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The commercial received over six hundred letters of complaint from viewers and was withdrawn.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 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.
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.
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.