In the last issue of the Journal we discussed the reduction in the CGS (Cleaner-Green-Safer) grants made by the Dulwich Community Council as part of Southwark Council’s cost cutting. Another piece of information has now come to light concerning cuts, this time to neighbourhood policing. The three wards which make up Dulwich (College, Village and East Dulwich) are to lose the services of one of the three sergeants, each responsible for the policing of a ward. College Ward will retain its sergeant but Village Ward and East Dulwich Wards will share the services of a police sergeant. The number of constables and PCSO’s (Police Community Support Officers) will remain the same in each ward.
On 15th September we will hear what cuts are likely to be made at Dulwich’s libraries. * At present the main Library is at 368 Lordship Lane, which is pictured on the cover of this Journal. Smaller, neighbourhood libraries are situated at Kingswood House and Grove Vale. Dulwich Library is used extensively for private study, internet access and is a very busy lending library. The two other libraries have heavily used juvenile sections. We have got used to longer opening hours of our libraries, including Sunday opening.
We have also got used to better maintained public parks, and in this Dulwich has done remarkably well, winning National Lottery funding for improvements to both Dulwich and neighbouring Peckham parks. The maintenance appears to be good and extensive new play apparatus both for children and adults has been provided. As a consequence our parks are very heavily used. We might all wish to see even more improvement but we should be pleased with what we have got. Will cut-backs in Council funding deliver us back into the bad old days of the recent past?
Compared with other London councils, Southwark has had a good record for house refuse collection and street cleaning and is prompt to deal with fly-tipping and the removal of graffiti. It will collect, free of charge, by special arrangement, larger unwanted household items and furniture. Unlike nearby boroughs such as Bromley, we have the very useful wheelie bin. We have not heard if these services are to be affected, but the appearance of a neighbourhood can deteriorate very quickly if this essential service is reduced.
So where the cuts might be made? With one voice Dulwich is likely to say - “in road improvements!” Such ’improvements’ as there have been are of dubious value; a lady cyclist was seriously injured at the new roundabout in the Village a few weeks ago, the speed humps on Red Post Hill are to be removed at a cost of £40,000 (plus VAT) because traffic thumping over them is affecting house foundations. My grandmother would certainly have made cuts into this budget. Yet we learn that Transport for London’s budget on roadworks is protected.
Yes, we do want winter’s ravages to road surfaces made good, we do want holes in pavements (usually left by service providers anxious to reduce their own costs) filled in. Yes we do like the lovely floral plots around the new improvements, but we could live without them.
*The Future of Dulwich Libraries will be one of the items on the agenda at the Dulwich Community Council Meeting to be held on 15 September at Dulwich Library, 368 Lordship Lane SE22 at 7pm. Be there!
The use of professional dog walkers in Sydenham Hill Woods is an ongoing problem. There have been many complaints in the last two years despite the sign telling them not to. They park their vans in the scout building car park and up to four or five dogs are let out, not all of them on leads. Clearly the walkers themselves are unable, or more likely unwilling to attempt to clean up the mess they leave, and local residents walking in the woods (and particularly their children) suffer the consequences. Also not everyone likes dogs, and large dogs off a leash and running free can be very intimidating.
The Society has been pressuring the Estate for some time to do something about it but the practice continues despite the signs. It may be that the next step is to limit walkers in the woods to no more than two dogs - which unfortunately could have some impact on residents but, on the plus side, should mean no more professional dog walkers.
Surprisingly it seems that there are quite a few Dulwich residents who use dog walkers - I had always thought that one of the benefits of keeping a dog was the exercise it gave you in walking them. It does seem obvious, that if they use professional walkers, they should know where their dogs are taken and they should make sure it is not to Sydenham Hill woods.
Another subject that the Society has been discussing with the Estate, with some success, is fences. Those of you who drive up Dulwich Wood Park should have noticed a marked improvement in the condition of some of the fences that border that road, although there is still some way to go on others. We have also been asking the Estate to deal with small outbreaks of graffiti on the fences in Low Cross Wood Lane opposite Sydenham Hill Station.
Last but not least, the red post, installed on the corner of Herne Hill and Red Post Hill last year, has been vandalised. Two of the arms were broken off when someone swung on them but, luckily they were quickly retrieved, and will be re-fixed as soon as possible.
Covering Shakespeare - and McKellen: David Weston talks about, and performs, cameos from the literature of the Bard and discusses his new book ‘Covering McKellen’. Dulwich Society special lecture by Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre actor David Weston on Sunday 6th November at 3pm Linbury Room, Dulwich Picture Gallery. What they said about ‘Covering McKellen’
Shakespeare's greatest play, directed by the most experienced and acclaimed director in the land, starring one of our very finest actors at the very peak of his powers...”...What could possibly go wrong?
