Having a ball
Meet singer-songwriter Matt Owens
Stories from a local landmark
The Dulwich netball team on the rise
ril Ap 8 h/ 201 rc
The Dulwich Diverter
Parlour talk The tattoo artists of SE22
ue Iss 12
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NEWS | 3
Welcome to issue 12 of The Dulwich Diverter Thank you for picking up the March/April edition of The Dulwich Diverter, your free community paper for Dulwich. Our cover star this issue is Nick Horn, who recently opened East Dulwich’s first tattoo parlour with his partner Clare Calbraith. Find out how they’re aiming to change people’s perception of tattoo studios on page nine. With Easter just around the corner, for this edition’s photo essay we went behind the scenes at three local bakeries – Brick House Bread, Dulwich Bakery and Truly Scrumptious. Turn to page 16 to see the results.
Tarn Rodgers Johns grew up on Hillcourt Road, near to Dawson’s Heights. For her MA in journalism, she spent six months researching the estate that has left an indelible impression on her life and meeting some of the people who live there. Her project explores how factors such as the housing crisis, social class and the Right to Buy policy have all affected the perception of what it means to live in a housing estate today. Turn to page 20 to read her piece. Local resident and singer-songwriter Matt Owens found fame with indie band Noah and the Whale. He talks about his
new group, Little Mammoths – dubbed “the hardest working band in rock ’n’ roll” – on page 12. Meanwhile, House of Tippler on Lordship Lane is celebrating six years in business this month. We popped in for a chat with owner and award-winning mixologist Tim Oakley, who tells us how he achieved a lifelong ambition to run his own cocktail bar on page 24. At the back of the paper you’ll find the usual diversions pages, which include a recipe for Dulwich sourdough from Christopher’s Bakery, the regular Dulwichthemed crossword and more.
Last but not least, don’t miss the chance to see Mum Before Me at Jeannie Avent Gallery this month. The fascinating and moving exhibition, featured on page 15, sees 18 artists exploring the early lives of their mothers before they started a family. We’re now working on the May/June edition of The Dulwich Diverter. If you have a story you would like to share or are interested in advertising with us, we would love to hear from you – please drop us a line at email@example.com. We hope you enjoy the issue! Mark McGinlay and Kate White
Southwark Council could use a compulsory purchase order to buy Dulwich Hamlet’s ground if the owners refuse to sell up. In early March, Meadow Residential LLP withdrew permission for the team to play at Champion Hill, stating that the club had repeatedly breached their licence. It also handed them a £121,000 bill for back-dated rent. Days later, solicitors told the club that a Meadow subsidiary had registered its name and nicknames as trademarks and ordered the club to stop using them – although Meadow has since offered to transfer the trademarks to Dulwich Hamlet at no cost. Property developer Meadow, which bought Champion Hill in 2014, had hoped to redevelop the site to build 155 homes and a new football stadium. But the council did not support the scheme, which proposed 10 social rented and 15 intermediate homes (well below the council’s requirement of 35 per cent) and building on a swathe of metropolitan open land at Greendale. In a statement, a Meadow spokesperson said: “Meadow has been unable to financially support the club while Southwark Council is determined to prevent the stadium proposals from progressing. “Meadow has no dispute with the playing staff, the many loyal fans and members of the community who care about the club. “Meadow’s fundamental position has never changed. Meadow owns the Champion Hill site and wishes to develop it to provide much-needed housing, including affordable housing, and a new stadium for the club therefore securing its future at Champion Hill. “With the support of Southwark Council, the community and ultimately
Photo by Duncan Palmer
Dulwich Hamlet calls on Champion Hill owners to sell up
the involvement of the mayor of London, Meadow will do so.” But Dulwich Hamlet, who celebrate their 125th anniversary this year and were top of the Bostik Premier Divison after their 3-1 win at Billericay Town as this issue went to press, called on Meadow to sell up. A spokesperson said: “It now seems clear to us that there can be no future for any development involving Meadow at Champion Hill” and said that Meadow should “arrange the sale of Champion Hill at fair market value to Southwark Council or another party”. They added: “Earlier today, Meadow
contacted us and signalled their intention to transfer the trademarks to Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust (DHST). While transferring fundamental assets of this club, such as its name, back to its supporters is welcome, it’s disappointing that action is even necessary. “Adversity has demonstrated the value of this club to our community. It is not too late for [Meadow chiefs] Andrew McDaniel and Peter Bennison to step back from the brink and resolve this matter with honour. “We call on them to accept that Meadow’s involvement at Champion Hill must now end, and to enter into good faith negotiations with interested parties for the rapid sale of
Champion Hill on terms that give absolute priority to its long term sustainability. “DHST remains committed to its objectives and hope that this sorry saga is concluded rapidly, so that we might continue to pursue them and fully realise our goal of a permanent sustainable home for Dulwich Hamlet Football Club in East Dulwich.” Meanwhile, the council published a report outlining its intention to buy the site at market value – using a compulsory purchase order if necessary – to build council homes and “secure the long-term future of Greendale and Dulwich Hamlet Football Club”. Council leader Peter John said: “Southwark Council is bold in its plans to build thousands of new council homes, and we are constantly on the lookout for potential sites for new homes. Part of the Champion Hill site offers us one such opportunity. “But we know that communities are more than just homes. The things that bring and keep us together are as important as bricks and mortar, which is why Southwark has been so vocal in its support for Dulwich Hamlet Football Club – a great and muchloved community asset. “This report demonstrates our commitment to community, both in terms of providing much-needed new homes, and in preserving the stadium for the club. “However, we know that the current owners have turned down a previous offer to buy the club, and that is why today I have written to them with the mayor of London, asking them once again to reconsider their ongoing involvement in the site and allow the council to buy the site at market value, securing the future of this valued football club.” The council is set to consider the report at a cabinet meeting on March 13.
The Dulwich Diverter Editors Mark McGinlay, Kate White | Design The Creativity Club http://thecreativity.club | Cover design Jake Tilson Photographer Lima Charlie | Sub-editor Jack Aston | Illustrators Jessica Kendrew, Peter Rhodes | Marketing and social media Mark McGinlay Contributors Tristan Bejawn, Joan Byrne, Peter Collins, Pablo Cuéllar, Emma Finamore, Sarah Gordon, Jessica Gulliver, Dan Harder, Jane Merrick, Tarn Rodgers Johns, Elizabeth Rust, Luke G Williams For editorial and advertising enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org dulwichdiverter.tumblr.com | @dulwichdiverter | dulwichdiverter | dulwichdiverter
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
4 | NEWS
Going green on Grove Vale
Photo by Kimberley Hickman
LOCAL AND LETHAL, the new cosy crime novel from Alice Castle
More than 100 volunteers planted a new “green screen” at a local school last month in a bid to boost air quality for pupils. Goose Green primary and nursery school backs on to Grove Vale, with buses, cars and lorries passing close to where the children learn and play. Parents and carers at the school were determined to tackle the pollution from the busy road. The Friends of Goose Green School (FOGGS), supported by local businesses, community groups and politicians, began fundraising to install a green screen of pregrown ivy to provide a barrier against the traffic. Mayor Sadiq Khan was so impressed by the scheme and the community’s efforts to tackle the issue of air quality that he contributed almost £12,000 towards the project from his Greener City Fund. East Dulwich councillor James Barber said the scheme would bring “immediate and long-term benefits” to the school and the community, while Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, said: “This project has the potential not only to make a difference to air quality in the vicinity of the school, but to act as an example of good practice to other local schools which also suffer from high levels of pollution.” Green screens are made of ivy and act as barriers to block harmful pollutants from vehicle exhausts by capturing them on the surface area of the leaves. The pollutants are then washed away by the rain, allowing the leaves to repeat the process.
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Because the ivy is pre-grown and full height, the impact is immediate and as it matures and thickens, the benefits increase. According to FOGGS, the amount of pollutants collected by an average city tree can be matched by just 13 metres of ivy screens. Simon Wattam, head teacher at the school, said: “Every child at Goose Green will be breathing cleaner, safer air straightaway and the green screen will benefit the local community with its aesthetic, environmental and air cleansing properties.” FOGGS pointed out that air pollution is recognised by the government as the second-biggest public health threat after smoking, and costs the UK around £20 billion per year. Many schools are based in locations that exceed the EU’s legal limit for nitrogen dioxide according to the mayor’s office. Installing green screens can cut street-level concentrations of nitrogen dioxide by as much as 40 per cent and by up to 60 per cent for particulate matter. Kimberley Hickman, green screen project leader for FOGGS, said: “This is not just for the school, it’s a project that will benefit the entire community, so we think it’s important to involve as many people as possible. “We’ve been thrilled by the enthusiasm shown by local residents and businesses – it shows what can be achieved when everyone pulls together.”
