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Title: Dulwich  
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Subject: Help desk/Archives/2010 August 26, Camberwell, Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, Dulwich Picture Gallery
Collection: Areas of London, Districts of Southwark, Dulwich
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Sign at Dulwich Village crossroads
Dulwich is located in Greater London
 Dulwich shown within Greater London
OS grid reference
London borough Southwark
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SE21, SE22
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Dulwich and West Norwood
London Assembly Lambeth and Southwark
List of places

Dulwich () is an area of South London, England. The settlement is mostly in the London Borough of Southwark, with parts in the London Borough of Lambeth. Dulwich, consists of East Dulwich, West Dulwich and Dulwich Village and lies in a valley between the neighbouring districts of Camberwell, Crystal Palace, Denmark Hill, Forest Hill, Gipsy Hill, Knights Hill, Herne Hill, Honor Oak, Peckham, Penge, Sydenham Hill, Tulse Hill and West Norwood. Dulwich was in Surrey until 1889, when the County of London was created. The modern western boundary with the neighbouring Borough of Lambeth, Croxted Road, derives its name from a very old pilgrim way, Croke (crooked) Street.. Dulwich is also known as the location of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and Dulwich College.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Sport and leisure 3
  • Local landmarks 4
    • Houses 4.1
    • Churches 4.2
  • Transport 5
  • Famous residents 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


The first documented evidence of Dulwich is as a hamlet outside London in 967AD, granted by King Edgar to one of his thanes Earl Aelfheah. The name of Dulwich has been spelt in various ways, Dilwihs, Dylways, Dullag, and may come from two old English words, Dill, a white flower, and wihs, meaning a damp meadow, giving a meaning of "the meadow where dill grows".

Harold Godwinson owned the land at one point, and after 1066, King William I of England. In 1333, the population of Dulwich was recorded as 100.

In 1538, Henry VIII seized control of Dulwich and sold it to goldsmith Thomas Calton for £609. Calton's grandson Sir Francis Calton sold the Manor of Dulwich for £4,900 in 1605 to Elizabethan actor and entrepreneur Edward Alleyn. He vested his wealth in a charitable foundation, Alleyn's College of God's Gift, established in 1619. The charity's modern successor, The Dulwich Estate,[1] still owns 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) in the area, including a number of private roads and a tollgate. Alleyn also constructed a school, a chapel and alms houses in Dulwich. Dulwich Almshouse Charity[2] and Christ's Chapel of God's Gift at Dulwich[3] (where Alleyn is buried) still fulfill their original functions.

Alleyn's original school building is no longer used for that purpose, instead now housing the Estate's Governors. The school moved around 1840 to accommodate larger numbers of pupils into new buildings designed by Charles Barry (junior), son of Sir Charles Barry who designed Westminster Palace. It was subsequently divided into Dulwich College and Alleyn's School in 1882, the latter moving to the present day site in Townley Road.

In the 17th century, King Charles I of England visited Dulwich Woods on a regular basis to hunt. In 1738, a man named Samuel Bentyman was murdered in Dulwich Woods.[4]

On 5 August 1677 John Evelyn writes that he took the waters at Dulwich. The Dulwich waters were cried about the streets of London as far back as 1678.

In 1739, Mr. Cox, master of the Green Man, a tavern situated about a mile south of the village of Dulwich, sunk a well for his family. The water was found to be possessed of purgative qualities, and was for some time used medicinally. While the water was popular much custom was drawn to the adjoining tavern, and its proprietor flourished.[5]

The oak-lined formal avenue, known as Cox's Walk, leading from the junction of Dulwich Common and Lordship Lane was cut soon after 1732[6] by Francis Cox to connect his establishment of the Green Man Tavern and Dulwich Wells with the more popular Sydenham Wells.[7]

The Grove Tavern now a pub, located on the busy South Circular road.

By 1815 the Green Man had become a school known as Lord Byron, General Le Marchant and Captain Barclay.

