Between the Blitz (the nightly bombing of London and major cities during 1940-41) and the flying bombs and rockets of 1944-45 there were few air raids. In London, in 1942, bombs were dropped on 13 August and there was an air raid alert but no bombs on 31 October. As a result of this comparative lull in enemy air attacks many evacuees returned to London. My family was one of these.
My father was a schoolmaster and had obtained a post in East Meon in Hampshire and had evacuated to there in 1940. Our home, to which we returned in 1942 was 43 Playfield Crescent, a road behind Alleyn’s School playing fields in East Dulwich. Our family composed Father, Mother, Peter (10), Margaret (7), Olivia (1_ ), Gilbert (16) and myself (17) Gilbert and I were both employed in London at the time; Philip was away training in the Royal Artillery, another brother, Owen, was still evacuated with his school in Lancashire.
On Saturday night 16 January 1943 British bombers raided Berlin in force and Hitler immediately ordered two revenge attacks on London. Twenty-five to thirty bombers came over between 8-10pm on Sunday 17 January and the same number between 4.30-6.00am on Monday 18 January. At 8pm the air raid warning sounded, followed immediately by the noise of continuous, furious, deafening anti-aircraft fire. We did not have time to hurry down the garden in the blackout and climb into our Anderson shelter. In any case, as will be seen, it would have been risky to do so. The traditionally safest place in a house was in a cupboard under the stairs, but there wasn’t room for the seven of us. Five managed to crowd inside. Gilbert was in the front room and I was in the back room. The only bombs the German planes managed to drop on London that night came down on us – all seven of them – four in front of the house and three at the back.
Gilbert managed to get down in time as the blast from the front blew in the windows and hurled a wireless set on to the floor, the acid from its battery burning a hole in the carpet. I crouched down against the dining room wall near the cupboard as the blast from the back blew in the window, tore down the blackout curtain which wrapped up all the glass and carried it across the room, avoiding our canary in its cage suspended from the ceiling and hitting the wall just above my head. When the All Clear sounded we inspected the damage. The front door had been blown along the hall. In the upstairs front bedroom all the window glass was shattered and rows of jagged shards were sticking out of the wall on the opposite side of the room. Large lumps of plaster had fallen off the ceiling onto the bed. Father went to have a look round outside and reported seeing several bodies, obviously dead.
The family couldn’t stay the night so Mother and the three younger children went to stay at her father’s house in Crystal Palace Road, and took the canary with them. Father, Gilbert and I spent the night moving all the furniture into the room downstairs ready for storing it elsewhere. Then, at 4.30am the air raid warning sounded again. This time we managed to get into the Anderson shelter. The guns from local batteries were again making a deafening noise and for an hour and a half as we shivered in the cold.
Later that morning the street was a hive of activity. With the entire area uninhabitable, neighbours were lowering their furniture from upstairs windows by ropes into the street. The whole of Lytcott Grove, a stone’s throw away, was utterly devastated. A few doors along from our home, the complete side wall of a house leant at an angle across an alleyway against the next house. That same day Mother, Father, Peter, Margaret and Olivia moved to friends at Guildford where, in 1939, I had been evacuated with Strand School. Gilbert and I went to stay with our grandparents in Norbury.
There is quite a discrepancy in the reports about the actual explosives dropped in this raid. At the time it was ‘common knowledge’ that a landmine was responsible for the colossal damage caused within the small triangle of roads; Lytcott Grove, Melbourne Grove, Playfield Crescent and part of Glengarry Road. In total sixty homes were destroyed. Newspaper reporters writing within hours of the raid understandably mentioned bombs. It is certain that three bombs were dropped in Alleyn’s School’s playing field since I saw the craters when I looked over our garden fence the next morning. These were the cause of the blast to the back of our house.
Sixty-seven years later, I went to the British Library’s collection of newspapers in Colindale and tracked down the reports of that night in eleven national newspapers. They provided much more information than I was aware of at the time. It had been a very significant few hours in the air war between Britain and Germany as the following accounts show, and we had been right at the centre of it.
All the eleven newspapers carried reports of the raids on their front pages.
Daily Telegraph: Monday 18 January 1943: Nazi raiders over London. Fiercest Anti-Aircraft barrage on record. Raid retaliated for the plastering of Berlin on Saturday 17 January.
Daily Express: 18 January: The capital put up its most spectacular barrage of the war. The noise was shattering. Never before have London’s defences thrown such weight of metal into the skies along with a massive display of searchlights. A block of small houses was wrecked. People living 30 miles away said they felt the ground tremble with the reverberations of the guns, probably the most intensive screen of fire that has ever been unleashed in the protection of a city. Wing Commander Wight-Boycott shot down four of the raiders. More than a dozen people were killed and more than a score of people were injured by falling shells and splinters. The Mayor (of Camberwell) was one of the first on the scene, and (with) the mayoress helped to tend to the injured.
Daily Mail : There can be no shadow of doubt that the magnificent canopy of whistling white-hot steel put up by London’s gunners took the Luftwaffe by surprise.
