History Walk in Dulwich
We had a delightful time on Wednesday 1st August being guided around Dulwich Village by our official guide; Lulu Martyn-David on her inaugural tour of the area.
We started at North Dulwich station where we learnt about the coming of the railways to the area, the station building and the grade 2 listed railway bridge before making our way down Red Post Hill. We then took a detour from the main road via Gilkes Place and Carlton Avenue to admire the back of the 1879 Houses on Dekker Road. We were then also able to see the plaque marking the site of the old village stocks.
We then stopped by the old burial ground where Lulu told us about some of the more well known internments, how the victims of 2 plagues were buried there and how it was eventually closed to new burials in 1857. Whilst there, Lulu told us the story of the Hermit of Dulwich, one of its most famous burials and Old Bridget, Queen of the Gypsies.
Lulu then led us around the back of the burial ground and down Court Lane where we stopped to admire the (less impressive) 1879 frontages of the Dekker Road cottages and learnt more about the Dulwich Cottage Company who built them and the expansion of early “affordable housing” in the area. Further up Court Lane, we stopped in Court Lane Gardens to see the Southwark Blue Plaque marking the home of Phyllis Pearsall who is widely regarded to have invented the London A-Z. There is some controversy about her accolade stemming from an accusation from Phyllis’ brother that it wasn’t wholly her idea….
Further still up Court Lane we stopped to view the memorial plaque to the victims of a V2 bomb which killed a number of local residents in January 1945 before heading into Dulwich Park via the Court Lane Gate. In the park Lulu told us how the park was first designated from Dulwich College land despite initial resistance from the owners. They eventually relented to give the local genty a place to promenade and to create a physical barrier to prevent the East Dulwich riff-raff from encroaching on Village space (how very rude!). The park underwent a number of changes since its opening in 1890 but in 2004, the park was completely refurbished to restore its original layout including the carriage track around the park.
We continued through the park and exited via the College Road exit after stopping to admire the Grade 2 listed Lodge and walked up College Road to learn more about Bell House. It turns out that it is so named because…it has a bell tower! And a rather impressive one at that! The house was first built for Thomas Wright in 1767 who later became Lord Mayor of London. He made his money as a stationer and Lulu explained the origin of the word.
We then looked at a beautiful blue and white New England style home before heading back towards the Village and stopping outside the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Lulu told us about the history of the gallery including how it was the first purpose built public gallery and designed by Sir John Soane on a very tight budget. This is why the gallery facias are so ‘plain’.
Heading further back towards the village, we stopped in the courtyard of Edward Alleyn House, known as The Dulwich Almshouse to learn more about the history of Dulwich College and Edward Alleyn who founded it. We also learnt that very master of the school from its inception in the early 1600s to the mid 1800s was called Alleyn or later, Allen and everyone appears to pronounce it slightly differently!
We then took a quick detour to around the back of Dulwich Gallery to look at the top of the mausoleum designed by Sir John Soane which inspired the design of the top of the iconic red telephone box. Next we again headed back towards the village to stop and look at Dr Webster’s Drinking Fountain. Dr Webster was a local man and President of the British Medical Association. The provision of clean water in memorial to him is considered fitting due to him being active in the time when more was becoming known about waterbourne diseases such as cholera.
We finished our tour in the heart of the village where we learnt that there used to be two pubs in the vlllage, one called ‘The Crown’ and one called ‘The Greyhound’, each being the preserve of either the gentry or the working class. When one of the pubs closed down, the remaining pub became The Crown & Greyhound where we promptly retired for refreshments!
All of our members had a fabulous time on the walk and we give great thanks to Lulu Martyn-David. Details of Lulu’s other tours and her contact details can be found below.
More Walks with Lulu
Lulu is an official City of Westminster Guide who specialises in offering personal, small group and bespoke walks around London. Most tours last 90 minutes to 2 hours (except Lea Valley) and can be booked for any day with notice. Several of the walks can be lengthened or shortened to suit and individuals and small groups are welcomed. You can also enquire about a bespoke tour for a birthday or special event
Lulu can be contacted at LMD Walking Tours by email or by phone on 07505 003357
Walking Wartime London – World War One – The Home Front
Discover how London responded as war was declared: find out how a Princess got involved; see the bomb damage left by the Zeppelin air raids; hear the stories of ordinary people; learn how London welcomed American Troops and understand out how life changed for women.
