Finding out about 36 Calton Avenue By Sharon O’Connor
Five years ago when we moved to Dulwich I was slightly disappointed to find that the deeds to our house held no information about when it was built, or who had lived in it before the people we bought it from. It would be interesting to look into its history I thought before forgetting all about it and getting on with settling in. Fast forward to a recent Sunday, when the Picture Gallery hosted a Dulwich House Detectives Day. Maps from the exhibition told the story of the outburst of house building in Dulwich Village between 1906 and 1914; living in Dulwich then must have been like living on a giant building site. My house was erected during this period and I began to think it might be fun to try and track down who had lived in my house during its life.
Saturday 5th Concert – The Voice of Advent - The Ionian Singers, Timothy Salter conductor/organ. Emily Atkinson soprano. Seasonal music includes excerpts from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah, and works by Berlioz (The Shepherds’ Farewell), Poulenc, Fauré, Praetorius, Sweelinck, Wagner and Wolf. All Saints’ Church, Rosendale Road. 7.30pm. Tickets (including interval wine £12 (£6 students) at the door or from 020 8693 1051
Monday 7th Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery - 7.30pm Christ’s Chapel - The Dulwich Assembly: A Georgian Entertainment by candlelight and in costume, telling the story of the life and loves of Richard Randall and his professional career in opera, on the stage and as organist at Christ’s Chapel 1762-1783. Orchestra and vocalists, harpsichord and organ. Music of Handel, Arne, Boyce and Stanley. Tickets, from the Gallery £18 (friends £16) includes seasonal glass of punch.
Thursday 10th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture – The material culture of Christianity by Adam Spira. James Allen’s Girls’ School 6th Lecture Theatre 8pm. £7, students £1.
Thursday 14th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture – Gods, heroes and mortals: Greek myths in ancient art by Neil Faulkner. James Allen’s Girls’ School 6th Form Lecture Theatre 8pm. £7 students £1
Thursday 11th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture – Tria Juncta in Uno : the lives of Sir William & Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson by Anthea Bryant. James Allen’s Girls’ School 6th Form Lecture Theatre 8pm. £7 students £1
Sunday 21st Peckham Society Lecture Recent Archaeology in Southwark by Christopher Constable, Southwark’s archaeologist 3pm Goose Green Centre, St John’s Church East Dulwich Road, SE22
Thursday 11th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Lecture – Rome in Africa, Africa in Rome by Paul Roberts 8pm James Allen’s Girls’ School 6th Form Lecture Theatre 8pm. £7 students £1
Saturday 20th Dulwich Choral Society – Concert –Bach: St John Passion Conductor Aidan Oliver with Dame Emma Kirby soprano. A performance of Bach’s masterpiece with period instruments and outstanding soloists. All Saints’ Church, Rosendale Road at 7.30pm
The Horniman has embarked on a project of major improvements to its gardens, to enhance their appearance for visitors and to extend its education services. For more than 100 years the Horniman has carried out the vision of Frederick Horniman, its founder, who intended that the museum and gardens should work in conjunction, to provide a major cultural and recreational amenity. In the immediate neighbourhood of Dulwich they actively compliment in this respect the combined effect of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and gardens, and indeed that of Dulwich Park. The Horniman imparts a warmly welcoming atmosphere to local residents and to visitors from further afield, and has done so especially for several generations of children. It now attracts an astonishing million and a half visitors each year.
This year the Horniman has secured further Heritage Lottery funding of £1million for its new plans, against all odds in these hard times, with the Olympic Games and other pressing calls on public resources providing stiff competition. This is largely because the Horniman has been able triumphantly to “tick all the boxes” in presenting its social and community support case to the Lottery Fund, without the need to engage expensive outside professional advice to make its public relations case. The Horniman is also well on its way towards securing all-important ‘matching funding’ for the other half. So far this has come primarily from major charitable and personal contributions, including an especially generous £250,000 from the Sainsbury Foundation. Together, these donations already enable it to go ahead with the project.
