Green Dale (and elsewhere) blooms

This pleasant ancient route from Dulwich to Camberwell continues to be a useful connection for cyclists and walkers alike. Not only is it a pretty lane, bordered with sports fields but it also has a spur of even better aspect towards the wilds of Sainsbury’s on Dog Kdennel Hill.

Greendale is looking even better these days thanks to the initiative by the children of Bessemer School in planting a wildflower meadow along its length. This thrived last year and again this spring. It will be even better in the summer months with a great variety of species and colour.

This admirable effort compliments the adjacent superb Green Dale Fields initiative created by local residents in the area in recent years, culminating in turning what were fenced-off and derelict fields into a wildlife park, with explanatory signage, metalled paths and continued care for the band of woodland on the higher areas incorporating Dog Kennel Wood.

On the other hand, Gallery Road is disappointing. Great efforts were made several years ago, not least by the Dulwich Society’s wildlife group, to clear detritus from the verges and plant a line of hawthorn whips to compensate for the failing elms. It is time perhaps for another communal effort for another clearance.

Dulwich College makes face masks

3D visors were produced by the College’s Design & Technology teachers in March. It started with an email from a Governor connecting Dr Joe Spence, the Master of Dulwich College, with an anaesthetist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and less than two weeks later, the Dulwich Design and Technology team, using the College’s own 3D printers, produced over 50 full-face visors every day for health workers across south London. The production increased further with the addition of five 3D printers supplied to from JAGS. In addition, the College distributed over 650 pre-existing forms of eye-protection from the Science and DT departments, supplying 12 local surgeries, two hospitals and a care home.

Mark Evison Foundation

The Charity which was established ten years ago to commemorate the life of Mark Evison of Court Lane who died as a result of wounds suffered in Afghanistan, has celebrated a record year, giving 105 awards to 320 students - a 65% increase. Several schools received multiple awards, the highest number at the London Academy of Excellence in Newham. Altogether the Foundation has helped 1000 young people so far, most from poor backgrounds.

Dulwich Gin

It was the mention of the origin of Dulwich’s name - Dilwihs - The meadow where the dill grew, in Brian Green’s ‘Dulwich - a History’ that provided the inspiration for an added botanical in a newly crafted locally made gin -. Dulwich Gin not only includes dill in its ingredients, but its creators generously give a donation to Dulwich Picture Gallery with every bottle sold. This is a smooth, very palatable gin and is highly recommended. It is available from Dulwich Vintners, Dulwich Village.

Blue Plaques on Hold

Due to the cancellation of all events because of Corona virus, two Dulwich blue plaque unveilings, arranged for May, did not take place. A British Heritage Blue Plaque award to writer Gerald Durrell who lived in Alleyn Park has had to be postponed. An account of Durrell’s life in the Who Was Who in Dulwich series and written by Mark Bryant will appear in the next issue.

Also a casualty and a postponement, is the Southwark Heritage Blue Plaque awarded by popular vote to the World Dance champions 1960-61, Bob Burgess and Doreen Freeman, who ran their dance studio attended by all the champion dancers of that time. The pair ran their studio at the Grafton Hall, Village Way from 1968-2001. The Grafton Dance Centre continues to maintain their legacy.

The story behind the Burgess and Freeman Dance Studio sign.

Dulwich Society member Robert Holden found the Burgess and Freeman Dance Studio sign in a skip in Milkwood Road many years ago. He took it home and has kept it in his garden ever since. The only dance studio of which he knew in the area was the Grafton Ballroom in Village Way. From the Herne Hill Heritage Trail (pages 143-144) he knew that the children's dance classes had moved in 2010 from the Grafton Hall to the former Postal Sorting Office at 130 Herne Hill, and also that adult dance classes were continuing in Grafton Hall.

However, the entry for Grafton Hall in the Herne Hill Heritage Trail did not mention Burgess and Freeman. He found out about their considerable involvement with Grafton Hall only when an article about them appeared in the Dulwich Society Journal. He has been in contact with Paul Burbedge, the present proprietor of the Grafton Dance Centre, and he hopes the sign will go on display in Grafton Hall.

Grafton Hall has an interesting history. It is a handsome building on the outside, and it has a delightful interior, not unlike the Rivoli Ballroom at Crofton Park. Robert will be leading three heritage walks in Herne Hill in

September, and his walk on Sunday 20th September will end at Grafton Hall. He says, “We shall certainly be able to admire the outside of the Hall, and we hope to be able to visit the interior as well. Prepare to tango.”

Gnomes of Dulwich

The 1970’s sit-com The Gnomes of Dulwich seems to have come back to life as walkers taking their daily exercise in Sunray Avenue will have found. The sight of this splendid collection of gnomes of all shapes and sizes certainly provides another reason to take a turn around the block.