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Peak performer

Park life

Guilt-free goods

The visually impaired skier going for gold

Summer in Dulwich captured on camera

Ethical shopping in Dulwich Village

ue Iss 3

A f r e e n e w s p a p e r fo r D u lw i c h


The Dulwich Diverter

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One to watch

The rapid rise of Lauren McCrostie

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NEWS | 3

Welcome to issue three of The Dulwich Diverter As a local newspaper that’s dedicated to Dulwich, we’re all about shining a spotlight on interesting and inspiring people from this part of south-east London, and in this issue there are plenty of those. Take our cover star, Dulwich resident Lauren McCrostie. The talented actress, who is only 20, won a role in Tim Burton’s new film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which is set to be released at the end of September. The movie’s stellar cast includes Eva Green, Samuel L Jackson, Judi Dench

and Chris O’Dowd. After meeting Lauren for her very first press interview, we’re convinced she’s destined for big things. Turn to page 10 to read the full story. Another inspirational person we met for this issue was East Dulwich resident James Luetchford, a visually impaired skier who is training with Para Snowsport GB. He tells us how taking to the slopes has changed his life on page 12. With the superb August weather we’ve enjoyed, it seemed like an ideal time to head to Dulwich Park and photograph the beautiful green space in all its glory. Turn

to page 18 for more. At the back of the paper you’ll find the regular Diversions section, featuring a recipe from Lordship Lane pasta shop Burro e Salvia, journalist Jane Merrick’s East Dulwich allotment column and a Dulwich-themed crossword. The Dulwich Diverter is now stocked in more than 130 businesses in East, West, North Dulwich and the Village, as well as Herne Hill and Forest Hill. To view the full list, go to We’re always on the lookout for interesting people, unsung heroes

and unusual stories for the paper. If you know anyone or anything that fits the bill, please drop us a line at We also rely solely on advertising to keep printing the paper – and it’s thanks to the generous businesses who support us that we’re able to cover our costs. To advertise, please send us an email to the above address. As you can see from this edition, you’ll be in great company. We hope you enjoy the issue! Mark McGinlay and Kate White

Behind closed doors Dawson’s Heights is one of several interesting Dulwich buildings that are taking part in this year’s Open House London. An essential event for architecture lovers and nosy neighbours alike, the festival will see more than 750 properties across London – from civic and industrial spaces to private homes – open their doors to the public for free on the weekend of September 17-18. Architect Kate Macintosh designed Dawson’s Heights in the 1960s when she was just 26 years old. Known locally as the battleships because of their hulking shape, the blocks house almost 300 flats in a mix of sizes, all with private balconies. Described by the Observer architecture critic Rowan Moore as “one of the most remarkable housing developments in the country”, the estate, which is split into two parts – Ladlands and Bredinghurst – was completed in 1972. According to the website Municipal Dreams, every flat has north-facing windows with spectacular views of the London skyline; while the varied height of the blocks, which rise from four to 12 storeys, ensures that all homes receive sunlight even in winter. English Heritage said of Dawson’s Heights: “The dramatic stepped hilltop profile is a landmark in south-east London and endows the project with a striking and original massing that possesses evocative associations with ancient cities and Italian hill towns. “The generous balconies with remarkable views and natural light, the warm brick finish and thoughtful planning introduce a real sense of human scale to a monumental social housing scheme.” It described the estate as a “successful example of the ‘streets in the sky’ planning employed by architects in this period”, adding that on a macro level, the layout of

the flats “enables social interaction among diverse groups of residents and a universal access to view”. Macintosh herself said: “If the large blocks were to be accepted and loved as a new way of living, they must try to replicate the best characteristics of the terraced street; that families of different sizes and age groups should intermingle, as their needs and strengths would be diverse and complementary.” Half-hourly tours will take place on September 17 from 10am-5pm at Bredinghurst on Overhill Road. There are a maximum of 10 people per tour and places must be booked in advance at dawsons. Other Dulwich buildings that will throw open their doors to visitors during the

weekend include the Yard House, a new family home with workshops built inside an old brickyard behind Lordship Lane. Created by Jonathan Tuckey Design, who describe the property as a “noble shed”, the house features a central courtyard that is lined with translucent polycarbonate panels. September 18, 10am-5pm, 155c Lordship Lane. Visitors can also take a look around Kingswood House on the Kingswood Estate. At the end of the 19th century Bovril inventor John Lawson Johnston transformed the lodge that was built on the site in the early 1800s into the house we see today. During the First World War it was used as a hospital for Canadian troops and in the 1950s the house was acquired by the London County Council by compulsory purchase

and the Kingswood housing estate was built in the grounds. Today the building, which is now owned by Southwark Council, features a library, rooms for hire and community space. During Open House the Beckenham Concert Orchestra will perform on the terrace. September 18, 12.30-4.30pm, Seeley Drive. Last but not least, Dulwich Village burial ground will also be welcoming visitors during the weekend. Created by Elizabethan actor Edward Alleyn’s foundation in 1616, it contains 114 graves including 12 GradeII listed monuments. Hourly tours on both days, 1-5pm. For full listings of Open House events, go to Pictured: Dawson’s Heights by James Rixon.

The Dulwich Diverter Editors Mark McGinlay, Kate White | Design The Creativity Club | Cover design Jake Tilson Photographer Lima Charlie | Sub-editor Jack Aston | Illustrators Jessica Kendrew, Peter Rhodes | Marketing and social media Mark McGinlay Contributors Lorna Allan, Katie Allen, Jessica Cargill Thompson, Jessica Gulliver, Dan Harder, Joe Lo, Alexander McBride Wilson, Jane Merrick, Elizabeth Rust, Simon Tait For editorial and advertising enquiries, please email | @dulwichdiverter | dulwichdiverter | dulwichdiverter



4 | NEWS

Magic moments High street art installations celebrating history, nature and sustainability are coming to Lordship Lane in September – along with a weekend dedicated to family art, animation and music-based activities. Animating Lordship Lane will see artists specialising in illustration, murals, papercraft, automaton, recycling, willowwork and more transform the windows of Lordship Lane shops for two weeks. The event is funded by Southwark Council’s High Street Challenge and coordinated by Fantasy High Street, an arts organisation that celebrates the high street as an essential community hub. It installs performance and visual artists in shop windows, streets and public spaces within town centres to create magical interactive events that transform everyday spaces and promise to provide residents with adventures in the heart of their communities. The company led an event in Waterloo in 2013 and brought an interactive magical apothecary garden to Gateshead. In May this year it delivered its largest project yet: 2,000 moving, speaking and singing tulips in Leicester Square. Art installations on Lordship Lane include Mille-fleurs by Jacqui Symons, who uses repeated images and suspended installations to explore our observations of the natural world. The work, which is displayed at Roullier White, includes a multitude of hanging flowers. Award-winning artist Sarah Doyle’s The

Faraway Tree is inspired by author Enid Blyton, who was born on Lordship Lane. She has made an illustrated paper-cut automaton based on Blyton’s famous novel that can be seen in the window of Mrs Robinson. Mary’s Living and Giving Shop for Save the Children is showing Bunnylove by Sue Bamford. Her work questions the impacts of over-consumption and the environmental and human cost of clothes-making. Bunnylove highlights the unseen consequences of unwanted clothing, with a series of soft toy rabbits the artist has made from unsellable donated garments that have become a burden to be disposed of.

Elsewhere, Karavan Eco’s front window is showcasing Goosey Goosey Gander by Gina Martin. The work consists of a flock of geese made from willow and has been created to symbolise Goose Green, where people once grazed their livestock. Meanwhile at Just Williams, children’s book illustrator Nicola Pontin has created a new imaginary exit from the Goose Green roundabout that is inspired by characters from the toy shop. The event will also feature a series of live street performances provided by Trees Alive, Shopafrolics, Circo Rum Ba Ba and the London Vegetable Orchestra, a group of musicians whose instruments are made

from local produce. Its repertoire includes classics from a variety of musical genres that have been given a veggie twist. Listen out for “Greensleaves”, Elvis Parsley’s “Blue Swede Shoes” and Michael Jackson’s hit “Billie Aube-Jean”. There will also be a wealth of free activities and workshops for budding animators, artists and music-makers to enjoy during the family fun weekend of September 3-4, with lots of exciting creative sessions and performances set to take place. Animating Lordship Lane runs until September 11. Pictured: Circo Rum Ba Ba and Trees Alive.