The remaining aim is to attract the local community to close the final gap, which is now around £250,000. It seems entirely appropriate that from Dulwich, which even in these austere times may be a less financially stretched catchment area than Forest Hill, we should feel able as a community to contribute in the region of £25,000 towards this target.
It is the Dulwich Society’s role to act as a catalyst for local projects which we believe will enhance the amenity of this area, and as a Society we have decided to contribute £1000 towards the Horniman’s target. We hope that this report will also encourage our members to contribute individually to support this project, as generously as they feel able.
Bring Back the English Elms says John Welton
Since Dutch Elm Disease wiped more than 25 million - over 90 per cent – of the UK’s native elms off the map during the 1930s and 70s, conservationists have been trying to replant these iconic and much-mourned landmarks with disease resistant replacements wherever possible.
Many such plantings have proved a success, evading the virulent DED fungal attack which can kill an elm within a few months. Dutch Elm Disease is spread by a bark-dwelling beetle and results in a fungus which chokes the channels transporting water and nutrients inside the tree trunk. But in the main, these new-generation trees have been non-native hybrids, grown from seeds of healthy parent trees as far away as Japan and Siberia. Unfortunately time has shown these trees do not capture the grace, beauty and size of our English Elms.
The current project, by the Conservation Foundation, has instead used seeds gathered from surviving native British Elms, aged 60 years and over, which have shown natural resistance to the disease. Now more than 10,000 saplings nurtured from those seeds are ready, waiting in a small Bedfordshire nursery for their chance to take part in the great English Elm Comeback. They are being offered to schools, parks and gardens throughout the country. Once replanted, the charity co-founded 30 years ago by botanist David Bellamy and David Shreeve, will closely monitor each specimen to check for any signs of disease.
"The saplings are naturally more of a mixture and are more likely to be closely related to the native Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) as this is more easily propagated by seed. The true English Elm or Ulmus minor vulgaris is only successfully propagated by suckers or cutting,” says Dulwich Society Trees Committee member John Welton, who is passionate about Elms and their re-introduction. “English Elms with their graceful form, deep green leaves and as they get older, their craggy grey bark are wonderful, magnificent trees and as part of our heritage, well worth restoring as near to the original as possible. The pure English Elm are highly vulnerable to Dutch Elm Disease unlike these native hybrids that have come from trees having proven their resistance to disease over time, these are our best hope!.”
There used to be a lot of English Elms in Dulwich, many of them captured by the cameras of Dulwich Society members. The relics of an old tree line still exists in the Gallery Road hedgerow, and the faint traces of a former avenue can be glimpsed from Love Walk. But regenerated growth continually falls victim to disease when the shoots reach a certain age.
Hopefully, sites will be found in Dulwich for some of the new saplings. “These saplings will need to go in suitable long term positions, ideally with plenty of general visibility for amenity value“ adds John. “A hybrid related to the Wych Elm can grow to 80 to 100 feet or more with its beautiful narrow waist, deep green leaves, lovely glowing yellow Autumn colour and glorious crown.”
If you have records of Dulwich’s English Elm heritage and can suggest suitable sites for re-introductions, please contact the Society with your pictures and ideas.
Dulwich Architects - George Tappen (1771-1830) by Ian McInnes
Nothing is known of George Tappen’s early life though rate books from Lewisham suggest that he was living at Havelock house in Honour Oak Road during the later part of the 1790s. We do know, however, that he made a grand tour on the Continent from the autumn of 1802 through the spring of 1803, probaby taking advantage of the ‘Peace of Amiens’ when Anglo French hostilities were briefly on hold. He wrote a book about his trip - originally called ‘A short description of a tour of the architecture of the principal ancient and modern buildings in France and Italy: with remarks on the painting and sculpture, and a concise local description’, He expanded it in 1806 with a revised title beginning ‘Professional observations on a tour of . . . ’.
His first recorded building was Glenlea on Dulwich Common, now known as Tappen House, which was built for Charles Druce, the legal advisor and steward to Dulwich College in 1804. He followed this with a house in Sydenham, also in 1804, called The Priory, for a Mr Richard Shute, which was located on the site (more or less) of "The Two Half's" pub in Sydenham Road.
