The Dulwich Society Journal for Winter 2013.
It was clear from the general atmosphere and large attendance at its fiftieth anniversary party that the Dulwich Society is in good heart. It is equally clear that its original object – to foster and safeguard the amenities of Dulwich – is as important now as ever it was, as it proceeds towards its next fifty years.
What are the pressing local issues of today which require there to be a Dulwich Society?
A recent survey by the Safe Routes to Schools initiative found that while there are approximately 10,000 pupils attending schools in the Dulwich and Herne Hill areas alone, 71% of parents are too frightened to let their children cycle to school, although 80% would switch to cycling if routes were safer. It is obvious that more needs to be done to provide segregated cycleways and open up shared pavements to cyclists.
It remains the case that the disabled cannot board trains at Sydenham Hill, North Dulwich and West Dulwich Stations, which is disgraceful.
The popularity of living in Dulwich continues to grow. House prices are reaching such heights that owners are keen to remain where they are but extend their living space. There is nothing wrong with this providing it is kept within reasonable bounds. The tendency to extend to the very extremities of boundaries and to excavate deep basements has an impact on both the visual aspect of roads and a neighbour’s amenities.
Dulwich has a long and rich heritage which people are interested in. Information about its history, either by online posts, printed publications or by the installation of explanatory markers at significant sites would be welcomed.
Dulwich is famous for its trees and woods. Both have to be defended against destruction. Street trees need to continue to be carefully selected and their sites planned. Gardens need to have trees which will enhance but not threaten the fabric of houses.
Its public parks should continue to be cherished and never again allowed to fall into such poor shape as they were in the 1970’s and 80’s. As pressure builds for increased housing provision there will likely be attempts to nibble away at existing open space. Its open spaces must be vigorously defended against any changes of use and ways found to make them viable. Dulwich’s open spaces have long provided opportunities for recreation, for not only residents but also for those living far outside its boundaries and we have a duty to continue to make it available for such use.
Our wildlife continues to need our help as urban areas increasingly provide a home or a staging post for creatures whose earlier habitats are depleted by intensive farming. Funds will still be needed for further bird and bat boxes, hedge regeneration and publicity to maintain urban green corridors. Support should be given to the London Wildlife Trust and the Trust for Urban Ecology, which maintain Sydenham Hill Wood and Dulwich Upper Wood in Farquhar Road.
Yes, there remains a potent need for amenity societies such as the Dulwich Society. Threats to Dulwich’s future will inevitably occur in the coming years and a body to combat these threats will continue to be needed.
Communication – how does the Society keep in touch with its members, how does it keep them up to date with things happening in Dulwich? The answer is not always very well – we do put news items in the Journal, but it comes out every three months so cannot be up to date. We have a website which is updated fairly regularly, but perhaps not as frequently as we would like, and do our members visit it? We also have a notice board outside the Post Office in the Village - but that’s more for posters of upcoming events than news.
So what is the answer? We must move into the 21st century with social media and electronic communications. If members want to know about what’s happening in Dulwich, they need to give us their email addresses. We have repeatedly asked for this in recent copies of the Journal but the response has been poor, we only have email addresses for about 15%– it’s not enough.
It’s not just about members complaining that they don’t know what’s going on in Dulwich, the volunteers who run the various Society committees need to know that we are representing your views. Other Societies use email regularly - you only have to look at the Turney and Burbage Road Residents Associations. They have email contacts for all their members and they keep in regular contact with a monthly newsletter and, if a major problem comes up, immediately. There was a recent burglary there where someone bashed in a front door, took the car keys off the hall table and drove the car away –despite there being an alarm. It happened at 3:30am and by mid-morning all residents knew about it.
So it’s really down to you, the membership. If you want to know what’s happening in Dulwich and what the Society is doing about it, we need to be able to contact you – please send us your email details (to
50th Anniversary Party a great success
Dianna McInnes reports
On the 12th October St Barnabas Village Hall was the location for the
final event in the Society's fiftieth anniversary celebrations - just fifty
years and two days away from the date of the Society's inaugural meeting on 10th October 1963. Over 170 members attended a party to meet old friends, make new ones, and share their memories of Dulwich over the years.