Dr Glennie held Saturday evening concerts which attracted visitors from outside the family circle, such as the poet Thomas Campbell, then living in nearby Sydenham, and Robert Barker, inventor of the panorama. Following the closure of the school, the building reverted to its original use and was known as the Grove Tavern.

In 1803, Samuel Matthews – known as the "Dulwich Hermit" – was also murdered in Dulwich Woods; he was buried in Dulwich Old Cemetery.[4]

1811–1814 saw the building of the Dulwich Picture Gallery. By 1901, the population was recorded as 10,247.

In the Second World War, Dulwich was hit by many V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets. A possible explanation for this is that the British military when announcing V-1 and V-2 explosions deliberately gave map co-ordinates four miles north of the truth in an attempt to protect densely populated central London and focus the drops on the open spaces in the suburbs instead.


An old house in Dulwich village

There are a number of recognised districts in Dulwich:

Dulwich Village contains the original shopping street and still contains nearly all of its original 18th and 19th century buildings. It remains very uncommercialised and is a conservation zone. The village borders on Dulwich Park, where the Dulwich Horse and Motor Show is held every year.

Modern housing in Dulwich village

Sport and leisure

Dulwich is also home to Dulwich Hamlet, an amateur football club set up in 1893 and still competing in the Isthmian League today, they ground share with another Non-League football club Fisher F.C. at Champion Hill in East Dulwich. In recent years Sainsbury's acquired the site, built DHFC a new ground, and developed one of the largest Sainsbury's in the country. The Old Alleynian Football Club is a local rugby union team originally for former pupils of Dulwich College, but is now open to all who wish to play. Dulwich Paragon cycling club are also based in the area.

Local landmarks

Dulwich Park

Dulwich Park was opened in 1890. It was formerly farmland, part of the Court Farm, and now offers duck and rowing ponds, children's play area, bowling green, tennis court, bridle path for horse-riding, and café.

Dulwich Hospital in East Dulwich Grove was designed by Henry Jarvis and built on 7 acres (28,000 m2) of land purchased in East Dulwich by the Guardians of the Poor of the Parish of St Saviour, Southwark, for the price of £50,000 in 1885.[8] At the time of opening in 1887, it offered a 723 bed capacity. It was transformed from an infirmary into the Southwark Military Hospital during World War I, when it is estimated 14,000–15,000 wounded soldiers were treated at the hospital. After the Poor Law was abolished in 1930, the Southwark Union Infirmary was renamed Dulwich Hospital and the following year an operating theatre was built. In 1964, the hospital was aligned with King's College Hospital on Denmark Hill. There is no casualty department at Dulwich at present.

There is a memorial fountain in Dulwich Village which is in remembrance to Dr George Webster, founder of the first British Medical Association (BMA), who worked in Dulwich from 1815 until his death in 1875.

Old Burial Ground, Dulwich Village, was created by

  • Dulwich Park Friends photos
  • Dulwich community website including history
  • Images of old Dulwich
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery
  • History of Peckham & Dulwich
  • Dulwich Village C of E Infants' School (DVIS)
  • Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society
  • North Dulwich Tennis Club

External links

  • Boast, Mary (London Borough of Southwark, 1975) The Story of Dulwich
  • Darby, William (1966) Dulwich Discovered
  • Darby, William (Darby; Cory, Adams & Mackay, 1967) Dulwich: A Place in History
  • Darby, Patrick (Dulwich Society, 2000) The houses in-between: A history of the houses on the north side of Dulwich Common, between College Road and Gallery Road
  • Dyos, H. J. (Univ of Leicester, 1962) Victorian Suburb
  • Galer, Allan Maxley (Truslove and Shipley, 1905) Norwood & Dulwich
  • Green, Brian (Dulwich Society, 1995) Dulwich, the Home Front, 1939–1945
  • Green, Brian (Quotes Ltd, 1988) Victorian & Edwardian Dulwich
  • Green, Brian (2002) Dulwich: A History
  • Hall, Edwin T. (Bickers, 1917) Dulwich History and Romance AD 967–1916
  • Powell, Kenneth (Merrell Publishers Ltd, 2004) City Reborn: Architecture and Regeneration in London, from Bankside to Dulwich
  • Tames, Richard (Historical Publication Ltd, 1997) Dulwich & Camberwell Past: With Peckham