Daily Sketch: Two bombs wrecked a row of houses. London’s most spectacular barrage. Some raiders turned before reaching the capital and jettisoned their bombs. The simultaneous firing of the many batteries made a tornado of sound. German reports of Sunday night’s raid on London admit the flak was terrific. The enemy chiefs have told their people that London was seriously damaged. This is a ludicrously untrue account.
Daily Herald: “I stood yesterday on the edge of the biggest bomb crater that I have ever seen. It measured sixty feet across and the whole roadway was gone. This Street of Devastation (Lytcott Grove) echoed to the picks of the rescue squad still feverishly digging for a seventy year old woman known to have been in the back kitchen of one of the houses. The most memorable escape of the night was of a nineteen year old Mr P. Garrett. He was in a first floor room when the bomb fell. When the dust cleared he found himself in a ground floor kitchen at the back of the house with a kitchen cooker on his chest. He was unharmed! One of the crew of a German bomber shot down parachuted to safety, stole a car, and was stopped by the police and arrested near Maidstone.”
The Springfield Estate is now better known as the area bounded by Half Moon Lane, Burbage Rd and the two railway lines. But what was there before? Until the 18th century it was an area of “ancient meadow” within Dulwich Manor and, to judge from Rocque’s 1741-6 map, a marshy area thereby perhaps explaining the name ‘springfield’.
The subsequent development of this corner of Dulwich was a consequence of the trend by wealthy merchants and lawyers to escape from the smoky and congested City, and take advantage of new turnpike roads to build substantial houses in the still rural villages around London. A process of leaseholding and rental arrangements had ensured revenue for the College Estate virtually since Edward Alleyn’s time but such leases were limited to a term of 21 years by statute. In response to pressure by existing and prospective tenants for longer tenure, a private Act of Parliament in 1808 ratified the new and existing holders and permitted leases to be extended by a further 63 years.
One of the new arrivals was Richard Shawe, a rich lawyer and key figure in the seven year long Warren Hastings trial before the House of Lords, who won his case in1795. Several years later Shawe would acquire two prime plots, one in 1797 for the Nash-designed Casino House on Herne Hill, and the other in 1803 for a smaller area of 3 acres, roughly adjacent to the Half Moon Tavern and with an annual rental of £28. In 1806 Shawe married the eldest daughter of his neighbour at this property, a city merchant named Nathaniel Bogle French. In his Will of 1811 Richard Shawe left the house which was now called Springfield Cottage, to his wife, because he knew she detested the thought of remaining at Casino after his death. Whether or not she actually moved to Springfield Cottage when he died in 1816 is unclear.
The Dulwich Manor map of 1806 shows a large swathe of land surrounding Springfield Cottage allotted to Mr Bogle French. By 1810 it had, through debt, to be relinquished and passed through a number of hands with bankruptcies and the involvement of City financiers. The Indenture ended up with his adjoining neighbour, a stockbroker called John Frederick Schroder, a distant ancestor of the recent German Chancellor. By 1838, 18 acres of paddock had been added to Springfield Cottage’s original 3 acres and a substantial house and lodge are shown on the Camberwell tithe map. Nothing further is recorded till 1842 when it passed to Charles Pierre Devaux who held it till the mid 1850’s. Devaux’s wealth emanated from investments in railways in Europe and North America.
After such a period of individual turmoil and change, stability was about to be restored. In July 1858 a lease on Springfield for a term of 28 years was granted to John Gregory Crace at an annual rental of £228. A further seven years were granted as a result of his substantial input on repairs and improvements.. Though nothing is known of the original building, it received a major reconstruction from the incoming owners into an Italianate villa with verandah and large conservatory, possibly with the advice of Sir Charles Barry. It also incorporated Gothic features probably deriving from the close professional links existing with Augustus Pugin. The accompanying photograph of the interior in particular displays a very characteristic example of middle-Victorian opulence of effect by an individual for whom it was the basis of his working life.
It seems appropriate at this point to fill in some background to the Craces. John Gregory Crace was the fourth generation of the family continuously involved in decoration, originally the now lost world of coach making. The business, by now in Wigmore St., developed into the most significant player in internal decoration and design in England for over 130 years. The family’s intermarriage with the influential Gregory family on three occasions cemented their place in society and opened up access to powerful patrons and the prominent architects of the period – Wyatt, Holland and Soane. Alongside work on the great houses of Althorp, Carlton and Woburn, the peak of the “Georgian” Craces’ endeavour came with a major role in the Brighton Pavilion and later Windsor Castle with the Prince Regent’s patronage. However it was not just a matter of connections. They displayed an ability, backed by thorough study and research, to adapt to the new styles of each age, whether Rococo, Orientalist, Neo-Classical, Gothic or French Renaissance.