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NEWS | 5
London Wildlife Trust calls for volunteers A wider project incorporating many remaining fragments of the Great North Wood has now been made possible through funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Dulwich Estate, Dulwich Society, the GLA and Veolia Environmental Trust. The four-year Great North Wood project is now well underway, and has enabled more than 100 volunteers to work with staff to restore and improve 13 woodland sites stretching from Brockley to Elmers End. Hundreds more people have learned about their local woods through guided walks, talks and family activities. Work over the winter months has focused on removing non-native invasive species from the woods, and the next few months will see volunteers focus on improving pathways. Meanwhile, upcoming events include a talk on the wild birds of Dulwich at Dulwich Library (March 13, 2-3.30pm); and a family activity day on hedgehogs in Sydenham Hill Wood (April 8, 11am-3pm). Join a wildlife walk in a historic fragment of the Great North Wood at Spa Wood (The Lawns) on April 11, 6-7pm; and discover a variety of fragments of the Great North Wood on a walk from Streatham Common to Crystal Palace on April 15, 12-4pm.
Photo by Jack Hughes
Not so long ago, a short walk out of the village of Dulwich would have led to a verdant patchwork of woods and commons, writes Edwin Malins. On a winter’s day, perhaps such a stroll might have revealed through leafless trees a distant view of the bustling city across the river. This was a rural landscape, before south London’s terraced sprawl was even a twinkle in the eyes of Victorian builders and industrialists. It was known as the Great North Wood, with its mighty oak and hornbeam trees stretching northwards from Croydon along the Sydenham Ridge to Deptford. The Great North Wood was a haven for wildlife, but also the backbone of the area’s preindustrial economy. It provided timber for the shipyards of Deptford, oak tannins for the leather industry of Bermondsey, pastureland for graziers and enabled local colliers to produce charcoal. But it could not escape the fundamental changes brought about by the industrial revolution. Timber made way for iron in the shipyards and charcoal ceded its place in the hearth and furnace to coal. As its economic importance waned in the middle of the 19th century, the Great North Wood was broken apart by the houses, streets and railway lines of south London. Today we are left with place names that echo this woodland past: Norwood (north wood), Gipsy Hill (after the woodland encampment of the Norwood Gypsies) and Penge (meaning “edge of the wood”). But
we can also cherish the surviving fragments of the Great North Wood, of which Dulwich Wood and Sydenham Hill Wood form the largest remaining tract. Since it began, London Wildlife Trust
has worked for people and wildlife in the Great North Wood – firstly through the collaborative campaign to save Sydenham Hill Wood in 1981 and subsequently by managing the site up to the present day.
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6 | NEWS
Art warming More than 500 children have submitted portraits of their mothers or special people in their lives for a Mother’s Day art competition. The annual contest, which is open to children from reception to year six at 14 participating local schools, is organised by Dulwich-based shops The Dulwich Trader, ED and Tomlinsons. It has been running for 20 years. The judging panel includes awardwinning portrait artist and former Dulwich Hamlet student Julie Bennett, who said she has been blown away by the creativity, talent and passion on show. Children have used all sorts of materials to create the artworks, from
poster paint to sculpture and everything in between. The only requirement is that entries should be “bold, bright and beautiful”. Winners of the various categories will each receive a Dulwich Trader voucher to give to their mother or special person, and hundreds of the works will be on display at all three shops until March 12 to celebrate Mother’s Day. Owner Dan Rigby, who organises the contest, said: “The competition encourages interaction between local schools, parents, artists and businesses – we are all part of the local community so it is fantastic to work together on projects like this.”
Dulwich author’s riveting read Renowned author and Dulwich resident James MacManus has a new novel out this month. Ike and Kay is a compelling historical novel that presents a vivid reimagining of General Eisenhower and Kay Summersby’s infamous love affair during World War Two. Kay’s life is changed forever when she is conscripted to drive Eisenhower on his factfinding visit to wartime London in 1942. Despite his marriage to Mamie, there’s an immediate spark between the pair and he buys Kay a rare wartime luxury – a box of chocolates. A passionate affair ensues, which, against all military regulations, sees Kay travelling with Eisenhower on missions to far-flung destinations before the final assault on Nazi Germany. The general does dangerously little to conceal his affair with the woman widely known as “Ike’s shadow” and in letters, Mamie bemoans her husband’s obsession with “that Irish woman”. He uses his influence to grant Kay citizenship and rank in the US army, drawing her closer still when he returns to America. But when officials discover his plan to divorce his wife, Kay is forced to take desperate measures to hold onto the man she loves. Based on the scandalous true story of General Eisenhower’s secret World War Two love affair, Ike and Kay is a compelling story of love, duty, sacrifice and heartbreak, set against the backdrop of the most tumultuous period of the 20th century. James’s previous novels include On the Broken Shore, which was published by HarperCollins in 2010, and Black Venus, Sleep in Peace Tonight and Midnight in Berlin (all published by Duckworth). Ike and Kay costs £16.99 and is out now.
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Celebrating business success Businesses in Dulwich and beyond have until the end of March to enter a new awards event, which aims to promote the area’s success stories. The Southwark Business Excellence Awards is inviting entries from all types of business in the borough across 16 different categories, with small businesses particularly encouraged to get involved. The awards are a Southwark Chamber of Commerce initiative and are partnered by Southwark Council and Lewisham Southwark College. They are sponsored by British Land, Grosvenor, London College of Communication (UAL) and Sellar. “The new awards are a great idea – anything that helps promote Dulwich and the businesses here has to be good,” said Leona Janson-Smith, who has owned card shop and stationers Postmark on North Cross Road with her husband Mark since 2009. Leona and Mark, who employ five local people, are entering the shop into the “best independent retailer” category. They hope that other businesses,
particularly those on North Cross Road and Lordship Lane, will follow suit. “There has always been a fantastic community feel to Dulwich – a real sense of neighbourhood – and we have always found it really friendly and a great place to do business,” she said. “There are a lot of independent shops in Dulwich that perhaps people don’t know about and this is a good way of making some noise about what we do and the brilliant range we have to offer, from clothes shops to DIY shops and from butchers and bakers to cafés and restaurants.” Other categories include business of the year, entrepreneur of the year, the SME excellence award, best business for customer service, award for diversity and inclusion, best woman in business, commitment to the community, best employer, best new start-up and more. Winners will be chosen by independent industry experts and the awards will culminate in a glittering, black-tie gala dinner and charity ball awards ceremony for 400 people on June 21, hosted by a
celebrity compère. Richard Kalmar, chairman of the Southwark Chamber of Commerce, said: “With a rich and diverse business community and an intensive regeneration programme over the past decade, Southwark has become synonymous with growth and development. “The Southwark Business Excellence Awards will promote the area’s many business success stories and highlight the entrepreneurs who help to bring prosperity and growth to the borough. “As well as awarding accolades to those who instil confidence and pride in the borough’s business community, these prestigious awards will provide a valuable networking opportunity, encouraging economic growth while marketing Southwark as a world-class place to do business.” To enter the awards, or to nominate another business that you feel deserves recognition, go to southwarkawards.co.uk before March 29. Pictured above: the Postmark team.
Would you help a Southwark child? If you are interested in helping children and young people fulfil their potential we would like to hear from you. Come and talk to us and see what you could do for a Southwark child.
We are looking for: •
Adopters we have a particular need for those who could adopt sibling groups of children. www.southwark.gov.uk/adoption 0300 222 5936
Foster carers long-term, short-term and respite carers are needed. www.southwark.gov.uk/fostering 0800 952 0707
Foster to adopt carers for both babies and older children. www.southwark.gov.uk/fostertoadopt 0300 222 5936 Fostering information evenings – 2nd Tuesday of every month – 5.30pm Canada Water Library.
Come and find out more about adoption at one of our regular information meetings: Canada Water Library, 21 Surrey Quays Road, SE16 7AR, 11am-1pm on the following dates: 17 March, 12 May, 14 July. Please arrive promptly for an 11am start. We also hold twice weekly drop-in sessions if you just want to come along for a chat.
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TOGETHER WE FLOURISH
TATTOOS | 9
Needle work A NEW TATTOO STUDIO IN EAST DULWICH IS AIMING TO FOSTER A RELAXED AND INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT, WHERE EVERYONE IS WELCOME BY EMMA FINAMORE
It’s estimated that about one in five of the UK population are tattooed, rising to one in three for young adults. Meanwhile, tattoo parlours are becoming an increasingly regular sight on British high streets, with the number of studios growing by 173 per cent between 2003 and 2013. It seems surprising then, that East Dulwich should have missed out on this trend, with no tattoo parlours ever setting up shop in the area – until now. Storyville Tattoo opened the doors to its light, airy studio at the end of last year. Tucked away behind Lordship Lane, down a small path through the blue gates on Ashbourne Grove, it’s the brainchild of husband-and-wifeto-be Clare Calbraith and Nick Horn. Nick, who is one of the resident artists at Storyville as well as co-owner, has been tattooing since he was 18, and he turns 36 this year. Clare, on the other hand, has no tattoos at all – she takes care of the operational side of the business. “We decided it was time to open our
own studio for a couple of reasons,” says Clare. “Nick has spent the last seven years working from a studio owned by another artist and it was time to branch out and build the studio he’s always wanted to work in – a relaxed, comfortable, inclusive environment where everyone is welcome.” The pair came to their new business in the belief that tattoo studios are too often pretty intimidating places, appearing macho, exclusive or a bit too “cool”. “We both wanted a studio where everyone is treated equally warmly, regardless of what tattoo they want or what level of experience they have of tattoos,” says Clare. “It was also partly because East Dulwich has never had a tattoo studio.” Nick adds: “It’s a good time to open a studio in East Dulwich. Whenever I look at [stories about] the ‘top tattoo studios in London’, they’re always north of the river. Why can’t the top studios be in south London? “We also thought it was time for tattoo studios to grow up a bit, which
is why we’ve gone for a really clean look here: we don’t want to exclude people because they’re not 21.” While the pair were clear about the type of place they wanted to open, when it came to the name, it wasn’t so straightforward. After they went through about 200 ideas (and rejected them), a web developer friend asked them what a tattoo studio really was, in their opinion. “And I said, ‘It’s a place where people share stories,’” says Nick. “Which is what happens here.” They’d also recently discovered a photo-book of archive images of sex workers in a place called Storyville in New Orleans: the Louisiana city’s red-light district from 1897 to 1917, established by the city council to regulate prostitution and drugs. The romanticised Victoriana aesthetic of the photos of this 19th century subculture, and the title’s link to Nick’s notion of the storytelling environment nurtured by tattoo parlours, meant that “Storyville” seemed the perfect name for their new business.
