DULWICH SOCIETY ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - 2010- REPORTS
The Society has had another successful year. Particular highlights include the publication of the first edition of ‘Dulwich Gardens open for charity’, the successful Cleaner Greener Safer bid for the Marlborough Cricket Club (work there will start shortly) and the very well attended local history day held in conjunction with the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The Society’s Journal goes from strength to strength and the various specialist groups and committees continue to do their best to maintain Dulwich’s unique ambience.Once again I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of our Executive Committee and the Chairs, and members, of our committees for the time they dedicate to the Society and its activities. I would also include the members who deliver the newsletter around Dulwich and welcome the new volunteer deliverers and co-ordinators who have joined us over the last year.
Public Meeting - the Society promoted a public meeting in September when local residents were given the opportunity to question the Trustees of the Dulwich Estate. Over 200 people attended.
Residents Associations - the Society invited the officers of all resident’s associations on the Estate to an informal evening at the Dulwich & Sydenham Hill Golf Club in the Autumn so they could get to know each other and share information.
Herne Hill Velodrome - The Society continues to press the Dulwich Estate, British Cycling and the Velo Club de Londres to come to an agreement over the future of the Velodrome so that the refurbishment of the track and the support areas can move forward. Progress is slow but we are moving forward.
Shops - the Society remains concerned over the Estate’s attitude towards their retail properties in the area and, following on from the public meeting, aims to set up a separate committee to look at the situation more closely.
Post Office - the Society is monitoring the situation regarding the rent review and is pressing the Estate to make sure that the post office remains.
Scheme of Management Advisory Committee - The Society met with the Dulwich Estate three times last year. We have hopefully persuaded it to be more open with its decision making processes and this should be reflected in its website content over the next 12 months.
Finger Posts and benches - The Society persuaded Southwark to carry out a programme of refurbishment of the white post and chains in the northern part of Dulwich Village and this is now complete.
Southwark in Bloom - Dulwich won further medals in both the London in Bloom and Britain in Bloom competitions.
Ian McInnes, Chairman.
The Executive Committee met 9 times during the year. Following the retirement of Graham Able as Master of Dulwich College we invited his successor, Dr. Joseph Spence to stand as a Vice-President which he has accepted.
Margaret McConnell, after many years, has given up the task of organising the distribution of the Journal (the new name for the Newsletter) but remains our advertising manager – a vital role to reduce the cost of producing our quarterly publication.
A happy and historic event in July was the registration of the Post Office cart by the Lord Mayor of London at Guildhall under the auspices of the Worshipful Company of Cabmen.
We hope you have seen our new notice board under the canopy of the Village Post Office and which is now in a more prominent position then the previous one.
To improve security of the Edward Alleyn statue we have had a CCTV system installed, together with smart water treatment of the statues themselves, which allows the metal to be identified should they be stolen; plaques indicating these security measures are also to be installed.
Patrick Spencer, Hon Secretary.
Membership - throughout 2009 membership numbers remained between 1060 and 1080, slightly below the 1100 figure which we had hoped to achieve. Our plan for a test membership drive in a limited area was delayed for a number of reasons, but has now been carried out in Burbage and Stradella Roads, Tollgate Drive and Ferrings, and early results look encouraging enough to consider targeting other areas. The Society's public meetings in 2009 also brought us some new members. If members have friends or neighbours who are interested in joining I should be happy to supply membership brochures.
Charity Gift Aid – the Society claimed and received £2606 in Charity Gift Aid (recovering tax paid on subscriptions) for the financial year 2008/09. This is always a useful addition to our income and I encourage those members who have not signed a Gift Aid declaration to consider doing so. I can confirm whether members have signed a declaration or not, and provide forms.
Journal Distribution - I would like to thank those members who have recently volunteered to help with distribution of the quarterly Journal, and particularly to thank those who have now retired after many years doing this valuable work.
Wilfrid Taylor, Membership Secretary.