By the Springfield days it was the turn of the “Victorian” Craces working at Chatsworth, Devonshire House, the reconstructed Crystal Palace and the new Houses of Parliament, with extensive working links with Barry and Pugin. It was a remarkable series of commissions and demonstrated again their facility at becoming the natural choice of successive monarchs and the aristocracy. So perhaps it was not surprising that by the late 1850’s there was an attraction in their occupying a country estate away from the fogs and diseases of central London as more in keeping with their elevated status.
Springfield was a spacious home for the family of J.G.Crace, having 11 children in total, of which the 1861 Census shows seven with a household of six servants. It was a home that the eldest son, John Dibblee Crace, remembered with affection. In an autobiographical fragment he recalled an incident: “A stream, the Effra, flowed between the road and the house…..In the spring of 1868 an enormous eel was found in it a few yards below the house. It was speared with a pitchfork and girthed at eight and a half inches weighing over 11 lbs.” Life as a gentleman and “Architectural Decorator” was expansive, with Crace buying a ‘schooner yacht’ and being a founder member of the Photographic Society. But changes were afoot, with the Crystal Palace reconstruction and the arrival of the railways. This meant a major improvement in access to the West End, the family’s letterhead paper becoming ‘Springfield, near Herne Hill Station, Dulwich’.
The Crace business was at its zenith in this period of prestige commissions – Longleat, Grosvenor House, the 1861 International Exhibition, the National Gallery amongst many others. Crace senior retired in the 1880’s, leaving John Dibblee who now lived in Gloucester Place in charge, and died at Springfield in August 1889. The decision was made to relinquish occupation and a proposal for the house to provide a “high class residential club for an influential body of gentlemen” having fallen through, the lease was surrendered in 1893. With no son wanting to take over the business it was sold in 1899, bringing an end to the career of this remarkable dynasty. The Governors sought tenders for larger-scale housing and it passed over to the builder G.A. Young with demolition following in 1895. These latter stages were covered by Ian McInnes in his article in the Journal Winter 2004.
In conclusion this process can be seen to mirror the changes in London’s suburbs over the period; from meadow and agricultural purposes to large estates for the wealthy and successful men of the age and then to the more modest premises of the early 20th century.
(With acknowledgements to the work of Megan Aldrich and sources in the V& A, RIBA, The Minet and Southwark Local History Libraries, and the Dulwich College Archives, with thanks to Ian Bristow and Calista Lucy)
Ewart G Culpin (1887–1946) & R Steuart Bowers (1889-1943)
Up until the end of the First World War the West side of Dulwich Village, north of the Hamlet School and south of Warigul (a large C18 house standing roughly where the entrance to Sainsbury’s sports ground is today) was playing fields. No 24 Dulwich Village, the small cottage style house opposite the St Barnabas Village Hall, was the first to be constructed. Completed in January 1922, the owner and designer was a young architect, R Steuart Bowers.
At much the same time, local builder A H Williams was building the terrace of houses and pair of semi-detached houses on the site to the south of it, the design and appearance of these houses being exactly the same as those at the north-eastern end of Court Lane where the builder, with Steuart Bowers as his architect, had carried out a much larger development during 1920 and 1921. The same team was also responsible for Nos. 29-43 and 47-59 Burbage Road and, most likely, the line of bungalows in Village Way.
The architectural firm of Culpin & Bowers were best known in the 1920s and 30s for their public housing projects. Ewart G Culpin, the senior partner, was a successful journalist who had become secretary of the Garden City Association in 1906. His outstanding promotional skills revolutionised the Garden City movement (he later founded the International Garden Cities and Town Planning Association) and extended its involvement far beyond Letchworth in Hertfordshire, the first garden city, into all aspects of contemporary town planning.
He was clearly, in today’s terms, an excellent networker, writing many books and pamphlets, and lecturing throughout Europe. He was an active member of the Labour Party and had a long career in local government politics. He sat on Ilford Council from 1917 and was an Alderman of the London County Council from 1925-37, becoming Vice-Chairman from 1934-37 and Chairman from 1938-39. Culpin was clearly the ‘job-getter’ and Bowers the designer.
They had set up the practice together at the end of 1918, just as WW1 ended, primarily with the aim of putting the garden city proposals into action, but also no doubt to benefit from the huge amount of new housing which was going to be built under Lloyd George’s ‘Homes fit for Heroes’ legislation..
The firm carried out a huge number of projects. As early as 1920 they were involved in the early stages of the Bellingham Estate development in Lewisham and housing at Margram, Port Talbot for Messrs Baldwins. The latter had built an integrated iron and steel works near the Welsh coal mines (with its two blast furnaces it was regarded at the time as the most advanced steel works in the country) and needed accommodation for their workers. It was the largest housing development in the country at the time, over 500 houses being under construction by December 1920.
Other schemes in the early 1920s included the Belfry Garden Village at Harefield, Middlesex for the Bells United Asbestos Company and Uxbridge Distrct Council, a scheme at Reading for Reading Council, the Sentinel Garden Suburb at Shrewsbury, housing at Merton as part of a News of the World scheme to build houses for returning war heroes, and the ‘Quadrant’ in Hendon town centre.
