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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 07753353226 ASAP. For those travelling from Dulwich, we may well organise a minibus and split the costs. If you would be interested, please let me know. Two years ago, this worked out at approximately £20 per person and may be similar, depending on numbers.