guides. Those who joined us last time had a wonderful day, looked after in great style by the staff.
The timings of the tour and lunch will be from approximately 10.30 am to 3.30pm. The total cost is £100 suggested minimum donation per ticket. If you would like a place on the tour, please email
The period covered by this edition of the Journal, the summer months, coincides with the worst phase of the German V (Vengeance) bombing campaign of World War Two. Between 100-150 ‘flying bombs’ (originally called P. Planes - pilotless planes) and later the V1 were launched daily in July 1944 at Britain and aimed at London. Although many were intercepted by fighters and anti-aircraft artillery, plenty penetrated the defences. Four explosions in Dulwich where there was significant loss of life are to be commemorated this June, July and August. There were numerous other V1’s which exploded locally on open ground or on homes where the civilian population were protected by shelters. Morale, which was initially very high, ( the DDay landings had successfully been made the month before), but the “We can take whatever Hitler tries to send us” expressions and banter about the raids were within just a few weeks replaced by demands for retribution at what was deemed uncivilised behaviour by the enemy at targetting the civilian population.
Morale did not crack but rather was replaced by a war-weariness and perhaps an increased determination to see it through. Precautions were taken but life still went on, sometimes normally, sometimes not. The destruction of Dulwich Picture Gallery , the science block and other buildings at Dulwich College and even the clubhouse of the Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club, all within a couple of weeks made it appear that all of Dulwich was being razed to the ground. The widespread carnage created concern about the possibility of looting from the numerous ruined properties and the South London Observer carried a report in a July 1944 issue that the Home Guard were being issued with live rounds with orders to shoot at looters.
The Dulwich Society will unveil a commemorative plaque to the victims of Lovelace Road and Rosendale Road on Sunday 23rd June 2013 at 12 noon (at the junction of Lovelace Road and Rosendale Road)
In commemoration of those killed in Rosendale Road on 23rd June 1944
Ethel Allen 75, Ann Simpson 71, Annie Simpson 36, James Smith 49
And those killed in Lovelace Road on 1st August 1944 by V1 flying bombs.
Ethel Jenkyn 53, Peter Jenkyn 16.
Bruce Cox remembers
Time at Alleyn’s was quite disrupted because of the V1’s and for a short period the school start time varied, depending on whether or not there had been a raid the night before. This was not very practical as we came from a very wide area and the sirens were not necessarily sounded everywhere. I usually biked to school with a friend, ‘Eddie’ Edwards who lived nearby but he was seldom ready and we often arrived only just in time. Fortunately he was also late on the morning of 12th July 1944. At about the time we should have been going along Gallery Road a flying bomb dropped in the road near Dulwich Picture Gallery, causing serious damage to the Gallery.
One sad, or lucky event of the flying bomb period was the death of Peter Jenkyn. He was about the closest friend I had at school. We were both 16; together in the same form, the Officer Training Corps, the Scouts, and did many things together. During the summer holidays of 1944 it was agreed that I would go to his place at 32 Lovelace Road, Dulwich and play with his train set. I did not have one.
For some reason I do not remember I went for a bike ride with another friend from Alleyn’s, John Neeld of Streatham, on the agreed day. A flying bomb hit Peter’s house full on and Peter and his mother were blown to pieces, little being left to identify them.
The Dulwich Society will unveil a commemorative plaque to World War 11 victims of Wood Vale on Saturday 6th July 2013 at 12 noon (near the junction with Lordship Lane)
In commemoration of those killed by a V1 flying bomb on 6th July 1944
Elsie Bayles 62, Jessie Bayles 59, Edwina Burbury 71, Theresa Chalmers 15, Arthur Clements 78, Mary Foulkes 67, Grace Gardner 19, Madeline Gardner 45, Alicia Lavinia Hawken 77, Alicia Pauline Hawken 47, John Kinsella 65, Selina Kirkland 63, Albert Smith 51, Louisa Smith 66.
A press report of this explosion which destroyed a tenement named White Gables at the Lordship Lane end of Woodvale in the early hours of Thursday 6th July 1944 says that because of the precarious state of the building which was partly collapsed, eleven of those killed were trapped in the semi-basement of the block and rescuers were unable to reach them until the following day.
The Dulwich Society will unveil a commemorative plaque to World War 11 victims of Park Hall Road on Sunday 7th July 2013 at 12 noon at the corner with Ildersley Grove.