Their most widely published early project was the ‘Durlocks’ housing scheme at Folkestone – built for Sir Philip Sassoon, MP. The 33 houses had to contend with a steeply sloping site and Sir Philip’s desire that they should have a similar appearance to his recently completed country house at Port Lympne (now the safari park) by Herbert Baker.
South of the river, their best known scheme was the garden-city like cottages at Wilson Grove and Ember Street for Bermondsey Borough Council. Built in 1927-28 at the instigation of the local GP, councillor and MP, Alfred Salter (1873-1945), they set new standards for working class housing in the area. Dr Salter and his wife Ada had become involved in local politics when they set up their practice in Bermondsey in 1900. Later on, in an attempt to improve conditions for the poor, they also set up a free local health service. Alfred was elected to the council in 1903 with Ada becoming the first woman councillor in 1910, and Mayor of Bermondsey in 1922. That year Alfred also became the local MP.
Other social housing schemes included Crossfield House in Notting Hill for the Kensington Housing Trust and several office projects for the Transport and General Workers’ Union including Transport House in Smith Square and Bevan House in Hull. They were also closely involved with the work of the Industrial Welfare Association in Wales, improving social amenities for miners, and their final project together was the construction of the Camberwell Town Hall (now Southwark Town Hall).
Culpin and Bowers ended their partnership in 1935. Culpin set up separately with his son Clifford, while Bowers continued as architect to the Transport and General Workers Union until his death a few years later.
Our wildlife over the summer carried few unusual reports and our resident species maintained their usual numbers. Of the rarities we still see a good population if Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Little Grebes (Dabchicks) once more bred in Dulwich Park for the third year. As reported in the last issue House Martins were down to half the previous year’s numbers which appears to be a national trend. They came late and left earlier than usual perhaps due to the early onset of some cold autumnal weather.
The most frequent contact I have had concerned sightings of the Jersey Tiger moth which is becoming more common year on year. Patrick Spencer has provided this most excellent photograph. The striped forewing gives it camouflage on settling but the brilliant orange of its underwing and abdomen when it flies surprises us and is a flash mechanism that may attract mates of the same species to get together. Hopefully it will remain as a further feature of our summer gardens.
As readers will know there is now a vigorous campaign to preserve and save the Herne Hill Velodrome. Quite apart from its great value as a cycling facility it is a remarkable wildlife oasis. Over many years I have recorded seventy five bird species in and around the Velodrome and it is particularly valuable as a drop-in refuge for birds migrating over London as well as in cold weather. Most of the birds have been the small migrants such as Warblers, Wheatears, Redstarts and Whinchats but the most unusual record was of a Quail, usually heard only in Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. So there’s a thought as you sign your pledge to keep the site open.
Please keep your reports and records coming.
Peter Roseveare Wildlife Recorder (Tel: 020 7274 4567)
Norman Rockwell – first ever exhibition of original works in the UK at Dulwich Picture Gallery 15 December – 27 March
Norman Rockwell was America’s best known and best-loved illustrator for over six decades of the 20th century. Astonishingly prolific, he is best known for the 322 covers he created for the Saturday Evening Post; but he painted countless other magazine illustrations and advertisements, capturing images of everyday America with humour and power of observation that spoke directly to the public, whose love for his work never wavered. These good-natured , often very funny , occasionally sweetly sentimental images picturing America as he wished it to be, rather than as it perhaps was, gave rise to an adjective, “Rockwellesque” which in some critics’ minds became something of a dirty word. But his ouput was not all sugar and spice- he recorded political events, portrayed presidents, and on one occasion painted searing images in support of the civil rights movement.
Although Rockwell himself was happy to be described as ‘ an illustrator’, his illustrations were executed with considerable technical skill in oils, and these original paintings have increased dramatically in value since his death in 1978. Recent years have seen a critical reassessment of his work. In 1999, The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeidahl led the way with his bold statement in ArtNews; “Rockwell’s terrific. It’s become too tedious to pretend he isn’t.”
This exhibition will be the first of his original works in this country. It will include all 322 covers of the Saturday Evening Post created between 1916 and 1963, along with illustrations for advertisements, magazines and books – providing a comprehensive look at his career.
Manon de Boer at the SLG 3 December – 23 January
The South London Gallery is presenting the first UK exhibition by the Dutch artist Manon de Boer, bringing together a selection of works from recent years and a new work, Dissonant, 2010. A parallel selection of de Boer’s longer films are featured in a series of one-off screenings, including the premiere of Think about Wood, Think about Metal, 2011, which takes the percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky as its subject.
Using 35mm and 16mm film, de Boer’s works explore the nature, impact and nuances of memory. Her technique combines a documentary approach with a subtle editing process and an acute attention to sound in relation to image. Situated at the intersection of cinema and film making, de Boer’s cinematography inverts the rules of formal cinematic composition. Through her editing, often dictated by music, voice or silence, the sound of breath, or steps, she suggests the existence of another space, one which expands beyond the image itself and is comprised of sensations. Dissonant 2010, for example, shows dancer Cynthia Loemij performing a ten minute response to Eugène Ysaye’s Three Sonatas for Violin. Here the dominance of sound over image is emphasised through moments in which the screen goes blank but the soundtrack continues as the artist changes reels.
