Christ’s Chapel’s forgotten Bi-centenary
In 1816, the bi-centenary of the consecration of Christ’s Chapel, the completion of the almshouses, College and burial ground appear to have been celebrated by giving Edward Alleyn a new memorial stone, carved from black marble, in the nave of the Chapel and the ordering of a ‘turret clock to go eight days and chime the Quarters’. Not only that but the new clock was to be placed in the north tower instead of the south tower, where as a print of 1792 shows, a previous clock already existed.
The north tower must have been heightened to take the new clock and the work seems to have made the south tower redundant. It could of course all have been the first stage of the College’s surveyor, George Tappen’s overall plan to extend the chapel by adding another aisle while at the same time extensively remodeling the west wing once the six poor sisters - the almswomen, had been found accommodation in the new Picture Gallery.
The intricate machinery for the new clock was made by J Massey Bridge Road Lambeth, and was repaired a year later by another firm, R Rolfe of Clerkenwell. The same machinery is still in use today and at the beginning and ending of British Summertime, the Dulwich Estate’s surveyor, Sami Ceyhan, alters the mechanism. Age and expansion of the machinery inevitably means that the clock gains around five minutes over the period.
One of the bells was ordered by Archbishop Laud in 1634 and bears the inscription ‘William Laud made mee’. The archbishop did not pay for it and the Master of the College had to find £10 with the college paying the balance of £3.13s. 5d. for the bell, wheel and new frame. Further expense came a few years later when the steeple collapsed and had to be rebuilt. The two most recent bells are in memory of Lieutenant John Morrice Maitland Marshall of the Essex Regiment who was killed during WW1, At some point the older bells, including Laud’s bell were recast. An error was made in the reinscription and it now reads ‘William Land made me’. The archbishop would not have been amused.
The sharp-eyed observer might note that the clockface has a stone surround bearing the date 1866, as also does the east wing. It seems likely that the 250th anniversary was marked by extending the almshouses, putting a new steeple on the tower and building the cloisters.
Organ Recitals at Christ’s Chapel
Sunday 14 July 2019 Dr Julie Ainscough (Surrey)
Sunday 15 September 2019 Alison M Howell (Bristol)
Sunday 13 October 2019 Anne Page (Cambridge)
Sunday 10 November 2019 Alana Brook (Ripon Cathedral)
The recitals take place at 7.45pm and admission is free. Recitals last between 40-45 mins and these are followed by an informal buffet to which all are invited.
This sportsground, the entrance being in Turney Road was formerly leased by the Borough Polytechnic, later South Bank University, from as early as WW1. In 2012 the university announced that they were giving up the ground, despite it having seven further years to run on its lease. There was concern about the future of this attractive ground with its iconic pavilion. Into the breech stepped a number of local interested residents headed by John Smith who lives in Turney Road. They convinced the Dulwich Estate that they were able to take on running of the ground and established a trust which now provides sporting facilities to users such as cricket, soccer and rugby clubs. Income from the users pays about 70% of the annual costs, largely made up of rent and ground maintenance, the balance being found in the rents obtained for a flat in the pavilion, the hire of a radio mast and income from a nursery built on the site four years ago. Both the installation of mast and the building of the nursery on Metropolitan Open Land were matters of great local concern but objections were over-ruled by the planning inspectors and the income is now central to the Trust’s business plan. The consortium which has an annual turnover of £ million receives no funding from local authorities or any of the national sporting bodies.
The trust was also invited by the Dulwich Estate to take over the adjoining ground in Gallery Road which had previously been the Pelo ground and once that of the Old Hollington Club (Dulwich College Mission). Once this was agreed the Estate granted Southwark Sports a 30 year lease from 2018.
During the week the combined ground is used for games by a Streatham school and every weekend the four soccer pitches are used in the mornings by youth boys’ and girls’ teams and in the afternoon by senior teams. King’s College, London uses the ground for rugby. In the summer months the cricket squares are used by some of Dulwich Cricket Club’s sides and as many as 550 youngsters taking part in cricket coaching.
John Smith is also president of Dulwich Sports Club in Burbage Road, an office he has held for almost 30 years. Dulwich Sports Club is made uo of cricket, squash, tennis and croquet sections. Dulwich Cricket Club has played on the ground in Burbage Road since 1885. It had transferred from its ground at the rear of the old Greyhound inn in the Village when the area was earmarked for housing to create Aysgath and Pickwick roads. It was founded in 1867 as the Aeolian Cricket Club by the Camberwell Music Society.
A Villager’s Notebook
Christ’s Chapel’s forgotten Bi-centenary