In commemoration of those killed by a V1 flying bomb on 4th July 1944
Marjorie Brown 15, Robert Brown 49, William Brown 14
Ethel Leverett (neé Bunn) relives July 1944
The 4th July 1944, a Tuesday, began as usual with Mum getting ready for work (she was a cook with the London Meal Service based in Acre Lane, Brixton) and myself, then aged nine, for another day at school but looking forward to the summer holidays and playing with my friends. There was just Mum and me as two years previously my father, who worked for the Dulwich Estate had collapsed and died from a heart attack on Dulwich Common. He was on his way home after a fire fighting exercise. We loved him so much and missed him so,
When I arrived at our house in Park Hall Road, Mum was already there waiting for me as she needed to return to work and take me with her. Earlier that day a V1 had exploded opposite the restaurant, damaging it and putting it out of action. Temporary premises had been found at the Brixton Synagogue but all the equipment had to be transferred so that the kitchen could be up and running for the next day. I helped Mum and the other ladies carry the boxes from the lorry and stack them away. It was getting quite late by the time we caught the bus home. After some tea we got ready for bed - another night in the Morrison shelter. Pete, our beautiful black and white Persian cat refused to sleep in the shelter, preferring to curl up on top.
It was late at night that I made my way to the kitchen for a drink and whilst standing at the sink heard the sound of a V1 approaching. The engine then cut out and there was silence. I ran as fast as I could across the hall and into the front room and dived for the safety of the shelter. There was no time to fix the wire panel before a massive explosion lifted the Morrison, with us inside, and dropped it into the footings of the house. The blast must have stunned us because the next thing I remember was the choking dust, the overwhelming smell of gas and the crackle of flames. Where the wire frame was missing on Mum’s side the rubble had crashed in, injuring her in the chest and back. The weight of the rubble on my side of the shelter had pushed the frame inwards trapping my legs.
We started to call for help but no answering voice came back. After what seemed hours the sound of digging could be heard and then a voice calling “anyone there?” “Yes” said Mum, “please come through the front door, we’re in the front room”. Of course we weren’t, there was neither front door nor front room. Finally a hole was made and we were lifted through and out into the fresh air. Mum was taken to a waiting ambulance and I was given into the care of Mrs Smith who owned the tobacconist and sweet shop in Park Hall Road.
Later we heard that our lives had been saved by Mr Baker who lived in Acacia Grove (he kept chickens and Mum was registered with him for our eggs). He had said to his wife, “that explosion was close, I’m going to have a look.” When he saw the ruins he called to the rescue party, “There’s a woman and a child under there”. In the confusion no one was looking for us. The fractured gas main had to be kept alight to burn off the gas whilst they dug for us. Three of our neighbours died that night, Margery Brown, who was upstairs in bed, her father and Billy her brother who were both in the kitchen. Billy was getting ready for work, his first job, on the Railway.
Three days later, on Friday 7th July another V1 exploded, destroying the shops on the corner of Croxted Road and some in Park Hall Road. Mrs Smith’s tobacconist’s shop, where I was staying was declared too unsafe to stay in so we moved in with her friend in Alleyn Park. On the Sunday I was taken to Sutton Hospital to visit Mum and Mrs Smith told her that she could no longer look after me as there wasn’t room and that she was taking me to the orphanage. Mum said, “No orphanage!” and promptly discharged herself from hospital to the dismay of the doctor. The ward sister found her some clothes and a pair of shoes and lent her 2/6 for the fare to Dulwich. I can see us now, waiting for the train, Mum looking very pale, and although it was July, the day was cold with drizzly rain and neither of us had a coat. We reached Park Hall Road by early evening and there sitting on the rubble of our house was Pete our cat - dusty, with a cut on his chin and another over an eye. Now we were three.
We walked to the Village to ask Mr George Clout, the Estate’s Bailiff if it would be possible for a couple of his workmen to dig and try and find a tin box containing Mum’s purse, her engagement ring and other papers she would need. Mr Clout said that he would be there next morning and advised us to stay close to the house in case of looting That night Mum and I huddled in the public shelter on the corner of Ildersley Grove. Next day, the workmen arrived and were able to find the box which had been on a shelf in the cupboard under the stairs. They also found a photograph album but nothing else.
A lady who used to feed the cats made homeless by the bombing befriended us and said that there was a small flat vacant in Rosendale Road. Mum applied and was successful and we moved in. It was a semi-basement, rather damp and gloomy and we shared a bath room with another family, but it was a roof over our heads and we weren’t the only ones in the same situation and one made the best of it and life went on. We lived in the hope that when the war was over and the houses were rebuilt in Park Hall Road, we would return, but that was not to be as Mum was informed “families only” - but what were we? We were offered a flat in Dekker Road and moved there in 1949.
I married John in 1955 at St Barnabas Church and had two fine sons who both became police officers. I looked after Mum until she passed away in 1996, just short of her 100th birthday. Pete the Persian, who must have used up most of his nine lives that fearful night lived to the grand old age of nineteen.