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NEWS | 5

A high note The Herne Hill Music Festival returns this autumn with performances ranging from jazz and classical to folk and blues. The opening night will feature two contrasting concerts. The award-winning Dulwich Opera Company will sing Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Herne Hill School (October 7, 7pm). Meanwhile, the Camilla George Quartet will present an evening of jazz at Off The Cuff on Railton Road at 8pm. The quartet features Camilla on saxophone, pianist Sarah Tandy, bassist Daniel Casimir and drummer Femi Koleoso. The next day the Friends’ Musick chamber choir and the Mock Tudor Band will perform a Shakespeare-inspired concert at St Paul’s Church (October 8, 7.30pm). Young musical talent will be showcased at St Saviour’s Hall on Herne Hill Road at 3pm. The first Sunday will feature music in Brockwell Park, starting with a family concert of Indian classical music performed by leading sitarist Mehboob Nadeem in Brockwell Hall (October 9, 1.30pm). Norwood Wind Ensemble will perform outside the hall at 2.30pm; and Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke will play the aptly named Greenhouse Blues in the community greenhouses at 3.30pm. Head to St Paul’s Church at 6.30pm for choral evensong from the choirs of St Paul’s Herne Hill and All Saints West Dulwich. Not So Silent Cinema – an evening of silent films with live music from a saxophone quartet – will begin at 8pm at Off The Cuff.

Weekday highlights include a jazz jam led by Heads Up (October 10, 8pm), and more jazz with the Jonny Phillips and Francesca Pichel Quintet (October 13, 8pm). Both events take place at Off The Cuff. Canopy Beer brewery will host Fiddling the Night Away, a concert featuring English and Appalachian music and Scottish folk fiddle in Arch 1127 on the Bath Factory Estate, 41 Norwood Road (October 11, 8pm). The Chelys Consort of Viols will perform 16th and 17th century music at the Old Vicarage, 127 Herne Hill (October 12, 7.30pm); and there will be a night of protest and political songs by Leon Rosselson and Joe Wilkes at Off The Cuff (October 14, 8pm). The final weekend will begin with a concert for families at the Methodist Hall, 155 Half Moon Lane. Featuring the Herne Hill Wind Quintet and flamenco dancer La Morenita, it will involve children from the audience (October 15, 3pm). That evening the Jacquin Trio will perform on clarinet, viola and piano at St Faith’s Church, Red Post Hill at 7.30pm. The concert will raise funds for international development charity Practical Action. The festival will draw to a close with a concert from the Southwark Sinfonietta at St Faith’s Church (October 16, 3.45pm). They will play Haydn and Mozart in a performance that’s not to be missed. Some events are ticketed and others are free. For full listings, go to Pictured: Camilla George.

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6 | NEWS

Creative classes Painting, papier mâché and printmaking are just some of the arty activities on offer at an East Dulwich art club. The creative classes run every Wednesday from 4-5pm during term time at St Clement with St Peter’s church hall just off Barry Road. Aimed at children aged from six to 11 years old, the sessions are led by professional printmaker Sally Cutler, who is a tutor at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Other activities include painting on to canvas, clay and collage. “We do quite a wide range of art so it’s varied and fun and the children are getting some good skills under their belts,” Cutler said. “We look at different artists and their work and use that as a point of inspiration.” Cutler has worked at the Dulwich Picture Gallery since 2000 as a tutor, where she teaches children who come in with school groups. She also works with the elderly and people with dementia. Asked how the art club benefits the kids, she said: “Art is a brilliant thing for children. It gives them a visual voice, enables them to express themselves and it’s very free. The lovely thing about art is that there are no wrongs, but there are lots of right ways of doing something. “You can have 10 children in the group and they might all approach it with a different response, but everything that’s produced is exciting and they bounce off each other. I have parents tell me their child has grown in confidence through coming to the classes.” The autumn term of art club begins on September 7 and runs for 14 weeks. Classes cost £8 per student. For more information, email


Bikes and ballet don’t usually go hand in hand – but now Dulwich residents have the chance to change that on a cycling tour with a twist. The one-off ride will be led by the Bicycle Ballet Company, a Brightonbased project that creates outdoor dance shows on bikes, fusing theatre with visual spectacle, comedy and soundtracks. It aims to engage people and their bikes in exciting and unexpected ways. The company has performed at the National Theatre, the Barbican, the Olympic Velodrome, the Paris-Roubaix bike race and in numerous shopping centres and parks since it formed 10 years ago – and its next show is in Dulwich. On a Saturday in September five professionals and 30 volunteers will ride from Dulwich Park to Goose Green via North Cross Road market, then on to Herne Hill Station, the Herne Hill Velodrome, past Dulwich Picture Gallery and back to Dulwich Park. The performance, called Blazing Saddles, has a female focus but all are welcome to sign up to the rehearsals in early September, which will take place at the Francis Peek Community Centre. The final performance will be watched by anyone who happens to be passing. “There will be lots of bike sculptural stuff involved,” creative producer Karen Poley said. “It’s about being in a group with other people and creating an environment that’s supportive. It’s open to anybody of all ages and abilities.”

© Raysto Images

Ballet on a bike

Poley has always worked in outdoor performance. “The key thing for me is that it’s free, it’s very democratic and if people don’t like it they can walk away – but hopefully they will like it,” she said. “Outdoor performance tends to be seen by a much wider audience so there’s a lot more diversity and people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. I feel quite passionate about that because art really is for everybody.” Speaking of the Dulwich ride, she said: “I suppose we’re trying to subvert the

way people think about cycling. Most people see cyclists as lycra-clad middle aged men on very expensive bikes with cameras on their hats. They’ll never think that again after they see this.”

and it’s all made in London.” Speaking about the decor, Andreou said: “It will have a real Mediterranean feel but it’ll be modern. Greek coffee shops are quite different – in Greece they’re almost like community centres. We want it to be a place where people feel comfortable and welcome.” Andreou said his family rejected a number of offers from big chains while doing up the shop at 106 Lordship Lane. “It’s been empty for quite a while – we’ve been decorating and it’s taken us some time to get the money together to do it. “While it’s been empty we’ve had a number of offers from chains interested in taking it for massive money. We had a couple of phone

companies approach us offering big money but we said no.” Andreou’s family have deep roots in Dulwich. His grandfather moved to East Dulwich in the 1950s and opened a Turkish deli on Lordship Lane in the 1970s, which is now occupied by Organic Village. “I was born in Dulwich Hospital and I grew up on Barry Road, so I’ve got quite an affiliation with Dulwich,” Andreou said. “A lot of my family got married in Camberwell Greek Church and I was baptised there, so we’re very south London.”

Blazing Saddles is on September 17 from 10.30am-5pm with a series of short vignettes between 2-4pm. Riders can attend as many or as few rehearsals before the performance as they’d like. To find out more and get involved, email

New deli opens A Greek coffee shop and deli is set to open on Lordship Lane at the end of September. Kanella & Co will be run by Nick Andreou, who owns Through the Trees on Zenoria Street, and his cousin Alex. “Kanella & Co is a café-deli but it’s not a typical coffee shop per se – we’re going to be offering lots of different things,” Andreou said. “My family are Greek-Cypriots and there will be a strong Greek influence.” Kanella, which means “cinnamon” in Greek, will serve coffee and fresh Greek pastries made locally in London. A deli counter will offer pre-prepared food including moussaka to take home and eat. There will be a range of Greek products including some that are made exclusively for the shop. “We’ll have jarred products, Greek olive oil and really good Greek honey,” Andreou said. “We’ll also have some ceramics and homeware for sale.” Kanella will offer something different to other delis, he said. “People think of the typical stuff like baklava, but there are so many things people haven’t seen that haven’t been brought to England – we’re going to try and introduce those. “There will be lots of vegetarian options and veggie pastries as well. We’ll have a fresh pumpkin pastry that’s almost like a pumpkin pasty. It tastes amazing but you never see it anywhere. “We’ll also cure our own Greek meats offsite, which can be eaten like salami or Parma ham. We’ve met some Greek guys who have set up a halloumi business that is incredible

Pictured: Village grain salad topped with spiced yoghurt and pomegranate.