Dulwich Estate Scheme of Management License Applications - The Planning and Architecture Group continues to make monthly visits to the Old Grammar School on the corner of Burbage Road. The Group exercises the Dulwich Society’s right to comment on licence applications made to the Dulwich Estate’s Scheme of Management. This year has seen a general reduction in license applications due to the downturn in the economy.
Planning Applications - During the year objections have been lodged with Southwark for planning applications for extensions or new buildings which are considered inappropriate in their setting or to have an adverse affect on neighbours’ amenity as for example, 39 Alleyn Road ( demolition and new much larger house ), 549 Lordship Lane ( demolition of the Concrete Victorian house ), 11A Fountain Drive ( outline planning permission ) 8 Frank Dixon Way ( extensive demolition and massive new structure with a new basement larger than the ground floor footprint ), Dulwich Hamlet School ( five rooflights on main roof on Roseway side ), Dulwich College Science block replacement ( larger and three storey in place of existing two storeys ). These applications have been refused or withdrawn. The application on 120 Court Lane for an extensive rear extension although objected to was approved by the Community Council. The scheme for a high quality rear extension at 61 Alleyn Park by architects Knox Bhavan which was supported by the Group gained approval on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate after Southwark Council had refused planning permission. The Society has been successful in its views being upheld in a very high proportion of cases during this year. Ian McInnes and David Roberts brought this mismatch between schemes which the Dulwich Society object to or support and the planning decisions of Southwark Council to the attention of Gary Rice, head of planning, College Ward councillor Kim Humphreys, and senior officers in a Council office meeting The Society hopes that due consideration will be given to its views by Council officers in the coming year.
Wall on Red Post Hill - The period of time that Hausman Hughes Ltd have for complying with the Section 215 notice requiring rebuilding of the wall served by Southwark Council has passed. The Council has decided to prosecute Hausman Hughes Ltd for failing to comply with the notice and in so doing to put the matter before a Court to verify that it is proceeding reasonably prior to any direct rebuilding of the listed wall.
North Dulwich Station Road Bridge - There is general satisfaction with the view from the station across the road and sandstone paved central reservation without the addition of expensive planters.
Belair Changing Rooms - Discussions between Southwark Council and the Dulwich Estate have delayed a start date for the new changing rooms which are to be built during the coming year.
Gallery Road - A joint meeting between Southwark Council public realm officers and Village Ward Councillor Toby Eckersley, the Dulwich Society, the Picture Gallery, the Old College lawn tennis and croquet club, and others discussed proposals for resurfacing of both the road and the footpaths, car and coach parking, cycle and pedestrian use and other issues. A revised scheme is to be subject of further discussion and consideration by Village Councillors.
Edward Alleyn Statue - The statues are now under 24 hours video surveillance and have had forensic Smart Water applied to them. Warning signs are being prepared for installation in the gravel surround to the statues’ plinth.
Dulwich Pond - The Dulwich Estate have commissioned an independent assessment of the pond condition and environmental matters along with proposals for managing the silt within the site area. The environmental survey is to be passed to the Dulwich Society Wildlife Group by the Estate.
Dulwich going greener - The first of a series of articles dealing with energy generation or energy conservation has been published in the Society’s quarterly Journal. This article described solar water heating panels installed on rear extension outbuildings in Dovercourt Road.
Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club - The application by the Dulwich Society for a Cleaner Greener Safer grant from the Dulwich Community Council towards the replacement of the derelict concrete and mesh fencing along Dulwich Common was successful. A 50% grant to a maximum of £ 5,000 was granted. The Dulwich Estate generously have prepared tender documents and obtained prices. The lowest price was approval by Southwark’s Project Office and work is to be contracted early in 2010. The Dulwich Society will make a contribution with the remainder coming from the Cricket Club. The Cricket Club has with encouragement from the Society moved the unsightly container behind the line of trees to the carpark. With the new fence and without a prominent container there will be a substantial visual improvement to this important part of Dulwich Common.
Architectural Poster - Local artist Mark Ashmead is being considered by the Society for carrying out watercolour illustrations for an architectural poster to cover 20 the century houses and other buildings.
