The Dulwich Society Journal for Spring 2018.
Just how can an organisation like the Dulwich Society with its 1200 members, all undoubtedly with different views on different subjects arrive at decisions which will please every one of them? Of course it cannot.
This has been brought sharply into focus recently by two major disruptions to some of its members.
The first centres around the action of the Dulwich Picture Gallery in promoting an architectural competition to provide a temporary pavilion in its grounds as a means of widening the Gallery’s appeal and also acting as signpost to its presence in remote suburbia. According to who you talk to, it was a great success. The design won architectural awards and plaudits and encouraged a small South London based company to keep up its good work. The events staged in the pavilion were attended by many people, not least the Dulwich Society which as you will recall, invited members to enjoy two evenings of talks, wine, conversation and (unamplified) singing.
Problems to those residents living near the Gallery arose when there was amplified music at some events and a generally, noisy, pub-like atmosphere in the open air on the much vaunted ‘Friday Night Lates’, an exercise intended to attract younger people to the Gallery. There were also complaints that the licensing applications for three events staged in the Pavilion were slipped in at the last minute, not giving those residents the opportunity to object. Let us hope lessons are learnt because we hear that an application may be made in 2019 for a further pavilion installation.
If this is so, there will be another Southwark planning application to be complied with and local residents who feel aggrieved with the situation will be able to voice their concerns. But is the concept of temporary Pavilion flawed ? (critics will argue that a 6 month tenure is hardly temporary) As far as a view of the Dulwich Society as a whole is concerned, such powers are delegated to its executive committee, a body elected annually at the AGM. (note the date next AGM will take place on 30th April at the Crown & Greyhound see page 6 for details) In a show of hands at its meeting in January there was overwhelming support for the concept of a pavilion in the grounds of the Gallery in 2019 provided safeguards against loud music and late finishes were put in place. Thus, unfortunate to some members as it is, Francis Hutcheson’s famous seventeenth century quote does make sense - The action is best, which procures the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers.
Where local residents will no doubt receive much sympathy is over the Gallery’s re-acquisition of the field behind its garden and backing onto College Gardens. The field was leased to the residents and that arrangement has now ceased. It is now sometimes used as a space to let out for weddings. It is no wonder that local residents are upset; they are entitled to peace and quiet just as much as another resident. Some form of limitation to the number of such events which can be staged in any one year should be arrived at. This has worked satisfactorily at the Velodrome
Some of these residents are also alarmed that Bell House, the large Georgian house opposite College Gardens might also have noisy open-air events. These concerns relate to a blanket application to open seven days a week with events continuing until 10pm. The trustees of Bell House insist that they are very sensitive to neighbours’ concerns and are not seeking to stage noisy outdoor events. The reality is that the house has gone to a worthwhile endeavour which will support the understanding of dyslexia while at the same time provide a locale for community events - this large house might easily have been sold to a hotel or wedding venue group, as a care home or a private school, all of which would have presented a much greater disruption to the surrounding area.
A major disruption to the tranquillity of the Village (was it, ever tranquil?) arose over the construction of cycle ‘Quietways’ and the alteration to the complicated crossroads which lasted from late August until a day or two before Christmas. The Court Lane Residents’ Association has held a survey of the effects of the scheme which may be found on page 13.
The Dulwich Village junction works are now complete, or should be. There were serious concerns in early January over some of its safety aspects - the change in traffic priority between Calton Avenue and Court Lane was unclear, but the Council installed some temporary signs very quickly. The impact of the construction works on the shop trading in the Village was reported in our last issue - hopefully things are now improving, and work is ongoing in the former Shepherds and McColls units. We are told that the Estate hopes to secure a convenience store very soon - maybe this is the year we will be back to buying bread, milk and a newspaper in the Village.