Tappen was appointed Surveyor to Dulwich College in July 1805. He designed Eastcombe house near Charlton Kent for a Mr D Hunter in (1807) but his major works were the School for the Indigent Blind at St George’s Fields – 1812 (demolished in the 1840s) – contemporary comment suggested it was “more commendable for utility than for its beauty”, and the Royal Caledonian Asylum in Islington (1827-28) well-known at the time for its substantial portico based on the Greek temple of Philip of Macedon at Delos (it was actually built to house the orphans of Scottish soldiers). Many of his designs were exhibited at the Royal Academy, including Glenlea, as well as the major alterations and additions to Henbury House in Dorset and an unexecuted design for a mansion in the form of a Norman castle (1819). He was clearly reasonably prosperous and in the early 1800s moved up to live in No. 31A St James Square.
In Dulwich, in addition to Glenlea he was responsible for ‘Northcroft’ and ‘The Willows’, also on Dulwich Common (1810-11) originally built speculatively, again for the Steward Charles Druce, but sold on completion to a Mr William Price and a Mr Robert Grafton. The two houses cost £1000 each to build. His other local works included ‘Elm Cottages’, 50 Dulwich Village (1811) – the detail of the first floor square window under a round arch is similar to Glenlea, and probably 85 Dulwich Village (1806).
In 1813 he took over the supervision of the construction of the Picture Gallery from John Soane. They had known each other for some years as, in 1807, Tappen had presented Soane with a signed copy of the book on his travels. The latter had clearly read it in detail as his copy, which still exists in the Soane Museum, is heavily annotated particularly at Tappen’s comments on the day-lighting at the Louvre – “Nor can a lover of the arts refrain from regret, when he feels, which he must do the moment he enters the gallery, that it is not calculated to display this most valuable and splendid assemblage even to moderate advantage. On each side it has windows which come within three or four feet of the floor, so that the rays of the light are nearly at right angles with the pictures opposite, instead of being thrown upon them from some more oblique direction. . . . . . I never could view a picture under these circumstances with any degree of satisfaction – now if the light could not have been introduced from above….””
Soane also owned eight copies of Tappen’s other book, written with John Narrien, the influential contemporary astronomer and mathematician, the more practical ‘Explanatory remarks on a new and more effectual method of building groined arches in brickwork’. The book described improvements in the construction of brick vaulting to support very heavily loaded floors in tobacco warehouses in the Port of London (specifically the use of octagonal rather than square bases to maximise floor area for storage) so it may be that Tappen was also responsible for the design of some warehouses as well.
Tappen completed the poor sisters’ apartments at the Gallery in 1815 and added a new porch at the south end in 1817 – this served as the Gallery entrance until the 1860s. The original contractor’s workmanship on the main gallery had left something to be desired as, in 1817, he carried out repairs to the mausoleum and skylights, and extensive improvements to the almshouses in. He also made the final additions to the Gallery for the official opening in the same year – laying the green oil cloth on the floor and installing brass rails to keep visitors away from the pictures.
In 1821 he was instructed to draw up plans for repair of the west wing of the Old College at a cost of £3000 and the 1823 enlargement of the chapel was also probably by him. It was at this time that the Old College, which was originally built in brickwork, was covered with stucco.
Tappen’s buildings were generally finished with stucco (the name comes from the German and is used to describe a lime based external quality plaster with a paint finish). This was a very common during the Regency Period, as Georgian style fair face brickwork was going out of favour, particularly for up-market houses. Most are now painted in white or cream oil paint but this was not how they were originally intended to look. Stucco was designed as a substitute for stone, and the walls would have been painted to look like stone, with coursing lines shown and possibly trompe l’oiel effects on individual stones as well.
Tappen was an active freemason, sending a copy of his travel book as a present to the Duke of Sussex and Earl of Inverness, the “Grand Master of the Free & Accepted Masons of England”. He died aged 59 in 1830 and was succeeded as Estate Surveyor by Sir Charles Barry.
