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.