PICTURED ABOVE: NICK HORN Photo by Lima Charlie
A TATTOO STUDIO IS A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE SHARE STORIES
This theme of telling stories also fits with Clare’s other profession as an actress. Performing on stage as well as on screen, she plays PC Graves in the BBC’s latest high profile drama, Requiem, and will appear in an upcoming Netflix series The Innocents, alongside A-lister Guy Pearce. Her natural ability to talk to anyone and everyone helps create the open, welcoming atmosphere that she and Nick set out to build. “Our ethos is about the experience that everyone who comes to Storyville can expect,” says Clare. “We really love meeting people and building relationships and we see tattooing as a great opportunity to do just that.” This openness extends to the tattoos on offer, too. Rather than having a “house style” or signature type, Storyville aims to offer clients what they want, instead of being guided by the artists’ tastes. “It’s not about fitting in, it’s about doing what you want,” explains Nick. “We’re here for people to come in
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
10 | TATTOOS
and use us, not the other way round – they’re not our canvases. “When I try to remember work I’ve done in the past, I don’t really remember the tattoos, I remember the people. When I think back, it’s people’s faces and our relationships I remember, not really the tattoos. “We do have styles that we enjoy on a personal level, but more important to us is providing the right tattoo and the right experience to everyone, regardless of our personal preferences. Our aim is really to change the expectation of what a tattoo studio is – we’re anti-snob, anti-clique and definitely pro-inclusivity.” There is plenty to choose from if you like the sound of this approach, as Storyville currently has three resident artists. Nick works full time in the studio, and especially loves large-scale Japanese-style tattoos, while enjoying a wide variety of subjects. Andrew Hulbert is with the team every Thursday and Friday, specialising in very detailed, precise tattoos – his own personal take, a kind of illustrative reinterpretation of traditional themes. Aaron Clapham is there every couple of weeks and enjoys creating traditional tattoos: the old-school designs your granddad might have had from when he was in the Navy. “Aaron spends a lot of time on the road working at various studios and tattoo conventions, so he always has
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a good story to tell when he comes to visit,” says Clare. They describe the team as being more like a family than a professional outfit: Nick and Andrew have been solid mates since they were just four years old, and Aaron got his first tattoo in a studio Nick used to part-own. They also give a shout-out to Chris who helps out in the studio every Saturday. “He’s not an artist but he’s a joy to be around, and helps us out hugely,” says Clare. It’s clear this is a studio with a lot of love and a lot of history. They’ve got history with East Dulwich too: Clare’s been living here for the last 13 years and Nick for the last six. They love the area (especially living just a five-minute walk from Goose Green) but they saw something was missing – another reason to open their business. “It took us a good few years of wondering why there wasn’t a tattoo studio in East Dulwich before we realised that we needed to open the first one,” says Clare. “It’s such a vibrant area with so many creative people living and travelling through, that it seems like a very obvious place to us to open. “We have the nicest people coming through our doors. Andrew spends half his week working at a studio in Hackney and half with us in East Dulwich and after every tattoo here, he has a quiet moment and says,
‘Everyone is so nice here.’” Storyville already has a wide range of clients, who travel in from all over London and further afield, including their first local regular, Bill. He’s having two traditional Japanese half sleeves tattooed by Nick. “It’s so lovely that he got involved from the beginning because it really started us off on the right foot,” says Clare. “We instantly felt part of the community and felt that we were doing something good that people enjoy being part of.” This community is growing too: more tattooists will be joining Storyville later in the year, and Nick has also been creating a series of videos that are full of advice for first timers. He’s planning to expand these out into general conversations about tattooing with fellow artists, clients and friends, and they will continue to be shot and released on an ongoing basis. The studio is also taking part in the 2018 Dulwich Festival’s Artists’ Open House event (on May 12-13 and 19-20), working with Clare and Nick’s friend Fenella Woolgar, who will be displaying original artwork in the studio. She uses oil and pencil to create portraits, and Nick draws parallels between the relationship of artist and sitter to the one between tattoo artist and client: often spending hours
EAST DULWICH IS SUCH A VIBRANT AND CREATIVE AREA – IT SEEMED AN OBVIOUS PLACE TO OPEN
together, focusing on the creative process at hand but also on one another. During the first weekend of Open House, visitors to the studio will be able to watch live demonstrations of tattooing, from the hand-drawn “stick and poke” designs to those created using various handheld machines. It’s a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in tattooing to come and have a look, ask questions and generally have a nose around the studio without any pressure or expectations to have work done. Again, inviting anyone and everyone to come and have a look is all part of Storyville’s welcoming approach. “It’s something we thought would be interesting,” says Nick. “The idea is that this place is totally open. There are no silly questions. Everyone is always welcome anyway, so if people want to come and have a look around they don’t need to wait until May.” This ethos is set to continue too, Clare says. “We specifically don’t have plans to expand the business because we love the small, boutique feel of the studio, and it’s really important to us to maintain the personal approach.” Whether you’re a seasoned tattoo fan, a first-timer, or just curious to see the space, you can be sure East Dulwich’s first ever tattoo studio will greet you with open, possibly inked, arms.
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12 | MUSIC
Whale of a time FORMER NOAH AND THE WHALE BASSIST AND LOCAL RESIDENT MATT OWENS IS MAKING MORE MUSIC THAN EVER WITH HIS BAND LITTLE MAMMOTHS BY EMMA FINAMORE
If you had a radio back in 2008, or even just a pulse and a pair of ears, you will almost certainly have heard the catchy folk-pop track 5 Years’ Time, the hit single from indie outfit Noah and the Whale, at least once. But if you live or work in East Dulwich or Peckham today, you might not realise that one of the people who brought us that tune, which became the band’s first top-10 hit, is a local resident. Matt Owens played bass in the group, which was a prominent part of London’s “nu-folk” scene in the mid to late 2000s, alongside – and often collaborating with – artists like Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons and Johnny Flynn. They found pop stardom and toured the world, developing their musical style and garnering critical acclaim alongside chart hits. The band split in April 2015 and now Matt lives on the East Dulwich/
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
Peckham border, working on other music projects. Playing in a band was something that he became enamoured with at a young age while growing up in Twickenham, when he saw the school cool kids play in a rock ’n’ roll outfit at an otherwise dull school music concert. It was something the area, and his dad, also encouraged. “When I was eight my dad started lending me CDs of stuff he used to listen to,” says Matt. “I later inherited his whole vinyl collection. “Twickenham is home to Eel Pie Island, where everyone in the 60s – the Stones, The Who, The Yardbirds – used to play. “Elvis Costello grew up there, Rod Stewart was discovered busking at the train station, so there was a solid history to the place.” It was around this time that Matt met many of the future members of Noah and the Whale, too, making friends with Doug Fink (the band’s
drummer) on the first day of school. Doug and his brother Charlie – who would go on to become Noah and the Whale’s frontman – played music with another friend, Tom Hobden, who later played violin and keyboards in the group. By the mid-2000s, the four were a fully fledged band at the centre of the bourgeoning nu-folk scene, surrounded by and making music with other artists who were also using traditional folk instruments alongside electronic music to make this new sound. “At the time it was very much a case of not knowing you were part of something,” says Matt. “You were just glad to be gigging with your mates every night – it was exciting and really fun. “Looking back, the work ethic and enthusiasm really stands out, but at the time you weren’t obviously aware of the impact that some of the guys you were playing with would go on to have.”