David Lloyd Roberts, Chair.
The year 2009-2010 has proved to be as interesting and challenging as last year, and the Traffic and Transport Committee has dealt with matters relating to road safety, reduction of traffic congestion, improvement of conditions for walking, cycling and better public transport.
Traffic calming proposals for Dulwich Village - Work continues, but very slowly. However, changes at the gates to Dulwich Park on Court Lane have been completed, and 20 mph limits are presently being installed in Red Post Hill and Sunray Avenue. We continue to press for a timely implementation of the overall scheme, which received extensive support in the consultation process.
Herne Hill Junction - After a lengthy consultation process, the work on this joint Southwark/Lambeth scheme is progressing well. The large pedestrian island at the entrance to Brockwell Park is substantially complete and work is in progress in Railton Road and Half Moon Lane. We have pressed for standards of footway paving on the Southwark side (in Half Moon Lane and Norwood Road) to match those on the Lambeth side.
Walking and Cycling Network - As reported in the Society’s Journal, in conjunction with the Dulwich Safe Routes to Schools group, we are working on proposals for a network of safe walking and cycling routes between homes and schools in Dulwich. The Dulwich Estate’s senior officers have agreed to support the network, with the proviso that the rights of lessees will need to be respected and that funds will have to be found.Liaison with local schools is continuing and we are working closely with Southwark Council over provision for safe walking and cycling along Gallery Road. Our proposals are embedded in a document by Southwark Living Streets and Southwark Cyclists describing our network and similar networks being developed across Southwark. This document is being submitted to Southwark Council and Transport for London.
Nuisance parking by red vans in the area - We have pressed for more vigorous inspection into the practice of vans, advertising their availability for hire, being left permanently parked in local streets.
Cleaner Greener Safer Bids - In 2009 £2,000 was awarded to repair the fountain at the south end of Dulwich Village and £10,000 (50% of the total cost) was made available to secure the car park at the Half Moon Lane end of Stradella Road.The following bids were presented to the Community Council on 3 February 2010 and results will be available before the Annual General Meeting.- Feasibility study for proposed walking and cycling network- Access to Cox’s Walk- Improving safety for cyclists at the pinch points in Hunts Slip Road - Tree planting at the junction of Village Way and Half Moon Lane- Improving the entrance to Belair Park from the South Circular road
Car Clubs - Southwark Council is making progress on contracting with a car club operator and locating on-street car club parking bays in places across the borough, including Dulwich. The Council will have made an announcement by the time of our AGM.
Paxton Green Gyratory - We are beginning to work with Tyrell Evans’ medical practice and Kingsdale School to formulate proposals to make this safer for pedestrians and other road users.
Alastair Hanton, Chair
Collaboration with the Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery brought good publicity and attendances to joint events arranged by members of the Local History Group. Two were particularly successful. At the ‘Dulwich House Detectives’ day on 11 October in the Linbury Room, short talks were given on the development of Dulwich from the Middle Ages to the post-war estates, and the collections in the Southwark Local History Library and Dulwich College were described by the archivists. An information sheet summarizing the most useful sources for research was prepared. On display were some beautifully drawn nineteenth century plans in private hands, Ordnance Survey maps and copies of old photographs.
‘The Dulwich Assembly- a Georgian Entertainment’ written and devised by Brian Green took place in the Dulwich College Chapel on 7 December. It was based on the diaries of Richard Randall, organist at Dulwich College from 1763 to 1782 and featured the newly restored 18th century organ in the Chapel. Local history walks organised in association with the Friends, the Dulwich Festival and the Herne Hill Society were also well supported.
The Dulwich Society Journal published a number of articles on local history during the year. The series on ‘lost houses’, ‘the street where you live’ and Dulwich architects continued. Other subjects ranged from Dulwich College in the 17th century, Dulwich Mill, and St. Faith’s Church to the Battle of High Wood in 1916. The Gazetteer of Dulwich Roads and Place-names first published in 1997 was revised and placed on the Society’s website. The Dulwich Hospital War Memorial, whose history was researched by members of the group has been re-instated. Future plans include erecting a red sign post on Red Post Hill.