The Dulwich Society will unveil a commemorative plaque to World War 11 victims killed in Lordship Lane on Sunday 4th August 2013 at 12 noon (at the junction with Shawbury Road)
In commemoration of those killed by a V1 flying bomb on Saturday 5th August 1944
Walter Ball 61, Annie Bentley 62, Elsie Bull 47, Margaret Bull 16, Ivy Canes 22, Ruby Coates 20, Edward Coates 20, Maggie Greenaway 59, Kathleen Marshall 27, Robert Marshall 2, Stanley Matteson 14, Emily McGregor 82, Beryl Mengell 8, Dorothy Mengell 39, Margaret Rollins 64, Edward Rose 46, Stephen Salter 29, Mabel Sayers 34, Dorothy Shields 38, Adelaide Skinner 46, Walter Sturt 64, Alice Trampleasure 69, Violet Turner 31
Ruth Turner (Nicholson) Thompson
It was a Saturday and I was a young girl of 8 years helping make up small packets of butter for people’s rations at the Co-op in Lordship Lane where my Mother was employed as a cashier. We heard the air-raid warning and my mother said I was to go with the manager’s wife to the basement cellar of the shop; I begged her to come with us but she said that she had to stay and look after the money.
In the cellar the manager’s wife was showing me a four-leafed clover that she carried for luck in her handbag when there was a horrendous noise, a shaking and the smell of damp musty plaster, some of which was falling on us. Mrs Manager started to cry out and scream “Joseph! my Joseph!” . I remember holding my stunned and shocked companion’s hand and begging her to hurry as I was sure that the building was about to fall on us. My instinct was to escape and I noticed a low exit door with a heavy horizontal iron bar across it. I managed to lift this and grab my screaming companion’s hand and we exited on burning bricks into Shawbury Road.
I stood on the road for some time not knowing what to do or where to go in the chaos all around me. I was taken into an ambulance and checked for any signs of injury, of which there were none. Much later I asked to be taken to Mrs Riley, whose children I knew. She lived with her large family, like us on the Dog Kennel Hill Estate. I was not a welcome guest but I had no other choice. Perhaps my illigitimacy made me an undesirable addition to their household; the same reason that my mother and I were sometimes shunned in the air raid shelters. Nevertheless Mrs Riley, who actually was in no way responsible for me, did her best for me at the time.
I did tell the rescue team at the scene of the explosion that my mother was in the building and that they would recognise her as she always wore a snake type gold bracelet around her right wrist. I think I knew she had died on that day and it was confirmed when somebody (I do not remember who) said that they had found her arm with the bracelet. Not a good thing to tell a bereaved child.
My father was not part of my life and he only visited my mother from time to time. He did turn up for the burial and then he left never to visit me or do anything for me ever again. I went to live with an aunt in Westcott, near Dorking, where I had been evacuated for a short time when very young. She had four children and lived in a two-room flat. In the end it was too much for her and too much for me. I had adored my mother, we were very close, joined at the hip. She looked after me beautifully and I was neat and smart, often in dresses she made for me and so it was no fun sharing with all my scruffy cousins (so, I was a spoilt child?). I asked if I could leave and go to an orphanage!
In no time I was in a children’s home in Merstham; I do not recall the name but they were very kind to all of us war-damaged children. My aunt had kept all my mother’s possessions; I was given nothing to remember her by. I was lucky to be taken in quite soon by a Mr and Mrs Laurie who had a natural born son 18 months younger than me. They were middle class Cambridge graduates living in Reigate and looking for a daughter to adopt. They did adopt me and suddenly I had a brother, Peter, and a new family. I had lessons to lose my cockney accent and speak the King’s English, and after an unsuccessful adventure in farming in Devon, we returned to Reigate where I went to school at Dunottar and became Head Girl. From there I left to become a nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. It was there that I would meet a newly qualified doctor, John Nicholson. We married in 1957 and lived in Court Lane until his death in 1980 at the age of 48. Later I would meet Neil Thompson and become a vicar’s wife, first at Shooters Hill then back to Dulwich to St Stephen’s, South Dulwich, then, moving with the job, to Limpsfield and now at Rochester Cathedral where Neil is Canon Precentor.
Ken Milne recalls the incident in Lordship Lane
I was at the South London Emergency Secondary School (SLESS) located at Alleyn’s School from 1940-45 and lived in Barry Road, East Dulwich. The day of Saturday 5th August 1944 remains one of my most vivid memories of the V1 campaign. That day, a few of us from SLESS met in Dulwich Park, as we often did. Several V1’s had passed over before we decided to go home. We were walking back towards Dulwich Library and had almost reached the park gates when we heard another V1 approaching. The engine stopped and we knew it would be near. We mentally counted twelve seconds - but still nothing. We moved off again, rather puzzled, when suddenly we saw the V1 gliding above the trees, heading towards the library. It passed out of sight, and then, a few seconds later we heard the explosion and saw the dust rising. Somebody said, “It looks like the Lordship Lane area”, and another (I think it was Albert Shields) said, “I’d better get home and see if my Mum’s alright.” In fact we found out several days later that his mum (Dorothy Shields) had been killed in that incident.