The stage is set for what promises to be one of the greatest tours in the history of theatre. Take a front row seat as a whole host of stars lead by Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Trevor Nunn set off to take the world by storm with their new production of King Lear - only to endure injuries, critical backlash and almost constant controversy.As understudy to the King himself, Weston’s frank and funny account takes us right through from the London rehearsals to the historical Stratford Season, back to the glittering West End, and then out across the globe.
Punctuated with hilarious celebrity anecdotes, insightful travelling tales, and lessons for any aspiring thespian, Weston deftly lifts the curtain on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s much heralded tour and reveals the chaos underneath.
‘Covering McKellen’ by David Weston, published by Rickshaw September 1st.
We were very lucky. It was a day of heavy showers but they all seemed to occur while we were on the coach. Our trip took us to Pashley Manor (at Lamberhurst).
The Manor is now owned by James Sellick, an ex Dulwich resident, who was delighted to see a party of us from Dulwich. Mr Sellick gave us a most interesting talk on the history of the house. We then spent some time looking around the gardens which were outstandingly good. We couldn’t find a single weed in any of the immaculately cut lawns. If you have never been there, it’s well worth a visit.
After lunch we drove on to Scotney Castle, where most of us visited both the ‘new’ house (built in 1837) as well as the garden. We were just too late in the season for the rhododendrons and azaleas but we had an enjoyable walk through beautiful parkland, followed by tea and needless to say, a visit to the shop.
Gallery Road Hedgerow Restoration
A welcome sight when drivers turn off the South Circular, the swathe of rural-style greenery that borders Gallery Road is about to get a major facelift. Restoration of the western side of the ancient hedgerow will take place in November, thanks to a £500 Dulwich Community Council grant and a further contribution from the Dulwich Society.
There are not many visual reminders of the pastoral landscape that once ringed London, but here, a handful of miles from St Paul’s, are the remnants of the hedgerow that separated the former mediaeval field networks from the country lane (Back Lane, now Gallery Road) that led into the village. Hedgerows have been in drastic decline since the end of the Second World War but here in Dulwich we are hoping to reverse the trend, with the help of London Wildlife Trust and teams of local volunteers. A range of native shrubs will add to the existing species, in a bid to breathe new life into this ancient, valuable hedge. Its location, alongside a busy road, will work in the scheme’s favour because, interestingly, hedgerows adjacent to roads tend to be particularly species-rich. The enhanced vegetation will also be an invaluable soaker-up of traffic pollutants.
The hedge on both sides of Gallery Road has been shown to contain a rich mix of 50 plant species, including several indicators of unimproved and never-developed land, according to a series of surveys by Roy Vickery, chair of South London Botanical Institute and a former department head of the Natural History Museum. Linking Dulwich’s other bio-diverse green spaces, like Dulwich and Belair Parks, the hedge provides an important corridor for wildlife, including birds, bats, butterflies and other insects.
Angela Wilkes Chair, Wildlife Committee
The Society has recently been shown the Estate’s detailed proposals for converting the Grade II listed Crown and Greyhound into a twenty bedroom hotel.
The existing ground floor bars, the restaurant, and the main function room at the front of the first floor will all be retained. There will be no alterations to the front elevation, the dormer windows or the main roof. The unsightly escape stair and kitchen vent will be removed from the rear elevation and a new lift shaft added - in matching brickwork, which will finish at second floor level so as not to impact upon the appearance of the roof profile. The building will also be completely rewired and re-plumbed.
The entrance to the proposed hotel will be from the passageway on the left hand (north) side. The large garage at the rear of the north side will be demolished and the former skittle alley converted into bedrooms and a manager’s flat. The rear function room on the first floor will be converted into bedrooms and there will be additional rooms built over the restaurant extension at the rear. The second floor will be all bedrooms and there will two more bedrooms in the third floor attic.
Off street parking (20 spaces) will be located partly on the site of the former garage and partly on a currently vacant site on the southern boundary. All the existing trees on the site will be retained as will the large garden area at the rear backing on to the gardens of houses in Woodward Road.
The basic construction work is expected to take around 12-15 months and the building will be out of use for that period.
The Estate has confirmed that it will be consulting residents who live nearby but the Society has urged it to hold a public exhibition as the pub is a very popular local amenity and consultation should be as wide as possible.
