Issue 30 of The Dulwich Diverter

Page 1

Love and loss

Quality street

Code cracker

Local author Katie Allen’s debut novel

An ode to North Cross Road

The extraordinary life of Mavis Batey

ue Iss 30

c De v/ 21 No 20

Yes, chef! Dave Datt’s Fijian fusion


Here for your property journey.

For nearly 40 years, The Acorn Group have been helping clients make their property dreams a reality. From people taking their first tentative steps, to seasoned landlords and experienced buyers, we are here for your property journey. Wherever it takes you.

Watch the video at acorngroup.co.uk/journey


NEWS | 3

Welcome to issue 30 of The Dulwich Diverter Our cover star for this issue is local chef Dave Datt, whose varied culinary career has spanned 35 years. A classically trained chef, he has worked with legendary names Gary Rhodes and Anton Mosimann and now runs his own supper clubs, serving unique recipes that are influenced by the south Pacific and the Caribbean. Find out more on page eight. The brilliant photo of Dave was taken by local resident Cameron Hall, who has recently made a film about North Cross Road, a street that is particularly close to his heart. He tells us why he decided to make the film and what he loves about living in East Dulwich on page 12.

We also look at the fascinating life of Mavis Batey, who was born on Crebor Street in SE22 and was one of the leading female codebreakers at Bletchley Park during World War Two. Read Mavis’s story on page 17. West Dulwich-based author Katie Allen’s debut novel Everything Happens for a Reason has been described as “unforgettable, heart-wrenching, warm and funny”. Its protagonist is mum-to-be Rachel who, when her baby is stillborn, becomes obsessed with the idea that saving a stranger’s life months earlier is to blame. Read our interview with Katie on page 11.

Also inside, we chat to Olympic medallist Alex Yee, who went to secondary school at Kingsdale in Dulwich. He tells us more about his extraordinary performance at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, which saw him win silver and gold medals – and how he hopes to inspire the next generation of athletes – on page 14. Towards the back of the paper you’ll find the usual Diversions pages, featuring an allotment column by local resident Jane Merrick, a book review, crossword and more. We’re now starting work on the next edition of The Dulwich Diverter. If you run a local business or organisation

and are interested in advertising with the Diverter or our sister titles, The Peckham Peculiar, The Lewisham Ledger and soon-to-be-launched paper The Camberwell Clarion, please drop us a line at dulwichdiverter@gmail.com – we would love to hear from you. If you have a story that you think could be of interest to local readers, please get in touch at the same address. Finally, on behalf of the whole team at The Dulwich Diverter, we would like to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. See you in 2022!

Mark McGinlay and Kate White

A royally good day at Dulwich Hamlet

Photo by Liam Asman

Dulwich Hamlet FC’s new signing Madi Parsonson got a right royal shock when she arrived at the club’s ground for an extra training session – only to be greeted by Prince William. The future king, who is president of the Football Association, visited the club’s Champion Hill home to discuss the fanled review of football governance with Dulwich Hamlet chairman Ben Clasper, club director and former England centre forward Peter Crouch and the former sports minister Tracey Crouch, who is chairing the review. Madi, 19, who joined Dulwich Hamlet earlier this season from AFC Wimbledon, told The Dulwich Diverter: “I was asked by Ryan [Dempsey] the manager to come down for an extra training session. I knew Peter Crouch was going to be there but not Prince William… it was a real surprise! “Ryan and I did some one-on-one training and then Prince William came over with Crouch and asked me how I dealt with training during lockdown and how the club and its facilities had helped us. He also asked me how long I’d been playing football for and about my move from AFC Wimbledon. “It seemed like he really loves his football. He told me about how long he’d been watching the game for, ever since he was very young.” Madi admitted that it was a thrill to be involved in an event that gained such widespread media coverage. “Being involved with that sort of thing just makes you want to work harder because the harder you work the more achievements and opportunities you can get in football.

“The girls at Dulwich Hamlet are amazing and the club is like a big family. Everyone is so close to each other.” Prince William certainly seemed impressed with Dulwich Hamlet’s community ethos during his visit. He spent about an hour at the club, speaking to various members of the management structure as well as supporters to canvas their views on what can be done to improve football governance and strengthen clubs’

engagement with the communities they are a part of. Kensington Palace stated that his visit was intended to “provide an opportunity for those involved in the football pyramid, both on and off the pitch, to put forward their opinions on the interim findings [of the fan-led review], as well as discuss the importance of grassroots and lower league clubs to English football and how these can best be supported.”

During his visit, Aston Villa supporter William expressed the view that football clubs “miss the point” of the game if they are run solely as businesses focused on “the bottom line”. Referring to Dulwich Hamlet directly, a club that is two-thirds owned by its supporters, he asked: “What is it about the model here [at Dulwich Hamlet] that has worked so well? What’s the best practice that can be replicated elsewhere?”

