Following on from a very successful fortieth anniversary party, this year promises to be a most exciting one for the Dulwich Society. Elsewhere in this issue are details of events planned by some of the sub-committees. A unique event will take place on 26 May when the designs of the six finalists for the life-size bronze statue of Edward Alleyn are exhibited in the Linbury Room of the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
However, the main function of the Society is to fulfil its object - To foster and safeguard the amenities of Dulwich - to this end the practical work continues to be done by members. This work is widely appreciated and has attracted the substantial membership the Dulwich Society enjoys. It tries to be fair in its views, especially over often contentious issues such as planning applications. It remains vigilant and apolitical yet tries to channel changes, when inevitable, towards acceptable conclusions.
The Society's funds come from the modest annual subscription, from profits made on its publications and from occasional gifts or legacies from members. The careful management of its finances has meant that the Society has again been able to respond to requests for financial assistance from local concerns.
Recently these have included a substantial sum being given to the campaign of the Friends of Dulwich Park for the completion of the new car park and towards matching funding for the Heritage Lottery Fund grant and a further sum to assist the development of more flower beds. Further substantial sums were awarded to All Saints Church, Rosendale Road and St. Stephen's, College Road for repairs to their fabric. The Society has also underwritten costs associated with meetings concerning traffic, transport and planning. Seats have been placed through Dulwich and trees planted. Last year's production of Dulwich Cavalcade, performed at Christ's Chapel was sponsored by the Society. A recent traffic survey commissioned by the residents of Burbage Road at a cost of £1000 was subsidised by £500 by the Society in response to concerns from residents that Southwark Council's own survey of traffic impact on the proposed Velodrome development was flawed. The sum of £2500 has also been earmarked as the Society's share of a Southwark Council scheme to improve the streetscape of the Village. In December, the Society's 40th anniversary party was partly underwritten from its funds. In May, the Society will bear the costs of the competition for a sculpture of Edward Alleyn.
This all represents a worthy contribution towards fulfilling the Society's object.
Over 370 members and guests gathered in the Great Hall, Dulwich College on 6th December for the Society's fortieth anniversary party. After being greeted by the President, His Honour Judge Michael Rich and by the Master of Dulwich College, Graham Able, who is also a Vice-President, the guests were entertained to a programme of piano music to accompany refreshments. Peter Lawson, a founder-member and Vice President then recalled the origins of the Dulwich Society and proposed the toast to its founder, Alan Mason. The Society's Chairman, Adrian Hill welcomed those attending and introduced the Gallery Singers under the direction of Marilyn Harper who gave a splendid concert of seasonal music.
The Competition organised by the Dulwich Society for the design of a full-size bronze sculpture of Edward Alleyn has attracted a widespread interest. A distinguished list of sculptors, many with impressive portfolios of previously commissioned works has applied for entry and the list closed on February 28th.
The artists have until April 30th to submit drawings and maquettes. A selection panel of judges under the chairmanship of Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery has been formed. The designs of the six finalists' work will be displayed in a special exhibition in the Linbury Room of the Gallery from May 26-June 6.
A Public Appeal for funds to commission the Statue will be launched by The Dulwich Society at a Private View and Prizegiving at the Gallery on Thursday 27 May at 8pm to which all members are cordially invited. During the evening the winning design will be announced and each of the finalists will be presented with a cheque for £750 by. the Society.
There will be opportunity for the artists to talk about their work.
It is anticipated that the completed statue, sited within the grounds of the Old College will be unveiled in 2005 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Edward Alleyn's purchase of the Manor of Dulwich. An Edward Alleyn Statue Appeal Committee has been formed by the Society, under the chairmanship of its President, Judge Michael Rich QC. The target of the appeal will be £30,000. A number of local residents have indicated they would like to become Patrons of the Appeal. Other supporters of the project who would also like to join the list of Patrons are invited to contact Michael Rich (18 Dulwich Village, SE 21 7AL tel. 020 8693 1957).
A list of Subscribers to the Appeal has been opened and donations may be sent to the Treasurer of the Appeal Committee, David Trace FCA, 88 Burbage Road SE 24. Cheques should be made out to the Dulwich Society Alleyn Statue Appeal.