Problems over pedestrian footfall are not unique to Dulwich Village, the West Dulwich shopping centre is also suffering. The closure of Lloyds bank has certainly not helped, and Phase Eight is taking advantage of a break clause in its lease to close. The Estate’s priority should be to persuade one of the current shopkeepers to install a cash machine - Tesco perhaps? Whether the new GP surgery (which should have opened last month), and its adjacent new chemist shop, will help, we will see. There are also three other new shop units which have yet to be let but the flats above them will stay in the Estate’s ownership, as they intend to let them out.
A very well attended public meeting on the 18th January discussed Lambeth Council’s plans to hold two huge music festivals in Brockwell Park. There had been no previous discussion with Southwark residents - who would be seriously impacted by the noise and the numbers of people, and the general tenor of the meeting was against the plans. This reflects two things: one, the current need for councils to make parks revenue generators - to pay for their upkeep, and secondly the different perceptions of people who see parks as places for the quiet enjoyment of nature and others who see them as spaces for public events and entertainment. At the time of writing we don’t know which way it will go - and Lambeth is not the only Council planning major events in its parks, Southwark is organising a similar festival in Peckham Rye Park at the end of May, and there are worries there that the public consultation has also not been as wide ranging as it should be. For example, neither the Society nor the London Wildlife Trust were told about the plans.
There is a new CEO at the Dulwich Estate and the Society welcomes the appointment of Simone Crofton who started work on 15th January. We are looking forward to a positive and fruitful working relationship. We hope she will seek a more pro-active and conciliatory tone into the Estate’s dealings with local residents, and respond to the long-standing concerns over its shop letting policy. A serious effort to improve relations with Southwark council officers, particularly the planning department, would also be a positive, so that we can finally see some progress on the Grove Tavern.
2019 is the four hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Dulwich College and the Society is considering what it could do to mark the occasion. Working with the Dulwich Park Friends we have secured some initial funding from the Council’s CGS scheme to develop some ideas for a performance space in Dulwich Park. If any members would be interested in volunteering to take this forward please contact
The Society is always on the lookout for projects that it can support. financially but they do need to meet objectives - to foster and safeguard the amenities of Dulwich in the interest of its residents and the wider community of which Dulwich is a part. Resources are not unlimited but if you have a project that you believe the Society should consider supporting we would be pleased to hear from you at
The works to the Dulwich Village Junction, part of Quietway 7, are finally complete. However, there has been little progress on any other alterations in Calton Avenue or Turney Road and the southern section which goes through Lambeth is delayed indefinitely until Lambeth complete a further consultation exercise. The Council have set up a new website to provide information about monitoring and evaluation of the Dulwich Village works. It contains the monitoring programme, targets and key locations/focus, as well as FAQs on the scheme. Residents are invited to fill in an online form which will give Council officers feedback about their experience of the new road layout. The link to the online form is: https://consultations.southwark.gov.uk/environment-leisure/quietway-7-dulwich-village-feedback/
Council officers held meetings with some Dulwich Village Residents Associations before Christmas to review options for the proposed Quietway in Woodwarde Road and/or Court Lane and work continued on the installation of the Double Dutch roundabouts at the top of Fountain Drive where it joins Crystal Palace Parade and Sydenham Hill. Last but not least, there was little apparent progress on the promised installation of extended double yellow lines on all road junctions in the area. Consultation over the Dulwich Traffic Management Study closed on 24th January. The Society’s response is on the website www. dulwichsociety.com
Court Lane and Court Lane Gardens Residents association ((COLAR) response may be found on page 13.
New Trees committee chairman
We welcome Sir David Beamish as the new chair of the Society’s Trees committee and thank Glynis Williams who covered the role following the death of Jill Manuel. Glynis will continue to be a member of the Trees committee.