PICTURED ABOVE: MATT OWENS Photo by Lima Charlie
I’VE PLAYED A PART IN CREATING SOME ALBUMS I’M VERY PROUD OF
Soon Noah and the Whale had tracks – like 5 Years’ Time and L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N – and albums gracing the top 10, along with songs on the radio and TV and international tours. They released their debut album, titled Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, in August 2008. It peaked at number five in the UK albums chart. In January 2009 they started work on their second full-length LP, The First Days of Spring. It came out in August the same year and the band embarked on a tour soon afterwards, which included playing at the 2009 Reading and Leeds festivals along with myriad other venues. The album garnered highly positive reviews – NME dubbed it “immense” and scored it 9/10; the Times gave it the full five stars; and the Guardian ranked it as number seven in its top albums of 2009. In early 2011, L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N., the first official single from their third
MUSIC | 13 album, Last Night on Earth, peaked at number 13 in the UK singles chart, which led to an extensive tour including Japan, Australia, Canada and the USA. This was followed by their fourth and final album, Heart of Nowhere, in 2013. Two years later, in April 2015, the band announced on social media that they were to split. There are certain memories of that time which Matt especially cherishes. “Somewhere between getting to headline legendary venues like the Royal Albert Hall, Brixton Academy and the Fillmore West that you dream of gigging when growing up,” he says. “Playing a part in the creation of some albums I’m very proud of, and touring the USA coast to coast nine times with your best mates. It feels like time flies. Some of this stuff certainly doesn’t feel like it was that long ago.” Even though it’s now a decade since his former band’s breakthrough hit, Matt still has a very fresh approach to music. “I’m really excited by loads of new stuff and equally, I’m forever going through the archives from the past,” he says. “This week it’s the new John Moreland record Big Bad Luv, which just sounds incredible. There’s a guy I’ve played with on the circuit in London called Louis Brennan whose new album is due out early next year – he’s the best songwriter I’ve heard in ages. And I’m still loving the new Drive-By Truckers and Ryan Adams albums.”
What is new is his way of life though, swapping months on the road and on tour for a settled home and family life in this area. Matt, his wife, their little girl and their dog moved here from Brixton when she was born. “We needed better pubs, more green space for our dog and we loved the buzz of the cafés and restaurants and the surrounding areas,” he says. “I love how it really feels like a selfcontained community. In spite of living in London, it feels like everyone very much looks out for each other and it seems really friendly by the city’s usual standards. “I’m a bit biased on this: I once left my beloved 1966 Gibson Dove [a classic guitar] on the street in Peckham in a fit of exhaustion, while gigging every night and looking after my daughter in the day. Some local legend actually handed it in to the police station, so I feel very much indebted to the area.” As well as the welcoming vibe, and the friendly and – evidently – reliable residents, Matt cites the relaxed, leafy environment and the fact that there are loads of other musicians in the area as the perks of East Dulwich life – that, and its boozers. “Great pubs are conducive to a great gigging and writing environment,” he explains. “I’m also in the process of building a music studio at the bottom of my garden, so that will be the icing on the cake.” His life may have changed since Noah and the Whale split, but Matt is
still very much a working musician. He now fronts rock ’n’ roll band Little Mammoths (file alongside Wilco and The Hold Steady, for fans of country and Americana). Described as a “proper rock ’n’ roll band for the modern age” with a “raw and raucous” sound, the band’s debut album, Phantom Dreams, was released in spring last year. The tracks on the album were inspired by their three years spent touring the west coast of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands, and the nightly lock-ins they experienced on the road. Matt is joined by Olly Cox on bass and James Besley on drums, along with renowned pedal steel player Joe Harvey-Whyte, who has worked with artists including Beth Rowley, Tony Visconti and Holy Holy. The legendary country singer Ray Wylie Hubbard summed up Little Mammoths’ sound when he said: “If your ears dig gnawing on the gritty sounds from a young, dirty, cool rock band, I just found Little Mammoths who satisfy the craving.” When I meet Matt he has just got home from a tour in Australia and a festival run – including Glastonbury – and the group have just released their second record, Cargo for the Road, which features a three-piece horn section backing up the band. They also played Michael Eavis’ Pilton Working Men’s Club in Glastonbury on New Year’s Eve last year, they’re working on a third album,
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and have earned a reputation for playing epic, eight-hour sets. They’ve performed alongside the likes of Mumford & Sons, Fat White Family (a riotous south London band) and Bahamas and have played at international festivals including Wilderness, Loopallu and the Clonakilty International Guitar Festival. With such an action-packed schedule, it’s no wonder that a music website – Purple Revolver – dubbed them “the hardest-working band in rock ’n’ roll” in an interview last year. It’s not just band life and gigging again though. Matt plays, writes and records “more than ever”, as well as performing solo acoustic shows backed by his Little Mammoths bandmate Joe Harvey-Whyte. He also teaches guitar, piano and ukulele during the week. “I teach some great kids,” he says. “I’d like to do more of it, because it’s one of the most rewarding parts of my week.” This year sounds like another busy one, for Matt and Little Mammoths. “There’s a European and Scottish tour planned for the year,” he says. “And I’m meeting up with the Noah boys, so we’ll see what happens there. I’ve got a feeling 2018’s going to be a lot of fun.” Fans had better keep their eyes and ears firmly open over the coming months. To get in touch with Matt for bookings, please email bookings@ mattowensmusic.com.
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ART | 15 CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: NANCY, BY JOAN BYRNE; JEAN, BY JULIE BENNETT; CYNTHIA, BY CAROLINE WRIGHT; ISOBEL, BY PIA GODDARD; IRIS, BY TRACEY FRANCIS
Mum’s the word BY JOAN BYRNE
Your mother was once a young woman with her whole life ahead of her. You were not even a glimmer in her eye. What was she like, what were her interests, her hopes? These are the questions that form the inspiration behind Mum Before Me, an exciting and moving exhibition at Jeannie Avent Gallery on North Cross Road, which is on display until March 13. It sees 18 artists exploring the early lives of the women who would go on to become their mothers. While some of the participants have been able to ask their mother about her younger days, others have had to piece things together. One artist taking part, Jacqueline Utley, speaks for many when she says: “I should have asked the beautiful, complicated woman who was my mother many more questions.” The works of art, many based on photography, and the accompanying stories are as varied as life itself. They include a young woman who worked on Colossus at Bletchley Park, and another who left Guyana on a whim to live in England. A third worked in the family café from age 12, and a fourth was a schoolgirl who ran away to join the ballet. There is the dental nurse who worked at Holloway Prison and the girl with “principal boy’s legs”. Actually, this show, on a smaller scale, had a prequel during the Nunhead Art Trail a couple of years ago, hosted by Caroline Wright. The response of visitors was overwhelmingly positive and the conversations it prompted so
meaningful, that there was a call for a second showing. This time more artists are exhibiting: all of them daughters, for this is a celebration of women, by women. One visitor who attended the original exhibition with her own mother said: “Your memories and stories made me feel very emotional, especially visiting the exhibition with my mother.” Another said: “Sometimes we forget that parents were people first, had loves we never knew. This is a really powerful and moving show”; while a third added: “Fantastic ideas, beautifully and touchingly realised.” One artist in the show, Julie Bennett, has painted a portrait of her mother, who worked in a record shop in Brixton in the late 1940s and was a keen collector of autographs from Hollywood stars. Others have selected a photo that suggests a phase of their mother’s life. They include a young woman who also worked at Bletchley Park, wearing a WAAF uniform. Each artist has a unique way of telling her mother’s story. As part of the exhibition, Nunheadbased artist Gill Day will do a drawing on the gallery’s window. Her talents have often been in evidence on local shop and pub windows and there is a permanent work of hers on the side of Nisa supermaket on Nunhead Green. Mum Before Me coincides with Mother’s Day on March 11 and to celebrate, there will be special performances at the gallery from 3pm by the Rye Poets, other voices and an intervention from artist and performer Caroline Gregory. All are very welcome to attend.
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
16 | DULWICH IN PICTURES
Rising to the occasion PHOTOS BY TRISTAN BEJAWN
Easter is traditionally a busy time for bakers, so with the festival fast approaching, we popped into three local bakeries for our photo essay this issue: Brick House Bread on Zenoria Street, Truly Scrumptious on Lordship Lane and The Dulwich Bakery on Park Hall Road. The bready treat most associated with Easter is, of course, the hot cross bun, which is traditionally eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent. There is some debate around the origins of the hot cross bun. The Saxons baked buns with crosses on at the start of spring to honour the pagan goddess Eostre, from whom the word Easter is thought to derive. When Christianity arrived in Britain, the pagan meaning was replaced with a Biblical reference – the crucifixion of Christ.
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
One school of thought suggests the treat originates from St Albans, where legend has it that Brother Thomas Rocliffe, a 14th century monk at St Albans Abbey, devised a recipe called the Alban bun, which he distributed to the poor and needy on Good Friday from 1361. Fast forward to the reign of Elizabeth I, when in 1592, the London clerk of markets famously issued a decree forbidding the sale and consumption of hot cross buns and other spiced breads, with the exception of burials, on Good Friday and at Christmas. Further attempts to suppress the sale of the sweet treats came during the time of James I. However, the first definitive reference to the hot cross bun is found in the London street cry, “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs. With one or two a penny hot cross buns”, which appeared in Poor
DULWICH IN PICTURES | 17
Robin’s Almanack for 1733. Various superstitions surround the hot cross bun. It is said that buns baked and served on Good Friday will keep for the following year without going mouldy (although personally, we wouldn’t like to put that theory to the test). Another rather dubious piece of advice advocates keeping the buns for medicinal purposes, as giving a piece of hot cross bun to an invalid will help them recover. According to other folklore, taking a bun on a voyage at sea will protect you from a shipwreck, while if you hang one in your kitchen, it will guard against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly – with the proviso that the hanging bun is replaced each year. Our advice this Easter is to eat one instead, preferably warm and with lashings of melted butter.