Two Times 4’33’’, 2008, depicts Jean-Luc Fafchamps, performing the famous musical work by John Cage, twice. First the musician is filmed performing the piece and then the camera shifts to capture the reactions of the audience as they listen. In this way the work offers a double interpretation of the performance, revealing the impossibility of accurate objective representation, just as Cage’s composition demonstrated the impossibility of absolute silence.
De Boer’s interest in avant-garde music, dance, literature, film and other conceptual artistic productions stems from her fascination with the 60’s and 70’s. De Boer is drawn to this era when “celebration of a certain artistic freedom” thrived in parallel to the radical political. The choice of actors, dancers and musicians as her subjects stems from her proximity to the dance and music scenes in Brussels where she lives.
Please note that due to the screening programme, two works – Presto Perfect Sound and Two Times 4’33’’ – will not be on view on Wednesdays from 6-9pm
This series presents works in de Boer’s trilogy on the 1970’s.
8 December 7pm free Sylvia Kristel – Paris
15 December 7pm free Resonating Surfaces
5 January 7pm £5/£3 concs Think about Wood, Think about Metal
Manon de Boer was born in India in 1966. She currently lives and works in Brussels. Her recent solo exhibitions include The Time That is Left, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt 2008; Witte the With, Rotterdam 2008; Dissonant, Jan Mot, Brussels 2010. Her films are presented at international film festivals.
South London Gallery, 65 Peckham Road, SE 5 8 UH. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11-6pm except Wednesdays until 9pm. Closed Mondays
The minutes of the Camberwell Housing Committee held on 15th March 1965 confirm that the ‘Dutch’ Estate’s road names were a direct response to Camberwell’s twinning arrangement with the city of Deventer in Holland. “We have considered as to the naming of the ten access roads forming part of the East Dulwich Grove development and have approved for submission to the London County Council names intended to mark the link with Deventer The names are either associated with Deventer or are the names of other Dutch towns or artists as follows: Deventer and Hilversum for the two ‘crescents’ and Teborch, Kempis, Isel, Steen, Velde, Vermeer, Arnhem, Delft and Nimegan as the names for the eight ‘ways’”. There were several visits between civic dignitaries and school children during the 1960s and 70s but the relationship appears to have died out in the early 1980s.
The Council acquired the site from the Dulwich Estate in March 1960. The existing old houses on the site were relatively large and, by the late 1950s, were in very poor condition; as their leases were due to expire in 1964. A report at the Dulwich Estate’s Finance and General Purposes Committee on 27th February 1960 confirmed that this land (the sites of Nos. 131-173 (odd) and 90-140 (even) East Dulwich Grove and ‘Lyncote’ and ‘Ferrodene’ Green Dale) was to be leased to Camberwell Council for 200 years from 25th March 1960 together with the benefit of the leases expiring on 25th March 1964. The ground rent was to be £750 up to that date and £1600 per annum thereafter.
In December 1961 the Manager reported that the Council had issued a compulsory purchase order on the remaining leasehold interests that they could not purchase by agreement. He noted “I have been informed verbally by the Deputy Town Clerk that, if the Order is confirmed, all the families will be re-housed by the Council.”
The order was confirmed in March 1962 and early in 1963 the Council started looking for other properties in the area - they were initially very keen on the seven semi-detached houses in Hillsborough Road and Thorncomb Road. The Estate rejected their offer and decided to develop it themselves. In July 1963 the Architect reported on this site noting that “The site is on the north side of Hillsborough Road and directly south of the future Camberwell development in East Dulwich Grove, and it was intended that this should form a private development between the Council’s scheme and the new buildings of Alleyns School. The site is also suitably divided by a mature line of trees at the back (at the bottom of the existing gardens)” – these trees are still there though severely reduced in height.
The original proposal was for two blocks of flats and maisonettes, three storeys high and sited at right angles to the road, “each with three flats at ground level and 6 maisonettes over, all with garages, and for a single block of 4 flats 2 storeys high, and for 1 single dwelling house. The site lends itself suitably to this form of development, and the proposals I have made will blend with the Council’s development. I do regard it as important that the Governors should retain this site.” The Governors concurred but suggested that the architect consult the Borough Architect “with a view to achieving a harmonious development of the respective areas.”
In May 1964 the Architect reported that he had had discussions with Camberwell’s Borough Architect, and had prepared a revised scheme of two storey houses, which should “prove more complimentary to the Camberwell Council’s scheme than the previous three storey units.” He proposed 24 two storey houses with garages in blocks at either end and a limited amount of open space “so that there will be the minimum of amenity area for the Estate to maintain.”