Welcomed at the door by Colin Niven (president), Ian McInnes (chairman), Kenneth Wolff (vice-chairman) and Patrick Spencer (secretary), members enjoyed wine and an excellent selection of canapés throughout the evening served by three delightful students from Alleyn's School (Lizzie O’Connor, Jess Geekie, Octavia Henderson-Cleland). Charles Carey-Elwes provided piano accompaniment at the start and he was followed by 'No Girls Aloud', an excellent barber shop quartet (Charlie Hodgkiss, Gorge Raikes, Tristan Carman and Ian Kegler), also from Alleyn's, and the 'Awesome Foursome' (Daniella Wu, Imogen Squire, Sophia MacGregor, and Rhiannon Dew), a string quartet from JAGS.
Speeches were kept to a minimum. Colin Niven noted the success of the World War II memorial plaques and thanked the executive committee for their consistent hard work. Ian McInnes proposed a toast to the Society's next fifty years and announced the recent agreement with Southwark Council where the Society would
take over the management of Rosebery Lodge in Dulwich Park for the establishment of a Dulwich Archive.
The evening was completed by a showing of the film of the 1967 celebration of 1000 years of history in Dulwich. Held in the back room of the hall it was standing room only, and a second showing had to be arranged for those who were not able to fit in for the first! Interestingly, some of the audience were actually in the film – as drivers of floats, organisers of the music and producers.
As members left at the end of the evening there was unanimous agreement that it had been an enjoyable and successful event and a fitting way to end the anniversary year.
The Dulwich Society and the Herne Hill Society are working together on a possible book on the history of local pubs - both those that have gone and those that are still with us. Pubs are an important part of London’s social history and are fast disappearing. We would like to do something to preserve the memory of those that are gone and encourage those that still remain.
Would you like to help?
We are looking for people to join us on this project. The work will involve helping research and writing up the histories of the 37 existing and former pubs that we have identified in the surrounding areas. And it won’t be as dry as it may sound (particularly if you want to visit the pubs that still exist). This work can be fascinating and you will be making a valuable contribution to the history of our area.
If you are interested, or would like more information, do get in touch with Ian McInnes (020 8693 6313, email
Pedestrian Crossing at Lordship Lane/Dulwich Common
Following numerous complaints about safety at the junction of Lordship Lane and Dulwich Common, Transport for London have confirmed that they are carrying out a feasibility study to assess whether it would be possible to introduce improvements for pedestrians and cyclists attempting to cross the road at this point. As the traffic lights are currently configured, vehicle traffic has the right of way at this junction at all times. Nor is there an alternative crossing nearby. The danger to pedestrians in this situation is very clear.
Residents have been lobbying local Councillors over several years to do something and they have now been joined by the Dulwich and Herne Hill Safer Routes to Schools group. The junction is a critical route to almost all the schools for anyone coming from the south east and it is totally ludicrous that pedestrian safety is constantly being jeopardised unnecessarily.
A survey is a step forward, though further pressure will need to be applied as TfL’s previous view has been against prioritising the reconfiguring of the junction because the accident rate is not unusually high. Leaving aside the absurdity of requiring a sacrifice of life or limb to draw attention to the danger, it is likely that the accident rate is low because people must avoid crossing there or else take serious and unacceptable risks.
Rosebery Lodge, Dulwich Park
At the 50th anniversary party on 12th October the chairman announced that the Society has now agreed heads of terms with the Council to take over the management of Rosebery Lodge and open a Dulwich Archive Centre. As well as running exhibitions and classes for residents and local schools on the area’s history, the Society will let out the rooms for other community groups. The Dulwich Vegetable Garden, part of Dulwich Going Greener, already use the kitchen and toilet block at the back that was refurbished two years ago, also under an earlier Council CGS (Cleaner, Greener, Safer) grant. The historic Dulwich post cart will also be displayed there.