There are now over 50 incidents reported of postal thefts and credit card fraud centred around the Alleyn Park sorting office. Local MP Helen Hayes has taken the matter up with Royal Mail and the Police. If you are a victim please report it to the Royal Mail Fraud office at
This should be copied in to Helen on her email address
New Parliamentary Constiutuency Boundaries
The Boundary Commission for England has recently published its second version of proposals for new constituency boundaries based on a brief to reduce the total number from 650 to 600. This would see Dulwich and West Norwood split into four different constituencies. Gipsy Hill and Knights Hill would become the northern most wards in a new Norwood and Thornton Heath constituency. Herne Hill and Thurlow Park would become the north-easterly wards in a new highly elongated Streatham and Brixton South constituency, while College, East Dulwich and Village would become part of a new Dulwich and Sydenham constituency. Lastly, Coldharbour would become the most south-easterly ward in a new Brixton and Vauxhall constituency.
New Developments in Dulwich
A new developer has made a planning application to build 6 small houses on the narrow site at the east end of Half Moon Lane near North Dulwich Station. This site gives a fascinating commentary on the current demand for housing - originally permission was secured in 2014 on appeal for one ‘eco—house’, then three houses were approved in 2016, also on appeal, and now we have six. But we need small houses, and the site has been unloved for a long time.
There are also two new two-bedroom houses being built in Turney Road (replacing old garages) and on Croxted Road - infilling a wide gap between two Victorian houses. There is a planning application for a new house in Boxall Road (replacing a garage) and we expect the two houses at the back of No 60 Dulwich Village, which are accessed from Boxall Road, to start shortly. The site on Red Post Hill next to the new vicarage at St Faith’s has been sold to local developer Lightbox who are currently building five new townhouses at the top of Fountain Drive. Finally, the Dulwich Estate has secured planning permission for its planned new house to replace some redundant garages in Burbage Road.
Dulwich Society Planning and Architecture Group Report
The Group, on behalf of the Dulwich Society comments on applications by householders and others to make alterations to properties under the Dulwich Scheme of Management. In November twenty-five licence applications received were commented on. There were objections to the following: -
Carver Road - to rear dormer as it does not comply with the guidelines.
Druce Road - to blocking off side passage access contrary to guidelines.
In December twelve licence applications were commented on. There were objections to the following:
Turney Road - to replacement driveway with sandstone slabs due to no-permeable material.( in an area of high flood risk ).
Alleyn Park - to single storey rear extension due to excessive height ( 3.6 metres ) and loss of amenity to neighbours.
South Croxted Road - to single-storey rear conservatory due to overlooking of the neighbours’ garden. Objection to satellite dish position as it is not at the rear and is visible from the front contrary to the guidelines.
In January 2018 twelve licence applications were commented on. There were objections to the following: -
Rosendale Road - application 1 - to rear garden summerhouse due to lack of maintenance space on all sides, which is contrary to the guidelines, and due to the excessive height of 3.3 metres.
Planning Applications received and commented on-
Beltwood, 41 Sydenham Hill, - 17/AP/3070 - New application dated 15 residential units, comprehensive landscaping strategy with communal and private spaces and gardens, parking for 21 cars. There are comments in favour and against the proposals from local residents with more objections than those in favour. There appears to be minimal revisions. A site visit to be requested by the P & A Group.
Bell House, 27 College Road, SE21 7BG - 17/AP/ 4271 - internal alterations and change of use to community education facility ( within Use Class D1 ) with gallery and refreshment space. Erection of a biomass pellet store, provision of 2 disabled parking spaces and bin/recycling and bicycle stores - registered as a valid application
Notice is hereby given that the 55th Annual General Meeting of The Dulwich Society will be held at 8pm on Monday 30th April 2018 at the First Floor Suite, Crown and Greyhound, Dulwich Village, SE21 7BJ
- Introduction and welcome by President.
- Minutes of the 54th Annual General Meeting held on 24th April 2017 to be approved.
- Chairman’s Report.
- Secretary’s Report.
- Reports from Sub-Committee Chairs.
- Treasurer’s Report and presentation of accounts for the year ended 31st December 2017.
- Appointment of Honorary Auditor. Nominee: Sally-Anne Jeffries, Chartered Accountant.