The Dulwich Diverter Editors Mark McGinlay, Kate White | Designer Mingo Mingo Studio | Cover designer Jake Tilson Photographer Lima Charlie | Sub-editors Jack Aston, Dan Nolan | Illustrators Jessica Kendrew, Peter Rhodes Contributors Jessica Gulliver, Seamus Hasson, Miranda Knox, Jane Merrick, Nikki Spencer, Paul Stafford, Luke G Williams Marketing and social media Mark McGinlay For editorial and advertising enquiries, please email dulwichdiverter@gmail.com Blog dulwichdiverter.tumblr.com | @dulwichdiverter | @dulwichdiverter | @dulwichdiverter

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021

THE DULWICH DIVERTER


4 | NEWS

Local schoolboy publishes first comic A 10-year-old schoolboy from East Dulwich has published his very own comic book. Talented year five pupil Simba Holness, who attends Bessemer Grange Primary School, has combined his three great passions in life – comic books, skateboarding and art – to create a truly unique comic character. Titled Punkskaters, the comic is available at Rye Books on North Cross Road and is already making quite an impression. Simba’s proud mum Emine said he has been drawing people since he was a toddler and moved on to drawing superheroes at just three years old. “Whenever we went out, we always had to pack pens, pencils and a sketchpad and that would entertain him for hours,” she said. It was during a visit to an exhibition when Simba came up with the idea of creating his own comic book. “We went to an exhibition at Somerset House and there were quite a few skateboarding groups that had little zine magazines. They created little comic magazines and he saw those, and I think that’s what made him decide to make one of his own.” Simba is a huge fan of the Naruto comic books as well as Marvel comics, particularly the Black Panther series. Both have inspired and shaped his own work. With an obvious talent for art and storytelling, it is unsurprising that he is already thinking about his future career. “I want to make comics for a living when I’m

older,” Simba said. “I’ve already started on the second edition and am on page five.” The current issue follows the adventures of a boy who’s obsessed with skating as he and his mates organise competitions at their local skatepark. The follow-up will see our skating hero exchange the world of half-pipes, ollies and kickflips in south London for a much more far-out adventure. “For the next edition the local skatepark is closed so he and his friends get hoverboards and they go into space,” Simba said. Simba got into skateboarding last year and has really caught the bug, going skating whenever he gets the chance. The comic is available for £3 at Rye Books with £1 from every sale going to SkatePal – a charity that helps young people in Palestine through skateboarding. “He’s done so well, it’s really nice to see something that he put so many hours into every day become an actual comic being sold in a bookshop,” Emine said. “It is lovely for him, and it also gives him the encouragement to pursue it as more than a hobby further down the line.” Rye Books owner Alastair Kenward said the comic is very popular with customers and that it’s encouraging other kids to do something similar. “It’s just lovely to be close to that creativity really,” he said. “It’s a very hopeful thing and we’re really just happy to be a part of it.”

COME AND JOIN THE CIRCUS... IN SOUTHWARK Flying Fantastic is a dedicated aerial and circus school, with studios in Waterloo, Peckham and Wimbledon. We have regular weekly classes and courses for both kids (age 7+) and adults. Classes include aerial silks, aerial hoop, slings, trapeze, rope, and straps. We offer birthday parties, group bookings, taster workshops, family classes, holiday camps and much more! There’s something for everyone! Come fly! No previous experience necessary – we promise! Flying Fantastic: Peckham, Waterloo, Wimbledon 020 7928 2093 | info@flyingfantastic.co.uk www.flyingfantastic.co.uk

NEW ER M CUSTOERS OFF BLE A AVAIL


NEWS | 5

Grow an indoor farm Three friends from East Dulwich have started an eco-business that encourages people to grow their own food in their homes in unwanted plastic bottles. Charlie Francis, Emil Schneider and Daniel Taylor, who met when they were at school at St Dunstan’s in Catford, launched Bottle Farm after raising thousands of pounds through a highly successful Kickstarter campaign last year. They have created kits that can be used for growing everything from herbs, such as mint and basil, to leafy greens and even tomatoes and chillies on window sills. The kits can also be attached to windows. Bottle Farm uses hydroponic technology, which means the plants grow in nutrientfortified water rather than soil, so they grow faster and don’t need regular watering. “The classic problem with growing things indoors is people tend to over water or under water, but with our kits you just have to keep the bottle topped up with water and that’s it,” explained Charlie. The trio came up with the idea for Bottle Farm after Charlie did his final year project on hydroponics while studying physics at Bristol university. “We talked a lot about how we could encourage people to grow their own food in London where garden and allotment space is hard to come by,” he said. “Supermarket produce is wrapped in plastic and is shipped across the world, which has a large environmental impact,

plus it loses up to half its nutrients by the time it reaches the shelves.” The kits, which sell for £24.99 via their website, as well as in shops around the UK, contain everything you need to turn a large empty plastic bottle into an “indoor farm”. “We came up with the idea of using bottles as they are an everyday object that

would otherwise be thrown away”, Charlie said. The trio have been helped by the British Library’s Start-ups in London Libraries (SiLL) programme, which offers free workshops in partnership with a number of local libraries, including three in Southwark.

“We had a mentor, Dean Williams, who was amazing, and we got lots of one-to-one support as well as really useful workshops,” said Charlie. Once they had finished testing numerous prototypes, they launched a Kickstarter campaign where people could pre-order the kits, which “completely outdid our expectations”, Charlie said. They hit their first target of £5,000 in 24 hours and went on to raise more than £30,000. “We got support from friends and family, but they were actually only a fraction of those who backed us,” Charlie said. “It was a massive validation that there was a market for this product.” However, fulfilling those orders didn’t go quite so smoothly. “It was actually a bit of a nightmare getting the manufacturing process up and running with Covid and Brexit”, Charlie said. They found a factory in south Wales that could make the kits using plastic waste that would otherwise go into landfill, but then essential equipment was stuck on a boat outside Felixstowe for six weeks meaning everything was delayed. “It was very frustrating as backers were contacting us asking, ‘What’s going on?’” But when the kits were finally ready, Charlie said the response was “amazing”. “We have got such great feedback and it’s been really rewarding. We have well over 1,000 customers now and we are in 30 shops already.”