Future of Southwark Cemeteries
Southwark Council has an urgent need to review the burial provision in the borough as burial space is running out very fast. The Council is keen to hear the views of residents about the future of the borough’s cemetery service, to discuss the lack of burial space and share ideas about the options available to address it. There are currently eight options on which the Council is seeking the views from the public. You can take part in this borough-wide public consultation and submit your views online now by visiting http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200308/current/2231/the_future_of_southwarks_cemeteries/1
Herne Hill Velodrome
The surfacing of the track at the velodrome began at the end of July with funding secured by British Cycling. The velodrome was chosen as Southwark’s Olympic Legacy Project and a bid has been submitted for some legacy funding to improve the cycling facilities so that it can be usable all year round. Part of the proposal is for low-level, low-intensity, track-targeted lighting so that children, particularly, can continue their after school training sessions, as the autumn evenings draw on. It is understood that when funds allow, it is hoped to put an all weather multi-sports surface in the central grassed area of the circuit.
Training sessions resume on Saturday 3rd September from 9am. On Sunday 4th September women’s training sessions resume.
Dulwich Vegetable Garden
The Dulwich vegetable Garden, located behind Roseberry Lodge in Dulwich Park is looking splendid. Sponsored by ‘Dulwich Going Greener’ it had a difficult start; the site required a lot of volunteer labour to clear the dense undergrowth and there were hold-ups with planting. The Garden is now well established both as a garden and as an institution, with work sessions on Sundays and Wednesdays 10.30am-12.30pm. Participants share both the work and the produce. It is run as an organic, wildlife-friendly, disability-friendly garden and invites more volunteers.
Dulwich Riding School’s 50th Anniversary
This year the Dulwich Riding School celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. It was opened on what was then a waste site in 1961 by Jim Bellman, the father and grandfather of the current proprietors, Linda and Jaye. Starting with the original row of five stables, the riding school expanded, adding more stables, a ring and a much needed covered school. There was then, and still remains a dedicated team of staff and students. Today, it is an accredited centre which trains NVQ students to become qualified riding instructors.
It accepts total beginners and offers classes in novice dressage and some jumping seven days a week. Dulwich Riding School has returned to competition and a team of ten local children recently competed at Hickstead where one young rider won the ‘Most promising rider’ class and where one of the horses won ‘The horse the judges would like to take home’. The School has a total of 21 horses and a foal (named Beaux James in honour of Jim). The biggest horse is Tim, at 15 hands 2”, and the oldest is Gwen who is aged 28 years. Students from Dulwich College, Kingsdale, Alleyns, Oakfield and other local schools attend as part of their school curriculum.
Riding is also conducted in Dulwich Park, into which the School has its own access gate. Early morning rides, when the park is empty are the most satisfactory. Last year, one of the horses, a mare, five months pregnant, was attacked by a pit bull terrier in Dulwich Park. The horse trotted back to the riding school and required 47 stitches to its injuries. Happily, it has made a full recovery.
Price rises have been kept to a minimum and group tuition is £25 per hour, private riding with instructor in Dulwich Park (7.30am) £40, individual weekday instruction £35. Further information: telephone number 020 8693 2944 and the School’s website.
The Friends of Kingswood House Open Day will take place on Sunday 18th September 1-4.30pm as part of Open House Weekend. During the proceedings, a Southwark Heritage blue plaque dedicated to John Lawson Johnson, the one time owner of Kingswood who transformed the original large Georgian mansion into its present pseudo-Scottish Baronial style in 1895, will be unveiled. Johnson was famous as the inventor of ‘Bovril’. A revised version of A History of Kingswood House by Patrick Darby has been reissued, priced £8, by Southwark Council, and will be on sale during the day.
New Christ’s Chapel Guide
Christ’s Chapel or as it is perhaps better known, the College Chapel, is almost 400 years old. It has been a witness of all the national disasters of civil war, plague, religious intolerance and more recently of religious apathy. It is the focus of all the Foundation schools’ end of term chapel services and the venue for Dulwich College’s robed Chapel Choir which holds some fifteen choral services each year. It also houses one of the nation’s most priceless musical instruments, an organ, built in 1760 by George England which was restored at a cost of £400,000 two years ago. The recitals given on this organ are a musical must. The story of the Chapel is documented in a new, fully illustrated colour guide by Brian Green.
Among the more unusual aspects of such a guide is a virtual blow by blow account of the wrangling between the various religious factions of seventeenth century England. The mystery surrounding the Chapel’s extraordinary decoration with numerous carved animals and mythological creatures is finally solved. The booklet would make a pleasing present to visitors or residents alike. Christ’s Chapel, Dulwich : A Guide is priced £5 and is available at the Chapel, Dulwich Picture Gallery Shop and local bookshops.
St Barnabas Church Choir Italian Tour
A party of 59 members from St Barnabas, including 46 members of its choir, with ages ranging from 8-71 gave four concerts in Umbria, Italy in August. Two years ago a similar tour was such a success, it was decided to repeat it and Riccardo Bonci, the assistant organist and native of Terni in Umbria, where the choir will be based, assisted with the organisation.