Over the past three years the Society has acquired additional CGS funding to carry out the refurbishment work necessary to make the main rooms in the building usable. A meeting held on October 10th instructed the Council’s architect to press ahead with going out to tender. While most of the funds will come from the Council, the Society has agreed to put £5000 from its own resources into the project.
A public consultation was held on 7th and 14th November. Both the Dulwich Society and the Herne Hill Society have lobbied to have the historic columns retained but to no effect – Rail Track are determined not to put them back.
Some initial enabling work on underpinning the abutments started in September and the actual renewal works will take place in January and February.
The sections of road by the bridges in Croxted Road and Rosendale Road will be closed to all vehicle traffic from Saturday 11 to Sunday 26 January (with a pedestrian walkway, except for the actual construction works on the weekend of 18/19 January).
Village Way bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic from Saturday 8 to Sunday 23 February – the actual construction work will take place on the weekend of 15/16 February.
We are still looking for further volunteers to deliver Journals in Great Brownings on College Road and in East Dulwich around Lordship Lane. Please contact the chairman on
S. G. Smith workshop in Dulwich Village
The majority of the feedback received from Society members on the public consultation held on 15 and 16 July at S. G. Smith’s showroom confirmed that redevelopment of the site was considered to be a good thing. However, the Estate’s initial proposal for 9 large houses was not popular. Most people were of the view that smaller houses were what was needed (there are plenty of 5 bed houses in Dulwich) and particularly provision for older residents, possibly in warden controlled flats. The Society met the Estate’s consultants later in July and they agreed to come back with alternative proposals. Following frequent chasing the Estate has confirmed that they have been looking at the implications of providing social housing on the site and that a revised scheme should be available during November.
Judith Kerr Free School, Half Moon Lane
The school opened in September with a smaller number of children than originally expected. The proposal for temporary classrooms was withdrawn as the school’s advisors decided to refurbish part of the original Sir James Black laboratories building instead. While there appears to have been a very limited impact on local traffic at this point, there is concern that Southwark planners do not appear to be being proactive in responding to local residents’ concerns over the future traffic and parking implications - the final school roll is likely to be around 500 children. There is no doubt that major changes will have to be made to the layout of Half Moon Lane, including moving the adjacent pedestrian crossing, and the introduction of a 20mph zone complete with raised tables and footway build outs.
Premier Hire, Burbage Road
This plant hire business which operates from the northern Network Rail railway arches in Burbage Road is expanding its operations. Local residents are increasingly concerned over the number of trucks parking illegally in the road and the amount of noise and disruption that they are experiencing early in the morning. The Council parking enforcement teams have been observed monitoring the situation but without much effect – the trucks move away when they see the enforcement officers and come back when they go. The situation is to be made worse in the short term as Network Rail are going to use the Premier Hire site for access onto the section of the Herne Hill Velodrome that they are using as a temporary works area for the bridge replacement works.
Local police safer neighbourhood team
The ‘new policing model’ for the local Safer Neighbourhood Teams in College, East Dulwich and Village Wards has been running since June. There was an interesting discussion at the Dulwich Community Council meeting in October when the police gave a very positive report on its effectiveness - one which was not shared by many local councillors nor some of the attendees. There are clearly still communication problems and a problem with manning the police contact points at the Dulwich Library (Village Ward) and Seeley Drive (College Ward).
On November 2nd the twelfth and final plaque to those Dulwich civilians killed in air raids in World War Two was unveiled. The unveilings, conducted by Kenneth Wolff have been very moving and will now serve as a permanent reminder of the horrors suffered by Dulwich residents during the conflict. It has also been an appropriate way to mark the Dulwich Society’s fiftieth year. Not all the unveilings were witnessed by large numbers of people although some were. At most we were able locate survivors or people who were related or friends of those who died. In many cases these people performed the simple ceremony and read out the names of those killed. The total cost of the memorials has been in the region of £3000.