In the same month F O Hayes ARIBA, the Camberwell Borough Architect, submitted the drawings for the Dutch Estate to the Estate office for approval. The scheme had 136 units divided up into 36 two person houses, 61 four person units and 39 five person units. The Estate Architect noted that “On the west side it is developed by means of a series of terraced houses at right angles to the road, with footpath access and with a new road from green Dale, parallel with the railway cutting to serve the garage blocks. On the east side, this is similarly developed with two short access roads from Hillsborough Road and Thorncombe Road serving the garages along the estate boundary in Hillsborough Road.”
He was quite positive about the scheme and thought “that the problem of complying with a density of 70 persons to the acre has been well solved by erecting houses rather than flats.” He added that “The general elevational treatment of all the units is of brick, faced with darkish brown bricks and roof with aluminium sheeting. Woodwork of the windows will be painted white.”
His only real concern was over the type 2A/2’s (the single storey courtyard houses) which he said “would not give the old people, for whom this type is presumably designed, much view of life, I approached the Borough Architect and he reacted as follows ‘This two person single story type will be mainly occupied by old people. Care has therefore been taken to avoid the feeling of being cut off by placing their entrances off the same pedestrian ways as larger family houses. The possibility of disturbance by children has been reduced by placing the living room at the back of the dwellings with south facing windows onto a small private courtyard where tenants could sit undisturbed.”
The scheme was approved and demolition started in October 1964. Camberwell made some further changes in May 1965 and the scheme finally started in October. The contractor was to be the Council’s own Direct Works Department who negotiated a figure of just over £600,000 to complete the job.
By the middle of 1966 there were reports of delays and costs were rising. At a meeting on 12th June another Quantity Surveyor, Messrs Miller & Townsend, were appointed to work ‘in conjunction with the Council’s staff’. At the same time approval was given for the hire of ‘tentage’ from John Edgington & Co for a period of 3-4 months in order that building work could continue without interruption on the scheme during the winter – cost £9,263.
Meanwhile the adjacent Dulwich Estate’s site received planning permission in November 1964. The Manager reported that “town planning approval has now been granted for 20 houses and garages on this site. The scheme varies from that originally approved by the Governors in that the garages have been moved to the rear of the site, resulting in the loss of 3 houses”
Working drawings were completed by March 1965 and a price agreed with local builder W J Mitchell & Son Ltd – the total cost was £113,950 or £5695 per house and garage. The price had been negotiated on the basis that work would be carried out at the same time as the adjacent Christ Church site (on the other side of Townley Road) and gain the financial benefits of combining the contracts. The sum was approved “subject to such savings as the architect can effect”.
By November 1965 the Manager was becoming concerned about the selling prices of the houses in a poor housing market and the architect substituted cheaper ‘Marley’ type garages in lieu of the brick garages approved previously. That same month a meeting was held between the Council and the Manager to discuss further compulsory purchases of land on the Estate. Camberwell were seeking to acquire eight further sites at 85-109 (odd) Sydenham Hill, the land at the rear of Nos. 111 and 121 Sydenham Hill, ‘Lapsewood Cottage’ and No 21 Crescent Wood Road, Nos 6-20 Dulwich Wood Park, Nos. 6 and 8 Kingswood Drive, Nos 1, 2 & 3 Crystal Palace Parade and Nos 1-5 Fountain Drive plus ‘Alleyns’ Nursery on Lordship Lane
From the Estate’s point of view this was not what they had in mind and a compromise deal was thrashed out by June 1966 when the Estate agreed to grant the Council long leases on 5 acres of land at Sydenham Hill (previously agreed to be developed by Wates), the site of 524 Lordship Lane and the 20 houses now nearing completion in Hillsboro Road. They also agreed to grant to the Council a lease, for a period expiring in 2001, on 115 properties in Winterbrook Road, Stradella Road and Croxted Road with permission for the Council to convert each of these properties into two or more units of accommodation.
The Dutch Estate was completed in 1969 and The Architects’ Journal of 16th December 1970 favourably reviewed the scheme as part of a report on the RIBA Housing Awards – the project winning the award for ‘higher density public sector development’. The assessors’ report praised the “excellent judgement in the size of spaces, heights of walls and choice of materials which produces an outstandingly pleasant scheme with the simplest of means.”
Re: The Zelkova tree
This is a short note regarding my thoughts on the recently pollarded Zelkova tree.
The tree is particularly unsightly especially when travelling along the South Circular in a westerly direction; it stands out as an eyesore amongst some fine trees with natural shapes from which it detracts.
The argument that the tree will re-generate growth in the Spring is probably correct, however, it will always appear very odd as a very large trunk with some dense foliage somewhat ‘mop headed’, and bearing no resemblance to the very tall specimen which once existed. Every Autumn the leaves will fall and the pollarded appearance will once again be an eyesore through to the following Spring. Regular pollarding will also be required as the trunk is still leaning at an acute angle.
I am therefore of the opinion that from a landscape and amenity point of view the tree should be removed together with the roots, a replacement Zelkova should be planted in the winter months at a height of some 6.00-7.00 metres.