Bernard Nurse, Chair.
The main activity of the Garden Group this year has been the production of the first edition of ‘Dulwich Gardens open for charity’. This booklet included details of over forty garden openings in the Dulwich area. Four thousand copies were distributed. Quite a number of the garden owners listed have told us that their visitor numbers had substantially increased as a result of its publication. Garden visitors have also commented on the convenience of finding all local garden openings listed in one place. An improved version, covering 2010 garden openings, is currently in preparation.
Our year started with a most interesting talk by Colin Jones on ‘London’s ‘secret’ parks and gardens’. Our other main event was a thoroughly enjoyable visit to the gardens of Lord Beaverbrook’s old estate at Cherkley Court, followed by a tour (and tasting !) at Denbies Wine Estate.
Thanks are due to our committee members, without whose hard work these activities could not take place. We were very sorry, that due to poor health, Rosemary Toler had to resign from the committee. We are grateful to her for her many contributions to our work.
John Ward, Chair.
The Festival Tree Walk in Horniman Gardens, led again by Letta Jones, was attended by 50 people. A tree on the London List of Rare Trees, (a 100 yr old Single Leaf Ash) was identified.
The Copse is doing well, with bluebells beginning to flower
For the London Squares Weekend there were two free walks in Dulwich Picture Gallery Garden, led by Stella and Jill.
The funding, by the Society, for planting a grove of 6 beech trees for the Play Field at the Horniman Triangle was agreed and effected. This is on Dulwich Estate land, and was a very neglected area in Lewisham Borough who have now greatly improved the play facilities. This renovation and improvement has greatly attracted family users.
The leaning Zelkova, at the College crossroads, is under much discussion and concern as to its safety. A final decision has yet to be made, and the Committee is following the position carefully in the hope of its preservation.
The Tree Map continues to sell well through several local outlets.
Trees will be planted for the Society in memory of Rosa Davies, a very long term Society member and one of the founders of the Trees Committee, and for Ken Jefferies, long a friend and honorary auditor for the Society.
Jill Manuel, Chair.
Cleaner, Greener, Safer - Successful Bids for Grants - Committee member David Nicholson-Lord successfully obtained a Dulwich Community Council CGS grant of £3,000 for signage for the wildlife areas in Dulwich Park (the perimeter Woodland Walk). The committee, working with the Friends of Belair Park obtained £8,000 for extended native hedgerow and wildflower plantings in Belair Park. These were carried out by Walworth Garden Farm. The Belair Biodiversity Corridor project - a rolling scheme which will be monitored and planned with advice from Butterfly Conservation, Buglife, London Wildlife Trust, The National Trust and Natural England - aims to provide nectar-rich feeding and breeding places for butterflies and moths and areas will be coming into bloom for the first time this summer, 2010, International Year of Biodiversity. Butterflies were our chosen priority species to help because, not only are they in dramatic decline in the UK (many of our 59 species are now facing extinction), but they are an important “indicator” species that can tell us when things are going wrong elsewhere in the natural world around us. This year, the Committee have supported a CGS bid by the Friends of Belair for a removable silt trap and reed bed filter to improve water quality in the Park lake. (Results to be announced).
The Village Copse, Dulwich Park - Helping Hands-on for a Green Solution - Committee members joined Dulwich Park Friends and volunteered to hand-pull invasive Creeping thistles from the copse after successfully persuading park staff not to use Roundup to tackle the problem. The chemical fix would have killed all other vegetation near the thistles, including saplings, grasses and wildflowers. Recent research has shown that an inert ingredient in this best-selling weed killer is known to kill human cells, too - particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. (Environmental Health News)The Copse was planted in recognition of past work by the now defunct Dulwich Village Preservation Society.