Concerts were given at Terni Cathedral, the Basilica of the Temple of Consolation in Todi, the 12th century church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Spello and at Foligno Cathedral. Interspersed with the rehearsals and concerts was a full programme of sight-seeing, swimming and relaxation.
Voluntary Care Centre
The Voluntary Care Centre (VCC) is a charity based in Forest Hill that was set up in 1969. It runs The Voluntary Driving Scheme which provides regular or one-off journeys to people who are no longer able to use public transport. Most of our clients are elderly and isolated and over the last 10 years we have taken hundred of people to hospital and doctors’ appointments, and social clubs.
Yet none of this would have been possible without our team of VOLUNTEER DRIVERS, who volunteer their time and vehicles. If you have your own car and are free during the day, then why not become a volunteer driver? Training and expenses are given and in return for your time, you will get to meet some really nice people and enjoy a sense of satisfaction from helping someone.
Two Southwark charities plan collaboration for the benefit of older people. Dulwich Helpline and Southwark Churches Care, two charities working with older people in Southwark, have announced their intention to work in collaboration from the same location in Dulwich Community Hospital. Both charities have been in existence since the early 1990s and have extensive experience of providing support for older people.
The idea has been under discussion since late 2010. The Trustees decided that the two charities, both of whom use volunteers to work with isolated older people in adjoining areas in Southwark, could save money and increase the scope of what they offer by working much more closely together and sharing back office costs.
The Trustees believe that the opportunities for creating viable and sustainable befriending and support services will be greatly enhanced by working together rather than separately. By collaborating, the two charities will have access to a combined volunteer force of 360 volunteers offering assistance to over 630 service users.
Ted Salmon, Chairman of Dulwich Helpline and Adrian Greenwood, Chairman of Southwark Churches Care said ’’ We warmly welcome this initiative to work together more closely and have every hope that the partnership will benefit the older people who use our services now or might do so in the future’’.
Dulwich Helpline was launched in 1993. Its mission is to improve the quality of life and help to prevent physical and mental deterioration of isolated older people in south Southwark by running volunteer projects designed to combat loneliness, provide emotional and practical support and enable older people to continue to live in their own homes.
Southwark Churches Care was set up in 1994 by the Southwark Ecumenical Borough Deans, in response to concerns of the new Community Care Act, recognising that the legislation enabling older people to remain in their own homes could also inadvertently lead to their social isolation. SCC's one-to-one befriending scheme engages members of the local churches of all denominations in the Borough, as well as volunteers from the wider community, in contributing their time and skills to the needs of vulnerable and potentially lonely older people living in their neighbourhoods,
Both charities offer older people opportunities for social interaction and support including one-to-one befriending and social groups. This has a positive impact on feelings of wellbeing, facilitates independent living and reduces reliance on statutory services. At a time when the statutory services are under increasing pressure to provide services only for the most needy, this is an important initiative which will offer services to more elderly and isolated people by using staff and volunteers more effectively.
Barbara Scott, Dulwich Helpline 020 8299 2623
Marcia Green, Southwark Churches Care 020 725 6381
Autumn Fund Raising Events for Dulwich Helpline
On Sunday 11th September at 6 p.m. in the Holst Hall, James Allen’s Girls’ School, East Dulwich Grove, the James Allen Community Orchestra (JACO) will be giving a concert in aid of local charity Dulwich Helpline. The programme will consist of Elgar’s Cello Concerto (Soloist: Paul Brunner) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. There is now a well-established partnership between the two organisations and this will be the orchestra’s ninth concert in respect of this. Tickets priced at £7 (concessions - £5) can be obtained by sending a stamped-addressed envelope and cheque (payable to “JAGS”) to “Music Department, JAGS, East Dulwich Grove, London SE22 8TE”.
JACO is a vibrant high-calibre orchestra made up of local professional and non-professional musicians. They currently perform twice-yearly, and they always play major works from the orchestral repertoire.
On Sunday 27th November Brian Green will give an illustrated talk entitled Three Spies and an Invention - a different account of wartime Dulwich which tells of an amazing series of coincidences which occurred in Dulwich during the Second World War. The talk will be in the Linbury Room, Dulwich Picture Gallery at 3pm Tickets £7 and £5 (concessions) will be available from Dulwich Helpline telephone 020 8299 2623.
Dulwich Helpline has recently introduced a Friends Scheme and if you’d like to become a “Friend of Dulwich Helpline”, please contact them for a Friends form on 020 8299 2623. You will receive their quarterly Newsletter and will be kept up-to-date on their various events.