Sue Badman reports
Flooding events within Southwark, most notably in 1984, 2004 and 2007 have shown the risk and impact of flooding to residential communities and public infrastructure.
Now a thousand residents in the Dulwich area have received letters from Southwark Council inviting them to meetings and workshops about proposed flood alleviation works in our area to help prevent a recurrence of this flooding.
Southwark Council and Thames Water have been investigating the causes and actions needed to prevent a recurrence. They have found that surface water flows down into Dulwich/Herne Hill centre from Forest Hill, Upper Sydenham and West Dulwich. Additionally, the old Effra River has been culverted and runs across this area.
While Dulwich isn’t near the sea or the river Thames, the topography of our area makes us vulnerable to surface water flooding. Surface water tends to collect or “pond” at low points leading to waterlogging in our parks and sports fields, and potentially also to flooding houses and premises. This means that our sports fields are often out of action losing vital revenue, teams can’t play and lose their positions in local leagues threatening the viability of the green spaces. The “ponding” effect was very noticeable in Herne Hill shopping centre recently in August when water from a burst main couldn’t disperse quickly enough.
Southwark Council has secured £3.7m funding from the Environment Agency (EA) and Thames Water (TW) to put in measures to stem the flow of surface water across the area.
The pilot scheme will see flood management measures in Belair Park, Southwark Community Sports Grounds, Turney Road and Dulwich Park. The EA and TW hope to adopt and promote this innovative model across the country following successful delivery. These measures will reduce the flood risk to an acceptable 1:75 years standard (for insurance purposes).
The design proposals involve the construction during 2014 of above and below ground storage in Dulwich & Belair Parks & Dulwich Sports Ground to capture overland flow during periods of heavy rainfall. Whilst on the Turney Road site there are plans to introduce kerbside drainage and additional pipe work to route local surface water to the storage facility into Dulwich Sports Ground. The stored water will be discharged into the sewer system after the peak.
A public consultation is now being carried out by Southwark Council to give local residents the chance to have their say on the design proposals and shape the final design. The planning application for the final design will be available for comment in January 2014.
During December as part of a national scheme, EA will be adding details of surface water flood risk to their web site flood maps. More information will be circulated about this by Southwark in due course but look out for information on this initiative.
Further information can be found at
Dulwich Park Art Commission
In October, Southwark Council announced Conrad Shawcross as the winner of the Dulwich Art Commission for a replacement art work for the stolen Barbara Hepworth bronze statue, ‘ Two Forms - Divided Circle’. The Council announced that the appointment followed an extensive public consultation process and deliberation by the Dulwich Park Commission Steering Group and the Contemporary Art Society who managed the artist commissioning process. Ian McInnes represented the Dulwich Society in the Commissioning Group and Trevor Moore represented the Friends of Dulwich Park.
Conrad Shawcross has achieved international recognition for his work - most recently, he won acclaim for his 2013 Timepiece exhibition at the Roundhouse, London. His work was also displayed at this year's 55th Venice Biennale. His design, Three Perpetual Chords, has been selected from a shortlist also including proposals by artists Anya Galaccio, Ryan Gander and Eva Rothschild.
Following a public consultation in which over 400 local people gave their views about the proposals, the Dulwich Park Commission Steering Group came to a consensus to name Shawcross as the artist who best fulfils the commissioning principles originally set out.
Three Perpetual Chords proposes a series of cast iron sculptures, each created in relation to the mathematical patterns found in music. The artist describes these forms as "visual descriptions of musical chords." Roughly human height, the sculptures will be sequenced, leading visitors through an unexpected series of encounters in the park.
Conrad Shawcross was born in London in 1977. Imbued with an appearance of scientific rationality, Conrad Shawcross's sculptures explore subjects that lie on the borders of geometry and philosophy, physics and metaphysics. Attracted by failed quests for knowledge in the past, he often appropriates redundant theories and methodologies to create ambitious structural and mechanical montages, using a wide variety of materials and media, and working on an epic scale. Different technologies - nautical and audio-visual - and different natural forces inspire his forms, but his mysterious machines and structures remain enigmatic, filled with paradox and wonder. Some have an absurdist melancholy feel, while others tend to the sublime.
