The Village Orchard

Dulwich’s Village Orchard was opened and duly blessed by the Alleyn Foundation chaplain, the Revd John Watson, on Sunday 1st September, a day of bright sunshine. Created by The Dulwich Estate to mark the 400th anniversary of Edward Alleyn’s Foundation it is intended that the orchard will be a permanent community asset. It is opened daily during weekdays and it is hoped that it will soon be able to make arrangements to open it at weekends.

The London Wildlife Trust which has been entrusted with its management, had information displays and demonstrated examples of wood turning. It is now lookw2s3ing for volunteers to assist with the orchard’s maintenance. Colourful bunting, a folk band, ice cream stalls and local cider gave the day the proper festive atmosphere. Speeches were made by Nicola Meredith, chairman of the Dulwich Estate Trustees, Helen Hayes Dulwich’s MP and Rachel Dowse from the London Wildlife Trust. During the afternoon the Burbage Road Time Capsule containing memorabilia of the road’s celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Richard Burbage’s death was buried in the new orchard.

The site of the orchard, 0.3 hectares in size, served as the Old Grammar School playground in the 19th century. It was planted in March with 38 young apple trees, medlar and mulberry trees. A first opportunity to view them was provided by an open day on Saturday 18 May, as part of the Dulwich Festival.

The orchard has also been planted with wild flowers: some 400 bluebells, wild tulips, wild garlic, poppy seeds and hyacinths. Dulwich Estate staff were assisted by Almshouse residents and pupils from Alleyn’s School.

A new gate has been installed for access on Gallery Road, hand-carved by Peckham artist Samuel Adams. In the orchard are several new wooden benches.

The apple varieties in the orchard are heritage trees selected from the national fruit collection at Brogdale Farm, near Faversham.

The oak tree planted by the Dulwich Society in memory of Rosa Davis has been labelled: “In memory of Rosa Davis, 1911-2009, A passionate and active supporter of Dulwich trees and wildlife”. Rosa served on the Dulwich Society’s Trees, Wildlife and Gardens committees.

Another oak tree in the orchard commemorates Jeremy Gotch (1934-2013): “In memory of Jeremy M B Gotch, Estate Governor, then Dulwich Estate Trustee 1981-2005. Chairman 1994-96.”

Dulwich at Battle Stations

War is declared every Monday from 7pm - 10.30pm at St Barnabas Parish Hall in Dulwich Village. You can take your pick; from re-fighting the Battle of Waterloo, Hannibal crossing the Alps or the DDay landings!

Started some fifteen years ago when a curate at St Barnabas was interested in wargaming, the South London Warlords have met almost every Monday evening ever since. Tables are covered with meticulously painted miniature figures, trees and buildings as wars through the ages are re-enacted and debated upon. All enthusiasms are catered for, from fantasy gaming based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to modern warfare scenarios. There is a What If’s? section in which players plan alternative scenarios to real wars. Once a month, in addition to the regular Mondays, a Big Game Saturday is held in St Barnabas Hall, using both the main and the rear halls from 9am-9pm.

The group has a membership of around 80 members who pay an annual fee of £120. There is a reduced fee for under 16’s.It also runs Europe’s largest Wargaming Fair every April at Excel, London which is called ‘Salute’. Those members who help to run the event have their annual membership fees refunded.

Anyone interested in wargaming is invited to look in any Monday evening. Full details of the activities of the South London Warlords can be found on

Climate Change - should the Dulwich Society be more pro-active?

In view of the wide publicity concerning climate change and respiratory complaints being caused by pollution, should the Dulwich Society take up the challenge of trying to improve the air quality of Dulwich

It is acknowledged that trees have a beneficial effect in absorbing both carbon dioxide and nitrogen gases caused by traffic fumes. It is also widely agreed that green space in the form of woods, parks, gardens, open country, have a beneficial effect on the mental health of the population.

One of the Dulwich Society’s members, the late David Nicholson-Lord, a journalist, specialising in environmental issues, was a great campaigner on the greening of city landscapes and the planting of trees to effect this. He would certainly have agreed that a way forward could be for the Society to commission of a study with a view increasing the number of trees in the Dulwich area.

This is something that the Dulwich Society might be able to implement.

How would it then work? The planting of recommended species could be paid for through sponsorship via schools, residents’ associations and individuals by crowd funding

Where planting on sports grounds is concerned, one possibility is that former field boundaries, previously marked by hedgerows could, where possible, be replanted with appropriate trees. The planting of trees oe4n the perimeter of grounds could also be carried out, and avoiding the blocking of light and views on neighbouring properties.

The Dulwich Estate, as lessor of such grounds could consider reducing annual rent of the grounds to offset the additional costs of ground maintenance by the sports clubs.

The sports clubs could facilitate the planting by allowing machinery to enter their grounds and to be responsible for the care of the trees thereafter.

Is there an appetite for such a challenge among members? It would be interesting to hear if there is, and. if a public meeting would be welcomed?

Images of Dulwich Calendar

The popular ‘Images of Dulwich Calendar’ is returning for 2020. Featuring a monthly seasonal photograph of Dulwich by Brian Green, the calendar is A4 size opening on a spiral to A3 and giving space for notes. From The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village. £10.95 including a mailing envelope.