As members will know, last year, to mark its fiftieth year, the Society placed twelve plaques around Dulwich to commemorate civilians killed in World War 2. Southwark Community Council has now awarded the Society a grant though the CGS programme to fund the production and printing of a small map showing a numbered trail marking the sites of the plaques. Photographs of some of the scenes of the incidents and an explanatory text are also included. It is proposed to circulate the maps, free of charge, to all Dulwich schools so that they might be used by children studying WW2 as part of their curriculum. The plaques have created considerable interest from those who were unaware of the scope of the air-raids Dulwich suffered and who are curious to discover some of its history. Each member of the Dulwich Society will also receive a copy included in the Journal later this year.
Some years ago, Southwark Council placed a small number of explanatory plaques on historic buildings in the borough. Most were, understandably, placed on key sites like Bankside but Dulwich received a couple. One can still be seen on the wall of the Dulwich Estate’s office (The Old College).
In view of the success of the WW2 plaques, the Society’s local history group suggests that there now seems to be a case for considering putting explanatory texts on Dulwich’s historic points of interest. It would also possible to provide a code on the texts which can be accessed by a mobile phone app to provide an even more detailed account of the historic significance of the site.
So where springs to mind to put up such texts? The stocks site in the Village, the Old Burial Ground containing thirty-five of Dulwich’s plague victims, the Millpond and Pond Cottages, North Dulwich Station and its connection with the flying bomb campaign of WW2 would all be good contenders. Then there is the 400 year old Christ’s Chapel, the Picture Gallery and houses like Kingswood and Belair which are publically owned and which have interesting stories to tell. There are also historic private houses if the owners are willing. Members who were at the AGM and heard the fascinating story of the early Gaumont film studios on Champion Hill would undoubtedly support one placed on that site.
The London Wildlife Wildlife Trust is to be congratulated on the success of its three-year plan to restore the Dewy Pond in Dulwich Wood and the small stream, the Ambrook, which feeds it. As you will see on page 26, the result has been spectacular. There is now a pond dipping platform to enable school groups to carry out experiments.
The Woods are formed of two sections, notionally separated by a line of posts to the west of the former high level railway trackbed. The eastern section is called Sydenham Hill Wood and is administered by The London Wildlife Trust and the western section called Dulwich Wood is administered by the Dulwich Estate. Both organisations work well together, indeed, the Dewy Pond is in Dulwich Wood and the Estate contributed to the cost of the pond dipping platform, but as we have seen the enterprise was orchestrated by the Trust.
The management of both woods, and a visitor would be hard put to see where one starts and the other ends, is in good hands and its condition and appearance a credit to all involved.
The recent Dulwich Community Council heard an urgent request to provide additional traffic control measures outside Dulwich Hamlet and Dulwich Village Infants in Turney Road. There had apparently been cases of parents dropping children off on the zig zag lines and, even more dangerous, incidents where drivers had driven on the wrong side of the road around the pedestrian islands. Unfortunately the scheme proposed had been put together in a hurry without any thought of the implications on local residents’ parking and is having to be re-thought.
While it is clear that something needs to be done here, it is also illustrative of a piecemeal approach to traffic improvements in the area where an attempt to solve one problem, eg cycling safety, impacts adversely on pedestrians or car drivers - the Burbage Road traffic island is a case in point where the Society has secured CGS funds for the pedestrian island to be put back. Something similar has nearly happened further down in Turney Road where the London Cycling Campaign, without consultation, is proposing new cycling lanes which will seriously impact on residents' parking.
In order to try and look at all aspects of traffic movement in Dulwich more holistically, the Society, together with campaigning group 'Safer Routes to Schools', is sponsoring a public meeting where Sustrans (the charity that campaigns for sustainable transport) will put forward a range of options for improvements which will. it is hoped, benefit everyone, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport and car users alike.