6 | NEWS

A creative space Christmas classes A new art studio offering classes for kids has opened in East Dulwich. Art-K gives youngsters aged six to 16 a chance to learn new art skills and develop their confidence across a spectrum of artistic styles and mediums. Lessons are taught by Art-K’s Laura Hutchins, who has degrees in textile design and art management plus an art foundation. She was recently commissioned to create a mural at Wandsworth’s Southside shopping centre, to highlight steps taken to reduce local emissions and the carbon footprint. Art-K’s East Dulwich studio, based at 7 Melbourne Grove, offers classes after school on weekdays and all day Saturday. Workshops explore mediums including paper sculpture, clay, mixed media, watercolour and acrylics. Art-K managing director Emily Harper said: “We are very excited to launch our new classes in Dulwich. The location is home to the world-renowned Dulwich Picture Gallery with its collection of Old Masters. “However, our focus is fostering the development of art skills in the next generation – the ‘Young Masters’ – in a safe space for channelling their creativity.” Laura added: “I am very much looking forward to bringing my experiences from other Art-K branches to Dulwich, to encourage children to enjoy the artistic process in a way that suits them as individuals.”

Bell House is hosting a varied programme of events in December, some with a festive theme. If you want to add a personal touch to your Christmas cards this year, come along to a workshop where you can handprint vintage designs. Join Simon Trewin from The Garage Press on December 4 to use his vintage printing presses, blocks and type to print 20 Christmas cards with festive envelopes and a dozen gift cards to take home in a tin box. The next day, children and families can take part in a winter festival, with a range of Christmas cooking and craft activities to get you in the festive spirit – from decorating gingerbread men to printing your own wrapping paper. The following week, come along to a festive afternoon of edible gift-making

on December 12. Attendees will make Armagnac truffles, conserves, mulled wine granola, pumpkin seed brittle and salted caramel jars, all beautifully packaged. The December line-up also features an open garden event, when the building, a beautiful Georgian manor house located in Dulwich Village, will open its peaceful two-acre garden for visitors to explore for a couple of hours on December 4. The gardens are a place of community learning, maintained by volunteers who promote gardening as an activity for physical and mental wellbeing. Tea and coffee will be available. Architecture enthusiasts won’t want to miss On the Street Where You Live: Dulwich Homes – A Mid Century Oasis, which will see Ian McInnes, chair of the Dulwich Society and the Twentieth Century Society

give an illustrated talk on his new book. He will discuss the collaboration between the Dulwich Estate, house builder Wates and the estate’s architects, Austin Vernon & Partners, which saw more than 2,000 new homes built in the area between the late 1950s and the early 1970s. It takes place on the evening of December 7. For detailed timings and ticketing information, visit bellhouse.co.uk

Art as you mean to go on A West Dulwich school has unveiled its newly renovated art studio. Acclaimed artist Alison Pullen officially cut the ribbon to open the new studio at Oakfield Preparatory School alongside staff, parents and children from the school’s art masterclass group. Alison also led an inspiring assembly for all children in years two to six, describing how she became a professional artist, her method for creating her works and how you should try to pursue your talents wherever they take you. “My art teachers and artistic resources were so important as I developed my craft,” she said. “Oakfield is a lovely place to be and I am so inspired by the children’s work I’ve been able to see today.” The studio has been carefully designed so the layout and furniture recognise the different learning styles of the children: some like to be seated, some prefer to stand, and others work on the floor. Some enjoy listening to music, while a quiet place is better for others. Lisa Fidler, head of art, said: “The children have been delighted by the changes and immediately relax into a creative state of mind as soon as they enter the studio. The walls are already beginning to fill up with the products of their creative

adventures. A new world of opportunity has definitely opened up.” The new studio is just one part of the school’s refurbishment, with a STEM room also launching to further deliver fantastic science, technology, engineering and mathematical provision.

Oakfield head Moyra Thompson said: “These initiatives are all part of helping Oakfield children be the best they can be and preparing them with the skills and knowledge they need so they are ready for the incredible world of opportunity that awaits.”

Akima is also co-founder of Creating Pathways, a cross-firm mentoring programme for black lawyers that focuses on pairing up-and-coming associate talent with senior partner mentors to address the problem of attrition at the mid-senior level. Now in its fifth year, it has mentored more than 100 junior lawyers across the City. Described as “professional, brilliant and dedicated to the task” and “a very responsive and diligent lawyer”, Akima, who also does a significant amount of pro

bono work, was previously a Caribbean community youth ambassador and was one of the youngest ever recipients of the UN’s Global 500 Award for her advocacy on environmental issues.

Akima’s award A local resident has been named a winner at this year’s Black British Business Awards. Akima Paul Lambert, who lives in East Dulwich, is a dispute resolution lawyer at City-based firm Hogan Lovells, where she works on complex commercial disputes for some of the world’s biggest clients. Her expertise spans a number of sectors and industries on a range of litigation and arbitration matters. She was recently promoted to partner at Hogan Lovells, and is the firm’s first black partner.

