150th Dulwich Society Local History meeting

The local history group which is active in promoting interest in Dulwich’s fascinating past celebrated its 50th year and its 150th meeting on 1 October. Many of the results of this research have been printed in the Journal and remain accessible online.

Here are just a few of the activities with which the group has been involved:

Who Was Who in Dulwich: since 1982 the group has been producing short biographies of people connected with Dulwich. In 2002 these were collated into a book and since then many more have been published. The original book is still available.

Information boards: the group has put up a number of information boards around Dulwich giving historical detail about local landmarks such as the burial ground, the tollgate, the millpond as well as the long-lost windmill. These have been very popular and more are planned.

Pubs of Dulwich: the stories of pubs in our corner of South London were collated in a beautifully-illustrated book published in 2016. This superb history is packed with detail and reveals much about the growth of London over the past three centuries. Copies are available to order on the website.

World War One: the group was responsible for the rescue and re-installation of three large bronze war memorials at the former Christ Church, Barry Road and instigated a publicity campaign involving BBC London News which covered the story.

The history of the Dulwich Volunteer Battalion, which has a memorial dedicated to it at St Peter’s Church, Dulwich Common, was researched and published

There has been a joint venture with the Herne Hill Society and the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery to commemorate the centenary of WW1 through in an interactive map. It shows how our neighbourhood was affected and illuminates Dulwich’s contribution to the war effort.

Dulwich Hospital’s historical significance when it was Southwark Military Hospital was traced, including the memorial to the 119 soldiers who died there in WW1. The memorial was restored using the list of names we researched and was funded by the War Memorials Trust.

World War Two: to mark the Society’s 50th year, the group researched twelve sites around Dulwich where there were significant civilian casualties during the Blitz and the V1 and V2 campaigns. At each site Dr Kenneth Wolfe conducted a dedication to the memory of those who lost their lives and the Society placed plaques bearing their names. At a number of the unveilings, survivors were traced and were present.. A free map showing the sites of the plaques was subsequently circulated to members and to Dulwich schools to be used by children studying WW2. A history of WW2 - ‘ Dulwich: The Home Front’ was published and reprinted and copies are available.

Walks and Talks: Local history walks are organised to coincide with the Dulwich Festival and are always sold out. Talks take place throughout the year and have included subjects such as Georgian Dulwich, the burial ground and tracing the history of your house.

Houses of Dulwich: booklets on the more significant houses in Dulwich, such as Belair, Kingswood and Bell House, have been produced as well as architectural and social histories of individual roads. A book on the lost houses of Dulwich is currently being researched.

Dulwich Maps: the local history group collaborated with Dulwich College Archives in making Dulwich Estate maps available online. The estate extends from Denmark Hill to Crystal Palace, and Herne Hill to Lordship Lane. Dating from 1852 through to 1932 the maps give a fascinating picture of the Estate's development over the last one hundred plus years.

Dulwich’s Road names: Ever wondered why your road has the name it does? A gazetteer on the website contains information on the names of all the roads on the Dulwich Estate. Iy may be reviewed on the Dulwich Society’s website.

King’s College Hospital ward name derivations: the names of 74 wards, buildings and centres were researched to provide a comprehensive history which has been adopted by King’s as their own archive had lost much of the information.

Old Burial Ground: the group researched the 114 graves and monuments that are visible on the site. Details of the inscriptions and background on many of the individuals interred there are available on our website and we also produced an illustrated leaflet and information board. The group has hosted guided tours around the burial ground as part of the Dulwich Festival.

Anyone actively interested in the history of Dulwich who wishes to join the group or help carry out research would be most welcome. Please email the Chairman, Bernard Nurse: history@dulwichsociety.com