After some two hundred years a much-loved Dulwich landmark is likely to disappear. The giant Zelkova carpinifolia, a Caucasian Elm, one of the family of elms not subject to Dutch Elm Disease. It was discovered in the Trans Causasian forests of Russia in 1760 and brought to France and then to England. It is comparatively rare in this country
The tree that has guarded the junction of Dulwich Common and College Road is likely to be felled for safety reasons. Probably due to the increased number of heavy vehicles using the South Circular Road, the tree has developed an acute lean across this busy road junction. The lean has caused the centre of gravity of the tree to shift 1.8 metres from the base of the tree. There continues to be a slight increase in this lean (less than 1cm during the period of monitoring).
This remarkable tree has a height of some 90ft and an overall span of 75ft., and a girth of 15ft 8in. It is therefore bigger than the specimen at Kew. Because of its rarity it is the subject of a Tree Preservation Order. It is probable that the incentive to originally plant the Zelkova may have come from the College's late eighteenth century surveyor, John Dugleby who took such a keen interest in Dulwich's trees that he advised the wholesale removal of many established trees in Dulwich's hedgerows and their replacement by nursery grown specimens.
Three reports have been commissioned from experts. The Dulwich Estate sought advice from the Forestry Commission and also the Arboricultural Advisory and Information Service and The Dulwich Society (in conjunction with the Dulwich Preservation Society) sought the advice of an independent tree expert.
All three reports say that the tree is basically healthy but presents a dangerous hazard if it failed. The use of artificial support would be unsightly and the option of pollarding to reduce the risk of failure would require some 80% of the branches to be removed, resulting in an aesthetically undesirable solution. This however is a course which the Dulwich Society's Trees Committee is anxious to take in order to save the tree.
Although a final decision on the fate of the tree has yet to be made, the Dulwich Estate is of a view that the tree presents an unacceptable risk to the public and regrettably, the only practical solution for the long-term, is to remove the tree. By good fortune another Zelkova was planted on the adjoining green a few years ago. As an interim measure, the Estate has formally applied to lift the Tree Preservation Order.
The Dulwich Society Trees Committee announce a TREE WALK in Dulwich Park (Northside) on Saturday 15th May at 2pm led by Letta Jones, Lecturer in Garden History and Horticulture. Meet at the Court Lane Gate.
He founded the Riding School in 1962 and built it up from what was a demolition site into the high-class and well respected school that it became. Jim was born in Brixton, into a non-horsy background. A local horse dealer took him under his wing and proceeded to teach the eager young pupil everything he knew about the 'horse-game'. War service intervened for Jim and when he was demobbed he began selling fruit and vegetables from a horse and London Trolley around the streets of South London. He bought his horses and harness at the long defunct Horse Repository at the Elephant & Castle - he had a wonderful eye for spotting a horse in the rough; naturally buying for the lowest possible price! His horses used for the greengrocery round were always Welsh Cob or Dales type and these breeds always remained his favourites. When he married and had his children, he swapped the round for a permanent fruit stall in Electric Avenue, Brixton. He would retain the traditional coster dress of jacket, waistcoat and white choker tie for the rest of his life.
In the late 1950's he decided that he wanted to open a riding school and in 1961 he leased a plot of waste ground on Dulwich Common and had a row of five stables built - and so the Dulwich Riding School opened for business in April 1962. Over the years Jim and his staff built the riding school bit by bit, adding more stables and a much needed covered school. Jim was fortunate that he was always supported by a loyal and dedicated team of staff and students. Countless pupils passed through the school and many successes were gained in British Horse Society and Pony Club examinations. Several pupils went on to found their own riding schools, others have gone on to achieve success in the disciplines of dressage, horse driving trials, eventing, endurance riding and judging. Several stunt riders began their riding careers with Jim, before they started to fall off for a living!
British Native breeds provided the foundation for the School's horses and ponies and many of them would be in the riding school one day and winning at a major horse show the next. Jim often rescued (for a very low price!), so called impossible horses; he had the gift of getting them into shape, and bringing out the best. One £4 purchase went on to win the Children's class at the London Riding Horse Parade out of an entry of 52. The Dulwich Riding School also carried off the Team Prize at the same event on several occasions. Driving his horses was Jim's hobby - he was a familiar sight around the streets of Dulwich with a high-stepping Welsh Cob harnessed to a London Trolley.
Jim was a unique character, an old fashioned horse master who did not suffer fools gladly and was never afraid to speak his mind. He demanded and received the highest standards from his staff and his students and the wellbeing of his horses and ponies came before anything. Now he has gone, yet he will not be forgotten and it is hoped that his skills will be carried on the way he would have wished.