10 | FILM


Lauren McCrostie was sitting on the top deck of the 12 bus and still at school when she got the call telling her she’d landed her first film role, a part alongside Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams as one of the fainting schoolgirls in Carol Morley’s The Falling. “When I went to the audition I thought it was for an extra, and I hadn’t really told my parents about it,” she says. “Then I was asked to meet the director and they said, ‘We’d like to offer you the part.’ I just thought, ‘This is crazy!’” Still only 20 years old, fresh-faced and simply dressed, she sits nursing a cup of hot green tea in a local café (friends of hers will tell you that Lauren loves her tea). She still can’t quite believe her luck, not least because she’s since landed a role as the fire-starting Olive in Tim Burton’s forthcoming


fantasy film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, one of the most hotly anticipated family movies of the autumn. Based on the hugely popular books by Ransom Riggs, “Miss P” is a hidden world of extraordinary people with superhuman powers, a bit like a costume-drama version of X-Men. It has been compared to Harry Potter for its loyal young-adult following. The film sees 16-year-old Jake Portman discover Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, run by the mysterious Miss Peregrine. He is chosen to protect the peculiar children from an evil band of forces intent on killing them. Needless to say, the cast is starry and includes relative youngsters such as Asa Butterfield, who plays Jake; and Milo Parker, who was recently seen in The Durrells and Mr Holmes prior to that. Penny Dreadful actress and former Bond girl Eva Green plays strict

headmistress Miss Peregrine; and Chris O’Dowd, Judi Dench, Samuel L Jackson and Terence Stamp also star. Lauren says that some of her friends who have seen the film poster didn’t even recognise her, with her arresting red hair covered by a wig and her translucent skin thick with make-up. Those naturally huge eyes, though, are unmistakable. Humble to the core, Lauren says she didn’t go to the Miss P audition with any strong hopes. “I just thought it would be good to get my face in front of the casting director,” she says. “I didn’t hear anything for seven months and then my agent rang and asked me to go to Tim Burton’s house. I said to myself, ‘Even if I don’t get the part, I can dine out on this for ages.’” Burton fans will be pleased to hear that the gothic director’s home is just as you would imagine: “It was just after Halloween and it was insane – dead things and blood everywhere,” Lauren laughs.



What was he like to work with? “Incredible,” she says. “He’s very much an actor’s director. And he speaks in a way that’s really visual, which is how I work because I’m dyslexic. It was always shocking and crazy, but never scary, just such fun. “Miss P was on a completely different scale to anything I’ve done before. It blew everything out of the water. I just kept wanting to stop and appreciate every single moment.” Her life, she stresses, doesn’t always involve rubbing shoulders with A-list actors. “The job I did before Miss P was a short film and had the lowest budget. I was staying in university accommodation with just a sheet on the bed, not even a pillow.” Four months later on the set of Miss P she was given her own trailer. Working with such a well-known cast, did she ever get star struck during filming? “I did a scene with Judi Dench,” she says. “I have no words. It was


FILM | 11 the best thing ever. She touched this shoulder,” she says, pointing to her left. “And Terence Stamp… I just wanted to listen to his voice the whole time. And his eyes are really, really blue.” The guileless joy Lauren takes in her work, and her excitement about life in general is infectious. Words like “amazing”, “incredible”, “crazy” and “passionate” tumble into every sentence. It’s understandable given the experiences she’s had over the past couple of years. But what’s possibly more inspiring is her resolutely positive outlook and mature, pragmatic approach to life that is already getting her through the inevitable knock-backs and “resting” periods that dog all actors. “You need to think of even the rejections as positives,” she counsels. “It’s a sign that you weren’t right for that part but you will be right for something else. Learn from the feedback and maybe you’ll get a job next time. “I’ve had quite a long period out of work at the moment,” she adds, “and I find that really, really difficult. I like to be busy, so I create work for myself.” She tells me she has been waitressing in a café, going to classes at the Actors Centre (“a bit like a gym for acting”), learning to drive, getting to grips with Instagram, and helping her mum with chores and admin. Even on set, while other actors nap in their trailers waiting to be

called, Lauren is crocheting cushions, practising yoga or manufacturing eco-friendly eye-makeup remover pads from recycled cotton. She’s no stranger to multitasking, having managed to film The Falling while finishing her A-levels. Though she seems very calm and poised as we chat, doing nothing, I surmise, is not Lauren’s forte. “I’ve been trying to think of a sustainable Plan B for myself,” she says. “Something I can do in my days off. I’m really interested in the environment and I’m obsessed with recycling so I’m doing an online course in setting up a sustainable business.” Performing though has always been her passion. As a child she forced her younger sister to accompany her in putting on shows for their parents. “I don’t think she’s ever forgiven me for the dance routines I made her do,” she giggles. While most of Lauren’s peers went off to university, she herself turned down a place to read history and drama at Glasgow, realising she was just following the pack and baulking at the financial expense. Her parents, she says, have been very supportive of her ambitions to become an actress, once they had made sure she had no romantic illusions about the career choice she was making. Her mother, who went to drama school and now works in radio, warned her she’d be “out of pocket

for much of her life and unhappy a lot of the time”. “Now she’s a bit too excited,” Lauren laughs. “She keeps showing the [Miss P] trailer to all her friends.” Does she ever regret not going to university like her peers? “I’m jealous of the consistency my friends have in their lives,” she says. “They aren’t going to get a call late at night asking them to go to an audition the next morning for a script they’ve only just received. But then a consistent life is not what I want. I’d be bored. The only consistent thing about my life is the inconsistency.” As the newest name on Dulwich’s list of thespian residents – from Lesley Sharp, James Nesbitt and Richard Ayoade all the way back to Edward Alleyn – Lauren has lived in the same Dulwich house for her whole life. She followed the classic local educational route of Dulwich Village Infants’ School to Dulwich Hamlet and then to Charter, only deviating to go to sixth form at St Marylebone because it had a reputation for being good for drama. For her, south London has the perfect mix of calmness and excitement – “it’s the perfect escape from the working environment” – and a network of “really, really supportive” friends. Living slap bang between the two, how does she see herself: East Dulwich or Dulwich Village? “A smudge in between,” she says. “I love Dulwich Village because it’s never

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really changed. Every time you go there you know what to expect. But when you’re on Lordship Lane you’re always seeing new things.” For hanging out with friends she loves the coffee shops and parks, while for ideas and inspiration it’s indie films at the local cinema. Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig are current crushes. She’s also thrilled by the increasing number of sustainably minded shops located in Dulwich, including Lordship Lane businesses Karavan Eco and Lila’s, which reworks vintage jewellery, and Fashion Conscience on Grove Vale. As we talk about the looming Miss P release date, it’s clear the magnitude of what she might be getting herself into is beginning to hit home. “It’s really scary,” she says. “It could make or break me. “It could help me get into the industry or just do nothing for me at all – which is worse, because at least if you’re going down, you’re moving and can go back up.” As Lauren sips the last of her tea, she confesses that this was her first real interview. Was it OK? Did she say anything at all interesting? Did she natter on too much? She does do that, she says. Don’t worry Lauren, this time you’ve definitely got the part. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will be released in UK cinemas on September 30.

12 | SPORT


James Luetchford spent his summer in a freezer. One big enough to accommodate a ski slope, but a freezer nonetheless. “We ski in snow domes all year round. I want to learn how to ski really fast. And I like the cold, so it doesn’t bother me,” says James. Except unlike your average skier, James can’t see the slope. “Imagine living your life looking through a toilet roll. That’s basically all I can see. I don’t have any peripheral vision.” Despite this, James wants to win ski races. He’s just returned from an intensive ski training session in Germany with his wife, Alice, who is his ski guide. Together they are invitational members of Para Snowsport GB. “I chase Alice down the ski slope,” says James, who can see her helmet and follows her movements. The two also wear headsets and communicate using command words such as “gate”, “left” and “right”. Unlike most skiers who started the sport as a child, James only started skiing in 2015. That’s when he and Alice booked a ski holiday to Andorra. “Alice is super keen on skiing, and she’s really good. When I first met her, she said she liked skiing and scuba diving. Well I can’t see the fish, so that’s a bit pointless, so I thought I’d give skiing a try. “Before we left for Andorra, Alice said, ‘Maybe we should tell them you can’t see.’ So we rang them, and as it turned out the guy who runs the ski school is qualified in visually impaired skiing.” After skiing with their instructor for a week, he recommended they contact ski charity Disability Snowsport UK. He said there aren’t many visually impaired skiers in the UK, and that maybe they could train with the squad. “Really? I’m 30. Surely I’m too old,” was James’s response. “I’ve never been good at sport at all, and it sounded very far-fetched.” But they did contact the ski charity and started skiing once a month. They also messaged the group that trains athletes for International Paralympic Committee (IPC) races, Para Snowsport GB, via their Facebook page, and were invited to attend a talent day. Even though James considered himself very much a beginner, they told him he was good enough to train with the squad. But before he could, he needed to go to Holland to be classified by a doctor. Visually impaired skiers are classified at three levels: sport class B1, B2 and B3. B1 skiers are either blind or have very low visual acuity. Their level of sight is such that the athlete cannot recognise the letter E