Further reading

  1. ^ The Dulwich Estate, Registered Charity no. 312751 at the Charity Commission
  2. ^ Dulwich Almshouse Charity, Registered Charity no. 207167 at the Charity Commission
  3. ^ Christ's Chapel of God's Gift at Dulwich, Registered Charity no. 1057970 at the Charity Commission
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ From the Nun's Head to the Screaming Alice by Mathew Frith, The Friends of the Great North Wood, 1995
  8. ^ Dulwich hospital history Archived 16 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ All Saints Church Archived 4 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^


See also

Dulwich has also been home to several Bank of England and himself an Old Alleynian, lived in Gilkes Crescent just off the Village until his retirement. Ian McColl, Baron McColl of Dulwich who served as John Major's Parliamentary Private Secretary in the House of Lords, also lives there. Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, a former Chief of the Defence Staff, lived in Woodwarde Road and Sir John Scarlett, head of MI6, lived just off the South Circular Road. Harriet Harman MP lives in Winterbrook Road, Albert Booth MP, Secretary of State for Employment under Jim Callaghan, lived on the corner of Woodwarde Road and Desenfans Road and Sir Robin Butler, secretary to the Cabinet, lived in Half Moon Lane. Other MPs including Ian Twinn MP (formerly Edmonton) and Andrew Rowe MP (formerly North Kent) have also, or still do, live in the neighbourhood.

Denis Osborne, former British High Commissioner in Malawi, lived immediately across the road. The Village has also long been popular with people in show business; Ronnie Corbett lived there for years. Carl Barat Libertines lead singer, lives on Lordship Lane. Micky Flanagan Stand up comedian moved to the village upon hearing Lady Gillian Burt of Cottingham resided in the area. Sacha Baron Cohen lived in Dulwich Wood Avenue when his "Ali-G" character was still called "Diagon-Ali". Ronnie Reed, who ran double agents during the Second World War, and was an MI5 officer from 1940 to 1976, lived in Court Lane Gardens from 1960-1995.[15] Marlon King, the footballer, owned a house in Dulwich when he played for Watford. Huw Edwards, the BBC News at Ten newsreader, also resides in the West part of Dulwich. Tesco 'Spudhunter' & TV presenter Jonathan Corbett based in the East Dulwich area. TV Presenter Kate Thornton and her partner, DJ Darren Emerson also reside in Dulwich. Sky business correspondent Darshini David resides in Dulwich village.

In 1980 Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC, after a night's heavy drinking, was found lifeless in a car outside 67 Overhill Road, East Dulwich. He was rushed to hospital but was dead on arrival at King's College Hospital.

Famous people born there include: the author, Enid Blyton in 1897;[14] the first compiler of the London A-Z, Phyllis Pearsall in East Dulwich in 1906, she went on to live in Dulwich Village; the war-time singer Anne Shelton in 1923 (or 1928?) and who lived on Court Lane until shortly before her death in 1994; TV personality Sue Perkins in 1969; footballer Trevor Sinclair in 1973; and Su-Elise Nash, former pop singer with Mis-teeq in 1981. The actor Tim Roth was born there in 1961.

Famous residents

One of the least known facts about Dulwich is that certain houses, in a direct line from North Dulwich Station towards West Dulwich station, have clauses in their Title Deeds protecting the right to build an underground railway beneath their property - it has of course still to be built, 140 years later.

Dulwich is served by London Buses routes 3, 12, 37, 40, 176, 185, 197, 201, 484, 450, P4 and P13.

The journey to London Victoria from West Dulwich railway station takes about 12 minutes and there are direct trains to and from London Blackfriars and points north on the Thameslink line during the morning and evening peak periods respectively, East Dulwich is 12 minutes from London Bridge and North Dulwich is 14 minutes from London Bridge. The nearest stations are in: Denmark Hill, East Dulwich, West Dulwich, North Dulwich, Gipsy Hill, Herne Hill, Peckham Rye, Sydenham Hill and Tulse Hill.