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
18 | DULWICH IN PICTURES
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
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We're on the hunt for a cafe manager, baristas, bakers, kitchen & counter staff. If you fancy joining us and can start in May, we want to hear from you. Message email@example.com with your C.V and we can go from there. We look forward to hearing from you. Specifically you. IN THE MEANTIME, STAY UP TO DATE @SECAKERY W W W. S O U T H E A S TC A KE R Y.CO M
20 | DAWSON’S HEIGHTS
Streets in the sky A JOURNALIST WHO GREW UP NEXT TO DAWSON’S HEIGHTS HAS SPENT SIX MONTHS RESEARCHING THE LOCAL LANDMARK FOR A PROJECT BY TARN RODGERS JOHNS
I’m standing on the balcony on the top floor of Ladlands, one of the two blocks that make up the Dawson’s Heights estate in East Dulwich. It’s a warm summer’s afternoon and the view over London is spectacular, stretching from Battersea to the left, all the way to the O2 arena and Docklands to the right. Behind me is a row of royal-blue front doors, running along the open balcony like a street. At this height, the fresh air whipping around my face is a world away from the stuffy congestion at ground level. Reportedly visible from as far away as Hampstead Heath, Dawson’s Heights is probably East Dulwich’s most famous example of a postwar social housing project, and over the years it has become something of a pilgrimage for fans of modernist architecture.
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
Officially “Dawson” Heights but known as Dawson’s Heights by virtually everyone, the building of the estate was completed in 1972 at the tail end of the social housing construction boom which revolutionised London’s skyline. Clad in warm sand-coloured brick, the two buildings that make up the estate avoided the monolithic impression of other housing estates from the same era constructed from prefabricated concrete. Split over two or three levels, a jigsaw-style pattern of interlocking maisonettes means that one, two and three bedroom dwellings neighbour each other. The ziggurat-style shape and sheer size of the blocks are a stark contrast to the Victorian and Georgian houses on the streets nearby. But what makes this estate unusual goes beyond aesthetics. In 1968, recently qualified and with a few years’ experience under her belt, a
26-year-old borough architect called Kate Macintosh won an in-house competition to design a housing scheme to sit on the site. Even today only 25 per cent of registered architects are women, so for a female architect to design such a large-scale project in the 1960s and so early on in her career would have been very unusual indeed. For my MA in journalism at London College of Communication I spent six months researching the history of social housing, meeting Kate and residents of the estate to learn more about these remarkable buildings. My project explores how the housing crisis, social class and the Right to Buy policy have all affected the perception of what it means to live in a housing estate today. As a child, my family lived on Hillcourt Road at the foot of Donkey Alley, a muddy track that leads up to the estate. When I was a teenager,
PICTURED: DAWSON’S HEIGHTS Photos by Pablo Cuéllar
I’VE LIVED IN THE SHADOW OF DAWSON’S HEIGHTS ALL MY LIFE
my friends and I would walk up to Dawson’s Hill on bonfire night to watch the fireworks – occasionally sneaking into the building to take in the view from the top floor. After my parents divorced, my dad moved to Peckham Rye and my mum to a different house in East Dulwich. Now, from outside both my parents’ front doors you can see the highest point of the estate peeping out above the tree line. I guess you could say I’ve lived in the shadow of Dawson’s Heights all my life. The estate sits on Dawson’s Hill, which in the early 20th century was nicknamed “the slippery hill” because of its tendency for landslides into the street (and houses) below. To ensure the stability of the estate, engineers recommended 30-feet deep foundations. Still, it was not possible to build on a large percentage of the hill and today the hilltop nature reserve around the
DAWSON’S HEIGHTS | 21
estate provides six acres of space for local kids, dog walkers and joggers. At 255 feet above ground level it’s easy to see why this hill might have been important for ancient settlers, and during my research I discovered that a castle may have existed here long before Dawson’s Heights. Dulwich historian Brian Green told me that when the estate was being built, a few artefacts were discovered which suggested that a Roman fortress had once existed on the site. At the time there were no legal requirements to stop building works so any treasures remain hidden, but coincidentally or not, the phrase “an Englishman’s home is his castle” was a recurring motif in my conversations with residents. Kate Macintosh has also said that when it came to the design of the estate, she was inspired by Scottish castles, which are “imposing on the outside, but protective on the inside”.
One of the key features of the flats at Dawson’s Heights is that they all have their own balcony – most even have two – from which to enjoy the panoramic views. It’s a feature Kate fought for at a time when the council considered them an extravagance. Likewise, all flats were designed with a view onto the playground for parents to keep an eye on their children, and it’s these little details that make Dawson’s Heights the much-praised example of social architecture that it is today. One former resident, Tim, moved to the estate in 1971, aged six. His family of five were the fifth to move onto the estate, having previously lived in a house in Nunhead where they had all shared one room. Even though it was some 25 years since the end of World War Two, Tim remembers empty spaces between houses on the street where the bombs had hit. “We had no inside bathroom,
just a tin bath and a toilet outside,” he says. When the terraced houses they lived in were scheduled for demolition, Tim and his family were relocated to a brand new three-bedroom flat in Dawson’s Heights. “Suddenly we had all this space, me and my brother could just open the front door and run onto the grass. It was amazing.” Tim has strong memories of how the block felt while they were waiting for the new tenants to move in. “There was no one to play with yet, the play area was still a muddy building site.” Dawson’s Heights was constructed out of concrete, and Tim vividly remembers the smell of the new building. “To this day when I go up a new concrete staircase, that smell takes me straight back to my childhood.” Leaseholders are the minority at Dawson’s Heights, with only 49 out of the 298 flats privately owned. One
BACK IN THE DAY YOU COULD GO TO THE COUNCIL ON A MONDAY AND GET A FLAT BY FRIDAY
resident, David, who bought his flat, says: “Back in the day you could just go to the council on a Monday and get a flat on a Friday. But there’s no social housing any more.” Tim still lives in council housing but has now moved north of the river, to Brent. He admits there is an element of nostalgia when he thinks about his childhood, but he doesn’t think he’s ever lived anywhere as good as Dawson’s Heights was in the 1970s. “I swear to you, everywhere I’ve lived since then I’ve wished it was like Dawson’s Heights,” he says. “I’ve never had that sense of community again anywhere.” The photos on these pages were taken by Pablo Cuéllar from Colombia, who collaborated with me on the project. See more of his work on Instagram @pablocuellarb and read the full article at tinyurl.com/dawsonsheights
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
22 | SPORT
Holding court KING’S GRIFFIN DULWICH NETBALL CLUB IS ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NEW MEMBERS, FROM EXPERIENCED PLAYERS TO COMPLETE NOVICES BY LUKE G WILLIAMS
Netball in the UK is on the up, and King’s Griffin Dulwich Netball Club – which is now a decade old – is proudly flying the flag in Dulwich for the increasingly popular seven-a-side sport. The club holds weekly training sessions from 10am till midday every Saturday morning at JAGS Sports Club, and is always on the lookout for new players – whether experienced, rusty or complete novices. “We’re there every Saturday,” committee member Claire Nicol says. “The first hour is fitness-orientated but always to do with netball skills. Then we do some ball skills and then we go into match play. “We have a professional coach – a lovely lady called Angela who’s based in West Norwood and comes down every Saturday and runs the session for us. “The club is for all abilities. We’ve got people who haven’t picked up a netball since they were at school, as well as people who were already playing a little bit locally but wanted to get involved with something on a weekly basis.” Like her fellow committee members Kara Palmer, Lydia Christie and the club’s founder Audrey Ball, Claire, 44, is motivated by a love of the game. Her passion for netball was instilled in her when growing up in Croydon in the 1980s. “I used to go to Roke junior school, which was absolutely big on netball,” she explains. “Our coach, Mrs James, is probably my inspiration. “I then went on to Riddlesdown High School, [where the team was coached by] Mrs Bonsall – we used to play really excellent teams in and around south-east London. My dad would drive the whole team in his Ford Escort to all the matches come rain or shine. He was like our second coach!” After forging a career in the music industry from the age of 16 – including a spell of more than 10 years at Sony Music Entertainment – Claire was once again bitten by the netball bug six years ago. “A friend told me they’d just started playing and I said, ‘My God, it would be amazing to go back to netball’,” she recalls. “It took me a minute to get my confidence though and give them [King’s Griffin] a call. But once I’d been there a week or two, I was hooked again, because it’s such a friendly environment. “A lot of people may feel like they’re past it and think they are too old to play netball. I felt like that six years ago too, but you’re never past it! That’s one of my mottos. If it’s something you love, then why not give it a go?