Manager, Dulwich Riding School
Public excitement matched that which attended the Great Exhibition's inauguration three years earlier. The vast building became a popular venue for Handel music festivals, fireworks displays and many other events for public edification and entertainment. Easy access by railway brought in people in their thousands. Despite its early popularity it never realised the profit for which its promoters had hoped. Its fortunes declined well before the 1914-18 war, when it was requisitioned by the Government, and never recovered before this decaying monument to Imperial splendour perished in the fire of 30 November 1936.
The site today
The site has remained derelict ever since. Terraces have crumbled, the cascades and fountains disappeared long ago, and the park has lost nearly all sense of integration. The public campaign to keep the top site free was a great victory, in which many of us joined. After its success, much of the indignation with Bromley Council degenerated into a number of petty skirmishes over minor issue accompanied by unedifying rivalry among some local factions, over who should take credit for past successes and assert control over the publication of new proposals.
Growing controversy over the way forward
This controversy has already spilled over on to the Picture Gallery exhibition, because it provides a showcase for some of the ideas which have so far emerged to revitalise the top site. Among the most spectacular of these is Chris Wilkinson's (the Gateshead "blinking eye" Bridge) vision of a tethered great glass airship, occupying the aerial space of the old Crystal Palace's central transept but leaving the ground under it almost entirely clear, so that even trees could still grow under it and birds fly through them, as they did inside the Crystal Palace. Many will applaud this idea's revolutionary approach while others will be outraged by its assault on conventional presumptions about architecture, as indeed they were about Paxton's scheme 150 years ago. It would certainly improve the quality of present debate if the most vociferous protesters did not behave only as if they were mortified at being upstaged by the elegance of something entirely new. Of course any proposed solution should be fully exposed to public opinion, but comments should at least be constructive and not just relate to an idea's provenance. Hundreds of proposals were put forward after all, for the 1851 Great Exhibition before Paxton's idea was accepted with general acclaim.
Too great a burden for Bromley
Resurrection on this scale is well beyond the resources of Bromley Council, the park's luckless present custodians which already has more than enough on its plate. First, it is still engaged in a legal dispute with contractors engaged to renovate the lower park, which after spending £3.5 million they seem to have left it in a worse state than when they started. This has now been overtaken by the more immediate problem that Sport England's lease of the National Sports Centre site from Bromley Council expires on 24 March this year.
The National Sports Centre buildings have aged and dated considerably since they were put up in the 1970's, and will need much more capital to refurbish than either Bromley or Sport England can muster. London's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games approaches and the Crystal Palace training facilities are an essential part of its credibility. They remain vital to a number of UK athletic organisations and are still used by the general public.
A role for the Greater London Authority?
Responsibility for strategic planning and transport arrangements in London is firmly in the hands of the Greater London Authority. The Mayor has but together a full financial package for the National Sports Centre and has now made a more radical proposal that the GLA should take a 125-year lease of the entire park from Bromley Council. The plan is that Bromley Council would retain freehold ownership of the park, and remain the local planning authority so that all new proposals would still have to obtain local planning permission. At present the GLA lacks direct legal powers to own parks and open spaces and is looking for a way to carry through this proposal. If successful it will put the whole debate over the Crystal Palace's future on a London-wide or nation al level and eclipse some of the local squabbling, which would be welcome.
Meanwhile, a Public Enquiry is being conducted into objections to Bromley Council's draft Unitary Development Plan (UDP), which has proposed, among other things, to remove Metropolitan Open Land status from the Crystal Palace top site. The Dulwich Society and two other local amenity societies have engaged Philip Kolvin to represent us over this. He has quietly done a deal with Bromley Council, that it will withdraw its proposal to re-designate the top site, provided we do not object to its plans to re-site the National Sports Centre. The present structure is subject to a conservation order, but the object is to rebuild it more in the direction of the low-level railway station, which would avoid cutting the park virtually in half. From an amenity viewpoint this seems a good idea.
A great deal may be about to happen. We have tried to keep abreast of events and intend to keep our members fully in the picture. Meanwhile the Picture Gallery exhibition provides an excellent opportunity for us to understand the Crystal Palace's past better, and to use this to fuel our imaginations more effectively about the future. It is worth remembering that Sir Joseph Paxton did not only build a mammoth greenhouse to house a successful national exhibition, he was a also the country's leading horticulturist in his day, a pioneer of public parks and open spaces in urban areas and, very early in the railway age, a great champion of better public access to their enjoyment. The planning of present-day London could hardly have a better role-model.
