400th Alleyn Anniversary Celebrations go with a swing

The several celebrations marking the building and consecration of Christ’s Chapel and the opening of Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift including the Dulwich Almshouse (Edward Alleyn House) and the Burial Ground all went extremely well, thanks to good planning and fine weather.

On 1st September a packed Christ’s Chapel, led by a splendid choir, heard the Bishop of Southwark preach at an evening service of Holy Communion, before moving into the Picture Gallery grounds for a reception. The balmy weather made the delightful setting even more pleasant.

A week later the residents of Edward Alleyn House (Dulwich Almshouse Charity) had their own celebration when they were joined by representatives of the Foundation parishes for the launching of the new history of the Dulwich Almshouse by Brian Green. During the evening, when the weather again stayed fine, a 400th anniversary celebration cake was cut by centenarian Carole Carver who has been a resident for the past twenty-five years.

During Open House Weekend at the end of September, the old Burial ground was opened and the Dulwich Society’s local history group gave guided tours, highlighting the story of some of those buried there. Altogether, some 475 visitors people made a visit during the afternoons of the weekend.

An information sign has been placed on the railings giving a brief history and the names of some of the better- known people interred there. Funded by the Mary Boast legacy, this is the first of a number of similar signs that the Society hopes to install around Dulwich over the next few months.

Christ’s Chapel 400th Anniversary Exhibition

An exhibition celebrating the 400th anniversary of the consecration of Christ’s Chapel of Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift will be open to the public at Dulwich College on Friday 2nd and Friday 9th December between 10 and 5pm. Guided tours by the curator Robert Weaver will take place at 10.30am, 11.30am, 2.30pm, 3.30pm. The exhibition will display manuscripts and artefacts connected with the chapel and also with the almshouse which was founded at the same time. Visitors should report to the Reception Office, Dulwich College where they will receive passes and be met by Mr Weaver. Entry is free.

Brian Wildsmith

Brian Wildsmith, the influential and prolific artist turned author of children’s books, died recently in France, aged 86. He wrote 82 books and has a museum in Japan dedicated to his works. He made his name in the 1960s and 70s with a number of colourful but simple books; his first, an illustrated ABC, won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal in 1962, the year after it came out. Other well-known publications include Birds (1967) named as the best illustrated book of the year by the New York Times, The Owl and the Woodpecker (1971) and A Christmas Story (1989). Before moving to Grasse in the south of France in 1971, apparently to get away from the dull British weather, he and his family lived in Dulwich, and were early residents in Ferrings, one of the Wates developments off College Road.

South London Botanical Institute is awarded City Bridge Trust grant

The South London Botanical Institute (SLBI), based in Tulse Hill, has been awarded £76,500 for an exciting new project, ‘Botany on Your Plate.’ The project will provide a range of activities introducing both children and adults to the science behind our food plants, helping people to understand where the food on their plate comes from. The project will start this autumn and take place over the next three years.

‘Botany on Your Plate’ will help people to engage with the plants and natural world around them, through discovering the environmental wonders of food plants. The project will encourage children and adults to grow food and to understand the local and global environments affecting what they eat. The Institute already offers a well-established, popular programme of educational activities around plant science, from curriculum-based school visits to adult workshops, talks and walks. ‘Botany on Your Plate’ will build on these activities to offer new topics around food plants - with the help of numerous plants growing outside in the SLBI garden. Whilst some people might already grow food at home or in their school garden, the Institute offers the opportunity to examine these plants under a microscope and to see the environments in which less familiar species such as hops, marshmallow and loquat grow.

The SLBI was founded in 1910 by Allan Octavian Hume, a dedicated social reformer, with the aim of bringing botany to the working people of south London. This aim continues today, with people from local communities and further afield able to explore the plant world, enjoy the botanic garden, library and herbarium, and participate in a wide range of activities for all ages and abilities.

The SLBI is open for frequent and varied events and activities, as well as general public openings on Thursdays from 10am-4pm. For more details see www.slbi.org.uk, call 020 8674 5787 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.