There are already some good ideas on the table including the proposed off-road cycle and pedestrian route through the Herne Hill Velodrome and Griffin Sports Ground to link Burbage Road to Dulwich Village, and the new junction improvements at Townley Road and Calton Avenue. Other possibilities include converting Gilkes Place into a pedestrian priority road as part of the S G Smith redevelopment or putting a cycling route along one side of College Road south of Dulwich Common.
Even very minor tweaks can have beneficial outcomes eg the instruction to coach drivers using Calton Avenue in the morning not to block the junction at Court Lane has improved safety for children crossing into the village schools.
What other innovative solutions are there? Come and find out on 11th June.
The Dulwich Society and the Dulwich Safe Routes to School Group of parents and schools invite you to a public meeting to discuss these issues. It will be in the upstairs meeting room at the Crown and Greyhound, Dulwich Village, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday June 11.
Farewell to PELO
After ten successful years of football coaching in the field next to The Old Grammar School in Gallery Road, PELO has had to close. Its closure is a combination of an inability to obtain funding assistance and the decision to retire by its founder, Mauritius born Mario Fauvrelle. Mario has dedicated the last fifteen years to providing football training with a difference to a largely Afro-Caribbean young membership. The name PELO is an acronym for Positive - Education - Learning - Organisation. The Club has provided more than intensive football coaching, in a room in the pavilion are two banks of computers for the youngsters to work on and next door is a clubroom with table tennis.
Mario who is approaching 60 years of age is a little sad but philosophical about the closure. He speaks with pride about the success in life that many of the boys have gone on to have. He can be assured that he has given huge support and encouragement to the young players all of whom were a credit to PELO.
Flood alleviation works for Dulwich and Herne Hill
On 25th March 2014, Southwark Council granted planning permission for a £3.745m scheme to tackle the risk of surface water and sewer flooding in Dulwich and Herne Hill.
The project sees Southwark Council, Thames Water and the Environment Agency working together to deploy a number of innovative techniques across the area to create a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS).
Work will be focused in Dulwich and Belair Parks, as well as in the Dulwich Community Sports Ground in Turney Road. This follows many months consulting with residents and local community groups. The scheme of works includes the construction of grass covered banks (bunds) to channel rain water towards drainage points, a new wetland area in Belair Park and underground tanks providing storage for rainwater which will be gradually released into the sewer system over time.
In Dulwich Park, a works compound with portacabins and equipment has been established along the spur road leading to Queen Mary Gate. The construction phase is expected to last approximately six months. Works vehicles will exit under supervision via the Court Lane Gate. The works necessitate the closure of the children’s playground for around three months. The main carriageway will be raised by up to a metre in two places, as well as the pathway between the café and the playground, with dedicated footpaths to be installed on a temporary basis to circumvent the closed sections.
Thames Water has set up a website giving details of the works, together with an indicative timeline. They will update this regularly. The link is :
There will be noticeboards in the Park highlighting the affected areas.
Unfortunately, the flood alleviation works are likely to impact on the installation of the new sculpture to replace the stolen Barbara Hepworth statue. A planning application has been made and the work was expected to be installed by the autumn. But this might be delayed.
Send for The Pied Piper!
The services of Hamelin District Council might have to be sought soon as the problem of rat infestation around the lake in Dulwich Park grows. As many as twenty rats at one time have now been seen around the reed beds and along the boardwalk. If not dealt with soon this will bring into question the safety of boating on the lake where the threat of Weil’s disease might be present.
Garden Safari: Sunday 15 June 2014 2pm-6pm
2014 marks the seventh year of the annual Garden Safari - launched by Dulwich Helpline (now Dulwich Helpline & Southwark Churches Care) as a way of raising money within the community to support its work offering friendly, volunteer support to isolated, older people living locally. The Safari comprises four or five gardens open on the same Sunday afternoon, all within walking distance of each other. Safari-goers buy a ticket that has a map printed on it showing where the gardens are and, most importantly, which garden is serving the tea and home-made cakes! There is always a great atmosphere at the Safaris with families embarking together for a lovely afternoon out (even in those years when the weather has been challenging ...). The plant stall is placed at the opening garden so that people can easily carry their purchases back to their cars.