Exceedingly bad taste
For almost a week in late Autumn, Gilkes Place was congested with large vans, festooned with cables and thronged with crowd actors for the filming of a Christmas commercial for Mr Kipling's mince pies in St Barnabas Hall. The storyline revolved around the performance of a Nativity Play on stage with Mr Kipling as the director. The punchline delivered by the vicar and his wife was, "Do you think Mr Kipling is the right person to direct this year's Nativity Play?" (as a mock hospital ward delivery was taking place on stage), to which the vicar replies "I don't know dear, but he does makes exceedingly good mince pies!"
The commercial received over six hundred letters of complaint from viewers and was withdrawn.
The Dulwich Village Bowls Club
The members of the Dulwich Village Bowls Club which used the green at the Griffin Club, Dulwich Village have decided to wind up the club. The green itself was laid down by the John Sainsbury Group just after WW11, when they held the lease as a sports ground for their staff. By 1971 the green was not being played on and the company advertised it for sub-letting. Some members of the Northwood Bowls Club which used the green at the rear of 'Eller Bank', College Road took advantage of this new opportunity as there was some uncertainty about continued use of their existing green. A breakaway group of thirteen bowlers agreed terms to rent the bowls green from the Sainsbury Company. The Dulwich Village Bowls Club as it was named flourished for over thirty years and although it was never going to win the Surrey county championship the members enjoyed their game and made many friends in the bowling world. Most of the remaining active bowlers, men and women, are becoming members of the Southwark Sports Bowls Club on Dulwich Common.
The Twentieth Century Society in Dulwich
Recently over fifty members of the Twentieth Century Society spent a pleasant afternoon walking around Dulwich looking at the Wates' developments from the 1960's. The principle purpose was to visit the relatively less well-known courtyard houses in Courtmead Close, Coney Acre and Perified but they also took the opportunity to look at the atrium houses in Lings Coppice, the Christison Hall at Dulwich College, the Dulwich Picture Gallery and finally the Huf houses in Woodyard Lane. Four Dulwich Society members very generously opened up their houses to the visitors and everyone was surprised and impressed by the quality of the architecture, the internal layout and the landscaping.
The visit underlines the important contribution made by the Dulwich Wates estates in Dulwich to post-war housing development in this country, something that perhaps, as Dulwich residents living in mainly older houses, we do not always appreciate.
Calling All Councillors
Two issues affecting local residents and by the same token, constituents, and deserving the attention of Borough Councillors of all parties are put forward by this column.
The first concerns the continued derelict state of the field and disused tennis courts and boundary fences of the Dulwich Hamlet FC ground in Green Dale. This is now an eyesore and requires urgent attention, either the enforcement of the covenants of the lease granted by the council or the surrender of the lease back into the council's hands. Continued damage to the fence in Green Dale might be avoided if the short-cut across the field to the supermarket and other amenities was made easier by the opening up of the old path through the now overgrown lane on the field's boundary. This was under consideration by the council previously and should be re-examined.
The second issue relates to the poor street lighting outside the shops at the north end of Dulwich Village. The wide pavement is extensively used, especially at the end of the school day, and on dark winter evenings is hazardous. A row of Victorian style pavement street lights similar to those installed by Southwark Council in East Dulwich Road would be attractive as well as beneficial. The shopkeepers' association has indicated that it is prepared to install and maintain hanging flower baskets on the lamps in summer months as an additional enhancement.
Until 18 April - The Crystal Palace at Sydenham Exhibition at The Dulwich Picture Gallery coincides with the 150th anniversary. Works by Tenniel, Pugin and Holman Hunt as well as original photographs and engravings are included in the exhibition.
Thursday 4th 12.30-1.30 Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture Alchemy and the Artist; From Durer to Blake Philip Ball. Collection.
Thursday 11th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Moorish Architecture in Andalucia Lecture, Sian Helen Walters. James Allen's Girls' School 8pm
Saturday 14th 6.30pm Concert in aid of All Saints, West Dulwich Organ Fund - The Great Hall, Dulwich College. Programme includes Dixit Dominus by Handel, Verse Anthems by Purcell, Canticle 1 by Britten. All Saints' Concert Choir and Orchestra, Leader: David Williams, Director: Timothy Penrose. Tickets £15, cons £12. There will also be a Fund Raising Dinner after the concert with an Auction of Promises. For tickets and information tel. 020 8766 6882
Tuesday 16th 10.30-11.30 - The Victorian Lecture Series - The Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Crystal Palace Jan Piggott. The Dulwich Picture Gallery, Linbury Room. Admission £6
Thursday 18th12.30-1.30 Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture: 15th Century Court Life and the Status of Painters Brian Davies. Collection.