THE DULWICH DIVERTER

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021


STEP OUT AND STEP INTO MEET BERNARD. OUR NEW WOMENSWEAR STORE ON LORDSHIP LANE FEATURES DELECTABLE DAYWEAR AND ONE OFF OCCASIONAL PIECES. JUST AROUND THE CORNER IN OUR MENS STORE WE’VE A STRONG SELECTION OF APPAREL, FOOTWEAR AND A SUMPTUOUS RANGE OF WINTER KNITS. ALSO, AN ECLECTIC COLLECTION OF ACCESSORIES, HOMEWARES AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS MAKE PERFECT PRESENTS AND STOCKING FILLERS. COME TO MEET BERNARD AND LET US HELP YOU FIND THE THRILL OF SOMETHING NEW. MEET BERNARD WOMEN VE A M G RO

LO R

DSH

IP L AN

E

M AT H

THE PALMERSTON

NOR

TH C RO

SS R OA

MEET BERNARD MEN

D

WOMEN 42 LORDSHIP LANE SE22 8HJ MEN 37 NORTH CROSS ROAD SE22 9ET MEETBERNARD.COM @MEETBERNARD

EAST DULWICH


8 | FOOD AND DRINK

From east to south AFTER WORKING WITH THE LIKES OF ANTON MOSIMANN AND GARY RHODES, LOCAL CHEF DAVE DATT NOW RUNS HIS OWN FIJI FUSION SUPPER CLUBS BY MIRANDA KNOX

Not only is Dave Datt a classically trained chef who has worked for the likes of Anton Mosimann and Gary Rhodes, but being raised by a Fijian father and a mother from St Lucia means he’s always been well-educated when it comes to food and flavour. Now a private chef and running supper club nights, it’s stood the 52 year old in good stead when creating his own dishes. While he has experimented with many different tastes and flavours throughout his 35-year career, his menu is now south Pacific and Caribbean inspired, and what he describes as a “Fiji fusion”. Consisting of a mix of dishes and ingredients from both sets of islands with his own twist on top, his creations include starters like braised lamb shoulder, cassava pone, kohlrabi and tomato chutney with lamb sauce; mains such as pan-seared stone bass, crushed potato, samphire and Fijianinfused dressing; and desserts like chocolate opera, coffee spheres and pistachio macaron. A Londoner through and through, Dave, who grew up in Hoxton, hence his social media name the Real Hoxton Chef, has migrated south of the river and now calls East Dulwich home. He says: “It’s a smashing area. I’ve lived in so many – Brick Lane, grew up in Hoxton, I’ve moved around, West Ham, Stoke Newington, Peckham, but there’s something about East Dulwich.” Growing up on the Murray Grove estate in Hoxton, food was always a big part of family life. Dave says: “I’ve always been into food. “My sisters are great cooks, my mum was a fantastic cook – she would make cakes for all the family. “If there was an occasion, everyone would come to her to make the cake. “My dad was an amazing cook [too] and my mum would always say he was better than her, but I didn’t complain [either way]! “They met in the melting pot of London. Mum was from the Caribbean, Dad was Indian from Fiji so their take on food was very different. “Mum would do a lot of soups – we were a big family. Almost like a minestrone, but with a west Indian take on it, so there’d be stewed meats in there. “Stewed lamb – I still love all that stuff now, but it was the spices she’d add to the dishes that really made them. “I’m very good at what I do but her way was ‘a bit of this, a bit of that and throw it together’ and it would be amazing, but for me I have to get a teaspoon out just to get it right!

THE DULWICH DIVERTER

“I’d ask what she would put in and she would just say, ‘Don’t worry how I make it, just enjoy eating it’. “Dad would make roti, curries – but he’d use fresh products I wouldn’t have even heard of at the time. “He’d bring okra back and I wasn’t used to it – I’d just wanted beans! He knew what he wanted. He’d march me up to Dalston market, Petticoat Lane, and take me round and show me different types of food. At the time I just wanted to go to the Matchbox toy shop!” Inspired, Dave knew from an early age that food was his calling – although his mum had other ideas initially. He says: “We had a careers advisor [at school] who saw us twice in two weeks and we had to make up our minds what we were going to do. I didn’t know but all I knew was I loved food and loved cooking. “My mum wanted me to work with computers. Long story short, I won that battle!” After leaving school aged 16, Dave attended Westminster College. He says: “I had no idea what to expect. One of the lecturers at the college asked me to pick up one of the pots – they were brass, antique, and that’s what we used to cook in. “I couldn’t even pick it up and he said, ‘You’re never going to be a chef are you boy!’ “I had to get someone to help me. The pot came up to my waist, I couldn’t manage it, I’ll always remember that. I went to the gym the next day!

“I did a little bit of training prior to there at the Barbican Hotel – a bit of waiting and some chef work just to get a taste of it. “I had a friend who was working there and he asked if I wanted to help out and he said I’d get paid and to me that was very interesting. “I’d never been paid before. Well, I say that… I wasn’t allowed to do this, but one time I pulled the barrows in Hoxton market, and when you got them all in you got a fiver. “It must have been about 1978, I was about 10. I went home with £5 and my mum told me to take it back and said I wasn’t old enough and not allowed to work yet. I did do it again a couple more times, but I didn’t tell her that!” Dave went on to train as a commis chef under Anton Mosimann and Gary Rhodes, who he worked for at the Greenhouse restaurant in Mayfair in his 20s. Referring to the experience, Dave says: “The classical training I had with Gary Rhodes was very modern British at the time. “It was good. It was brilliant – I learned techniques. “It wasn’t just putting food on a plate, it was learning techniques and the effort you put in, and the mentality of staying focused on the job. “There was one time when I was commis chef, he gave me eight boxes of spinach to pick and the first box must have took me three hours. I got taken off that job [that] time but it didn’t stop!