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
“Our players start at 18 and we’ve got a couple of people who are just over 50 as well. It’s a really wide range, and no one feels like they’re past it.” Claire pinpoints the club’s emphasis on socialising, as well as sport, as one of the keys to its success. “Going to the gym is fun, but it’s more fun to be with a group of people – playing a team sport,” she says. “There’s that social element to it. There’s always a few of us who end up having a coffee afterwards. We’ve had players come along who are new to the area who have joined the club and gone on to make great friendships. “It’s also a lot cheaper than going to the gym. Our two-hour session costs eight quid, although we try to encourage people to book a 10-week slot, so that they really learn all the basics, get to know everyone and get to understand the principles of netball.
“After 10 weeks you end up not only learning how to play netball, but also making a bunch of friends. That’s probably the best thing about it. We always make sure we have a bit of a laugh and it’s not too serious.” For those players looking to flex their competitive as well as their social muscles, King’s Griffin offers the opportunity to play Tuesday night league netball, as well as participate in one-off matches against other local teams, and the club’s annual friendly tournament every May. “We play in the Netbusters league at Brixton Ferndale on Tuesdays,” Claire says. “We’re not doing too badly. We came second in the league last season – this season we’re not doing quite as well as we’ve had a few injuries. “We’ve also had some players who have moved on to play up at Crystal Palace at an even more competitive
PICTURED: KING’S GRIFFIN DULWICH NETBALL CLUB
WE ALWAYS MAKE SURE WE HAVE A BIT OF A LAUGH
level – players who have come, learned, gained their confidence and then moved on to other things.” In addition to her involvement with King’s Griffin, Claire has become something of a local evangelist and activist for the sport, having successfully lobbied for a netball court to be incorporated into Ivydale Primary School’s new, expanded premises in Nunhead. “In many of the junior schools around here netball just doesn’t feature,” Claire sighs. “I don’t know if I was just lucky at the school I went to. “So when Ivydale, where my daughter goes, was building a new junior school, I really campaigned for them to have a netball court in the sports cage. I just kept on at them really. “I also spoke to some of the kids and asked them if netball was something they would like, and they said yeah. “Finally, a few weeks before the summer term last year, I got a call saying the new school was going to have a netball court and I was like, ‘Yes!’” Claire now runs a regular netball club at Ivydale on Fridays for children from years four, five and six – and it’s proving popular. “We have about 18 girls and it’s over-subscribed,” she says. “I’d like to do more, but it’s on a voluntary basis and I can’t do any more than one day a week at the moment. “I’ve only been running the club since September but the kids love it. It’s so rewarding to see them score goals after watching and being shown how to do it properly. “There are already a couple of girls there who I’m sure could go on to play competitively if they wanted to. At the moment I’m just teaching them the basics but we might have a match when we’re ready.” Claire goes on to point out that on a national level, netball is now at a critical juncture. It has been thwarted several times in its attempts to become an Olympic sport, but Sport England announced in February last year that it was to become the largest beneficiary of its latest funding round, with a total investment of £16.9 million ahead of the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool. Claire says it is money that needs to be wisely spent. “I don’t think netball is great, generally, in terms of marketing itself and getting good PR,” she admits. “We’ll see if [the Sports England money] makes a difference over the coming years. There are probably quite a few little clubs like ourselves that do what they do for the love of netball, but we could really do with a bit of help.” One area that King’s Griffin are looking to expand into – and
SPORT | 23 for which funding would prove invaluable – is under-18s netball. “A lot of people have asked if we will consider doing something for the under 18s,” Claire says. “It is something we are looking at, because there isn’t much locally outside of schools for that age group. That’s one of the reasons why I started doing the netball club at Ivydale. “JAGS have been completely supportive about the idea of having under-18s between 9 and 10am on a Saturday, which is great. I’ve just got to work out the logistics and get a bit of help – it’s quite challenging teaching 18 girls on your own,” she laughs. “Teaching netball at Ivydale has been the first experience I’ve ever had of teaching or coaching and it’s definitely been a challenge. It’s a whole new world to me, but I’m loving it so far. “Hopefully these little things we’re doing at King’s Griffin and Ivydale will help produce the netballers of tomorrow.” King’s Griffin returns after Easter for another 10-week workshop from April 14. Called the “FUNdamentals of Netball”, it’s very much about having fun and reviving those netball skills. The first session is always a free taster. For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or message the club through their Facebook page @kgnetball.
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24 | BARS
A good mixer SELF-CONFESSED COCKTAIL GEEK TIM OAKLEY TELLS US HOW HE CAME TO OPEN HOUSE OF TIPPLER, HIS POPULAR BAR ON LORDSHIP LANE BY ELIZABETH RUST
Tim Oakley started making cocktails at a trendy boutique hotel in Somerset when he was 18. “I was actually hired as a chamber maid,” he laughs. “But I would chat with the bartenders who came down from London and thought it was pretty cool. Then one night when they were short of staff, I got thrown behind the bar and I really haven’t looked back since.” Now 38, Tim is an award-winning mixologist and the owner of House of Tippler, a cocktail and tapas bar on Lordship Lane. A self-confessed cocktail geek, he has devoted his life to crafting the perfect drink. He opened the bar back in 2012 after moving nearby. “We moved to the West Norwood, West Dulwich area because we liked it,” he says. “We did a trip around the area and saw Lordship Lane. It’s a hub.
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
“I always wanted to open a bar up around here and then this place came up. We looked at it two years before we got it. We were looking for a place around here for a while, got rejected and then the guy called us out of the blue and offered it to us.” Tim makes classic cocktails, like a killer manhattan made with bourbon, Punt e Mes (an Italian vermouth) and bitters, as well as his own unique creations like a Dulwich Collins with gin, hibiscus syrup, elderflower, lemon and soda – his take on the classic Tom Collins. Other options include the Singapore sling – made with Beefeater gin, Cherry Heering (a cherry-flavoured brandy), Bénédictine (a herbal liqueur), lemon and soda; and the little France, with Calvados, Punt e Mes, green Chartreuse and absinthe. But really the menu is just the starting point. Regulars will know that he can make pretty much any cocktail
from the ingredients behind the bar. I decide to test him on this, so I ask him to recommend a tequila-based drink. I tell him I like margaritas, but I don’t want the on-menu Tommy’s margarita cocktail, as good as it sounds. I’d like to try something different. Tim first asks me if I’d like something summery or wintry. As we speak it’s day two of “snowmageddon” – outside there are blizzard-like conditions on Lordship Lane – so I opt for the latter. His face lights up, and within a split second, he says he could make me a take on Tippler’s penicillin cocktail. Usually it’s made with whiskey and freshly pressed homemade ginger that he turns into a honey-blend syrup and lemon. For this drink, though, he says he’d swap the whiskey for mescal. He explains that mescal is similar to tequila because it’s made from the
PICTURED ABOVE: TIM OAKLEY Photo by Tristan Bejawn
THE BAR ATTRACTS A DIVERSE CROWD
agave plant, but instead of steaming the plant to create tequila, it’s smoked to make mescal. “It’d be beautiful. You’d get the spiciness through the ginger and honey blend. The lemon would cut through the mescal. Then you’d get the smokiness from the mescal on top to give it that refreshing, wintry taste.” He seems so enthusiastic about his latest creation that I ask him if he has ever invented a cocktail from scratch, and loved it so much that he added it to the menu. He nods. “Yes, there’s a local author who wrote a novel called Hats Off To Brandenburg. He sat at the bar and we designed it around him. It was fun. Then he had some ownership over the cocktail as well.” They named the new drink after the book. Tippler attracts an eclectic mix of people – something Tim appreciates. “We do have a diverse crowd in here,” he says.