Vast new developments are changing the face of Victoria – discover the old along with the new from breweries to original skyscrapers, art deco gems to brutalist buildings and hear about schools, sculpture, spies and other secrets of this often over looked and surprising area.
Follow the route from a French inspired Square to the scene of one of London’s most famous murders. Hear how an American philanthropist helped the Capital’s poor and learn more about the lives of those ‘below stairs’. Along the way we will see where the ‘the Great Train Robbery was planned and pay tribute to the courage of women in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. Beautiful yes, but with other stories to tell……..
Women Through Time
From a mythical goddess to the original ‘rags to riches’ story. Hear about Royalty, mistresses, politicians, artists and mathematicians. Discover the wit of the first female MP to take her seat in Parliament and the courtier who refused a King, as well as the stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things in an age before equality.
Stylish St James
Where the West End began. Discover the history of the area from a leper hospital to a Palace, from 17Century mansions to gentleman’s clubs and from where Beau Brummel fought a duel to where he shopped. Hear too where a famous traveller was turned away for being improperly dressed!
Mystery, Medicine, Music and much more ….. Meet the characters who made Marylebone their home – the doctor turned writer, the scientist who developed antiseptic surgery and the man who gave a King a voice. Hear how a young musician evaded the press and see some wonderful sculpture and architecture along the way!
A Saunter through Soho
Soho is so much more than restaurants, theatres and China town! Arguably this centre of Theatreland is most the most cosmopolitan of all London’s ‘villages’. It has a rich history of refugees who came and settled, writers who walked the streets and medical breakthroughs that changed lives. Walk through time with us as we see where Mozart visited, pass the first ever post office and arrive at the heart of present day London’s media and film industry
Covent Garden Stories
From the actors’ Church to their stages, a rather risqué list to a famous flower seller, Covent Garden has been at the heart of London life since the 18th century. Hear how an actor manager inspired a famous gothic character, where Fred and Ginger danced on a roof and an anonymous donor saved a hospital.
Key people that made Westminster – A Tour in the National Portrait Gallery
A tour in the world’s first Portrait gallery where the sitter is more important than the painting. We hear about Kings, Queens, politicians, engineers, architects and social reformers and how they have shaped Westminster, transforming it from a small island site to one of the most famous places in the world.
(Other tours in the National Portrait Gallery available)
HM The Sapphire Queen: A Celebratory Walk
Walk through 1000 years of history in Westminster visiting key sites in the life of the Monarch and the Nation as we celebrate Britain’s oldest and longest reigning Monarch, a Princess who never expected to be Queen.
Art for All or A Tale of Two Squares:
Discovering the public art in central Westminster. A tour from Leicester Square to Trafalgar Square admiring the diverse sculptures, murals and architecture and the stories behind them
Tales of the River:
A stroll along the Thames from the City to Wapping, from Medieval times to the present through tales of trade, shipping, piracy and executions
Two centuries of a special relationship Discover the part played by both British and American individuals on our joint history. Hear too about Presidents, Ambassadors, poets, shopkeepers and soldiers, to mention but a few of those from America who have visited London or made it their home.
Lea Valley Ramble
A five and a half mile walk along the Lea Valley Navigation. See working locks and remnants of our industrial past. Hear about the marshes and the first powered flight in Britain. Watch the bird life along the canal as we pass the Olympic Park and the new developments on this eastern side of the capital. Marvel at the 18th century mills at the end of this fascinating walk.
The Devil’s Acre – Power and Poverty in Victorian London
Southwark: In the Shadow of the Shard – Uncovering the stories of the South Bank and beyond
London’s Theatreland: Architecture, Actors & Anecdotes
Trains and Boats and ‘Planes – Transport and other stories around Victoria
RAF100 – Celebrating the Centenary of the RAF – Two walks: History of the RAF or The Allies Walk (25% of ticket sales to RAF100 Appeal
Vote100 – The Suffrage Movement story
Walking Wartime London – Events and turning points in WWll
And of course….Dulwich Village