(15x15cm in size) from a distance of 25cm. B2 skiers cannot recognise the letter E from a distance of four metres. Moreover, athletes with a visual field of less than 10 degrees’ diameter are eligible for this sport class. B3 skiers have the least severe visual impairment eligible for alpine skiing. Eligible athletes either have a restricted visual field of less than 40 degrees diameter or a low visual acuity. James was classified as a B2 skier. He has perfect central vision and

can read, write and send emails, but when he was 28 he was diagnosed with Rod-Cone Dystrophy. “It was the day before I was going to be married,” he says. “So not only was I stressed about getting married, I also found out I might be going blind.” At first James was in denial about his diagnosis, but over time, he has learned to accept it and now carries a white stick. “People just thought I was really clumsy,” he says. “Especially when I used to walk into walls. It also explains why I never saw any of the birds when my parents took me


bird-watching in Scotland.” Skiing has given James a new lease of life. Previously he smoked and was overweight, but now he eats healthily and goes to the gym four times a week at the Dulwich Leisure Centre. He does high intensity running on the treadmill, TRX and kettlebells. “Being part of a team is really cool,” he says. “I’ve never been part of anything like this before and it’s really exciting. The competitiveness of it is great. I’m with a group of people trying to do really well at something, and I’m trying to do really well at it too.” James’s first IPC race is in a snow dome in Holland in November. He and Alice want to become full members of the Para Snowsport development squad. Once they progress through the ranks they could join the elite squad, who compete at the Paralympics. So far James and Alice have self-funded their training. “The development squad isn’t funded – it’s expensive,” James says. “We spoke with another guide on the squad and he said it costs around £20,000 to £25,000 a year.” In January they raised £800 through a crowdfunding campaign to buy two new pairs of ski boots. They’ve also set up a Facebook page where people can follow their progress and there will be information about how people can fund their training. This summer James and Alice spent five days training with Charlotte Evans, who won the gold medal guiding Kelly Gallagher through the race in the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games. “The best advice she gave us was that 80 per cent of the race is fitness and mind, and the other 20 per cent is what happens on the slope,” says James, who also needs to learn to give up control and trust that Alice will guide him quickly and tactically down the slope. “We spend a large portion of our time learning how to communicate with each other and building up trust so that James skis to the best of his ability,” Alice says. “We very much have a working relationship on the slope. We also have a mantra that ‘accidents happen’. We don’t blame each other if we have an accident, instead we learn from it so that we don’t make it again.” She says the best part of guiding James is doing something they love together. “We have such a strong passion for skiing, and it’s amazing to share it with the person I am married to. As for guiding, well it was the only way I was going to get James to ski with me!” James agrees. “We have a very good relationship. I totally trust her. And we both love skiing.”


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Jane Langley wants to change the way you shop. The Dulwich-based artist and teacher turned retail entrepreneur founded and runs Blue Patch, the online marketplace for British-made top quality and sustainable products. It is hosting its first ever pop-up department store on October 1 and naturally, it’s going to be located right here in Dulwich. “I wanted to do something local,” Jane tells me when we meet. “It’s really important to remind people that you can buy from independent businesses. October is a great time to start Christmas shopping too.” The department store will pop up from 10am-6pm at St Barnabas Parish Hall. There will be 100 stalls to browse and all 250 members of the


Blue Patch retailers’ collective will be showcased. The carefully curated range of businesses will be selling everything from handmade rugs and organic beauty products to artisan chocolates, alpaca jumpers and Beepalace’s stylish homes for bees. Everything that Blue Patch endorses is the very best from British designers and manufacturers. Exclusives will include the launch of local tailor Mr Dulwich’s first range of womenswear, and new furniture from Katie Walker, who made Prince George’s high chair. Other stalls will sell couture upcycled bags from Camberwell’s Kamera Obscura, handwoven “pear pod” hanging seats by Ellen Mulcrone and Kreisdesign’s contemporary pegboards made from sustainable birch plywood.

The day will also feature a cookery demonstration from Tim Sheehan of Lordship Lane restaurant Franklins, with a kitchen display unit created by local cabinetmaker and design studio Ian Dunn. Beauty fans will be able to indulge in a little TLC with a plethora of British-made products; while those interested in planet-friendly power will have the chance to chat to ecoenergy companies and witness a cutting-edge Tesla renewable power wall brought along by Joju Solar. The event will also focus on indie business. Blue Patch recently announced the winners of their first ever Blue Patch New Business Awards, and the winners will be showcased at the store. First prize went to East Londonbased social enterprise The Soap Co, which makes ethical luxury products



for the bathroom and employs people who are blind, disabled or disadvantaged. In the afternoon, local MP Helen Hayes will host a discussion about the state of the British high street, and there will be a business hub for people who want to set up a business or are already running one. Visitors will have the chance to sit back with experts over coffee and cake (or a glass of English wine) to discuss the pros and cons of running an independent business. “It’s stuff you would never see in a department store in town,” enthuses Jane. “Everything’s unique, a great price and straight from the people who made it. These are people who really care about the supply chain, who are proud of what they do, and want you as a customer to have something you really value.”


SHOPPING | 15 Jane has strong roots in southeast London. “Something like 12 generations of my family have lived around here, in Peckham, Camberwell, Brixton. My grandfather was a postman on the Walworth Road.” She studied at Camberwell College of Arts and the Royal College of Art and then began “teaching, exhibiting and curating”, putting on her own shows and forming artists’ collective The Pattern Lab to break down the barriers between fine art and craft. It was all experience that would prove invaluable for starting Blue Patch. “I learned about being an event manager, promotions, deadlines, diplomacy, pitching – it was a good learning curve.” The seeds of the business were sown in 2009 when she attended a talk about the threat of climate change. “I had always been really interested in nature and very concerned about it – the pollution and corruption,” she says. “By the time I came to the end of that lecture I knew I had to use my creative thinking to do something radical. Our economy is locked into what’s happening to destroy the environment. I wanted to change the business model.” She laughs that she is “the last person to do anything like this”, but Blue Patch, which launched in 2014, is the result of years of careful research and planning and

brainstorming with economists, environmentalists and shoppers. “We have looked at every aspect of why people aren’t turned on by climate change,” Jane says. “People aren’t engaging, they don’t understand it. But what people do like is shopping.” The result was Blue Patch, which she named after the moment of hope sparked by looking out of the window on a grey summer’s morning and seeing a patch of blue in the sky. “It felt so deeply happy amid all the gloom, it symbolised hope,” Jane says. “I bought the URL straightaway.”





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Blue Patch works as a “colourful catalogue” of British-made products and services dedicated to sustainability. The website showcases a wide variety of products ranging from willow garden furniture to silk underwear, directing shoppers to the businesses’ websites. Run as a collective, it’s also a hub for member businesses to connect, share resources and collaborate. It is funded by modest annual members’ fees and profits are directed back to Blue Patch members and invested in community projects and renewable energy companies.


“We’re up against big platforms like Not On The High Street and Etsy,” Jane admits. “And we recognise that there is no way we can compete [on that level] – but the heart and soul and emotion of the consumer will win in the end. We are in a very strong position.” Talking to her members is what inspired her to try the pop-up department store idea. “Through all our research, we know that what our shoppers want is to see, touch and feel our products,” she says. “Plus we’re always talking to our members and really want to meet them.” Jane has big dreams for the pop-up department store, and if it’s a success she would love to expand it next year so members can stay over in local homes and turn it into a weekend event. As for Blue Patch, she wants to scale up the number of members to 3,000 and to “go out on the road and meet businesses in their home towns”. She would also love to host a “department store of the British Isles” themed by country. “If we can scale Blue Patch and make it big, the profit will go towards community projects and helping people,” she says. “We want to prove that you can make a business that is resilient, looking after your community and the environment.”