- Elections for 2018-2019. Officers, Members of the Executive Committee, Honorary Officers
- Any Other Business.
Note: Nomination forms for election as an Officer or Member of the Executive Committee can be obtained from the Secretary. Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Secretary by two Society members not later than fourteen days before 30th April 2018 and must be endorsed by the candidate in writing. (Rule 9).
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2017 and the Chairman’s & Committee reports will be available on the Dulwich Society web site www.dulwichsociety.com or on application to the Secretary from 26th March 2018. The Rules of the Society are available at http://www.dulwichsociety.com/about-the-dulwich-society.
Wine and nibbles will be served after the AGM and there will be a talk by Daniel Greenwood of the London Wildlife Trust ‘Landscape-scale conservation in the Dulwich woods
Susan Badman, Hon. Secretary, Dulwich Society, 9 Ruskin Walk, London SE24 9NA
If you have not renewed your 2018 subscription, due on January 1st, then this journal will be the last you will receive and your name will be removed from the membership list on March 31st. Two reminders have been sent out to everyone (mainly those who pay by cheque) who have not paid and no further reminders will be sent.
It would be much easier (and would save the Society almost £150 in postage of reminder letters) if subscriptions were paid by standing order. These can be cancelled by you at any time and the Society cannot change the payment due. Be assured no bank records are kept by the Society as the SO form is sent to your bank once a membership number has been inserted. If you would like to change to a standing order, then these can be downloaded from the Society’s website (it is in the membership leaflet) or contact the membership secretary for one on 0208 6936313 or
Dulwich Gardens open for charity 2018
Enclosed with this Journal is a copy of our 2018 Dulwich Gardens open for charity booklet, with details of the local gardens that will be opening this year and that we hope you will take the chance to visit. They are all a great source of ideas and inspiration, as well as raising significant sums for charity. Further copies of the brochure are available in local garden centres and other outlets.
Many thanks to Ann Rutherford for producing it, and many thanks to the garden owners involved for their wonderful work.
Spring gardens talk - Troy Scott Smith on “Sissinghurst - revitalising Vita”, Thursday 22nd March
This year’s Spring talk will be given by Troy Scott Smith, the Head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle Garden.
Troy will tell us about the 7-year project that he and his team are carrying out to revitalise the gardens to reflect Vita Sackville West’s vision for Sissinghurst - a celebration of beauty, romance, intimacy and emotion. The talk is in the Lecture Theatre, Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, SE22 8SU at 7.30pm on Thursday 22nd March, with the opportunity to meet Troy after the talk over a glass of wine.
Tickets are £10 each (including a glass of wine) and can be purchased on the Eventbrite website (www.eventbrite.co.uk, search “Dulwich Society”) or from Jeremy Prescott, 142 Court Lane, London SE21 7EB (cheques payable to “The Dulwich Society” and an SAE please). Non-members of the Dulwich Society are welcome.
Enquiries to Jeremy Prescott
Coach visit to the Beth Chatto Gardens and the RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Tuesday 19th June
Also in the brochure are details of our annual coach outing, which this year is to the Beth Chatto Gardens near Colchester and the RHS gardens at Hyde Hall near Chelmsford.
Tickets are £30 each and can be purchased on the Eventbrite website (www.eventbrite.co.uk, search “Dulwich Society”) or from Will Anderson, 141 Rosendale Road, London SE21 8HE (cheques payable to “The Dulwich Society” and an SAE please).