Dulwich Society Garden Group Lecture. Hardy Perennials for all Seasons. A lecture by Jane Sterndale-Bennett. St Barnabas Church Centre, Calton Avenue 8pm Admission free.
Saturday 27th 10.30am-3.30pm The Dulwich Picture Gallery. Sackler Study Day - Art at Easter: The Passion of Christ. Events in the Gospels have formed the subject matter of some of the greatest and most moving works of art ever created. Lecture by Valerie Woodgate. Fee £25: £20 cons and Friends (includes sandwich lunch).
Tuesday 30th - 10.30-11.30am - The Victorian Lecture Series - Joseph Paxton : Victorian Visionary and the busiest man in England - a lecture by Kate Colquhoun. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Linbury Room Admission £6.
Thursday 1st 12.30-1.30 Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture: Crystal Palace: Whither the Future? Malcolm Woods. Collection.
Saturday 3rd 10am-3pm The Dulwich Picture Gallery Short Study Course Exotic Easter Eggs - The course unravels the ancient Oriental art of wrapping with Washi - Japanese hand-painted papers - and teaches students to create seductively patterned eggs. Ideal ornamental gifts at Easter. Tutor ; Carol Jones. Fee £35, £30 cons and Friends (includes a sandwich lunch)
Thursday 8th Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Four Great Female Artists, Morisot.Cassatt, John and Kahlo Lecture, Pamela Halford. James Allen's Girls' School 8pm
Thursday 15th 12.30-1.30 Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture: A Profound Secret. Josceline Dimbleby. Collection.
Tuesday 11th 8pm The Dulwich Society - 41st Annual General Meeting St Barnabas Church Centre, Calton Avenue SE21.
Wednesday 12th Dulwich Picture Gallery -Henry Moore Exhibition opens
Thursday 13th 12.30=1.30 Dulwich Picture Gallery Lunchtime Lecture: Henry Moore. Ian Dejardin. Collection.
8pm Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Has Listing Gone To Far? The rise and fall of Historic Building Preservation Lecture, Dr Nicola Smith. James Allen's Girls'School.
Saturday 15th 2pm Dulwich Society Tree Walk in Dulwich Park Northside led by Letta Jones, Lecturer in Garden History and Horticulture. Meet at the Court Lane Gate.
Saturday 22nd 10.30am-3.30pm Sackler Study Day, The Dulwich Picture Gallery. From Idol to Image: A History of Sculpture - In the context of the Henry Moore exhibition, this study day will trace the development of sculpture from the Greeks to the present day. Lecturer - Valerie Woodgate. Fee £25; £20 cons and Friends (includes sandwich lunch)
Wednesday 26th - Sunday June 6th Display of Finalists' Studies for the Edward Alleyn Statue, sponsored by The Dulwich Society. Linbury Room, Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Thursday 3rd Friday 4th Saturday 5th. At 8pm The Dulwich Players present - Amadeus -by Peter Shaffer, at the Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College. Tickets £6 from The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village.
Thursday 10th 8pm Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society Mrs Eleanor's Secret Coade Stone lecture by Lt Col Dick Bolton. James Allen's Girls' School.
Thursday 17th The Dulwich Society Local History Group present " The People's Park - A Historical Walk led by Dr Jan Piggott in Crystal Palace Park - to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Opening of the Crystal Palace. Meet at the Penge Gate (beside the Information Office) at 7.30pm.
1. Minutes of the 40th Annual General Meeting held on 15th May 2003 to be approved.
2. Chairman's Report.
3. Secretary's Report.
4. Treasurer's Report and presentation of accounts for 2003.
5. Appointment of Honorary Auditor.
6. Reports of Sub-Committee Chairmen.
7. Elections for 2004-2005. President, Vice-Presidents, Officers, Executive Committee
8. Herne Hill Velodrome.
9. Any other business.
Note: Nominations for election as an Officer or Member of the Executive Committee must be submitted in writing to the Secretary by two (2) members not later than fourteen (14) days before 11th May 2004 and must be endorsed by the candidate in writing (Rule 9).