16 | SPORT


I have visited Dulwich Park for more than 20 years, attended countless junior league football matches at Peckham Town FC, and spent far too much time stuck in traffic jams on the South Circular. How then have I never noticed, tucked away between the three, the Southwark Sports, Bowls and Social Club – a bijou oasis of Englishness meets Ibiza? “I wouldn’t worry about it,” reassures social secretary Martin Williams when we meet at the club. “Lots of people live their whole lives in Dulwich and haven’t a clue that we’re here.” To be fair, part of my ignorance might be down to the fact that the club doesn’t exactly shout about its presence. Set back from the South Circular, it’s invisible behind an unassuming clubhouse that is reached through a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gate next to the riding stables or via the neighbouring football club. It’s also enclosed by a high leylandii hedge and the thick trees around Dulwich Park. Once located, the flat-green bowls club presents itself as a


quintessentially English setting. It’s the sort of place John Betjeman might have been stirred to pen a verse about. White umpires’ coats hang on pegs in the pavilions and there are vintage wooden scoring boards, hollyhocks growing up against freshly painted walls and a bird house perched on a pedestal. A random Union Jack sticks out of a hanging basket, an impressive teapot collection is displayed in the ladies’ changing rooms and there’s a satisfying “plock” of the woods [bowls] as one pushes another out of the way. In high summer it’s also a bit of an evening sun trap, with palm trees, umbrella-shaded garden tables and whitewashed huts adding a touch of the tropics. And even at rush hour, you’ll strain to hear the traffic on the South Circular. Southwark Sports, Bowls and Social Club was originally built for workers of the local gummed-paper giant Samuel Jones, whose factory occupied several blocks on Southampton Way in Camberwell. Back then the facility also encompassed what are now Peckham Town’s football pitches, which were originally used for cricket, and some

now-derelict tennis courts. In 1978, Southwark Council took over the lease for their employees. Martin says the bar would probably have opened at about 10am for road sweepers and the like coming off the early morning shift, and gone right through to 11pm. But the recent trend for outsourcing means council employees are now largely a thing of the past, and without their regular subs to pay for the upkeep, the clubhouse and grounds fell into disrepair. According to Martin, in its heyday the club had a two-year waiting list to join; now anyone can drop in and play. But as I find out during the course of our conversation, the club’s fortunes are on the turn. Having taken early retirement from a career in retail, Martin – still only in his mid-50s and looking more like he’s just stepped off stage at a gig rather than in from a bowling green – got into bowls about five years ago. “I was in the pub with friends when someone said, ‘Has anyone seen the bowls on TV? Anyone fancy having a go?’ and we thought, ‘Why not?’” They started learning at the Crystal Palace Indoor Bowling Club, the oldest



indoor bowling club in the country that was founded by cricketer WG Grace. When summer came, they headed outdoors to Dulwich. “The green was in a terrible state,” Martin recalls. “It was called ‘the cabbage patch’ and it was surrounded by leylandii trees that had been allowed to grow. To be honest, the whole place was a bit grotty. “We’d only been here three weeks when the council said that, with their latest round of cuts, they were withdrawing funding for the club, and specifically the green, which is ornamental grass; left to its own devices it will die.” Despite the club’s superficial “grottiness”, Martin and his cohort could see its inner beauty. Instead of letting it close, they agreed to attend a course on how to look after the green in return for the chance to run the clubhouse as a fundraising venture. Since then they’ve installed an electric fence around the green to protect against foxes, restored the changing pavilions, and have started transforming the tree-invaded tennis courts into a gardening club. The green now looks less like a cabbage patch and more like


SPORT | 17 smooth velour, the clubhouse has been completely refurbished and they’ve established an eclectic events programme. “I’ve never had green fingers,” Martin admits, “so for me to see that green get better every year to the point where we’re now being awarded county games, that’s a huge buzz. We’ve gone from cabbage patch to county.” As a not-for-profit organisation, the club runs corporate and private events in order to fund its community programme. The volunteers have also ramped up the social events, hosting weddings and corporate gigs. It means that during the season (mid-April until late September) anyone can attend the weekday practice sessions for free, with equipment supplied. Weekend sessions also run on an ad hoc basis depending on the volunteers’ other commitments. When I arrive for a recce on a sunny and showery Friday evening, the team of regular volunteers have swung into action setting up for the arrival of a corporate party of City financiers. There’s Bill Robinson (club captain), Mark Brown (co-groundsman with Martin), Ron Hambleton (in charge of watering) and Gary Duffy, who manages the clubhouse and runs the bar with his granddaughter Amanda. They’re joined by club president Estelle Cox, who’s been bowling here for 26 years, and Martin’s wife Theresa, who cooks a mean vegetable chilli


that’s a steal at £3 a plate, “but if you haven’t got any money and you’re hungry, you still get fed.” The club teams play in one midweek and two weekend leagues and currently command a solid midtable position in all of them. “We were runners up in everything last year, which for a relatively small club is decent,” Martin says. Some might dismiss this seemingly sedate (but deceptively competitive) sport as a retirement activity, but it also appeals to a younger generation. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, bowls is still on the school curriculum. And, while the club’s average

membership five years ago was 60-plus, it now has members aged from 25 upwards. A recent member, 10-year-old Joe Sanford, started coming with his granddad but has since moved on to play with the England under-21s. So what’s the attraction? “The thing about bowls,” explains Martin, “is that it’s a great leveller. Quite often the women are better than the men. You don’t need to have any particular physical attributes to play it. “It gets you out into the fresh air, there’s the camaraderie and it’s a good laugh. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, you can have a beer while you’re playing, and I’ve become quite


good at it.” Local groups host their own varied programme of events at the club, which range from music and comedy to spoken word performances. They are all usually advertised on the East Dulwich Forum. There’s a regular Dulwich Jam on the first Wednesday of every month – a group of around 30 local professional musicians who get together to play and try out new material – and Keep the Faith’s popular northern soul nights. “It’s about keeping a balance between making enough money to keep the club going and helping the local community as much as possible,” says Martin, who jokes that although he’s taken early retirement, he’s “never worked so bloody hard in my life”. As the volunteers continue setting up and prepare to give up yet another evening unpaid to build up the future of the club, what do they get out of it? “It is a special place,” says Martin. “It kind of gets under your skin. Sometimes I come here to do work on the green and just sit here with the sprinklers going and I could be on holiday. You really do feel miles from anywhere.” For more information on Southwark Sports, Bowls and Social Club, contact Martin Williams on mcwilliams06@ or call 020 8693 0646. Weekday practice sessions take place from mid-April until the end of September on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-8.30pm and are open to all.







At 4 o’clock on Thursday June 26, 1890, Dulwich Park was declared open by Lord Rosebery, then chairman of London County Council, and it was dedicated to the people forever. The park, which had been laid out on what was an uneven patchwork of fields known as the Five Fields, was one of several public parks created in the 19th century along with Regent’s Park, Crystal Palace Park and Victoria Park. They were built as part of a widespread movement to protect green land threatened by the huge rise in development that had come about as a result of the industrial revolution. The initial idea for Dulwich Park was proposed in 1872 to the governors of Dulwich College by the Commons Preservation Society, one of several organisations dedicated to preventing development on pockets of wild land. They asked the governors to “dedicate, as a public park, 150 acres of their extensive estate, and thus avail themselves of the munificent offer of £7,500 made by Mr Francis Peek towards the laying out and maintaining of the same”. The offer was rejected, and remained as such until 1885 after bitter disputes between the so-called


park committee, driven largely by local philanthropist and tea merchant Francis Peek, and the governors of Dulwich College, were brought to parliament. Later, with the coming of the Second World War, extensive bombing of south-east London destroyed the wrought iron gates at the college entrance, leaving a crater that could be filled by a double decker bus. Air raid shelters were built in the park’s grounds to provide shelter to local residents during the Blitz and allotments were opened to the public as part of the war effort’s “grow more food” campaign. Despite the controversy surrounding the park’s initial foundation, and the destruction it saw during wartime, it has since become recognised as one of the great remaining parks of the 1800s, and is said to have been a personal favourite of Queen Victoria. Today the park boasts wildlife, horticulture and even the old oaks that once marked off the boundaries of the original Five Fields. It’s enjoyed and well-loved by many residents of Dulwich and beyond. The full history of Dulwich Park is detailed in Liz Johnson’s book Dulwich Park: A Park For The People Forever, which is available in local libraries.





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At the top of Champion Hill there’s a culde-sac tucked away just off the main road. Known as The Hamlet, it consists of 32 modern townhouses surrounding a communal open space that its residents call “the green”.

Designed by architect Peter Moiret and built in 1966, The Hamlet was advertised as a place for community living. The two-acre site was previously a disused garden hidden from the road behind some trees. According to the Dulwich Society, the layout of The Hamlet was designed to

be inward looking, turning its back on the surrounding houses to create its own community and character. The exteriors of the houses feature the typical 1960s white wooden panelling, along with large windows that allow sunlight to come flooding in. Today The Hamlet is still home to a

tight-knit community and a wide mix of people, from families and single professionals to retired couples and house sharers. This summer residents old and new held a party to celebrate The Hamlet’s 50th anniversary – and we interviewed some of them for The Dulwich Diverter.