We suggest early application to avoid disappointment for what will be a popular visit. Non-members of the Dulwich Society are welcome. Enquiries to Will Anderson
Two talks by Ian McInnes
Building on the recent research by Sharon O’Connor on the history of Bell House, Ian McInnes will give two different talks at the house on Dulwich’s Georgian heritage, the buildings, and the families who lived in them from the time they were built. These will be the first of a series through the year and take place on Sundays 18th and 25th March at 2.30pm at Bell House. Tickets cost £5 per talk and are available through Eventbrite - with proceeds going directly towards a new interpretation board outside Bell House. Eventbrite website (www.eventbrite.co.uk, search “Dulwich Society”)
The vibrant Dulwich Festival returns from 11th to 20th May this year and will be celebrating a tremendous 25th anniversary. Music, literary, theatre and visual art events will take place in some of the beautiful hidden spaces to be found throughout Dulwich. Explore the newly refurbished Bell House, the new George Farha Auditorium in The Laboratory at Dulwich College, and take the opportunity to gain an insider’s view of the exquisite organ in Christ’s Chapel with an open day conducted by the Chapel organist on Saturday 12th May.
To celebrate the centenary of women being given the right to vote, come and meet social historian and author Jane Robinson who specialises in the study of women pioneers. She will give an illustrated lecture at Dulwich Picture Gallery on Friday 11th May about her latest book, Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote. The book tells the remarkable, yet neglected story of the suffragists march on London. After the talk, Nicolette Jones will lead a Q&A session with the author of this fascinating book.
For classical music fans, the Doric String Quartet will perform works by Purcell, Debussy and Beethoven at Christ’s Chapel on Wednesday 16th May in a concert jointly presented with the Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery. Formed nearly 20 years ago, they are recognised as the leading British string quartet of their generation with a world-wide reputation.
A wide variety of other music events are on offer throughout the Festival this year with the ever-popular Festival of Choirs taking place on the first night of the Festival at JAGS Holst Hall curated by local choir, Tongue and Groove. By popular demand, indie-folk band, Joe Innes & The Cavalcade will return with their lively and charismatic music, performing at the Crown and Greyhound on Saturday 12th May. The Festival will also play host to Rap Royalty, The Last Poets on the final day of the Festival. These legendary spoken word artists grew out of the civil rights movements of the late 1960’s in America. In their 50th year together, the godfathers of Hip Hop music will be giving a performance and holding a Q & A session.
Acclaimed performance poet, comedian and musician, John Hegley, returns for an evening of wit and fun at Dulwich College with A Potato Show. John is a regular sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival and is widely known as one of the country’s most innovative comic poets.
An extensive programme of walks will be available to join throughout the 10-day festival period with London Wildlife Trust guides leading the bat walk and the dawn chorus walk, Ian McInnes providing an insight into Dulwich’s Georgian Heritage, Lette Jones conducting the tree walk, Amanda Greatorex guiding the walk exploring local street art and Brian Green’s history walk concluding the Festival on Sunday 20th May.
As always, there will be the opportunity to drop in on some of the extraordinarily talented artists exhibiting throughout homes and studios in the area during the Artists’ Open House weekend openings to view and discuss their work with them.
The ever-popular fairs will be back in full swing throughout the Festival, and the Festival Food Trail will offer culinary delights from local producers and retailers. A Festival Quiz-night is planned for Thursday 17th May at the Crown and Greyhound presented in aid of the wonderful local charity LinkAge Southwark - bag your ticket quickly for this one!
The Dulwich Festival would not be the Dulwich Festival without the huge amount of support and enthusiasm shown by successive generations throughout its amazing first 25 years. The Festival celebrates the beautiful spaces, places, products and people Dulwich has to offer. Catch the film made of last year’s Festival by visiting our Twitter or Facebook page. Enjoy the wonderful sights caught last year via our Instagram feed. If you would like to volunteer to join the growing team behind the Festival, then do please get in touch; your festival needs you!
Booking is highly recommended for all Festival events, which tend to sell out ahead of the Festival itself. Do visit the website for all information: www.dulwichfestival.co.uk
The Dulwich Society has several events in the programme of this year’s Dulwich Festival. On Sunday 13th May at 2 pm and 4pm Ian McInnes will conduct a walk entitled Dulwich’s Georgian Heritage which will look at some of the surviving Georgian Houses and hear about their occupants. The route is circular, on level ground, and the walk will last around 1½ hours. Meet front of Bell House, College Road. Tickets £5 from Dulwich Festival Box Office.