Shawcross has had solo presentations at 590 Madison Avenue, Pace Gallery, New York, (2010), Cabinet, Brooklyn (2009); Location One, New York, New York, (2009) JenaerKunstverein, Germany (2008), The New Art Gallery, Walsall and The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2005). His work has also been exhibited internationally at institutions including Musée d'art Contemporain, Lyon (2008), La Chapelle de L'Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (2008), The Saatchi Gallery (2004) and Manifesta 5, San Sebastian, Spain (2004). Shawcross's first public realm commission, Space Trumpet installed in the atrium of the refurbished Unilever Building, London in 2007 won the Art & Work 2008 Award for a Work of Art Commissioned for a Specific Site in a Working Environment, and in 2009 he was awarded the Illy prize for best solo presentation at Art Brussels.
Canon Dianna Gwilliams installed as Dean of Guildford
The Very Reverend Dianna Gwilliams, for the past eleven years vicar of St Barnabas Church, Dulwich was installed as Dean of Guildford at Guildford Cathedral on 15th September. Three coach loads of well-wishers from the St Barnabas and Christ’s Chapel congregations were there to lend support. The support appears to be needed; among her many tasks at her new appointment, the most pressing is the repair of the eastern end of the Cathedral which is in a serious structural condition and it will be Dianna’s role to see the necessary repairs are carried out.
She got off to a rapid start in her new post as the day after her induction, The Church Times reported that she had announced a seven-year strategy for fundraising and investment for the Cathedral to deal with the building’s fabric which costs £1.17million a year to operate, and currently runs at a deficit of around £100,000 a year. The Very Revd Dianna Gwilliams, said that a "fundamental part" of the plan was to ensure a sustainable financial future for the cathedral. To achieve this, Guildford Cathedral plans to release an area of land for the development of social and private housing, including a new Cathedral Close to accommodate staff and clergy which will replace the existing sub-standard houses. The scheme will also involve the creation of significantly enhanced public open space on Stag Hill and greater connectivity with the town centre
St Barnabas Church Choir’s German Tour
Following several previous tours to Italy, the St Barnabas Choir this summer headed for Germany. Under the direction of William McVicker and Riccardo Bonci, the choir of almost 60 was accompanied by an eleven strong road-crew who kept the mixed age choir’s robes in immaculate condition, looked after the luggage and chaperoned the younger members. The choir sang at Johann Sebastian Bach’s grave in Thomaskirche, Leipzig, and also sang for the evening service. They gave concerts at the Kathedrale Ss Trinitatis, Dresden; Georgenkirche, Eisenach, and the Kloster Frenswegen, Nordhorn.
Concert for Dementia sufferers
Dulwich Picture Gallery are inviting members of the public to a unique concert this December- a music performance by Dementia sufferers and their carers, led by a composer and lyricist from English Touring Opera. The concert at the Gallery will be the culmination of ‘Visual to Vocal’ a project which sees 20 people with Dementia composing a song cycle over eight weeks, inspired by the world-famous masterpieces at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
For the second year running, participants with early stages of Dementia will work with music students from Dulwich College and the Royal College of Music to write lyrics and music, each week based on a different painting in the Gallery. Working with a composer and lyricist from English Touring Opera, they will choose the themes and content of the songs, and a name for their song cycle as the project progresses. The group will perform their songs live in the Gallery on Thursday 12th December.
The project is part of Art for Older People at Dulwich Picture Gallery which addresses the needs of older people, combating loneliness, isolation and inertia through involvement in the arts. It offers an enriching menu of art activities at the Gallery and also reaches out to people in care homes, hospitals and community centres.
The programme is uniquely, free of charge to participants and is at no cost to the tax payer.