Staff Problems at Dulwich College - delving into the archives
The Rev. David Fletcher was superseded early in 1635 for having “absented himself three times longer than the Statutes of the Colledge allow”. The only explanation offered for his five-month absence was that he had gone to Scotland to see his parents, and that “having occasion to staie longer in Scotland, he could not returne according to the time given him by the Statute.” The Officers of the College were unanimously of the opinion that he would have to do much better than that, and appointed in his place the Rev. Simon Mace. This, as it turned out was a mistake, for it appears that the new Preacher was not the most peaceable of men. Accused of having quarrelled with the Master, “affronting him in his place, and abusing him with many uncivill words, calling him hypocrite and cussener”, and having challenged the Warden to a fight, he was hauled before the Magistrate, Sir Thomas Grymes, but abused him, too, with very uncivil names.
The only person he did not personally affront, it seems, was the Schoolmaster, the Rev. Samuel Porter, but he nevertheless rendered him a singular disservice by telling the boys “that learning of Lattin and singing would do them no good at all”. Mr. Mace was further accused of having taken some of the boys to the Alehouse with him, “so that they have been overtaken in drink”.
Too skilled a tactician, perhaps to inveigh against the Visitor [the Archbishop of Canterbury] himself, he attacked the lesser Primate, speaking “these scandalous words in the publique Hall at dinner of the most reverend Father in God, that he was the most devilish plotter of villainy in the world; O hee would make a brave pope!”
Mr. Mace’s request for a sabbatical year was approved, nem. no doubt con., and he went off to serve aboard the pinnace ‘Greyhound’ as chaplain, his previous record suggesting that he would have had little difficulty in adapting himself to service jargon. He returned in due course to his land-lubberly living, as determined as ever, it seems, not to live at peace with anyone; for the order for his expulsion charged him with having abused the Master and Warden and Fellows “in very uncivil terms, storming and contemning civil government appointed by statute”.
At other times, it was alleged, the said Mr. Mace had in the presence of the servants “railed upon the said Master, calling him hypocritical slave, vilifying his person, and wishing that the said Master and Warden were both of them hanged upon the top of the steeple”.
When Thomas Waterhouse was elected Usher, in June 1735, he found himself up against the new Warden, Joseph Allen, who succeeded to the Mastership only two years later.
Things came to a head in 1749, when the Master appealed to the Visitor. Reading his petition, a man might be forgiven for leaping to the conclusion that the Usher could not possibly have any defence against the charges of absenting himself without leave, ordering special food on his return, and being very rude to the Master; of having, as the latter expressed it, “abused the said Master in a most virulent manner, calling him vile, despicable fellow, telling him he looked like the Devil, that he was perjured, and said many other reproachful speeches, grinning in the Master's face, and using the most provoking Gestures.”
The Master’s reaction, by noble contrast, was to speak to him in the most mild and gentle manner, only telling him his behaviour was inconsistent with that duty and respect which was due to the Master of the College. So the Master informed the Archbishop.
The accused at first expressed surprise, having had no kind of notice, he said, that the complaint was being forwarded. He then submitted that the facts had been greatly misrepresented, his behaviour stigmatised by the most reproachful terms, and Truth made to suffer an equal violation with his character.
His alleged absence he claimed to have been in fact no more than an hour’s lateness, explained by his having gone to a “place of Publick Breakfasting about a mile distant from the College”, and his return being delayed by “a most rapid rain which lasted with the greatest violence till about two o'clock”.
Mr.Waterhouse admitted having, with a little too much haste, told the Master he was a despicable man, being riled by his unfair action in entering a charge against him in the Private Sittings Book before it had even been discussed, let alone found proven.
It was now Mr. Waterhouse’s turn to request His Grace to investigate the “aggressive and arbitrary conduct” of the Master. The Fellows now combined to challenge the “uncontrollable and independent power” arrogated by the Master, and the “unsupportable tyranny and oppression” resulting from his pretensions. They claimed that they had been induced by “perpetual terrors and apprehensions of his threats” to submit tamely to his “irregular and oppressive fines and other punishments.”
