Dulwich College Archives online
The most important archive relating to the birth of the English theatre is owned by Dulwich College and may now be studied free of charge online. The archive, which was previously only accessible to scholars, includes Philip Henslowe’s diary (all 476 pages). The diary is a valuable source of information of box office receipts, lists of plays, details of theatre design and a minutiae of other theatrical source material. Philip Henslowe was Edward Alleyn’s father-in- law and business partner and was the owner of the Rose Theatre on Bankside.
The archive, which comprises two thousand documents, also includes the only surviving contemporary actor’s script from the Shakespearean period as well as a list of theatrical properties owned by Edward Alleyn. Also available for study are numerous letters, playbills and other documents relating to the Elizabethan stage.
The archive was digitalised by a team from King’s College, London and Reading University under the direction of Professor Grace Ioppolo and made possible with a grant of £70,000 from charitable trusts. The process was done in high-resolution photography, allowing users to considerably enlarge the images for clarity. Professor Ioppolo said “Most of what historians know about the invention of the English professional theatre comes from the evidence in the Henslowe and Alleyn papers”.
To view the archive go to Henslowe-alleyn.org.uk One word of caution - you will need palaeography skills to read some of the documents.
The Charter School
One of the foremost nineteenth century landscape gardeners was Edward Milner (1819-1884) who lived at 1 Fountain Drive, a house which has only recently been reoccupied after a number of years of vacancy and neglect.
Milner, who was born in Derby, had been employed at Chatsworth, where he was apprenticed to Chatsworth’s head gardener, Joseph Paxton. After studying in Paris he became Paxton’s assistant, laying out the Italian Garden at Tatton Hall, Cheshire which had been designed by Paxton. When Paxton re-erected The Crystal Palace at Sydenham, Milner was appointed superintendent of works.
Thereafter, for some years, Milner pursued a distinguished independent career, amongst which was the design of two parks near Preston. In 1881 he became principal of the Crystal Palace School of Gardening, established by the Crystal Palace Company, a position he held until his death in 1884.
By coincidence, several years ago, the Dulwich architectural practise McChesney Architects won an RIBA competition to design a new pavilion for Avenham Park, Preston. The completed project is now the centrepiece of a Lottery funded scheme which restored two adjacent parks, Avenham and Miller Parks both designed by Edward Milner and opened in 1867. The new pavilion comprises a cloakroom, café, toilet facilities, ranger’s base and a small intimate performance space outside. It has recently been given a Civic Trust Award.
HM The Queen Diamond Jubilee
Now that the official announcement has been made that HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will be celebrated in 2012 with an extended Bank Holiday on Monday June 4 and Tuesday June 5, perhaps it is the moment to consider whether the Jubilee should be marked in some way in Dulwich. The Dulwich Society undertook the restoration of the fountain in the Village for the Silver Jubilee but did not commemorate the Golden Jubilee. Members’ suggestions for ways to locally commemorate the occasion with the provision of a permanent memorial would be welcomed and should be sent to Patrick Spencer, Hon Secretary, 7 Pond Cottages, SE21 7LE.
36 Calton Avenue
In the last issue of the Journal, Sharon O’Connor described her experiences in tracing the history of her house and its occupants following a visit to the Dulwich Society’s House Detectives Day. Now another missing piece of her jigsaw has been supplied. Founder member June de Baerdemaecker has contacted Sharon to say that her grandmother once lived in the house and June was a regular visitor and was able to show photographs of her family taken in the garden.
Good Friday at the Herne Hill Velodrome
An opportunity to see potential British Olympic cyclists in action locally will occur on Good Friday 2nd April when the Southern Counties Cycling Union hold their annual meeting at the Velodrome in Burbage Road.
First held in 1903, the Good Friday Meeting is one of British Cycling’s great institutions. Originally it was arranged as a one-off event but was such a huge success that the track was booked for the following year. Apart from a brief break during World War 11 and a break in 2004 because of a clash with a World Cup event in Manchester it has run fairly consistently ever since.
There is always a chance for the public to see top national and international cyclists compete and the meeting has built up a portfolio of signature events that have seen the stars of the time. Among these events are the White Hope Sprint, the International Sprint and the 10 Minute Pursuit which attract the fastest riders and may give a preview of what to expect at the Olympics in 2012.
Name the Lane
At one of its regular meetings with the Dulwich Estate, the Dulwich Society has asked the Estate to properly name the footpath leading from College Road to Gallery Road. Over the years it has borne a number of names - Lovers’ Lane, Pensioners’ Walk, Grove Walk. Nor is the choice of a name the only problem. Mothers with buggies cannot negotiate the kissing gate at Gallery Road (surely its presence favours the first name!). On the other hand the Estate is reluctant to change the style of the gates as it might encourage cyclists or motor-cyclists to use this pleasant path.
Restore the Lamp?
Dulwich Society member Rosemary Dawson is keen that the ornate but know disused gas lamp outside the former Toll Gate Cottage is restored. The lamp standard is not the original one but probably an attractive Edwardian replacement This suggestion is an admirable one if the present house owner is agreeable.