Good Times is a core Education programme and is now in its seventh year at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
It was typical of Wilf Taylor that he had put his affairs in such good order that the only delay which followed his death from a heart attack in August and his memorial service which followed in September was the need for an inquest because he was otherwise in such good health even at the age of 91. The large attendance at the celebration of his life, following a humanist cremation ceremony conducted by Trevor Moore, represented the wide cross-section of his interests; The Dulwich Society, The Dulwich Players, The Old College Tennis and Croquet Club and the Royal Navy.
(Ernest) Wilfred Taylor was born in Penarth, Glamorgan on 22nd December 1922, the youngest of three brothers. He attended the local grammar school, where he excelled in athletics, and entered Cardiff University reading Economics. The war interrupted the completion of his degree and he volunteered for the Royal Navy in May 1942. After basic training he was sent to the naval signal school for training as a coder. Within a few weeks, his potential as a future officer was recognised and he re-enlisted under the ‘Y’ scheme for specialist work . In December 1942 he was posted to HMS Pink, a ‘Flower-Class’ corvette which had been launched earlier that same year, and which was designed as an anti-submarine escort for Atlantic convoys.
Wilf served for six months at sea on convoy protection aboard HMS Pink and he later spoke of the crew’s concerns about their over-enthusiastic captain who seemed a bit too keen on ramming U-boats, and the relief felt all-round when any boat spotted disappeared beneath the waves before the idea could be executed. It was typical of Wilf to speak lightly of this period. A month before he left the ship, HMS Pink was engaged in one of the most decisive U boat engagements of the war when 16 allied warships escorted the ‘slow’ convoy ONS 5 outward bound from Liverpool to North America in ballast and were confronted by a pack of 40 U boats in heavy weather in mid-Atlantic. The convoy lost 13 ships but 6 U boats were destroyed and 7 severely damaged, one by HMS Pink . It marked the turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic.
In June 1943 he was sent on an intensive course to learn Japanese at the Intelligence School, Bedford and later was attached to Bletchley Park where he was a member of the famous Hut 7 personnel. He was commissioned in December 1943 and in April 1944 was posted to the naval intelligence shore station, HMS Anderson, in Colombo, Ceylon. Here, one of his colleagues from Hut 7 at Bletchley Park was John Silkin the future Labour politician and old boy of Dulwich College. In May 1945, Wilf’s team successfully broke a Japanese message that provided details leading to the sinking of the Japanese cruiser Haguro in the Battle of the Malacca Strait. When the war ended Wilf was sent first to Australia and then to Hong Kong where he continued to be employed on intelligence work.
He left the navy in 1946, deciding to continue with his interrupted higher education and gained a place at St Catherine’s College, Oxford where he read History. Having developed a love of the navy, Wilf re-enlisted as a Lieutenant - Instructor, later specialising in lecturing in international relations at various naval colleges. It was during this period that his great talent for amateur dramatics developed and he became the base entertainments officer and a leading light of the Ceres Players when attached to the shore station HMS Ceres. He retired from the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant-Commander in 1965 but was immediately re-employed as a civilian instructor at the same colleges, clearly a compliment to his skills as a communicator.
In the meantime Wilf had met Robin, who was a serving in the WRNS and who had also served at Bletchley Park and they married in 1951. Wilf and Robin first set up home in Dulwich, in Pickwick Road in 1954 and spent three years there before the demands of the Service required fresh moves. They finally put down permanent roots in Dulwich in 1965 with Wilf taking up tennis at the Old College Tennis Club in Gallery Road. Once he had finally retired from the Navy in the 1980’s both he and Robin took up other activities including The Dulwich Society and The Dulwich Players. It was as a member of The Dulwich Players where Wilf gave his most memorable performance, that of the hapless brother-in-law giving a puppet show to his bored relations at Christmas in Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Season’s Greetings’. He would continue to perform with the Players virtually until this year.