Mr. Waterhouse supplied further particulars of the Master’s undue exercise of power: on one occasion he had upbraided him for having given a boy leave of absence to visit his parents, and had beaten the boy on his return; on another he had threatened to break the fishing-rod of Sir William Billen’s son, whom the Usher had invited into the College garden to angle in the pond.
No record is extant of the Archbishop’s verdict – perhaps the exchanges had enabled both parties to get the matter out of their system, and the matter was dropped. Mr. Waterhouse resigned two years later …
This article was discovered in the local history archive of the late William Darby and has been edited by his son Patrick.
The Choir of St Barnabas, Dulwich visits Italy, 6-16 August 2009
Sharing a watermelon in Norcia; swimming in Lake Trasimeno; ‘the daily flooding of our room...’; reading in the ‘grumpy old men’s corner’. Being crowned ‘slam queen’; getting soaked in the waterfall at Marmore; eating wonderful food; astonishing our fellow passengers by singing I Gotta Key from beginning to end on the funicular railway in Orvieto. ‘Discovering a little lizard in our bathroom at Villa Spirito Santo’; hearing the choir rehearsing in the most stunning setting; wonderful conversations with the children. These are just a few of the ‘magic moments’ recalled by members of St Barnabas Choir Tour Party as we travelled home from this summer’s ten-day visit to Italy.
Based at the beautiful pink-washed diocesan hostel on the outskirts of Terni in Umbria, home town of our Assistant Director of Music, Riccardo Bonci, we gave concerts in the neighbouring towns of Norcia, Spoleto, Perugia and Orvieto, and enjoyed a variety of other excursions and activities. The result was not only a hugely satisfying musical experience, but a fantastic holiday for the 58-strong party, which consisted of 48 singers aged between eight and over 70, three non-singing chaperones (including our Vicar, Revd Canon Dianna Gwilliams) three ‘camp followers’, our amazing drivers John and Barry from Marshall’s coach hire and our equally amazing musical leaders William McVicker, Director of Music at St Barnabas, and Riccardo Bonci.
Recurring themes in our magical memories are water, ice cream and the stunning solo performances of our ‘secret weapon’, 19-year-old soprano Eleanor Wolfe, in Mendelssohn’s Hear my Prayer and the spiritual I Gotta Key. Seemingly unfazed by the complexities of performing in unfamiliar venues with challenging acoustics and difficult sight-lines, Eleanor had a truly inspirational effect on all of us and wowed our audiences.
We had the great privilege of an hour-long private masterclass on Gregorian chant with Fr Maurizio Verde of the Monastery of Santa Maria di Angeli, near Assisi. This was in itself a highlight of the tour, but even more memorable were the looks on the faces of Fr Maurizio and one of his fellow monks when we sang to them Stainer’s God so loved the world, so focused and prayerful, and then in total contrast the exuberant I Gotta Key, featuring Eleanor. They were clearly blown away by our secret weapon!
For many of us the musical high spot of the tour was our concert in the Church of S. Domenico in Spoleto, where there was a real sense of unity and responsiveness. It really did feel as though we were tuning every note, timing every consonant, toning every vowel and we earned a standing ovation from a group of nuns. For others the high spot was our final concert in Orvieto’s spectacular black-and-white cathedral, where even the youngest choristers sang their hearts out with total concentration. This was professionally recorded, so we hope you will be able to hear the results on our next CD. One of our basses, Tigran Grigoryan, had some particularly magical musical memories of the tour, as our repertoire included the ‘Agnus dei’ from his Mass of St Barnabas, written specially for us earlier in the year and extremely well received by our Italian audiences. (This too will be on our CD – we’ve just recorded the full Mass in the very different setting of St Barnabas).
