Bell House is hosting a small exhibition looking at the year 1871, a key moment of change in South London. This coincides with the Impressionist painter Pissarro’s Dulwich College coming to Dulwich Picture Gallery. This free exhibition at Bell House, 27 College Road, Dulwich SE21 7BG, is on 8-9 June and 15-16 June, between 10am -5pm and by appointment 10-14 June 2019.

Sharon O’Connor, historian at Bell House, said “Bell House has brought together fascinating early photographs and images of Victorian South London, including local Dulwich paths which are now roads where people live, to show how this part of South London changed during the period. We have original souvenirs from the Crystal Palace and Victorian artefacts found in the cellar of a Dulwich grocer including a stoneware ‘R. Whites’ lemonade bottle”.

Dulwich was a rural retreat at this time and at the front of Bell House you can still see the ‘ha-ha’, a sunken wall designed to keep out the sheep that were driven along College Road. It was transformed by three major developments: the relocation of the Crystal Palace to Sydenham in 1854, the arrival of the railways, and London’s expansion south. The railways paid for the new Dulwich College and made the area more accessible, encouraging development. Pissarro was fascinated by such turning points and captured the area in this transition, painting not only the new College but also the Crystal Palace and Lordship Lane station.

Bell House residents were also affected by Dulwich’s transformation. George Widdowson,a silversmith, exhibited at the Crystal Palace Exhibition and must have been thrilled to see it relocated just a short distance from his front door.

For a list of all events at Bell House visit the website