Short Skirts

With the warmer months now with us, the annual argument over the length, or rather the lack of length, of girls’ skirts worn at schools, particularly co-ed schools, has arisen again. “Girls are requested to dress modestly” declares the headmistress of one school. What is modesty for some might be viewed as very immodest by others. Some firm rule seems to be required, and we discover, hey presto, that a rule existed at James Allen’s Girls’ School from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.

The enforcer was the formidable Miss Knott, an All-England Hockey captain and the school’s gym mistress. Each morning every girl on arrival would have to pass by Miss Knott who was stationed at the front door and holding a piece of card 3¼” - 4¼” in depth which was the measurement gym tunics were required to be from the ground “when kneeling upright”.

Fresh Fish in Dulwich Village

Le Poisson de Mer deli in Dulwich Village has now opened a fresh fish department offering a wide choice of fish and shellfish. The proprietor, who is Portuguese, has a long experience as a fishmonger.

Pillar to Post

The move of Dulwich Village’s post office from one end of the village to the other went smoothly after Christmas. Independent enterprise by Rumsey Chemists has ensured the service operates well. At the vacated old post office, the new ‘pop-up’ art gallery, another independent effort by local resident Ingrid Beazley, also adds interest and colour there. It is all the more galling that while such entrepreneurs are willing to risk their own money on making their businesses a success, the two corporate bodies involved - the landlords - the Dulwich Estate and Post Office Counters/Royal Mail cannot agree on which one pays for the moving of the pillar box, an operation that would take all of a couple of hours. Will we still be posting next Christmas’s cards in the old box?

Meanwhile the new PO counter in Rumsey Pharmacy, 47 Dulwich Village is receiving positive reviews. It is open until 6pm six days a week (including Saturday) with friendly, efficient staff and generally no queues.

What’s in a name

There is a growing chorus of disapproval at the renaming of the Michael Croft Theatre at Alleyn’s School as the MCT. In addition to an increasing number of the alumni who found fame on the stage through Michael Croft, who founded the National Youth Theatre at the school when he taught there sixty years ago, other actors whose career started in the NYT have added their names to the protest including Ian MacShane and John Shrapnel.

Dog Kennel Hill Wood

The Friends of Dog Kennel Hill Wood have organized a couple of work days by volunteers so far this year which has been concentrated on creating a new glade within the wood and weeding the hedge on the northern boundary. Glades are very important within woodland settings because they provide valuable habitat for sun-loving plants and insects that differ from those found in dense tree cover. We are clearing the invasive cow parsley and nettle and hope to plant native bulbs in the Autumn that will provide a display of colour.

Southwark Council have awarded the group £10,000 as part of the Cleaner, Greener, Safer fund. They will be using the money to improve the paths in the wood as the gravel is slowly disappearing. If funds allow we would also like to replace the path that runs through the park to Sainsburys as this has many holes in it and gets a lot of traffic.

Jasia Warren reports

We have also been campaigning vigorously against planning application 16/AP/1232 to demolish Dulwich Hamlet’s football stadium, build 155 flats on it and build a new 4000 seater stadium on nearby Green Dale. Like DKH Wood, Green Dale is designated as Metropolitan Open Land and should have the same protection as Green Belt. Sporting facilities, like the current astro turf pitch, are permissible on MOL as long as they “maintain the openness“. A football stadium with covered terraces, walkways and high walls will enclose the area. We want DHFC to remain in Champion Hill and believe that there are alternatives to this planning application that will benefit the club, the local community and wildlife. Please read the documents here: and make your comments known here:

Lack of Cutting Edge

It is reported elsewhere in this issue that Lambeth Council is cutting its expenditure on parks and gardens. Nowhere is this more obvious than Ruskin Park. There, the poor state of this once beautiful park is getting worse by the day. Limited planting, unkempt grass and last year’s leaves spoil this former jewel in Lambeth’s crown. The park is the nearest recreational space for the residents of the Bessemer and Sunray estates.

Although not as bad, Belair Park is also looking a trifle down at heel. The large scale works undertaken by Thames Water to reduce surface flooding by using Belair as a reservoir have succeeded in creating a second lake, almost as large as the original one. Brambles are taking over much of the wetland area and flower planting is conspicuous by its absence.