The four hundredth anniversary of the official blessing by the issue of Letters Patent, to Edward Alleyn’s foundation of the College of God’s Gift, as the Dulwich Estate, Alleyn’s School and Dulwich College were known in 1619, has been celebrated splendidly.
Anniversaries are useful pegs upon which to hang a welcome new building, improvement or enterprise and the schools and the Estate have risen admirably to the opportunity; the Estate by commissioning a film and an exhibition tracing its part in the development of Dulwich in helping maintain its beauty and open spaces. It has also created new amenities with the planting of the Village orchard and the installation of information boards with a linking heritage trail stretching from North Dulwich station to St Stephen’s Church. Alleyn’s School has marked the anniversary by planting 400 trees, one tree for every year, around its grounds, and has offered a program of free public lectures and the installation of eleven large panels outlining the School’s history and purpose around the school’s quadrangle. At Dulwich College the opportunity has been taken to restore the magnificent 19th century buildings and grounds, to publish a series of books relating to the College’s distinguished alumni (see the review of A Cradle of Writers by Patrick Humphries page 31) and promote an impressive series of public lectures. Both schools had memorable commemorative church services, Alleyn’s at Westminster Abbey and Dulwich College at St Paul’s.