ABOVE: DAVE DATT Photo by Cameron Hall

I’VE LIVED IN SO MANY PLACES BUT THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT EAST DULWICH – IT’S A SMASHING AREA

“This is the thing – once a week we all did it. The only way to get to a better job was to accomplish the job that was in front of you so I had to get quicker and show I could do it to get to the next stage. “Over a period of a couple of months, I got to the stage where I was quick, doing eight boxes in twoand-a-half hours and that showed commitment. Chefs like to see that. “I learned to do things properly from the beginning – don’t cut corners! [Details like] the cut of veg at the beginning of prep will make the dish how it should be. “If it isn’t what they want, you get asked to make it again. There were many times during training when I’d thought I’d produced this fantastic plate of food, and the chef goes, ‘What’s that?’ “You can’t say anything, you just have to do it again under an enormous amount of pressure.” Dave went on to work in every aspect of catering throughout his career, including prestigious events, a-la-carte restaurants and fine dining. He also worked as a private chef to the rich and famous on several occasions. He says: “When I left college I worked for a company called Town and County, the head chef was Malcolm Emery and he used to do all the large events at the time – like the Queen’s enclosure at Ascot, Wimbledon, Cartier Polo. “We used to cater for all those top events. I stayed with the company for four years on a temporary basis.” In 2020 Dave began to hold supper clubs, and he is also available for hire as a private chef. He says: “I’ve been talking about Italian, French, English cuisines. I’ve toyed with all of the food through the years… then I decided I was going to find my own cuisine. “My favourite dish [on my menu] is a dessert [fa’ausi with chilli-candied pineapple, stem ginger ice cream and sea-salted caramel] – I put together with bits and pieces. “It’s made up of different elements, it’s not one dish, it’s not a specific – you have candied pineapple, you’ve got coconut salted caramel sauce, you’ve got the dairy-free ice cream and the coconut that has been toasted.” Despite food being his life and career, at home you might not necessarily find Dave in the kitchen. He admits: “I hardly cook at home! I love it and that’s where I practise the dishes, at home [but] it’s finding the time and the balance between going to work and when you get time off, especially now. “It’s good to spend it with friends and family, but when I get the opportunity to cook at home I do – although my girlfriend might say different!”

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021


Herne Hill • Brixton • Peckham • Dulwich • Loughborough Junction • Camberwell • Denmark Hill • Stockwell • Waterloo

OVER 200 5 STAR REVIEWS

I’ve been renting out my flat myself for the last 7 years but decided that I’d try Urban Village renting and managing... it’s been bliss. I have just handed everything over to Daniella and she’s sorting the lot. And she’s keeping me informed brilliantly. Why didn’t I do this earlier?!? And I love the property portal - I’ve got every certificate, invoice, piece of information relating to the property in one easily accessible place... fantastic. Definitely recommend.

Moira

THANK YOU

Calling all Landlords! Landlords, we get it. You want an agent that will keep your property profitable and your tenants happy. You need a solid pair of hands, a hardworking team that will take good care of your property and give you peace of mind. But if you aren’t getting that experience with your current agent, switching to a new one can seem daunting. Here’s the truth: switching letting agent is much easier than you think. Urban Village will manage the entire process for you, creating a stressfree experience based around your requirements. We’ll take over your existing tenancy, collect the rents, manage repairs and ensure full legal compliance – all for an introductory

Rosendale Road

£450,000

Champion Grove

£4,500/pcm

Kemerton Road

£1,095,000

rate of just 5% (of the rent) per month, including VAT. There’s no inflated maintenance charges and no unwanted renewal charges. Just clear, fair fees with none of the hassle.

We’re an independent estate agent with 30 years’ experience and unparalleled knowledge of the communities we serve. We take a personal interest in all of our landlords, giving them an experience tailored to their needs. So don’t wait to switch, get in touch today!

F O R L E T T I N G S , P R O P E R T Y M A N A G E M E N T A N D S A L E S C O N TA C T U S N O W

020 3519 9121 • info@urbanvillagehomes.com www.urbanvillagehomes.com


A team of experienced local osteopaths offering affordable healthcare to patients of all ages. As highly qualified experts in the field of paediatric osteopathy, we also offer specialist treatment for babies and children. - Treatments available for patients of all ages - Specialist paediatric osteopaths - Cranial osteopathy available - Safe and effective pain relief - Full disabled access Appointments available with Nancy Nunn, Aidan Spencer, Laura Wheatley, Colette Tirimo, Einav Hoch, Chiara Ribera and Emily Starsmeare

55 Hichisson Road, Nunhead, London SE15 3AN T: 020 7733 5633  E: info@nunheadosteopaths.co.uk www.nunheadosteopaths.co.uk Nunhead Osteopathy Practice

@NunheadOsteo

Adult Learning Lewisham

DAY, EVENING AND WEEKEND COURSES

30 YEARS 1990 | 91 2020 | 21

Our courses can help you develop your creativity or gain the skills and qualifications you need for work and further education. All photos are of our classes

Find out about the wide variety of classroom based and online courses on offer at: www.lewisham.gov.uk/adultlearning Adult Learning Lewisham

