Dear Sir

I write as a former Trustee of the Dulwich Almshouse which has been written about in the last two issues of the Journal, to emphasise a consideration that should not be ignored. The amenity of Dulwich, with its many large and varied open spaces derives from the single ownership of the estate bequeathed by Edward Alleyn. But this amenity was not any part of his purpose. As has been well set out, he intended a school for poor boys and an almshouse for the elderly poor.

The educational object has been amply achieved with three large schools standing in spacious grounds with plenty of room to expand and adapt to future needs. Over half a dozen other schools, well provided with recreation space stand on lands that Alleyn bought.

Not so with the Almshouse. In all the spacious lands of Alleyn’s estate there should be room for a new Almshouse, but the enhanced restrictions of the planning system - for the benefit of the residents - make it very difficult to find a suitable site to carry forward Alleyn’s intent. This is a bitter paradox. Surely all who benefit from and defend the amenities of Dulwich should give whatever support they can to the Trustees in their efforts to provide a new Almshouse suitable for now and the future.

John Palmer
72 College Road, SE21


Letter to the chairman of the local history group...

Dear Mr Nurse

I have a carte de visité which figures a photographic image of Tit-Bits Villa, and has information printed on the reverse which states that the house was a competition prize offered by Tit-Bits magazine at Christmas 1883, and was won by Private William Robert Mellish of the 8th Hussars. He is figured standing at the entrance of the house. I understand that the house was/is in Dulwich, but beyond that I cannot discover any information.

Does the house still exist? If so, what is the address for it? Is it known whether Private Mellish actually lived in the house, or whether he realised his unexpected windfall and sold it on? Any information which might add to the picture would be invaluable.

Yours sincerely
Malcolm Dolby