We have always taken care to locate the Safari in a different part of Dulwich each year. We have been in the Village, up Court Lane; down Burbage/Stradella Road and over the South Circular to Alleyn Road. Last year we held the Safari in Grove Park, Camberwell to underline the fact that Dulwich Helpline had merged with Southwark Churches Care and now helps isolated, older people over a broader swathe of Southwark. We also look to provide variety in the kinds of gardens we include. This year we are focusing on the southern part of our catchment area and highlighting some beautiful woodland gardens in Sydenham Hill. The Safari will start at Fountain House , 17 Sydenham Hill SE26 6SH and two of the gardens featured also open for the NGS so the Safari will be offering amazing value for money at £5 to see all the gardens! I hope we shall have a great turn-out this year to help our work with older people.
Katharine St John-Brooks
Chairman, Dulwich Helpline & Southwark Churches Care
The Society held a public meeting at the Crown and Greyhound on the 18 March to discuss the future of Dulwich’s green spaces.
“The thin end of the wedge?”
Residents in Dulwich have been very concerned over recent planning decisions where even Metropolitan Open Land status has not been enough to protect our green open spaces. But what is the real threat to our green spaces? Will recent planning decisions lead to new developments overrunning our green space?
The Society looked at 25 open spaces and sports fields managed by the schools, charities, trusts and Southwark/Lambeth in the immediate Dulwich area + 15 other spaces, pocket parks and wooded areas. Our research revealed that for the most part the sports fields are very well maintained and heavily utilised with hundreds of user groups from across Dulwich and from other parts of the borough. Several clubs are fund raising to enhance their clubhouses and improve their sporting facilities. The research has not revealed major concerns about the viability of most local sports grounds which is gratifying nor does there appear to be widespread concern over the likelihood of future developments on these spaces, which will be a relief to many, although it does not undo the precedent set by a recent planning decision.
The Dulwich Society held a public meeting in March to present these findings and discuss the future of Dulwich’s sports ground and open spaces.
There is clearly a need to continue to monitor this issue and it was suggested that the Society consider setting up a ‘green spaces’ group to bring the various clubs and charities who run them together - to share knowledge and work to maximise the use of the grounds. Already several chairs of local sports clubs have expressed an interest in getting involved in the group to share knowledge and expertise. Reducing the impact of poor weather conditions and flooding to extend the usage of the facilities is one such issue. Other points at the meeting for the group to consider:
If you are concerned about this issue and might wish to join a Green Spaces Group please contact the chairman at:
Burbage Road Nature Garden
The Dulwich Society Wildlife Group planted some 100 native hedgerow species ‘whips’ on the Burbage Road plot belonging to Alleyn’s Sports Club on 29th March with the help from London Wildlife Trust volunteers. We were able to complete the first stage of this project by planting a hedge around the perimeter fences of the garden. It is the intention to complete the planting in the Autumn. We have in mind planting honeysuckle against the brick wall and creating more interesting ground cover by introducing wildflowers. The Dulwich Society has funded the first stage of this project - £220 - and we shall apply for further funding from the Dulwich Community Council later in the year.
Dulwich and Herne Hill Flood Alleviation Scheme
Under the scheme it is proposed to lower the water level of the lake in Dulwich Park to accommodate flood water. The Wildlife Group raised concern that this could adversely affect wildlife, as the lake is not very deep and it is not known what the minimum water level should be. They have therefore, together with Dulwich Park Friends, urged Southwark Council to commission an Ecology Report from the Wildlife and Wetland Trust. The survey has since been carried out, and we have been assured that any recommendations will be carried out.
Herne Hill Velodrome
The Velodrome Trust and its architects for the replacement of the 1890s Pavilion are examining the results of the current pre-application local consultation. They expect to apply for Planning Consent in time to begin work on site by the end of 2014 and to complete the work by the summer of 2015. The current scheme will not require a second entrance. Local residents are being kept informed on progress.