BARS | 25 “Accountants, electricians, university lecturers – they all sit at the bar and chat together.” He likes it when customers sit at the bar. He enjoys the interaction, and advising them about different drinks. “It’s theatre”, he explains. Customers can smell the flavours, ask questions, hopefully learn something, and complement their drinks with some delicious charcuterie off the tapas menu made by chef Maya Berthou. Maya used to run the pop-up Pretty Tapas in East Dulwich, and after meeting Tim she decided to set up shop in his kitchen. She’s since been making gorgeous Spanish sharing dishes like croquettes, crispy squid and tortilla. Further choices include tiger prawns with garlic mayo, pork belly with sweet potato purée, beef and horseradish croquettes and boquerones – marinated white anchovies – served with black olive tapenade. Tim is keen to work with local businesses wherever possible. He has a good relationship with La Cave De Bruno, also on Lordship Lane. “I use Bruno as much as we can for wines, that relationship is really good,” he says. One of House of Tippler’s specialities are fire cocktails, which light up the bar area. On a Friday or Saturday night, when Tim and his team make up to 650 drinks, these really help get the party started. There are lots of people coming in and out
and good vibes from the live DJs who are more than happy to take music requests. People in Dulwich really like their cocktails too. “When I worked in south Clapham it was younger crowd,” Tim says. “Here our crowd is anything from 25 years plus, and you get a good mix of ages. People here are more open to me taking them on a journey.” To give me an example, he opens up the cocktail menu and points to the Tippler club. This is a fruity cocktail with raspberry shrub, chamberyzette (strawberry vermouth), lemon and homemade rose vodka. The final ingredient is aquafaba, which, he explains, is chickpea juice that is like an egg white when whipped up. “That way we don’t have to worry about whether people like egg in their drink.” I’ve only been chatting to Tim for half an hour so far, but I already feel like I’ve had a crash course in cocktail making. His knowledge is unparalleled. He tells me he reads about cocktails for an hour on the bus journey to and from his home – he recommends the Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan or anything by Dave Broom. He’s constantly chatting to his customers at the bar and curating cocktails to suit their tastes. He also hosts cocktail-making classes where he can go even more in-depth about distillery processes and ingredients. Given Tim’s unswerving passion and expertise for his craft, it’s not
LONDON BARBECUE SCHOOL
surprising that House of Tippler is soon to celebrate its sixth year in business. On March 16, everyone is invited to mark this milestone at the “Tippler turns six” party, which will feature live music and DJs. Live act Ruta Di Trio will perform the best of Latin jazz tunes (think Mas Que Nada, Oye Como Va, The Girl From Ipanema, Besame Mucho) and toe-tapping jazz classics by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong. There will also be jazzy takes on popular songs by Beyoncé, Paloma Faith and The Doors to name but a few, which promise to bring a “fresh twist on the songs you know and love”. Ruta, on vocals and guitar, will be joined by Michele Tacchi on bass and Riccardo Chiaberta on drums. In addition, DJs Mark Mason, Mike Nunan, Twisted Rao, Cavell, Chris Madigan and Maxim Ryder will all be taking to the decks during the night. As with music, trends come and go when it comes to cocktails too. So what’s “in” at the moment? Tequilas and mescals are big, Tim says. Disco drinks are also coming back, like rum-based piña colada or mai tais. Vodka used to be the most popular spirit when people liked fruity drinks, but in recent times there’s been a real resurgence in gin. British drinkers bought more than 47 million bottles of the spirit last year, while UK gin sales have doubled in value since 2011, hitting a record of
PEOPLE PREFER MORE BITTER DRINKS NOW. WEEKNIGHTS ARE BIG NEGRONI NIGHTS
£1.2 billion in the 12 months to the end of September. “Gin is more herby and people prefer more bitter drinks now, like a weeknight is a big negroni night,” Tim explains. This is a cocktail made with gin, Campari and Punt e Mas. He says that the rise of craft gin distilleries opening up across the UK has also whetted the public’s appetite for the drink formerly known as “mother’s ruin”, with customers keen to try different brands and new ways of enjoying the spirit. Other cocktails, meanwhile, seem to be perennially popular. “I’m always surprised by how popular espresso martinis still are,” Tim says. With a two-year-old at home, I don’t get out in the evening as much as I used to, but Tim tells me he also offers bottled cocktails including a manhattan, Tippler martini, old fashioned, sazerac and negroni. Originally he started bottling them for quality control. “It takes a long time to make these drinks properly,” he says, and on a busy Friday or Saturday night it can be hard. But now he’s offering them in takeaway bottles, with each bottle containing four large cocktails. “Pour it over ice, garnish with a twist, and it’s ready to go,” he says. And with that I’m sold. House of Tippler was always one of my favourite places pre-baby, and it sounds like it still can be – only now sitting on my couch at home, cocktail in hand and watching Netflix.
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DIVERSIONS | 27 TO THE GARDEN 1
TO THE KITCHEN 1
Dulwich sourdough THE TEAM FROM CHRISTOPHER’S BAKERY ON HALF MOON LANE SHARE THEIR RECIPE INGREDIENTS (MAKES ONE LOAF)
FOR THE SOURDOUGH STARTER 350g organic dark rye flour 525g water
On the allotment BY JANE MERRICK
As I’m writing this, a blizzard is whipping through East Dulwich and the wind chill temperature on my phone reads minus 9°C. Our allotments get some protection from strong winds from the trees running along Cox’s Walk, stopping plastic greenhouses and makeshift cold frames from flying into the golf course nearby. The woodland walk also provides an incredible bank of wildlife for our plots. This winter I spotted a buzzard on a neighbour’s old pea frame, waiting for a mouse or vole that must have been hiding between some empty pots, before it swooped down to catch its prey. When spring arrives, our ponds are filled with frogspawn; later in the summer the frogs eat the slugs and save our lettuces. It is hard to imagine that in just a few weeks, it will be warm enough to sow seeds outside on my allotment. Lettuce and peas can be sown in early spring in modules and kept undercover, in a cold frame or greenhouse, until April. From April, the seeds can be sown directly into open soil. Each year I sow several varieties of lettuce and salad leaves in early March in module trays filled with a general allround, peat-free compost. I sow about six seeds of each variety per module, and keep them in a plastic greenhouse, which is normally warm enough. It is tempting to overdo the seed sowing, but with lettuces, which do not store well after harvesting, I try to sow in batches every six weeks. If you grow a mix of loose leaf, hearting, cos and frisée varieties,
you can have your very own mixed salad leaf bags every day without spending a fortune at the supermarket. My favourite tried and tested varieties include Amaze – a maroon and green lettuce which can be grown as a cut-and-comeagain, harvested while the leaves are still small, or left to grow into a romaine type; Mazur, which produces a huge crop of frothy green frisée lettuces; Maravilla de Verano Canasta, a semiopen lettuce with green leaves streaked with red; and a classic Lollo Rosso. After a month the seedlings can be separated into their own pots to grow a bit bigger, then in late April they are planted out into beds enriched with rotted manure. And if there are enough frogs around, they won’t need protecting from slugs.
FOR THE BREAD 45g sourdough starter 606g organic untreated white flour 370g water 10g salt Illustration by Jessica Kendrew
This sourdough is typical of the bread we make at Christopher’s Bakery. It begins with the creation of an organic dark rye sourdough starter. It may seem a lengthy process, and of course you can make bread much more quickly, but you won’t get the same flavour or texture. Alternatively come to Christopher’s and let us do all the hard work. METHOD
For the sourdough starter: Day 1: Mix 50g of organic dark rye flour with 75g of water, cover loosely and set aside. Day 2: Add another 50g of organic dark rye flour and 75g of water. Mix, cover loosely and set aside. Day 3: Discard half the mixture and add 50g of organic dark rye flour with 75g of water. Mix, cover loosely and set aside. Days 4-10: Repeat the instructions for Day 3 for the next five to seven days. Nature will take its course and you will have created your sourdough starter. For the bread: Day 1: Create a barm. To do this, mix 45g of your new starter with 95g of organic untreated white flour and 118g of water. Cover loosely and set aside. Remember to refresh (feed) your starter with the same weight you removed (ratio 3:2, water:flour). Continue to do this while you want to keep it.
Day 2: Combine your barm with 511g of organic untreated white flour, 252g of water and 10g of salt. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes. You can use a mixer with a dough hook if you prefer. In general, it is better to undermix than over-mix. Fold the dough three times within the next 90 minutes (letting it rest in between), then shape the dough and place it top-side down in a lined banetton. Place the banetton in the fridge overnight. Day 3: Place a baking stone and narrow container (such as a ramekin or baking tray) that can hold water into the oven and preheat to 230°C. Once the stone is fully heated, tip the dough out of the banetton, so it is now top-side up, and score the dough as you wish in order to control how it blooms. Place on the baking stone and pour about 50g of water into the narrow container to produce steam. Bake for 15 minutes with the narrow steam container in, then open the oven, take the container out, and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread is 91°C. Allow the bread time to cool and enjoy! This recipe was first published in The South London Cook Book by Kate Reeves-Brown, which celebrates south London’s independent food and drink scene. It costs £14.95 and is available to buy from tiny.cc/slcookbook
When she’s not on 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 heroutdoors.uk
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
28 | DIVERSIONS TO THE GALLERY 1
TO THE BOOKSHOP 1
Joseph Receiving Pharaoh’s Ring
The Last Duchess
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
BY JESSICA GULLIVER
The paintings of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) transformed the worlds of ancient history, myth and the Bible into compelling scenes filled with colour and energy, making the stories relevant to a public that was passionate about the theatre, opera and literature. Tiepolo was the leading figure in 18th century Venetian painting and a celebrity of the day, with noble patrons at home
and abroad clamouring for his work. He produced canvases and frescoes for churches, palaces and villas and his success led to prestigious commissions. His painting Joseph Receiving Pharoah’s Ring, pictured above, is thought to have been created some time between 1730-35. Now, following a painstaking two-year project to restore the work to its former glory, it is set to go on display at Dulwich
Picture Gallery for the first time from March 20 until June 3. The Tiepolo painting is part of the gallery’s Unlocking Paintings initiative, which has seen it rethink the way it displays works of art to show them in a new light and bring them to life for the public. Source: dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
TO THE POEM 1 “This photo shows the ‘main’ buildings, but the view is much wider, from Canary Wharf to the BT Tower and beyond. “A great feature of this particular spot is that the ground seems to just fall away into a sea of houses. I have written a poem explaining how to get to the vantage point.”
East Dulwich resident Dan Copping has penned a poem about the spectacular view from Dawson’s Hill.
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He said: “I expect that some residents will already know of the unbeatable view of the city skyline from Dawson’s Hill.