Lima Charlie photos

BARBARA PATTINSON We bought our home in The Hamlet in 1966. My husband Trevor saw an advertisement for the property in the Sunday Times. We’d been searching for quite some time since we’d been married and had looked at quite a few properties. We were getting so disheartened. At the time we could have bought a five-bedroom semidetached Edwardian home for around £5,000, but of course it would have needed work – rewiring, plumbing and a new roof. It was just a nightmare to get anything done in those days because of the lack of training and demand. The 1960s was the heyday for cowboy builders and you could never be quite sure if anyone would show up. Luckily we found The Hamlet and it was brand new. I’m originally from California and I like modern architecture, but the house was an absolute fortune at £8,950. We had to put down one third as a deposit. A friend lent us the


money and we were able to buy the home we loved. It was such a delight when families started moving in. We were all like-minded and had the same ideas about how to live as a community. There were quite a few diplomats living here who liked The Hamlet because it needed very little maintenance. When they were abroad they rented the homes out. I worked as a nursery school teacher and set up Dog Kennel Hill and Oliver Goldsmith nurseries. I wouldn’t call myself very career focused, but I enjoyed my time working as a teacher. During the 1980s The Hamlet rather went out of favour and estate agents were very negative about it. Then at the turn of the century families started moving back in. I now think that The Hamlet is quite a desirable place to live. But at the same time, the buildings are starting to need quite a bit of care and we need tradesmen who know what they’re doing and

understand the design features. I really enjoyed the 50th anniversary party. It was nice to see so many former Hamlet residents who I used to live with. I think we should seek funding to publish a book about it. We’ve stayed in this house because I’m a nester. We could have traded up years ago but these are lovely family homes and are very pleasant to live in. People are always charmed by the design and the light. This house is where I brought our babies home to. We have two sons, one who lives in Dulwich Village and the other who’s in Portland, Oregon. We have a grown-up grandson in America and four-year-old twin grandsons in Dulwich. I’m really passionate about this area and in my spare time I’m a community activist with the SE5 Forum. Growing up in America in the 1940s and 50s, I learned about civic pride and to ‘leave something better than you found it’. Every day I strive to achieve this.



CORINNA DEAN Professionally I’m an architect. What I like about 1960s architecture is the well-proportioned rooms. I also like that The Hamlet is based on the typology of the terraced house and the Georgian square, but with contemporary architecture. The internal staircases are exquisitely designed with one central wooden column going up through the three floors. The open tread wooden stairs are also well designed. They probably wouldn’t get past building regulations today, which shows just how over concerned we are now with regulating design. I think these homes attract a creative bunch of people who are open to a shared social network. That’s quite a strong ethos of The Hamlet. I know there’s another architect, a stylist and a textile designer among the residents. With the coming of the Overground at Denmark Hill we’ve seen a lot more young people moving to the area. I’m quite open to that. I like the creative and young vibe they bring with them. There have been massive changes to the area, especially when you go towards Brixton or Lordship Lane. In terms of noticing a creative social mix, Rye Lane still has individuality to it. It is a pleasure to have neighbours of all ages. The older families have a lot of stories to tell about growing up in the 1960s and 70s. With that you realise that a lot of things haven’t changed, such as the family and social values.

CHARLENE MULLEN I live by myself, but I don’t feel like I live alone. If I ever had an emergency, I wouldn’t think twice about asking a neighbour for help. I’ve never felt lonely in The Hamlet but I have my privacy too. You can choose to enter our community as little or as much as you want. Just the other day, I drove in and my neighbours were having prosecco on the green. They waved me over to join them so I thought, ‘Why not?’ and I had a glass with them. It was really lovely. I see the green as our mutual ground.

We have a paid gardener, but some of us get stuck in to keep it tidy. The children love playing on it too. I suspect that a building developer today wouldn’t allocate the amount of communal space we have, which is a shame. I bought my terraced house 11 years ago. I fell in love with the amount of light. I lived in a Victorian property in Peckham before and didn’t like the wasted space and long corridors. I’d been looking for the right place for a while, and when I saw The Hamlet, I snapped it up.

These aren’t the most beautiful homes you’ll ever see. You have to love 1960s architecture to appreciate them, but the inside works really well. We have all sorts of people living in the 32 houses here – single people, retired people, families and students. It’s also a joy to open up my home for the Dulwich Festival Artists’ Open House. I think the house shows off my textile designs really well. And it’s just nice to meet everyone from the surrounding area.

ELENA CATON This summer we celebrated The Hamlet’s 50th anniversary. We invited everyone who has lived here to celebrate with us. I live next door to Barbara, who is an original resident, and she’s kept in contact with quite a few of the people who have lived here over the years. During the party I met a couple who lived in my home during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The lady was quite keen to have a tour of her old home. She told me how she had arranged her furniture and we discussed how I had opened up the kitchen and changed the layout a bit. A couple of weeks later her husband posted a pin drive to me with videos he had taken when his family lived in the home. It was extraordinary. Even though the times have changed, their children did the same activities ours do. We saw their children having a bath in our bathtub for example. It was just a wonderful sense of history repeating itself generation after generation. It was really lovely and thoughtful of them to send us those videos. I really want The Hamlet to be maintained for future generations – there’s a great mix of residents here. I love that my children can run in and out of other families’ homes. There’s also very little traffic and it’s just a safe space for them to play.





A little known fact about councillor Charlie Smith, the cheery gent who’s a familiar face to many local people who live and work in East Dulwich, is that he isn’t called Charlie at all. It would be nice to think that Charlie – real name Arthur Smith – adopted a different name to avoid confusion with another well-known Londoner, but the truth is more prosaic. “My dad was Arthur Charles as well, so I got to be Charlie, and it stuck,” he says. Born in 1948, Charlie married his childhood sweetheart Sue in 1966 when he was “17 and a bit” at the place to get hitched in the 60s, Chelsea’s Caxton Hall – where Ringo Starr, Barry Gibb and other celebrities tied the knot. Charlie’s younger brother was the Radio Caroline DJ Tony Allan, who died from cancer in 2004 but is still a legend in pirate radio heritage. Charlie’s own claim to fame will come next year, when he will be invested as Southwark’s 116th mayor. This year he and Sue celebrated their golden wedding anniversary surrounded by their three daughters and five grandchildren. Londoners born and bred, they came to East Dulwich 20 years ago from Pimlico, where they met as teenagers. Charlie left school at 15 to become a joiner, but after five years of evening classes he found himself with A-levels in English literature, criminal law, sociology and economics – all handy for a lifetime of public service. He got a job as a surveyor for a Paddington housing association working with the homeless, and then did the same for the government’s Property Services Agency and the Peabody Trust. He helped social housing residents in Westminster find appropriate accommodation before joining the Hyde Housing Association, which was set up 50 years ago to help people excluded from the mainstream housing market. He retired in 2012. Early on, local politics became an abiding interest. He made the tabloids in 1990 when he was standing for Westminster City Council and thenleader Lady Shirley Porter was waiting next to him at the count. “The press were all there, Mrs Thatcher was expected, and they asked me if I was going to win. I put up Churchill’s victory sign. Then they asked me what I thought of the poll tax and I reversed the sign. “In the photographs in the next day’s papers it looked as if I was aiming the gesture at Shirley Porter, with the headline ‘No way to treat a lady,’” he recalls with a chuckle. He didn’t win the seat. But years of calling on needy people in some of the poorest corners of


the capital has provided invaluable experience through three terms as a Southwark councillor. “You learn to observe things,” he says. “You never know what’s going to come, but you have to learn how to deal with folk, how to behave. Being able to listen and take people and their problems seriously always puts you in good stead.” Charlie stood for parliament for the Cities of London and Westminster South in 1992, coming second after the Conservative candidate, and tried again for Chichester five years later with a similar outcome in spite of garnering 10,000 votes. However, his heart has always been in local affairs. In 1998 he was elected as a councillor for the Ruskin (now Village) ward, and in 2002 he continued as the councillor for East Dulwich, serving until Labour lost control of Southwark Council in 2006. In 2010 he stood in another Southwark ward, Cathedral, without luck, but was elected for East Dulwich in 2014 and shares the ward with two Lib Dem councillors. “The place has changed almost out of recognition

since 1996,” he says. “House prices have spiralled up and East Dulwich is much more prosperous than when we first came here, but you shouldn’t make assumptions that the people change. Snap judgements about age and class are nearly always wrong.” There have been major changes on our high street, Lordship Lane, with the largest Foxtons estate agency in the south-east located on the site of the old social security office, restaurants and wine bars opening and Marks & Spencer replacing Iceland. A new primary school will take the place of the old police station, there’s a Picturehouse in St Thomas More Hall, and a complex development is going through the planning process to give Charlie’s beloved Dulwich Hamlet football club a new arena. Charlie has built up experience on Southwark’s education and planning committees over the years. “Planning is a challenge in East Dulwich and I have to keep an eye on developers to make sure they stick to what has been agreed,” he says. He’s also proud of the ward’s schools and how they have developed and is



a popular guest at school prize days. While local councils are no longer education authorities, they can still play a part by helping to buy sports equipment or funding school trips. Now he serves on the licensing committee and often spends his evenings in the back of a police car, touring alcohol outlets and checking that their business practice equates with their licence. Most recently, at a civic ceremony in Southwark Cathedral in May, he was named new deputy mayor of Southwark, a largely ceremonial role “visiting everywhere in robes and badges” as an ambassador for the borough. The appointment puts him in line to succeed Kath Whittam as mayor next year, but he tries not to let his civic duties interfere with his pastoral ones. “It’s being on doorsteps, talking to people, not just at election time but all year round, that makes the difference to people here and it’s an honour to represent them,” he says. “Sometimes I can’t help but sometimes I can, and that makes it worthwhile.”