7 Pond Cottages
London SE21 7LE
Raymond Thornton Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888. His family life was unsettled by the frequent and often extended absences of his alcoholic father. His father eventually disappeared altogether and stopped providing support. Chandler's mother, forced to rely on the goodwill of her family moved to England to live with Chandler's grandmother and aunt. The new family address was Whitefield Lodge, 77 Alleyn Park. The young Chandler initially started his English education at a school in Upper Norwood, but in the September term of 1900, then aged twelve, he was enrolled at Dulwich College. He remained at the College for five years where he won prizes for mathematics and general achievement. After leaving Dulwich he studied foreign languages in France and Germany from 1905-7 and then returned to England and became a naturalised British subject in order to take the Civil Service examination. Although he quickly acquired a position as a Civil Service clerical officer he soon became bored and landed a job as a reporter, firstly with the Daily Express and later the Western Gazette. During this period he started to write poetry, some of which was published, including one for the Westminster Gazette in 1909;
Come with me, love, across the world,
Ere glory fades and wings are furled,
And we will wander hand in hand,
Like a boy and girl in a playroom land.
Although he was later dismissive about his early poetry, describing it as 'Grade B Georgian', Chandler published twenty-seven poems and his first story 'The Rose-Leaf Romance'
Restlessness resulted in his returning to the US in 1912. There he drifted into a number of occupations, varying from working on an apricot ranch, stringing tennis rackets and, after studying bookkeeping, working as an accountant at a creamery. This erratic lifestyle was at least partially caused by his problems with alcohol.
The United States entry into the First World War offered the unsettled young Chandler fresh challenges and he volunteered for service with the Gordon Highlanders 0f Canada in 1917. As a junior NCO he saw action in France and sustained concussion. True to his restless nature, he transferred to the RAF from 1918-19. He returned to the US in 1919, working firstly in a bank in San Francisco and then as a staff member on the Los Angeles Daily Express before becoming bookeeper for an oil syndicate. In 1924 he had married Pearl Cecily Hulbert. She was eighteen years his senior, twice married and divorced. It was to be a spectacularly successful marriage. When he lost his job during the Great Depression - he was sacked for drinking and absenteeism - he began writing stories for Black Mask Magazine. At the age of forty-five, with the support of his wife, Chandler devoted himself entirely to writing.
Between 1933 and 1939 he only produced a total of nineteen pulp-fiction stories for detective magazines. The theme of his fourth published story Killer in the Rain was used by Chandler in 1939 in his first novel, The Big Sleep. The story introduces, for the first time one of the great characters in crime fiction, Philip Marlowe, the fast-talking, hard-drinking, unlucky in love, private investigator and White Knight of the Los Angeles streets. It has been said that Chandler named his hero after the House, of which he was a member, at Dulwich College.
"The pebbled glass door pane is lettered in flaked black paint: 'Philip Marlowe ..Investigations.' It is a reasonably shabby door at the end of a reasonably shabby corridor in the sort of building that was new about the year the all-tile bathroom became the basis of civilisation. The door is locked, but next to it is another door with the same legend which is not locked. Come on in - there is nobody in here but me and a big bluebottle. But not if you're from Manhattan, Kansas."
There followed a rapid succession of Marlowe novels, Farewell,My Lovely (1940), The High Window (1942), The Lady in the Lake (1943). By this time Chandler's had begun to excite interest in Hollywood and in 1944 Chandler collaborated with Billy Wilder on the screenplay of Double Indemnity based on a novel by James M. Cain. Altogether, six of Raymond Chandler's novels were successfully filmed. The death of his wife in 1954 left Chandler devastated, nevertheless he continued writing and his last completed novel Playback still featuring Philip Marlowe, was published in 1958.
Chandler died in1959 in California from pneumonia brought on by a particularly heavy drinking binge. According to Tom Hiney, one of his biographers, Chandler's favourite tipple was the 'Gimlet': two parts gin and one part lime juice. In a jokey sketch, he had once written that his reply to a doctor who asked him how much he drank was: "Not a terribly large amount, really, a bottle of scotch, eight or nine cocktails (doubles of course) and various wines at luncheon and dinner". But was he joking?
An uncompleted novel, Poodle Springs was finished by Richard B. Parker. In 1998, Tom Stoppard wrote a screenplay of the book which was turned into a television movie.
The above is one of an occasional series of biographies of persons omitted from The Dulwich Society's Who Was Who in Dulwich which is available from The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village £6.95