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.