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When oft-repeated stories pass into the realms of London legend, it can be hard to distinguish between fact and fiction – and the colourful life of mapmaker and former Dulwich resident Phyllis Pearsall is no exception. Born on September 25, 1906, Phyllis grew up at 3 Court Lane Gardens just off Court Lane in SE21. Her father Alexander Gross (originally Grosz) was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant and her mother Isabella Crowley was an Irish-Italian Roman Catholic artist and suffragette. Phyllis was educated at Roedean, a private boarding school near Brighton, but she had to leave when her father’s cartography business – which produced maps of many British towns and cities – went bankrupt. A keen artist, Phyllis taught English at a small school in Brittany and later studied at the Sorbonne. She is believed to have spent her first few months in Paris sleeping rough before moving into a bedsit, where she claimed to have met Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov. She worked as a shop assistant selling gloves in a department store and in 1926 she met and married Richard Pearsall, a friend of her artist brother Anthony. After eight years she left him while they were on holiday in Venice – for reasons unknown – and never remarried. In 1935 she was on her way to a party in Belgravia armed with the most recent map she could find, which was more than 15 years old. She got lost and turned up at the party late. As a result she decided to produce a new map of London to accurately chart the fast-changing city. The story goes that over the next year, she walked 3,000 miles through the capital to meticulously map the city’s 23,000 streets, waking up at 5am each morning to pound the pavements for up to 18 hours a day. Some are sceptical about this claim, but whatever the truth, Phyllis’s A to Z was completed in 1936 and was packed with bus and tram routes, train stations, museums and other places of interest. It also showed house numbers along main roads – a detail that set it apart from other maps. After struggling to find a publisher who would print the map, in typical Phyllis fashion she circumvented the problem by founding her own publishing house, the Geographers’ Map Company Ltd, and printed 10,000 copies herself. She wrote to Hatchards, Selfridges and Foyles to ask if they would sell the A to Z but they turned her down. Undeterred, she approached WH Smith, who placed an order for 1,250 copies. She is said to have delivered them using a hand barrow borrowed from the pub next door.


Trafalgar Square was conspicuously absent from the first A to Z after Phyllis knocked a shoebox full of cards marked T out of her window, losing some in the process. Despite this, the map was an instant hit and within weeks the orders were flooding in. Phyllis was by no means the first person to publish a map of London.

John Norden produced the first street guide to the capital back in 1593 and Bartholomew’s London atlas was widely available from 1908. However, there was something about her arrangement of type – considered to be one of the most interesting of her time – and the clean sans serif font that appealed to customers, and the A

PICTURED ABOVE: PHYLLIS PEARSALL Photo supplied by Geographers’ A-Z Map Co Ltd

to Z quickly became an indispensible tool for Londoners and tourists alike. Nevertheless, there were setbacks to come. When the Second World War began in 1939, selling maps to the public was prohibited for security reasons and as a result the war years were a difficult time for Phyllis’s new business. Disaster struck again in 1946 when she had an accident on the way home from Amsterdam, where she was printing the new edition of the London map due to paper shortages in England. A plane crash she was involved in left her with permanent scars. Despite these difficulties, the Geographers’ Map Company flourished and soon there was an A to Z for nearly every major British city. In 1966 Phyllis turned the company into a trust to secure the future of her employees by ensuring it was never bought out. She wrote about her life in her autobiography From Bedsitter to Household Name and was awarded an MBE in 1986. She remained chairman of her business – driving her red Mercedes from her home in Shoreham-by-Sea to her offices in Sevenoaks – until her death in 1996. What Phyllis would have made of today’s smartphones and sat navs is anyone’s guess. While some might argue that technology has rendered the A to Z obsolete, there’s something to be said for a map that does the job irrespective of a dodgy internet signal or a phone battery on the blink. The A to Z is more than just a practical tool as well. Not only is it a historical record in its own right, charting the ever-changing landscape and layouts of our cities, it is also considered a design classic. In 2006 a survey of top British designs commissioned by the BBC’s Culture Show and the Design Museum placed the A to Z alongside the Routemaster bus and the red telephone box in the public’s affections. Phyllis’s fascinating life was also turned into a musical called The A-Z of Mrs P, which was performed at the Southwark Playhouse in 2014 and starred Isy Suttie (Dobby from Peep Show) as Phyllis. Today the Geographers’ A-Z Map Company Limited is the largest independent map publishing company in the UK and Phyllis’s motto, “On We Go”, remains at the heart of the business. A Southwark Council blue plaque has also been erected at Phyllis’s childhood home at 3 Court Lane Gardens, ensuring that the memory of this extraordinary former Dulwich resident will never be wiped off the map.






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On the allotment BY JANE MERRICK

It has been a fantastic year for apples. The delay of spring, with later than normal frosts even in south London, was terrible for the peaches and apricots but the apple blossom didn’t care, and we now have red, green and russet fruit weighing down branches and adding to the colours of autumn. I grow my apple trees as espaliers or step-overs on the edges of beds, saving the space in the middle for vegetables. This means I have squeezed in around 30 fruit trees – there are also pears, peaches, plums and an apricot – on my 115 square metre plot. Espaliers will still bear a lot of fruit if they are pruned correctly. I keep them in shape by cutting back new, long branches to above three leaf clusters in late summer, and give them a tidy-up prune in winter. The majority of apple varieties are spur-bearing, meaning their apples grow along the branches. True tipbearers, like Irish Peach, must be pruned more sensitively, with only dead, diseased or crossing branches cut out – so these varieties should really only be grown as freestanding trees. On a packed allotment site like ours there is no problem with pollination. We have an orchard, created from existing trees on an overgrown plot brought to life last year by our chairman Barney Perkins, who added some new varieties bought with funds from our stall at the Nunhead Cemetery open day. The mixture of cordons and freestanding trees includes Blenheim Orange, a dual-purpose variety from the 18th century; Rosemary Russet, first raised in the 1830s and eaten fresh; and the late Victorian Laxton’s Superb, also a dessert apple. The fruit is shared among all plotholders. This autumn I will be using my cooking apples, like Early Victoria, for crumbles and pies, while delicious eaters like Adam’s Pearmain and Lord Lambourne


Back to basics RAVIOLI WITH RICOTTA, LEMON AND ORANGE ZEST will fill our fruit bowl. I have one cider variety, Tom Putt, which has not yet produced enough fruit for an East Dulwich scrumpy. But on a visit to Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire this summer, where the monks make their own cider, I discovered that any apples can produce a decent vintage. In fact, the orchard manager told me that a blend of dessert and dual-purpose apples like Kidd’s Orange Red, Discovery and Spartan produce a better, more rounded flavour cider than the hard, dry West Country version. I have ordered these three varieties to add to my plot this winter. When she’s not tending her allotment in East Dulwich, Jane Merrick is a freelance writer for the Independent, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Times. Follow her on Twitter @janemerrick23 and read her blog at


For the dough 2 eggs 200g 00 flour For the filling 350g fresh ricotta 4 spoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano 1/5 lemon and 1/5 orange zest For the sauce Extra virgin olive oil Chopped parsley Bottarga (dry mullet roe) Illustration by Jessica Kendrew



Burro e Salvia, the first “pastificio” (pasta shop) in London, opened its East Dulwich shop and restaurant in January 2015 with a clear mission: to bring the fresh pasta culture and lifestyle to south-east London. In so many ways, fresh pasta is just a simple way to return to basics. It is about a process, small rituals and slowing down; making things instead of buying them ready-made, or enjoying a meal at home with family and friends. In our pastificio we make a daily selection of fresh pasta for you to buy and enjoy at home. Pasta shapes and fillings vary according to the seasons and the creativity of the chef and the “sfogline” – the ladies who roll out the pasta. We like fresh pasta to be a convivial experience, so besides making it for our customers to buy and bring home, we also have a dining space for them to sit and enjoy a perfect Italian-style meal. We also organise fresh pasta workshops on a weekly basis. Whether you’re a beginner who would like to make fresh pasta from scratch, or you’ve been making your own tagliatelle for years, our sfogline are ready to show you the tricks of the trade. This is a traditional Sardinian recipe and it features a gastronomic gem from the island: bottarga, made from salted, pressed and dried grey mullet egg roe. Grated on top of pasta, it gives a delicious, savoury taste.