Socially, we will remember the leisurely mornings and evenings on the terrace at Terni when even the most overworked of us were able to relax and enjoy one another’s company. Hidden talents were revealed by our enormously successful drawing and painting project and in the last-night cabaret, the highlight of which was undoubtedly Tigran’s take on a typical Friday night choir practise, plus the internal trips though sun-baked Umbrian countryside. The unscheduled homeward journey (29 hours each way!), over the Gothard Pass to avoid traffic jams instead of through the tunnel as planned was another magic moment, as breathtaking Alpine views unfolded before us.
Grow Your Own Advice for beginners
One cannot but be aware that there is a strong movement towards "Growing ones own" The advantages of working the land are many; some of which are satisfaction and better health, both physical and spiritual; engaging with the soil. A connection with our long departed ancestors, perhaps. But we are not writing an essay on metaphysics, but trying to come up with a few practical steps you may care to take if you wish to join the movement. Now is as good a time to start as any, with the winter coming on and plants dying back all around.
- Don't be too ambitious to start with. Select a site with an open position- maximum light is best for all vegetables and fruit. Definitely avoid shade as far as possible. Your soil may well be full of the elements plants require, if it has been "resting" for some time.
- Mark out the patch; it does not have to be rectangular, but if you have plenty room it is best to lay it out from the start so the cultivated areas are about 6 foot wide. This enables you to work mostly from outside the dug area, which avoids compacting the soil and is, in any case, much nicer visually. (Some people build raised beds).
- There are various views about digging, but in the first instance almost certainly it is necessary in order to open up the soil and distribute the organic materials within it. It also improves the drainage. Once dug, frosts are helpful. I recommend a ladies size spade, stainless steel. Some people however, prefer forks.
- At the same time do start composting all the organic matter you can. Waste food is OK but bury it under cut grass. This should keep rats and squirrels away. (More detailed advice about composting can be found in article following) Though composting is slower in winter, if you start now, you will have compost ready by the spring. You will need space for two compos heaps. Stop adding to the first one in December and leave it to rot; then start on the second one).
- Now as to what to grow and when. It is absolutely true that one must be patient in gardening. One can do little to "hurry up" nature. Some items such as asparagus and rhubarb take some time (2-3 years) to get established but there is the pleasure of seeing them develop. The same applies to most fruit trees, but when they do start yielding it is very rewarding. But while most items must wait for the spring to be planted, you can start now if the weather remains mild, with at least two things which you will soon see coming through. Onions and broad beans. You can buy onion sets (small onions) in bags of 50- of various sorts, including shallots. Plant them out by the end of November and you will see the green shoots coming up very soon (2-3 weeks if the weather is favourable). Keep them watered if the weather is dry- also put some netting or wire cover over them if you can to prevent birds and animals digging them up. Place them no more than 5"apart. Water the ground first if it is dry to make it a bit sticky and push them in just below the surface.
Broad beans usually grow very easily. They should be in a grid like an army platoon, about 12" apart in all directions. Some varieties grow to 5' or more and need canes for support against winter winds. Other varieties, like The Sutton are shorter and do not need support. You can either put in the beans themselves (all the same rules apply as with the onions), or buy as young plants. As with all seeds, the instructions are on the packet (and will probably contradict everything I have said). However, to make doubly sure, plant some in little pots in the kitchen to replace any failures (plant them in a compost mix, and keep them moist) and hopefully avoid frustration- sometimes seeds planted in the ground don't come up and one never knows why.
By the way, as this information might not get to you before the frosts set in, you can plant both the onions and beans in March at the start of the year, as an alternative.
That is more than enough to be getting on with until next time. You could put in young brassica plants (cabbage family) now to overwinter. Most good things wait to be planted in the spring, Something exciting to look forward to, when Adrian will be giving you very good advice. Good growing.
Ring me for advice or visit my vegetable and fruit garden- possibly to see how not to do it! Also to clear up anything I have not made clear - I know how irritating that is.
Veolia Environmental Services, working in partnership with Southwark Council, recently held a’ composting workshop’ in the Francis Peek Centre. Composting is simply the breakdown of organic matter. It is a process that is happening all the time, everywhere. Anything that has been living begins to be broken down when it dies. It is nature’s way of clearing up. We can use this process to our benefit.