I was delighted to see a communication from The Dulwich Estate with this year’s fee notice and read it expecting to hear all about how the Scheme of Management is spending our money wisely to improve the amenity of Dulwich.
Instead I read a rather tetchy defence of the Charity’s rent and lease renewals policy including a personal attack on the local postmaster for daring to challenge the Estate and ‘whip up public support’. Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of this particular case, I was deeply troubled by the bulletin for several reasons.
It is of concern when a body with considerable powers conducts its battles with individuals and their supporters in public and in print. Residents and tenants with quite legitimate challenges against the Dulwich Estate could be deterred from mounting future campaigns for fear they too will be named and shamed in this bulletin with no means to reply.
This newsletter was sent out with the Scheme of Management’s fee notices. It was quite right of Ms Brownbill, the Chair of the Estate’s Trustees, both at the consultation meeting with residents last year and in this newsletter, to draw our attention to the distinct roles and separate legal and financial responsibilities of the Charity and The Scheme of Management. However, the perception of separate function is somewhat undermined by the publication of this joint bulletin. If, as Ms Brownbill argues, the Charity has no relationship with the residents and no duty to keep us informed, why is it issuing PR to residents via The Scheme of Management’s fee collection database? Tempting as it must be for the Charity to take advantage of this readily accessible and extensive database to publish its own views and counter its critics, one wonders if this is a proper use of our personal records and of the Charity/Scheme funds.
Despite all the talk by trustees of a clear separation of legal interests and duties, does this bulletin suggest they are a little muddled themselves about the differing roles, functions and limits to power of the two parts of the Estate?
150 Burbage Road, SE21 7AG
I totally disagree with the suggestion by Beth Christian that the Old Burial Ground in the Village should be opened to the public. It is at present a pleasant green oasis with several splendid trees which everyone walking past can enjoy. It is too small to be open to the public, the bulbs would not survive, the grass would be worn away and litter would accumulate. Dulwich residents are not short of open space and this adds enormously to the charm of the Village, nor do I think it appropriate that graves should be climbed on.
Dovercourt Road SE22
Many visitors to the vegetable and fruit garden in the Griffin Ground in Dulwich Village will be as surprised as I was that after twelve years creating this project, on October 8th I was given notice by King’s College to quit by the end of the year.
The reason given was that the lessees, King's College, had been made aware by The Dulwich Estates that I had been breaking the term of the lease by having an allotment there and now that the lease was due for renewal, it was necessary for this activity to cease.
I felt there was nothing I could do about this, but I wrote to the Estates for clarification and confirmation. The reply from the Estates was that it was up to King’s to apply for permission for the project to continue. They did not commit themselves as to whether they would give permission or not.
I should explain how this allotment came about in the first place. The Ground Manager, Mr Terry Delaney, had suggested to me in April 1998, that I might like to take over an allotment he had started but felt unable to continue with, when he knew I was loosing another site adjacent to 12 Roseway and the Village School.
I was happy to do this, and this has led to twelve productive and enjoyable years. The Garden has been open annually to the Dulwich Society Gardening group and to anyone interested in the "Grow Your Own" movement. I am helped by volunteer workers from the neighbourhood and, more recently, by a group of students from Kings College.
It was my hope that the Kings students would take over the activity completely and that I would retire by the end of 2012.
However, I have found that this is not really a practical answer as the students have not really been able to give the consistent effort that is necessary. They have long holidays as and cannot come regularly during the term time, in spite of giving valuable help.
I had really given up hope of the garden continuing until a suggestion was made that Dulwich Hamlet School might perhaps take over the project as a teaching aid, perhaps with a Teachers, Parents, Pupils co- operative (or something similar). The school already uses the ground for recreational purposes
I should make it as clear as I possibly can, that at 83, though still in good health, I am absolutely ready to hand over the allotment, especially as Terry Delaney who has been so helpful has recently retired. My great concern is that the entire gardening infrastructure which has been built up on the site over the years should go to waste. I am thinking of the fruit trees, the semi-permanent crops - vines, rhubarb, asparagus, raspberries, currants etc. And then there are the water tanks, composting facilities all constructed with considerable effort. To destroy all this created on what was formerly waste ground seems to me to be little short of vandalism. I do hope that a constructive solution will be found.
Dulwich College War Memorial newly Listed Grade II
War Memorial to the memory of 'Old Alleynians' and 'Alleyn Old Boys' who fell in the First World War, constructed in 1920 and attributed to WH Atkin-Berry, a former pupil of the College; also two plinths commemorating those who fell in the Second World War.
DESCRIPTION: It comprises an octagonal Portland stone memorial cross on an octagonal pedestal surmounting a further substantial octagonal pedestal with bronze panels to each face. All is situated on three octagonal tiered steps, totalling over 9m in height.