To make your ravioli dough, crack the eggs into a bowl and add the flour, then mix with a fork until smooth. Once it is not too wet, take the dough out of the bowl and start kneading on a wooden top. The dough must be soft and elastic but not too wet, so keep adding flour if needed. Try and make it into a ball, then wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for half an hour to rest. In the meantime, mix the ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano and zest in a bowl. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to fill the pasta. To roll your pasta, you have two options: by hand with a rolling pin or with the help of a machine. You need to make sheets of pasta of about 1mm maximum. Using a round ravioli stamp (available in most kitchen equipment shops and department stores), mark the pasta sheet and fill each circle with half a spoon of the filling. Place another sheet of pasta on top and seal with the help of your fingers so as to press any air bubbles out. Use your stamp again and this time press strongly to cut out each ravioli, then discard the excess pasta. Fresh ravioli cook very quickly in about three to four minutes from the moment they are dropped in salted boiling water. Once cooked, drain them gently and put them in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil. Stir gently for a few seconds, then add the chopped parsley. Once the ravioli are served, grate bottarga abundantly on each plate. Buon appetito!




Venetia, Lady Digby, on her Deathbed


Sir Anthony van Dyck


Venetia Stanley (1600-33) was a celebrated beauty of the Stuart period who died a sudden and mysterious death. Born in Tong Castle, Shropshire, she moved to London alone in her early teens and quickly gained a reputation for licentiousness – something that was not usually tolerated among the high society of 17th century England. Renowned scientist and adventurer Sir Kenelm Digby fell deeply in love with Venetia and in 1625 he married her in secret and against the wishes of his family. They had four sons together, one of whom died in infancy. When Lady Digby passed away suddenly in her sleep on the night of April 30, 1633, Sir Kenelm was so distraught that he summoned celebrated artist Van Dyck to immortalise the transitory beauty of her corpse on canvas. An autopsy (rare at the time) was performed before her burial but the cause of death was never determined. A bronze bust of Venetia on her tomb at Christ Church Newgate Street was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Source:


School in the 60s Parents, teachers and children are photographed in 1966 outside the newly built Dulwich Wood Nursery School on Lyall Avenue, SE21. The school opened on the Kingswood Estate near Sydenham Hill, which is built around the historic Kingswood House. After the Second World War London was in dire need of new homes and in 1946 London County Council announced a compulsory purchase of the land. The next year they revealed plans to construct 748 homes on the 37-acre site, with four-storey blocks of flats and 46 cottages. A shopping centre and a pub (now demolished) were also built. According to the Dulwich Society, the council-run nursery was a godsend to cash-strapped mums who arrived in a column of cars to drop their children off each day. Source: Image © Henry Grant Collection/ Museum of London.


Adolescence is a testing time for any teen, but for Parker Banks it’s something else. His mother has passed away suddenly and inexplicably and he’s uprooted to another country with a younger deaf sister and a scientist dad who’s absorbed in some top secret work. After moving from the UK to the United States, Parker is faced with navigating a new school in a new country and testing the social waters of his classmates, most of whom find his accent cruelly hilarious. It’s a lonely time. As the novel progresses we discover that Parker’s dad is involved with a newfangled process called “avection” – a method that transports people from this world to a planet called Six and does away with the need for space shuttles. With global warming heating up, and the world of consumers about to consume itself, Six has been discovered. It’s the only known planet in the entire universe that can host human beings and it’s been ringfenced for the elites of the elite, the billionaires and their ilk. When Parker’s dad disappears, Parker and his sister Emma embark on a search for him. They are delivered to a rather unorthodox transport hub where their nervewracking journey to Six begins. Humans can only experience avection once before doing physical damage. To avect twice causes bizarre physical ailments, and to avect three times is to sign a death warrant. So the journey has to work, and their father has to be on Six to help them all get back to Earth. Luckily he is there, which is cause for celebration, and Six appears at first glance to be some kind of utopian luxury. But it’s a strange, empty place. No fish swim in the purple sea and there’s something sinister bubbling away under the surface. Something is amiss. Six author MM Vaughan is an East Dulwich resident and an ex-teacher at a local primary school. This is a fun, action-packed read, and one which children aged eight to 12 will undoubtedly enjoy very much. Luckily for us there is also plenty of scope for a sequel. £6.99, Margaret K McElderry Books.










slow down and learn the tricks of pasta making at one of our workshops


dine with us and enjoy the conviviality and warmth of the Italian table


watch as one of our pasta ladies works at her craft and select from a variety of folds and seasonal specialties to take home


Enter the world of Burro e Salvia to experience the comforts of fresh handmade pasta:


A K E S & PA S T R I E D ∙ C S


Simply Flour and Eggs



BURRO E SALVIA PASTIFICIO AND RESTAURANT 151 Lordship Lane SE22 8HX London ph 020 86930331

Brick House Sourdough Bakery & Café, 1 Zenoria Street, London, SE22 8HP @brickhousebread Tel : 0208 693 2031

CodfellasFish Bar Enjoy cod, chips and a glass of wine or beer for on Monday to Thursday in our restaurant


A N DA LU S I A N TA PA S D I S H E S T U E S DAY - S U N DAY 1 2 - 3 P M A N D 6 - 1 1 P M M I S S TA PA S . C O M

125 Bellenden Road, London SE15 4QY 020 7657 5287 @codfellas125









10 11




13 00









23 24




28 30




Two unclued answers are creations of the famous former Dulwich resident found at 17 and 27 Across. As an extra clue to their identity, look at the numbers. ACROSS 8 SEA TO THE EAST OF ITALY (8) 10 FURROW, GROOVE (3) 11 HOT BEVERAGE (6) 12 LIGHTEST ELEMENT (8) 13 MUTTER, SPEAK SOFTLY (6) 15 AGREEMENT (6) 17 & 27 TINY BLONDE (ANAGRAM) (4,6) 18 INDICATE WITH THE FINGER (5) 19 PALM FRUIT (4) 20 STRAIGHTFORWARD (6) 22 REGULAR, DAY-TO-DAY (6) 25 INNOCUOUS (8) 27 SEE 17 ACROSS 28 SPHERE (3)


SOLUTION ACROSS: 8 Adriatic, 10 Rut, 11 Coffee, 12 Hydrogen, 13 Murmur, 15 Assent, 17 ENID, 18 Point, 19 Date, 20 Simple, 22 Normal, 25 Harmless, 27 BLYTON, 28 Orb, 29 Stranded, 30 Loiter. DOWN: 1 Demon, 2 Profound, 3 Stream, 4 Path, 6 Hibernate, 9 Radiant, 14 Reign, 16 Antipasto, 18 Pretend, 19 Dialysis, 21 Pampas, 23 Rubble, 24 Boxer, 26 Soda. The unclued answers are SECRET (7 Across) and FAMOUS (5 Down) – the Secret Seven and Famous Five being creations of Dulwich-born ENID BLYTON.




Chicago-born novelist Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) was one of several notable authors who attended Dulwich College. Chandler was a founder of the hardboiled school of detective fiction – a tough, unsentimental style of crime writing. He became a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Great Depression. His first short story, Blackmailers Don’t Shoot, was published in 1933. His debut novel The Big Sleep was printed in 1939 and introduced iconic character Philip Marlowe, a solitary, cynical, hard-drinking private eye with a penchant for poetry and chess. Illustration by Peter Rhodes.


Lorraine Pa Wilson Position Founder Born 1865 Lorraine Wilson founded Dulwich Hamlet FC in 1893 after a couple of local lads handed him one shilling and eight pence and asked him to start a football club. “Pa”, as he was affectionately known, did just that and Dulwich Hamlet was born. According to the club’s first ground in Woodwarde Road had no changing facilities and on match days the team had to walk half a mile through Dulwich from their dressing room to the pitch, carrying their equipment with them. During World War One Pa used the Hamlet’s ground to entertain soldiers on leave. He published a club magazine for Hamlet players stationed overseas to help boost their morale and erected a plaque in memory of the 22 men who were killed in action. Some of the Hamlet’s most legendary players joined the club on Pa’s watch, including Edgar Kail – who scored 427 goals for the club – and goalkeeper Bert Coleman. Pa died in 1924 and is buried in West Norwood Cemetery. Peter Rhodes illustration

Read more on the history of Dulwich Hamlet at


Wildflowers growing on Goose Green, photographed by Wills Heaney (@digwithit).


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Issue 3 of The Dulwich Diverter  
Issue 3 of The Dulwich Diverter