ALL

TOGETHER WE FLOURISH

Enrol for January


BOOKS | 11

For Finn DEDICATED TO THE BABY SHE LOST, KATIE ALLEN’S DEBUT NOVEL FOCUSES ON THE TRAGEDY OF STILLBIRTH AND THE SEARCH FOR MEANING THAT FOLLOWS BY MIRANDA KNOX

When Katie Allen’s son Finn was delivered stillborn, grief and one particular sentence consumed her: “Everything happens for a reason.” The phrase, sent by a well-wisher in a text after her devastating loss, is now the title of Katie’s debut book, which is dedicated to her late son. The novel, released earlier this year, is the tale of a young woman, Rachel, who agonisingly finds herself on maternity leave without a baby. The story is fictional, but based on Katie’s own traumatic experience. The author, 42, lives in West Dulwich with her husband Ralf and their two children: Alex, 13, and Ella, nine. They first moved to the area in 2010, when Katie was pregnant with Finn. Recounting the experience, Katie says: “It was a relatively uncomplicated pregnancy. “Then, a few days before he was due, I went into labour – but something just felt wrong. “I phoned my midwife and she said to try the usual things. When you’re pregnant, sometimes if you drink a really cold drink it wakes the baby up, or eating something sugary, but nothing happened. “I went in a taxi to King’s College Hospital, thinking worst-case scenario they’d say emergency caesarean and my husband would miss it, as he was at home with our two-year-old, Alex. “[But] they scanned and couldn’t find a heartbeat. “I found it really hard to believe that could even happen at that stage of pregnancy, when he was fully formed. All his scans had been fine, and he’d been moving that day. “He was delivered the next morning, and then you just go home without a baby. “I’d wake up and experience it again and again – I wasn’t pregnant, but he wasn’t there, [so] where was he? It was a state of shock.” As Katie tried to make sense of her baby’s death, she constantly thought about the phrase that she’d been texted, that “everything happens for a reason”. “I felt, like many do after baby loss, extremely guilty, and my first reaction was to blame myself,” she says. “Did I eat unpasteurised cheese? Did I sleep on the wrong side? The post-mortem said he just died – there was no other explanation at that time in medicine.” Katie is sensitive to the different situations parents face after losing a baby, including the differences between her and the protagonist of her novel, who loses her first child. “It was different for me compared to some other parents and the character in my book, as we already had a two-year-old,” she says.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021

“I had to keep getting up to feed him, have lunch with him, take him to nursery, and he was just absolutely full of joy at that age. “He was really into music and would put CDs on by himself, and was massively mad about Abba and Lady Gaga – it’s really hard to be down all the time when you have a toddler dancing to that. “It didn’t make the loss any less, but day to day I had a really important routine and a distraction, and was around someone so full of life.” In Katie’s book, the protagonist is left reeling after her son, Luke, is stillborn. But when someone tells her, like Katie, that “everything happens for a reason”, Rachel takes things one step further and becomes obsessed with finding out what that reason might be. Katie says: “She’s a fictional character and she needs to be interesting for my readers – if it was just about me it would be really dull! “At its core, it’s a woman trying to make sense of a massive and very sudden loss. “She’s a south London mum, quite a lot like myself. She thinks she’s done everything right, she’s read all the books, she’s bought the buggy, has all the baby gear, has a birth plan, and then at the last minute, just before her little boy is due to be born, he stops kicking, and is stillborn. “She finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, and in the early days a woman says to her, meaning well, I think, ‘Everything happens for a reason’. “People want to make it OK. We want to make sense of the nonsensical, and we find death hard to process. “She becomes obsessed with this phrase and thinks she knows the

reason. When she thinks about it, she stopped a man from jumping in front of a train at Oval Tube station on the same day she found out she was pregnant, and she convinces herself that saving his life cost the life of her son. “She goes to track him down, she’s not sure why, but she thinks she needs to make his life matter and work out why he was worth saving if it was going to cost the life of her baby. “It tracks her life over exactly a year from the baby’s death.” Katie, a former journalist, moved to London 20 years ago. Before she started to write fiction, she had a lengthy career working for the worldrenowned Reuters news agency and for the Guardian newspaper. She had always harboured a passion for fiction, but never dreamt that she’d write a novel. “I loved writing stories when I was little,” she says. “I wanted to be an author at primary school and used to write really long stories about aliens!” Then, about six years ago, she began to write short stories for her children. “I’d started making advent calendars for them with a little bit of writing each day,” she explains. “I’d split up a story into 25 days, and at the beginning they were tiny, just two paragraphs a day, and it was always them ending up in a magical world and it was quite simple. “Then, as they got older, they turned into proper chapter books. “My plan was always to write them in October or November, but I ended up writing them the night before, in December, until about one or two o’clock in the morning every night, and then I’d kind of collapse on Christmas Day! “I wasn’t doing it for anyone but them, but I just loved it so much.