Though grand Primrose Hill and Hampstead are A better view lies not so far To figure out the way to go Silvester, Barry and Dunstan know From where Upland and Dunstan meet Go back down Dunstan 50 feet A sign for Dawson’s Hill is there Knowledge of this place is rare A grassy slope you now must take A zigzag path but halfway break And left along a muddy track Walk up the slope and don’t look back Until a metal bench you find Turn around and what’s behind? The city’s most amazing view Right there in SE22.
The Last Duchess is the first of Camberwell writer Laura Powell’s “Silver Service Mystery” novels. Set in the late 19th century, it features a 13-year-old girl, an orphan, who goes by the name of Pattern. This isn’t the name her parents gave her; it is the name chosen for her when she was placed as a wee baby at Mrs Minchin’s Academy of Domestic Servitude. And it is a name that suits her: practical, reliable, a little bit plain and a little bit unusual. Pattern was rescued as a baby from the shipwreck in which her parents perished, as they left their homeland of Elffinberg to come to Britain. Now, aged 13, Pattern is being sent back to Elffinberg to be the personal maid to the Grand Duchess, who is also 13. Elffinberg is a principality, geographically next to Germany, and a mixture of German and Welsh, which lends itself to a nice mix of cultures. Despite her young age, the Grand Duchess is head of state. Isolated and spiky, she is not too friendly towards Pattern at first. But strangeness is afoot everywhere in Elffinberg – sinister servants creep around the shadowy castle and Pattern is not given the warmest of welcomes by them. Thirteen years of being an orphan has granted her a healthy dose of resourcefulness and an ability to look after herself. But whispers and secrets begin to penetrate, and it’s not a happy place. Slowly Pattern starts to make allies within the castle walls, and the secrets and mysteries of the place unravel. Children from Elffinberg are regularly going missing – all of them aged between seven and 10 and all of them vanishing, it would seem, into thin air. They leave behind only a charred patch of the grass on which they were last standing, and a couple of relics such as buttons and buckles. Charred and torn animal carcasses are also found nearby. Clever Pattern thinks she knows what’s going on, and it’s not long until she and the Grand Duchess get to the bottom of the sinister happenings. Could it be the work of that creature of old, the mythical dragon – or is it a monster closer to home? Like all the best fairytales, The Last Duchess contains elements of darkness and danger, the threat to youth and innocence and the shadow of the predator not far off. With its compelling story and lovely illustrations, I can see this book gripping any young reading sleuth. £6.99, Macmillan.
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30 | DIVERSIONS TO THE PAST 1
TO THE PUZZLE 1 44
9 44 44
44 44 44
All the remaining Across answers are 5 Across in Dulwich
ACROSS 5 ADORS (ANAGRAM) (5) 6 BEFGGILLR (ANAGRAM) (9) 9 ADLNPU (ANAGRAM) (6) 11 ADELLLNS (ANAGRAM) (8) 12 AEELLNY (ANAGRAM) (7) 14 ALOSWY (ANAGRAM) (6) 16 AABELUV (ANAGRAM) (7) 17 ABERRTT (ANAGRAM) (7) 21 EFINRR (ANAGRAM) (6) 24 AACDEHLR (ANAGRAM) (8) 25 ADHIMNNS (ANAGRAM) (8) 27 ENRTUY (ANAGRAM) (6) 29 ADDEOORWW (ANAGRAM) (9) 30 BEEHR (ANAGRAM) (5)
DOWN 1 ENTIRE (8) 2 NOTION (4) 3 THE ____, SYLVIA PLATH NOVEL (4, 3) 4 LIBERATE (4) 7 COASTAL GOLF-COURSE (5) 8 ____ MEIR, 60S-70S ISRAELI PM (5) 10 ____ SMITH, TV COOK (5) 13 MUSICAL NOTES SUNG ON ONE SYLLABLE (5) 15 HAVING FLESHY PARTS (5) 18 BERKSHIRE RACECOURSE (5) 19 REASSURED, ASSUAGED (8) 20 AREA AROUND DUNDEE (7) 22 ENDANGERED AFRICAN ANIMAL (5) 23 LAKE ____, ANOTHER NAME FOR LAKE MALAWI (5) 26 EXTINCT BIRD OF MAURITIUS (4) 28 CORAL STRUCTURE (4)
SOLUTION ACROSS: 5 Roads, 6 Fellbrigg, 9 Upland, 11 Landells, 12 Eynella, 14 Solway, 16 Beauval, 17 Tarbert, 21 Friern, 24 Archdale, 25 Hindmans, 27 Turney, 29 Woodwarde, 30 Heber. DOWN: 1 Complete, 2 Idea, 3 Bell Jar, 4 Free, 7 Links, 8 Golda, 10 Delia, 13 Neume, 15 Lobed, 18 Ascot, 19 Relieved, 20 Tayside, 22 Rhino, 23 Nyasa, 26 Dodo, 28 Reef.
TO THE HAMLET 1
Opera singer Anna Selina “Nancy” Storace was born in London in 1765. She made her debut at the Haymarket Theatre aged 12 before moving to Vienna. While there she befriended composers including Mozart and Haydn. She performed the role of Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, which was written for her. She later returned to England and appeared regularly at Drury Lane from 1789. She retired from the stage in 1808 and moved to Herne Hill Cottage in Dulwich. She passed away in 1817. Illustration by Peter Rhodes.
TO THE STREETS 1
Sir Leslie Bowker Position Defender Born 1888
Illustration by Peter Rhodes
Leslie Bowker played for Dulwich Hamlet for a single season in 1919/20 and appeared in 33 matches, including some nailbiting cup ties. He was described as a “vigorous full back of the Corinthian type, using his broad shoulders to knock opponents off the ball”. Bowker was part of the legendary “victory” side, when Dulwich won the Isthmian League, the Surrey Senior Cup and the London Charity Bowl. They also took home the FA Amateur Cup, which saw them defeat Tufnell Park at Millwall’s The Den. Bowker left the Hamlet to restart his old club, West London Old Boys FC. He formed the Special War Emergency Committee in World War Two, became vice president of
THE DULWICH DIVERTER
the Football Association and was knighted and awarded an OBE. He passed away in 1965 in Brighton, aged 77. Source: The Hamlet Historian. Read more on the history of DHFC at thehamlethistorian.blogspot.co.uk
As the Beast from the East and Storm Emma battered Britain, East Dulwich resident Sebastian Lomas took this snap of the snow from his living room window. See more of his photography at flickr.com/sebastiangonearchi
TIME OUT LONDONIST “Takes you somewhere you’ve never been”
Sometimes it is more powerful to * let others speak on your behalf I've had experiences with many other local estate agents in my 10 years in ED, and these guys really are at a whole new level. It's their utter decency and straightforwardness that makes them so easy to deal with …. The main selling point is that, with them, you know that they'll be dealing with the property. It won't be a manager 'sealing the deal' with you, to have someone with no experience or knowledge of the property doing the viewings. They stay involved and helpful throughout, and go the extra mile. Ally Barry Road
Our patch of south-east London is awash with estate agents, and I'm sure there are good eggs out there working for some of the high street names. But I really do think anyone considering selling should at the very least stick No Flies on their shortlist. Based on our experience you won't be disappointed. Guy Pellatt Road
Local Estate Agents office :020 7737 8047 email :email@example.com web :www.no-flies.co.uk
I couldn’t recommend No Flies more. I achieved an offer very close to the asking price, even in the current tricky market, and – even better – the property was under offer after just over a week on the market, meaning that I didn’t have the disruption and stress of endless weeks on the market. This was a marked contrast to my experience of being on the market with two other high street agents (who assured me their high street presence would help sell my property and that they had extensive databases of suitable purchasers) when we had months of having to clear out for Saturday viewings and no offers, not to mention a few embarrassing breakdowns in communication and unscheduled viewings! Brendan and Tony have been brilliant from the start, bringing around potential buyers who were actually interested in the property (rather than to make up numbers) and staying close and helpful throughout the sales process. Helen Hansler Road
The quality of photography and pitching of the property was excellent (even by the ridiculously high standards of my husband – a semi-professional photographer and magazine editor) …. Their internet presence on RightMove and Zoopla more than withstanding challenge from a high street frontage…. Honestly I couldn't recommend them enough. Not only are they thoroughly decent human beings (possibly not the most well known trait of estate agents) their offering is enhanced further by Tony's legal and Brendan's property background. Kat Goodrich Road
We had tried selling via two other agents and found that they inflated the value of our flat in order to get our business, and were then unable to generate enough interest in it. We then put our flat on the market with No-Flies and had a flurry of interest, and accepted an offer at the asking price within a week. Laura East Dulwlch Grove
They were always available to deal with issues as they arose and were a pleasure to deal with. As they're local, they know the area really well and came armed with realistic info about sales in the area. We were very happy with the price achieved for both sale and purchase and saved thousands in commission as they only charge a flat fee. Jo Oakhurst Grove
Only very rarely am I moved to leave a comment but the wonderful job that No Flies did selling our house in ED deserves a shout out and the encouragement for others to use them as well. Extremely pro-active, knowledgeable and great value for money, I would highly recommend instructing them. Oliver Landells Road
*Extracts from some of the many testimonials available on www.eastdulwichforum.co.uk