Dulwich sits astride the South Circular (A205), one of London's Ring Roads. Also passing through the area is the A2199 and College Road, which features a working tollgate dating back to 1789.

A table of tolls in pre-decimal currency for the College Road, Dulwich, London SE21 tollgate.
Paying the toll at the College Road, Dulwich, London SE21 tollgate, which dates back to 1789.
The tollgate on College Road, Dulwich, London SE21.


In the south, the spire of St. Stephen's Church can be seen above the trees of Dulwich Wood, adjacent to Sydenham Hill railway station.

St Barnabas Church (Church of England) lies on Calton Avenue at the edge of Dulwich Village. The old church was designed by W H Wood of Newcastle upon Tyne and consecrated in 1894. However the original church burnt down in an arson attack by 'unknown persons' on Monday 7 December 1992.[13] The "Phoenix appeal" raised money to build a new church and the replacement structure, designed by Larry Malcic with an all-glass spire, was opened in 1996.

The building reopened in April 2006 after a three-year restoration project. [12]


One of the areas most famous residents and architects was Sir George Frederick Ellyatt (founder of the architecture practice, Ellyatt & Porter). He was responsible for the design or influence of in excess of 25 homes in the area, each built in its own individual style. One of the most notable homes was Crossways, 1 Dulwich Village, which he built as his own home following being granted permission to do so in January 1927 at a cost of just over £2000 and with a ground rent of £22 10s per annum. Uniquely, Ellyatt sought and was granted permission to build in 9" solid brick walls rather than 11" cavity walls (as was usual convention) as long as he used cement mortar. The site was originally occupied by a Georgian built home, known locally as "the Hall" which had become partially derelict during world war 1 and was demolished in 1925. Crossways still exists in substantially the same manner and form as when it was originally built.

The Crown and Greyhound public house is in Dulwich Village. In the 19th century, two separate pubs stood in this area - the centre of Dulwich Village. The Crown was for the labourers of the area, while the Greyhound across the road, was for local gentry. The Greyhound was a coach stop on the London Piccadilly-Sittingbourne route. Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor to the village and used to drink at The Greyhound pub.[11] The current pub, known by locals as "The Dog", is a Grade II listed building. In the 1960s, it used to be known as the venue of the "Dulwich Poets".

Bell House in College Road was designed in 1787 for Thomas Wright, a stationer and later Lord Mayor of the City of London. It became a Dulwich College boarding house and only returned to private ownership in 1993. A large extension was added in the mid-19th century and it is accompanied by a lodge house, now let as a two bedroom house. The house is Grade II listed and even the wall dividing the garden is listed as well. Its name comes from its Bell Tower situated on top of the original house and the bell was restored in the late 1990s.

Belair House on the boundary between West Dulwich and Dulwich itself, is opposite West Dulwich railway station and was designed in 1785 for John Files. It remained a private house until 1938 when it came into the hands of Southwark Council. It fell into disrepair in the 1990s but was bought in 1998 and refurbished and turned into an upmarket restaurant. The house has a large park ground attached which is now public, including tennis courts and a children's play area. This area used to be the fields for its farm. The lake is the only substantial stretch of the ancient River Effra remaining above ground.[10]


The old Grammar School adjacent to the Old College and Almshouses at the junction of Burbage Road and Gallery Road was designed by Charles Barry (senior).

) was also buried here in 1768. The ground was declared "full" in 1858, however the family of Louisa Shroeder obtained special permission for her remains to be interred in 1868. The ground's wrought iron gates and twelve tombs are Grade II listed. Samuel Pepys. Thirty five Dulwich victims of the plague were buried in unmarked graves in the ground. Old Bridget, queen of the Norwood Gypsies (who appeared in the writings of Jeremiah Turner and Thomas Hunt, William Gresham, Thomas Grimes, Edmund Bowyer Guests included [9]

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