AT ITS CORE, IT’S A WOMAN TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF A MASSIVE AND SUDDEN LOSS

“There was one that ended up about 30,000 words and it just became an obsession. “They’d run downstairs, grab it out the calendar, read it, and laugh. It was really fun, and I started thinking about maybe writing a novel.” In 2017, Katie did a master’s in creative writing at City, University of London, after a friend recommended the course, and it was then that she began writing Everything Happens for a Reason. “I had to submit a piece of writing, which was basically the beginning of the novel that’s now out,” she explains. Katie is now focused on writing her second book, but has found that her debut has proved therapeutic, both for herself and for others who’ve endured the loss of a baby. “The first book is dedicated to Finn, which is lovely,” she says. “I also wrote a national paper feature, mainly about Finn, which happened to come out the same day as publication. “I got loads of messages from parents saying, ‘You’ve described almost exactly what happened to us’. “I ultimately did want to get across the story of a woman who goes home without the baby. “It’s been 11 years this year since Finn died. A lot of time’s gone by, we’ve had a lot of help, I’ve been extremely lucky to have another child and have a happy family, and I feel very lucky in a lot of ways. “There were times when I wondered why I was [writing the book], but then you get messages from parents saying I had told their story, and thank you, and that’s why I did it.” Everything Happens for a Reason, published by Orenda Books, is available from orendabooks.co.uk. For help and support around stillbirth and neonatal death, visit sands.org.uk

ABOVE: KATIE ALLEN RIGHT: KATIE’S DEBUT NOVEL, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

THE DULWICH DIVERTER


12 | DULWICH IN PICTURES

A special street BY MIRANDA KNOX

The people, the bustling market and the independent shops and stalls – there’s so many reasons why people love visiting North Cross Road. Nestled just off Lordship Lane, it really comes to life on a Saturday, as local resident Cameron Hall, 38, can testify. Cameron runs his own media and events business and has lived on the road for eight years. Over the summer, he used his professional experience and close proximity to produce a short film promoting its local businesses, and the video, titled North Cross Road SE22, has already been viewed thousands of times on YouTube. Explaining why he wanted to create the film, Cameron says: “Because of the pandemic, and being a business owner myself, I know how little support there was for people in our [position], with no furlough or anything. “Being cooped up in my flat, [I missed the] street and the market every Saturday, and I thought this must be so difficult for all the independents. “I started to wonder how many were going to come through it to the other side. It made me think about how I’d miss some of the places, and I wondered if I should have engaged with the road a little bit more than I already did.” As a loyal local, he adds: “I think it’s a terrific place to live. From the moment that I first moved here to now, it’s felt like a discovery – I’m still discovering new things all the time. It almost feels like a little secret pocket of London that makes you feel like you aren’t in a city at all. I easily forget that

THE DULWICH DIVERTER

the big city of London and the West End and sights and bright lights are only a few miles away. There’s so much to see and do just on the doorstep in East Dulwich. “There’s a lot of independent traders and that brings characters, people who are hard-working and from different backgrounds, who have carved their own path in life. It’s a big melting pot of vibrant, colourful, energetic characters, and that creates a really nice, welcoming, friendly atmosphere. “It’s a proper little neighbourhood, which I think feels quite rare compared to other areas I’ve lived in. It feels a lot more of an inclusive community and less transient.” Explaining how he went about producing the film, Cameron says: “I reached out to people directly. I had met Zoe Webster from the [Jeannie Avent] art gallery and developed a friendship, and I thought she would be great. I had bought sandwiches from the guys at Vietvan, and I thought the [Rye Books] bookshop would be an interesting one from a retail perspective. Then everybody mentioned Mel [Nugent], everybody I spoke to. He’s the chap who owns Blue Mountain Vegan. He’s been on the road the longest, from 1992 or 93. “You can’t include everyone, but I wanted to shine a spotlight on independent businesses. Hopefully it’s something local people will be able to enjoy and be proud of, but it’s also shining a spotlight on an area that a lot of people don’t know about, and [providing] a platform for independent business owners as things are opening back up.” To watch Cameron’s film, search North Cross Road SE22 on YouTube

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021


DULWICH IN PICTURES | 13

Photographs by Cameron Hall

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021

THE DULWICH DIVERTER


14 | SPORT

Destined for greatness ALEX YEE BROUGHT HOME SILVER AND GOLD MEDALS AT THIS YEAR’S OLYMPICS. WE MEET THE SPORTING STAR, WHO WENT TO SCHOOL IN DULWICH BY MARK MCGINLAY

It’s a warm, sunny evening in southeast London and we’re down at the athletics track at Ladywell Arena to meet a local lad called Alex Yee. Many people will know him as an extremely gifted triathlete and distance runner, who not only won silver in the men’s individual triathlon at this year’s summer Olympics, but also came home from Tokyo with gold after Team GB’s triumph in the triathlon mixed relay. Millions of viewers stayed up late to watch him in both of those events and for me, a highlight of the Olympics was seeing him break the tape to clinch victory in the relay. He was chosen to run the anchor leg and the sheer joy when he celebrated at the finish line with his equally brilliant team-mates – Jess Learmonth, Jonny Brownlee and Georgia Taylor-Brown – was emotional to watch and up there with the best Olympic memories. We’ve been invited down at short notice to talk to Alex about his amazing achievements in Japan and to take a few photos as well. Paul the photographer is as excited as I am to get the opportunity to meet him. Alex arrives at the same time as we do and it’s immediately obvious that he’s an extremely likeable and unassuming young man. All of his family have come down as well, which only emphasises how incredibly grounded he is. It dawns on me that he’s literally only just got back home, and that his mum and dad just want to see their eldest son (along with their other son and daughter) and celebrate his medals as a family. His dad later tells me that Alex gets to choose his favourite takeaway tonight, which they’ll share after the media interviews have taken place. The euphoria of his epic achievements was probably heightened by the fact that it’s not always been plain sailing for Alex – in fact, quite the opposite. He suffered a major accident when cycling at high speed in his first Triathlon World Cup in Cagliari, Italy, in 2017. Luckily the British team physio was first on the scene when the young triathlete came off his bike after hitting a bollard. He received immediate emergency care before being taken to a specialist trauma hospital. Alex’s serious injuries included broken ribs and vertebrae and a collapsed lung. He spent a month in hospital before having to endure a long winter of rehab. That major setback didn’t deter him, though, and he made a return to racing on the same course a year later. This was steely determination and then some. And here we are, four and a bit years since that crash, celebrating