When Robin was too ill to continue as secretary to The Dulwich Society, Wilf took on those duties as well as nursing her in her long illness. In time he became membership secretary and many present members have appreciated Wilf’s warm welcome to the Society. When tennis began to test his knees and hips Wilf sensibly joined the croquet section of the Old College Tennis Club and the final round of duty he performed was on the day he died, when he watered the green before sitting down with his son to do The Times crossword and gently passed away.
Wilf is best summed up in a comment once made of him by his senior naval officer ... ”He exerts an admirable influence due to his zeal, natural charm and most upright character.”
Few people can have immersed themselves so fully in their local, civic and business life as Jeremy. He was reminiscent of those significant Victorian entrepreneurs who would not only be highly successful in their business careers but equally wholehearted in their charitable work.
Jeremy was born and grew up in China, where his father was a banker with what is now the HSBC. Although the Japanese had occupied Shanghai in 1937, the International Settlement remained untouched until the fall of Hong Kong in 1943. The International Settlement was then occupied and Jeremy and his parents interned in a nearby school at Lunghwa. There, the family shared a room with three other families, divided for privacy by curtains they improvised. Their living space measured only some 24 square metres. Among the internees at the centre was the Ballard family. J G Ballard, the future author, was two years older than Jeremy and both boys attended school in the camp, the teachers being camp inmates from a number of professions. These experiences formed the basis of Empire of the Sun, although Ballard exercised considerable artistic licence in writing the book, notably removing his parents from the bulk of the story.
Last year, Jeremy celebrated his teddy bear’s 100th birthday with a party. The bear had accompanied Jeremy throughout the war and had survived being bayoneted by a Japanese guard. When the Americans entered Shanghai in 1945, Jeremy, then aged 12, was badly emaciated, weighing only a couple of stone.
Peace brought Jeremy to England and he continued his education at Berkhampsted School later gaining a place at Jesus College, Cambridge. During National Service he was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps which he served in Malaya. He later served in the TA, retiring in 1999 in the rank of Colonel. His business career began when he joined Shell in 1957, and with his newly wed wife Janet was deployed to Chile for two years.
It would be the international transport of bulk freight by rail which would be Jeremy’s specialty and he pioneered the use of tank containers for the movement of chemicals, grain and china clay. He became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Transport and its vice-president from 1990-93. He chaired the Association of Private Wagon Owners from 1980-91.
Parallel to these activities, Jeremy was active in both Dulwich and the City. He was elected to the Worshipful Company of Carmen, becoming in due course Master. His interest in music led him to found a choir from within the Company and also in the Company of World Traders. Subsequently he was approached to stand for election as Lay Sheriff of the City of London to which he was elected in 1993. His work as secretary to the then Lord Mayor’s charity, the St John’s Ambulance Brigade resulted in his raising the staggering sum of £1.2million for the Brigade for which he was invested a Knight of the Order of St John.
In Dulwich, and during his busy career, he devoted a huge amount of time to service as a Dulwich Estates’ Governor (later trustee) and he served on the board for 24 years and was chairman from 1994-96. He also served as Governor of Dulwich College for 10 years and also of St Olave’s and St Saviour’s School. He was an energetic chairman of the Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery and at the time of his death was raising funds for the Dulwich Sports Club for a new indoor cricket school. He had been secretary of the club from 1964-73.
By nature Jeremy was pleasant and easy-going, a great ally in many causes, equally willing to pick up his accordion to go on a carol singing evening or shouldering some more onerous charitable duty. The thousands of letters he sent appealing for good causes, he wrote by hand, typical of the huge effort he put into everything he did. It was very difficult to say no to Jeremy.
Antique dealer and upholsterer Martyn Harryman, by far the longest established retailer in North Dulwich, is retiring after 50 years. His shop in Half Moon Lane has always displayed small pieces of antique furniture in perfect condition, with larger items lurking behind. The window display changes frequently, testament to the demand for Victorian and Edwardian side tables, chairs and the like which fit in well with Dulwich's domestic architecture.