Interesting Sightings - Birds and Bees and the Occasional Beetle - Several types of Bumble bee were seen feeding on wildflowers in Dulwich Park last summer. Dulwich saw an influx of Painted Lady butterflies, too, when they visited the UK in their thousands. Two female Stag beetles were noted along the footpath in Dulwich Park (and were safely relocated to nearby trees to give them the optimum chance of meeting the male of their dreams without having their hopes, and everything else, squashed). Summer bird counts in the park were good and a visiting Reed warbler stayed for two days in thick reeds by the lake boardwalk - a sure sign that lakeside plantings have been a success (bearing out the old ecological saying: “Create the right habitat and the creature you’re after will move in…”) Both pairs of Little grebes (a waterbird that has special conservation status and protection) produced four chicks each. Throughout Dulwich, a notable decline in House martins was noted by our British Trust for Ornithology UK Bird Atlas recorder, Dave Clark, in line with national trends. But Swifts were here in healthy numbers again last year. The Committee continue to work to get Swift boxes installed within Dulwich Park, once work is done on the Lodges. Kestrels have been nesting on the church on the South Circular by the Harvester pub and they produced three chicks. Sparrowhawks, whose main site is near Dulwich Hospital, raised two chicks. Wildlife recorder Dr Peter Roseveare noted the wide range of waterbirds, including Mallard, Tufted and Mandarin duck on Belair Park lake. An influx of Wood pigeons kept our local pigeon count up. But it was the unusually cold start to this year that produced the most dramatic sights: Dave reported “a startling January.” Counts in Dulwich Park and Sydenham Hill Woods revealed high numbers of wintering migrant thrushes - “up to 250 Redwings and a scattering of Fieldfares in the park at any one time within the cold snap.” Also reported were 25 Lesser Redpoll, the odd Blackcap in people’s gardens plus, one afternoon, a very handsome grey, speckled Gadwall duck on the lake in Dulwich Park. “The Saturday after the thaw, there were over 1,000 birds on the playing fields in nearby Peckham Rye Park and I lost count when I reached 450 for Redwing“. Interesting Hearings -
Bats in Belair Park - Not so easy to log as “sightings“, because they hunt for food once daylight dims and stick to the dark corridors on the edges of woodland and railway lines, but their ultrasonic squeaks can be picked up and monitored by hand-held bat detectors. We recorded four species of bat on our July Bat Walk, led by London Wildlife Trust conservation officer Chantal Brown, around the perimeter and lake in Belair. Both Common and Soprano (which “shouts” at a higher-range radio frequency) pipistrelles were recorded, along with a Myotis bat (probably Daubenton’s, but not visually confirmed) hunting over the water, plus a Leisler’s - a first for this area. Sadly, this last record wasn’t cause for unmitigated rejoicing because, although on the increase in London, they flourish where Noctules are in decline - deterred from food-finding by the loss of large, mature trees, their flight paths further limited by bright lighting. The park has lost several large trees in recent tree works. But, on a happier note, tree surgeons inspecting one of the bat boxes installed by the Dulwich Society during pruning work noted signs of occupation - a sprinkling of dry, insect-remains droppings inside. (It is, incidentally, against the law to inspect, or otherwise “interfere” with a bat roost unless you have a special licence).
Plant Surveys and Newsletter Items - Roy Vickery, formerly of the Natural History Museum and currently chair of the South London Botanical Institute, has agreed to survey the plant life along the Woodland Walk in Dulwich Park. The first of his surveys, in January, 2010, took place in heavy snowfall - but succeeded in recording an astonishing number and range of species, both planted and wild - and the group, which included members of the Institute as well as the Trees and Wildlife Committees, even saw a clump of violets on our icy journey - in bloom. The Newsletter (now The Journal) published regular fascinating reports by Dr Roseveare on what has been turning up here in Dulwich (from Nutcrackers, heard if not clearly seen, to a Treecreeper and a Woodcock in a garden which, alas dead, was clearly identifiable. Other items examined the increasing Rose-ringed Parakeets and the decreasing House martins. More of your sightings and suggestions please, and you could see your name in print.
Angela Wilkes, Chair.