Roughly one third of our household waste is organic material. Add to this lawn clippings and other material cut down in the garden. It makes a major difference to the environment if this material is composted or ‘chewed up’ in a wormery, rather than sent in your green wheelie-bin to a landfill site, where because it’s buried , it doesn’t get sufficient oxygen to decompose properly and just goes putrid.
So, if you don’t have one already, start a compost heap or buy a compost bin. From time to time, the Council offers low cost compost bins – see Southwark web site – details below. The sort of thing that you can put onto your compost heap include kitchen scraps, vegetable peelings, grass clippings, screwed up paper and torn up egg cartons. But don’t put in anything that isn’t bio-degradable – no dog or cat faeces, no cooked food, no meat, fish or poultry.
Try and keep a rough balance between the different types of material that you put in – eg.too many grass clippings make the compost slimy. Site your bin in a sheltered corner that receives some sun. If it’s a heap, as opposed to a’ bin’, place an old piece of carpet on top. This keeps in both the moisture and the heat, both of which help the composting process. Place the bin on soil, not concrete. Put fine mesh chicken wire underneath and a little way up the sides to discourage rodents, or buy a rodent proof bin. If your compost consists chiefly of kitchen waste, buy a wormery. Each worm eats its own weight of material every day! In hot weather, if the compost attracts a lot of fruit flies, shovel a layer of earth on top.
By making your own compost, you not only help the environment, but you save yourself money and improve the fertility of you garden.
Solar Water Heating Panels
A year or so ago there was a trickle of license applications to the Dulwich Estate for Solar water heating panels. This trickle had disappeared over recently months, but this month it restarted with two applications.
Brian Green bemoaned the difficulty of finding information about this often referred to technology when he decided to replace his gas boiler. Barbara Richardson responded in the next Newsletter that she had found an installer, received a quotation and proceeded to install. The cost was assisted by grants from both the Energy Saving Trust and Southwark Council. The information for Solar Water Heating panels is out there, although you need to seek it out and allow time to get everything in place. Therefore, it is better to plan ahead before your boiler stops working. If you are having building work carried out this might be the best time to consider such an installation.
Solar water heating is a technology that has become ever more sophisticated over the decades. What does this mean for your fuel bills? It will depend on a number of factors including the size of the installation, orientation and type of Solar water heating equipment. There are flat panels as well as these evacuated tubes. Typically, depending on the weather you can expect between 30% to 70% of your hot water to come from Solar water heating. Note that a secondary heat source from a gas boiler and/or electrical immersion heater is needed for those times when demand exceeds supply.
The process does not just rely on sunlight, as daylight will also cause the temperature below the glass to rise. Think of a beneficial greenhouse effect here.
It may be that you would say of this design, not on my roof! Indeed, it seems that these evacuated tubes have a slight purple glow in a certain light. This high tech design may deter you or attract you but consider the potential savings in fuel bills and the efficiency of a particular design may be a persuasive element. Remember there are flat panels too which you may think are less innocuous to look at.
Outbuildings as those in Dovercourt Road are one place where Solar Water Heating Panels can be installed. Remember that if you are under the scheme of management of the Dulwich Estate you will need to apply for a license and don’t forget to check with the local authority Planning Department as to whether Planning Permission is needed.
The Dulwich Estate guidelines for solar panels can be found on their website, www.thedulwichestate.org.uk. Basically, the guidelines are the same for rooflights, that is not on the front elevation, therefore on the rear or side roofs and not prominently visible from public spaces like parks – but talk it over with the Estate’s scheme of management office if in doubt.
It does no harm to take professional advice and get alternative quotes to consider the options, pros and cons of different systems. This installation was carried out by Suntrader Solar Energy Ltd of Brighton tel : 01273 550225 and came with a 12 month warranty against defects in materials and workmanship on the original installation.
I will be watching with interest whether the number of license applications that come before the Estate increases over the coming months and years.
David Lloyd Roberts
Chair of the Planning and Architecture Group