(1) The Community Council has agreed to fund out of CGS funds a raised pedestrian crossing near the western end of Lovers’ Walk.
(2) Again using CGS funds, the pedestrian refuge island at the eastern end of Burbage Road is to be replaced during this summer.
The Traffic and Transport committee is also pursuing the possibility of a walking and cycling path from Burbage Road to Dulwich Village through the Velodrome and Griffin sites. The first stage of a study of the practical feasibility of this was a topographical survey. Local residents are being kept informed about this proposal
Dates for your Diary
Bats, Buildings and Bubbly!
On Tuesday 9th September The Dulwich Society’s Wildlife and Local History Groups are holding a joint evening at the Dulwich & Sydenham Golf Club. Drinks will be served at 6pm and the opportunity will be taken to view the valley of Dulwich from the Club’s balcony which enjoys a superb aspect towards London. Brian Green will talk about the history of view points which can be seen. Following this talk, there will be a guided walk conducted in several groups into the woods by wildlife experts to identify birds, wildlife and plants and to view the restored Dewy Pond. Good footwear is recommended.
In the event of bad weather both talks will be held inside the Clubhouse, with illustrations. The event is free but numbers will be limited. Tickets will be issue on a first come first served basis. Please send a s.a.e to Patrick Spencer, 7 Pond Cottages, SE21 7LE stating if one or two tickets are required.
Trees Group Visit
The Trees Group hopes to visit Kew Gardens on Wednesday 24th September, arriving by Public Transport. We will then use their 'Train' for the 35 minute journey. We will have as Guide an arborealist, particularly to see their Zelkovas and indicate other trees of particular interest, eg their Wollumi Pine (new discovery).
We may possibly also see KEW PALACE, (which shuts end of September). At our leisure we can then use the 'Train' Hop on - Hop off service. The event and cost is yet to be confirmed. Please ring JiIl Manuel with any queries tel: 8693 0256
Dulwich Community Hospital
Dulwich residents who attended the Dulwich Community Council meeting in March were very unhappy to hear about the slow progress on the redevelopment of the Dulwich Community Hospital site. The Regional Disposal lead for the NHS Property Company who are the current owners of the site, told the meeting that his organisation had now gone out to consultation to a GLA panel of developers for advice on the best location on the site for the proposed health facility - with regard to maximising the development potential for the remainder of the site. The meeting was extremely unhappy and reminded him, and officers from the Southwark CCG who were also there, that the site was seen as an asset to the community, and should be used to provide local facilities such as a new school, and not just as a cash cow for housing developers. Both councillors and members of the audience repeatedly asked to see a copy of the brief given to the developers' panel - the response was less than helpful.
Further discussion confirmed that the time scale had still not been determined and that wide public consultation on the future of the site did not appear to feature in the NHS Property Company’s programme.
There is clearly a potential danger that there will be no new community facilities on the site other than the health facility - is this acceptable to residents? Surely not.
While Southwark’s schools have leapt up the national Ofsted tables in 2013 with 87 per cent of primary and secondary schools getting a good or outstanding rating is excellent news, there is an acute shortages of state school places in Dulwich, Peckham and South Southwark ,especially at the primary stage. Ultimately these shortages will filter through to the secondary school system.
The Society started reporting on this in 2012 when forecasts suggested that there would be a continuing shortage of primary school places in our area rising to up to 90 primary places (equivalent of 3 forms) in Dulwich by September 2016. Now we learn that despite warnings and efforts to create new schools and “bulge classes” the proportion of Southwark children being offered a place in one of their chosen primary schools is at a five-year low, according to new figures so there is an urgent need to expand places.
Official admissions figures for the borough show that 5.8% (197) of four and five-year olds were not offered a place at any of their six preferred schools for September’s reception year intake - up from 4% last year. So there is still much work to do.
The Society is very supportive of the opening of new schools, and has helped in a number of ways relating to buildings & land for schools, and advising on traffic & transport issues.
A number of projects are in progress to address the school place shortage.