THE DULWICH FESTIVAL
A Celebration of Poetry
Monday 14th May
Bell House, College Road
Following William Marshall’s response in the last issue of the Journal regarding the absence of a Dulwich based poetry group, the Dulwich Society will sponsor a Celebration of Poetry in the Dulwich Festival on Monday 14th May at 7.30pm. The event will feature poetry readings by award-winning poets Jane Duran, Iain Sinclair and Rachel Long. In addition there will also be a selection of readings of the work of the late Dannie Abse. Dannie Abse was a central figure in the original Dulwich Poetry Group which met in the 1950-60’s at The Crown & Greyhound. The event will take place at Bell House. Tickets £10, to include a glass of wine (over 14 and under 25 £6) from The Dulwich Festival Box Office.
Bell House will also be the venue for a new Dulwich Poetry group to be formed after this event which will meet four times a year and feature local poets and an ‘open mic’ session.
Sunday 20th May
Pond Cottages College Road
The Dulwich Society will unveil an information plaque on the history of the Dulwich Mill, The Tile Kiln, Millpond and Pond Cottages and after an explanatory talk will conduct a history walk which will also include visits to the sites of former farms, the Tollgate, Dulwich College and the Covered Courts. Meet Pond Cottages 2.00pm. The talk and walk by Brian Green will be repeated at 4pm. tickets £5 from Dulwich Festival Box Office. The walk will be over level ground and suitable for wheelchairs.
Foundation Schools' Anniversary Requiem Concert, Royal Festival Hall
The three Dulwich Foundation Schools - Alleyn’s, Dulwich College and JAGS - came together in February to perform Britten’s War Requiem to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the end of the Great War and the pupils and staff who selflessly served their country between 1914 and 1918. Over 500 pupils, parents and friends of the Schools performed Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece, War Requiem, at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, joined by guest performers Jane Irwin, soprano, Robin Tritschler, tenor and Philip Tebb, baritone.
JAGS gets its first School Chaplain
For the first time James Allen’s Girls’ School has appointed an official school chaplain, previously, this role was covered on an ad hoc basis by the vicar of St Barnabas who is also Foundation Chaplain. Previous headmistresses have been reluctant to appoint an Anglican chaplain to the staff in view of the increasing multi-faith intake of the school. Not so Sally-Anne Huang the present headmistress, appointed in 2016. The new chaplain is Swiss-born Cecile Schnyder who will combine her new post with that of Priest-in-Charge of St Clement’s with St Peter’s, Dulwich. Unlike the chaplains at Alleyn’s and Dulwich College, the Revd. Anthony Buckley and the Revd Justin White, she will not have a teaching role.
St Barnabas Church is recruiting more boy and girl choristers to bring the strength of the Junior Choir (ages 6-8) up to 30 members. The choristers rehearse at St Barnabas Church on Fridays at 5pm under the direction of Dr William McVicker and Mr Riccardo Bonsi.
Children who might benefit from this singing activity, (followed by a pizza!) are encouraged to come along and join the fun. The junior choir has an amazing record of supplying choristers to Westminster Abbey, Temple Church, St Paul’s Cathedral, Chichester, Norwich, Truro and Ely Cathedrals and choral scholars to Durham, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge universities.
Contact Dr McVicker
Dulwich and the Engelandvaaders
In the last issue of the Journal we reported the reprinting (in Dutch) of the wartime experiences of Bram Grisnight, a Dutch secret agent who lived with his comrades, termed ‘Engelandvaaders’ at Glenlea (now named Tappen House), Dulwich Common. After Bram gave a talk of these experiences to the Dulwich Society he was presented by the Society with a water colour by Audrey Macleod of Huize Anna as the house was code-named. Bram has said that on his death the painting will be hung in the Dutch War Resistance Museum.