His father, William, still going strong at 98, started the business in 1963 and continued as an expert sewing machinist until he was 80. He had worked in the Woolwich munitions works but his real trade was carpet laying. When he took the shop with flat above in North Dulwich there was an upholsterer on site so it made sense to William to broaden his business into this field. Some time after his son Martyn joined him, and one day they put a restored prayer chair in the shop window to see the reaction. It sold quickly and so another section was added to the business. Martyn's brother Alan also came in, specialising in blinds and curtains.
The Harrymans shared in the general rise in prosperity of Dulwich but trade on the furniture side has slowed in recent years, particularly for larger items, as people have favoured modern "white" furniture and built-in units. Martyn's early career could not have been more different. He learnt the snare drum in the scouts and this led on to playing a full set of drums. In swinging 60s style he joined up with a guitar-playing school friend to form a group. Named Dada after the surrealist art movement - Martyn attended the Slade art school - they recorded on the Atlantic label and toured the UK and US with Elkie Brookes as singer. Jazz oriented towards blues was the house style.
The Crystal Palace subway is one of the few surviving remains from the era of Paxton’s Crystal Palace, destroyed in a spectacular blaze in 1936. It is a magnificent brick-vaulted structure under Crystal Palace Parade, built by Italian craftsmen in the mid 1850s after the palace was transferred from Hyde Park to the top of Sydenham Hill. Its purpose was to provide first class passengers arriving at the now demolished Crystal Palace High Level railway station with an imposing connection with the palace. For many years it has been closed to the public, except for occasional limited access for special events, because of safety concerns. The existing entrance, via a stairway from Crystal Palace Park, is in a dangerous state as the retaining walls have become unstable and require to be reinforced at considerable cost. The subway itself remains structurally sound.
In 2010 two local residents proposed a community-led initiative to persuade Bromley Council to make the access safe again to enable the subway to be reopened for public events. This initiative led in time to the formation of the Friends of the Crystal Palace Subway which was inaugurated in April 2013 with a constitution and a management committee chaired by Karl Richter (one of the two local people, both architects by training, behind the initiative) and composed, amongst others, of persons from the Crystal Palace Campaign and the Norwood, Sydenham and Dulwich Societies (the writer being the Dulwich Society representative). On account of the difficulties and likely delay and cost of gaining safe access from the park (Bromley) side of the subway, the Friends developed a plan for access from the Southwark side by installing a new gate in the wall along the western side of Crystal Palace Parade. This will allow access to an existing stairway down to the subway, which would be made safe by installation of a hand rail and other safety features. The Friends applied to Southwark for planning permission for these works and this was granted in May 2013. The Friends conducted fundraising to meet the cost of these works and this has also been successful, with over £20,000 paid or pledged. The Dulwich Society has contributed £300. The Friends are actively developing detailed specifications for its proposals and negotiating with prospective contractors
Progress has however been slowed down, at least for the time being, by the bombshell announcement on 3 October of a proposal by Mr Ni Zhaoxing, a Chinese property billionaire and chairman of the ZhongRong Group based in Shanghai, to make a £500 million investment in Crystal Palace Park, involving the full scale reconstruction of the destroyed glass palace in its original location. His plans have been welcomed by both the Mayor of London and Bromley Council, but there remain many uncertainties. Just how serious is Mr Ni in his purportedly philanthropic gesture and what might his real motives be? One claim is that it is to house his private art collection, but if so why do his plans apparently include the construction of an underground car park for 3,000 vehicles? This compares with the car park for 900 on the roof of the bitterly opposed multiplex project that was defeated in 2001. How can the already congested local road infrastructure cope with so many vehicles without wholesale destruction of much of the adjoining communities. The Chinese plans cut across the existing Master Plan for the park which, following a Public Enquiry, has planning permission and widespread local support and they go counter to the Crystal Palace Act 1990 which prohibits such a large structure on the top site.
The Friends have not yet taken an official position on the Chinese proposals, but are watching the position closely.