The Coat of Arms of the College is mounted on the bronze plaque on the western face of the upper tier. The words 'MORTUI VIVUNT' appear, in relief, on the western face of the bottom tier above a bronze plaque bearing a laurel wreath and the words 'PUERI / ALLEYNIENSES / MCMXIV - MCMXIX'. The remaining seven bronze panels contain the 485 names (481 pupils and 4 masters) who fell in the First World War, with additional names on a small bronze plaque on the eastern face of the top step. Embellishment is minimal, with scrolled leaves on the cross, diamond enhanced architraves to the panels of the bottom tier, and fluted molding to the base of the pedestal.
Two Portland stone table plinths, to the northern and southern sides of the principal monument, commemorate the 352 fallen of the Second World War. The decoration of these echoes that of the earlier monument, in that the simple inscription '1939-1945' can be found above bronze plaques, bearing the names of the fallen, on the eastern and western sides of both plinths, and the panels are edged with the same diamond pattern architrave.
The War Memorial stands in the grounds of Dulwich College, and has a visual and contextual relationship with Dulwich College Main Building (Grade II*) and the Entrance Gates and piers of Dulwich College (Grade II).
HISTORY: Dulwich College was founded by Edward Alleyn in 1619. The original college buildings at Dulwich Old College date from the C17, although they were extensively remodelled in the C19; in 1857 the old foundation was reformed, and new buildings were erected for the school by the younger Charles Barry in 1866-70 at the present location, approximately half a mile from Dulwich Old College.
The Dulwich College War Memorial was designed by Mr WH Atkin-Berry FRIBA, a former pupil of the College and unveiled by another former pupil Major General Sir Webb Gillman (1870-1933) on Founders' Day, 17th June 1921. Originally, the memorial stood on a pavement de-marked by four square bollards. However, when the plinths recording the fallen of the Second World War were erected, the pavement was extended and the bollards removed.
The names of The Fallen of the First World War filled the memorial and instead of erecting a second memorial, to those who fell in the Second World War, two table plinths were erected flanking the primary monument. It was decided that 'the College War memorial should take the form of a new Great Hall, which will seat the whole school, and there can be no more worthy object than this memorial to those who gave their lives in the War. The target aimed at is £50,000 contribution towards which will be welcomed'. At the same time two books known as the "Dulwich College War Record" were published, and in them are the portraits and biographies of all who fell, a list of Honours and Distinctions, and a Roll of over 3000 men associated with the College who served in the forces.
LBS Number: 508022 Grade: II Date Listed: 19/05/2010 NGR: TQ3325272989
First World War memorial, designed by William Douglas Caröe.
DESCRIPTION: The War Memorial, of Hoptonwood Stone, comprises a diamond entablature featuring Christ the King (on both the northern and southern sides), on a tall tapering shaft raised on a square pedestal and stepped octagonal four-tier plinth. The square pedestal has panel motifs on each side: those to the east and west are floral in design, whereas the southern one, facing the door of the Chapel, is designed as a two-pane trefoil-headed window, with decorated pediment. The panel to the north illustrates the College Shield (part of the Coat of Arms - a shield with a chevron (bent bar) dividing three cinquefoils gules (red five pointed stars) with 'DETUR GLORIA / SOLI DEO', 'Let glory be given to God alone' the College Motto, inscribed above it.
The bottom three tiers of the plinth are undecorated. However, the top tier is inscribed with dedicatory lines. Encircling the top of the plinth, starting at the north-west corner, with raised letters, the inscription reads: 'IN HONOUR OF THE MEN / OF THIS FOUNDATION WHO / SERVED IN THE GREAT / WAR 1914-1919 AND IN / SOLEMN REMEMBRANCE / OF THOSE WHO DIED FOR / LIBERTY AND JUSTICE TO / THE GLORY OF GOD'. Below the inscription is a band of square floral and geometric motifs.
The War Memorial has a visual and contextual relationship with Dulwich Old College (Grade II) and the entrance gates and piers of Dulwich Old College (Grade II).
The war memorial in the forecourt of the Old Dulwich College was designed by William Douglas Caröe (1857-1938) and dedicated to the memory of 'Old Alleynians' and 'Alleyn Old Boys' who fell in the First World War. It dates from 1921. In addition, a memorial in the form of oak panelling by Mr Lawrence Turner and inscribed with the names of The Fallen was erected in 1920 on the south wall of Christ's Chapel (listed as part of Dulwich Old College at Grade II) beneath the gallery. There is a separate war memorial at the new Dulwich College buildings.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The War Memorial at Dulwich Old College, College Road in Dulwich is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
- Architectural Interest: a good example of a memorial to The Fallen of the First World War; designed by the eminent architect, William Douglas Caröe;
- Historic Significance: the monument has very strong historic and cultural significance, on both a local and national scale;
- Group Value: the War Memorial has a strong visual and contextual relationship with a number of listed buildings at Dulwich Old College.
At a Service of Consecration in July 2010, the War Memorial Garden at Alleyn’s School on the corner of Townley Road and Calton Avenue was consecrated by the Revd Canon Dianna Gwilliams, the Foundation Chaplain and the Revd Anthony Buckley, Chaplain of Alleyn’s School.