The Dulwich Society received a very unusual request for help several weeks ago. A representative of Wellingborough Prison in Northamptonshire wrote to say that the prison which is due for closure, had in its keeping, three bronze plaques which had been discovered in the motor-cycle workshop. The correspondent had clearly been intrigued by the reappearance of the plaques which were World War1 memorial plaques to the fallen which originally must have been affixed to a church interior. Indeed, he was so intrigued that he did considerable research on the names on the plaques and (rightly) concluded that the men all came from Dulwich and East Dulwich. He also discovered that some were Congregationalists by religion and thought that the plaques might have been originally installed at Dulwich Grove Reformed Church which was subsequently bombed in the Second World War.
However, two names were known to members of the Dulwich Society’s Local History group – E.E. Spicer and C.W. Slatter. The first was the son of Sir Evan Spicer of Belair and it is known that Sir Evan was a member of Emmanuel Congregational Church, Barry Road (now renamed Christ Church). The second man, C. W. Slatter was an officer in the 15th London Company, The Boys’ Brigade and a friend of Harry Wall (see Brigid Gardner’s account of Ash Cottage)’ Emmanuel Church was also damaged during World War Two and it seems probable that the plaques were removed from the bomb damaged building for safe keeping.
There are fifty names on the plaques, all members of the church congregation. There is also a verse from Ezekiel 37.9
Come from the four winds O breath and breathe upon these slain, that they may live
The Society is facilitating the return and re-installation of the plaques to the new Christ Church which has been rebuilt next to the original building.