THE DULWICH DIVERTER

his subsequent achievements. It’s a great choice of venue, as not only was the arena a key part of Alex’s early development, but he was born at Lewisham Hospital, which we can see in the distance as we chat on the track. He’s extremely proud of his local roots to say the least. “Up until I moved to university, Lewisham has always been my home,” he says. “I went to Chelwood then Stillness [nursery and primary schools] and then Kingsdale [in Dulwich] was my secondary school.” There’s a prophetic quote that Kingsdale posted in 2016, the day after Alex won the SportsAid Oneto-Watch award when he was in year 13. The school said at the time that they were “convinced that he truly is destined for great things”. Alex seemed to have a natural talent for running right from his school days in Dulwich, though he did participate in many other sports, such as cricket and badminton. However, he was running faster 5km races than Mo Farah was when he was the same age so it seemed inevitable that athletics would prevail. His career began to take off about eight years ago, when he gained a reputation for delivering sub-14 minute 5Ks. He still holds the course record for the Dulwich parkrun of 13 minutes, 57 seconds. “Yes, I’ve got the parkrun record for Dulwich,” he says, “and I did have the one at Hilly Fields as well, but someone has broken that one since!”

In fact, his Dulwich record, set in 2018, was the second-fastest ever parkrun at the time – out of more than 40 million runs – and the fastest parkrun since 2012 when Olympic 1,500-metre finalist Andy Baddeley ran a record 13:48 at Bushy Park. Alex’s parents have been crucial in his development, and it’s obvious they’re an extremely close and loving family. “My parents are everything to me – they were my first role models, they were the people who influenced me when I was younger,” says Alex. “I’ve been really lucky to have two loving parents who have really supported me and guided me.” The local training facilities were a key factor in his early success too. “Something I’m really passionate about is giving people the same opportunity to do what I love,” he says. “And the world-class facilities in Crystal Palace have a massive impact on the community in south-east London. “My mum always says, ‘It takes a village to build a person’, which I think is very true. “From when I was 10 years old, just starting out down here at Ladywell Arena and in Crystal Palace, I had so many people who believed in and supported me. “I was doing it for the love of it, for the fun, running as hard as I could. Those were the people who have such a big impact on your life. “I’m really in debt to those guys, and massive thanks to Ken [Kenneth

ABOVE: ALEX YEE Photo by Paul Stafford

MY PARENTS ARE EVERYTHING TO ME – THEY WERE MY FIRST ROLE MODELS

Pike of Kent AC, who is also present when we meet] and my triathlon coach Jon Horsman, when I was younger. Those guys are really special – I don’t think they realise the impact they have on so many young people and how they can change their lives for the better.” As well as the two coaches, Alex is keen to point out that his dad was instrumental in him taking up the triathlon. “My dad took me to the first ever Crystal Palace triathlon session, so that’s how I got into it,” he explains. “Before, he used to race duathlons, so I used to go and watch him race. Like most kids I guess, you just want to be like your dad – he’s your role model. So that was a big thing for me.” And, of course, the heroics of the Brownlee brothers in the triathlon at the London 2012 Olympics was another crucial factor. Alistair won gold in the individual men’s event and his younger brother Jonny – who completed a stunning second leg in the mixed relay in Tokyo – joined him on the podium with bronze. “For me, the London Olympics left a huge legacy, and I feel like a product of that,” says Alex. “I’m really hoping that I can do a similar thing – even if it’s for just one kid.” This extremely humble and charismatic young man will surely have done that already, and I get the feeling he’s going to inspire thousands more of the next generation of athletes over the next few years.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021


DulwichDiverter_1/4_pth.indd 1

20/04/2021 15:18


LUXURY MARSHMALLOWS, HANDCRAFTED IN LONDON

We are a Dulwich business, offering free local delivery and 10% off your first order lamaisonguimauve.com

Marie Lenclos Oil Paintings www.marielenclos.com

@marielenclos_painting

Handel

Messiah 7.30pm Saturday 27th November 2021 All Saints Church, Lovelace Road, West Dulwich SE21 8JY Aoife Miskelly, soprano Jess Dandy, contralto Nick Pritchard, tenor Thomas Faulkner, bass Conducted by William Vann Musica Poetica Dulwich Choral Society Tickets available from www.dulwichchoral.com Tickets: £20 / £10 (Under 16s)

“The beauty and elegance of urban settings is often overlooked or under appreciated by many. And you capture it beautifully. It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to add to this constantly evolving tapestry of London life and to be a part of that narrative”, John Madden 2021


HISTORY | 17

A wartime hero THOUGH HER WORK LONG REMAINED SECRET, DULWICH-BORN CODEBREAKER MAVIS BATEY IS NOW RECOGNISED FOR HER ROLE IN THE ALLIED VICTORY BY LUKE G WILLIAMS

Dulwich-born Mavis Batey has often been described as one of the leading female codebreakers to work at the legendary Bletchley Park facility during World War Two. However, as author and Bletchley trustee Michael Smith pointed out shortly after her death in 2013, such a description fails to do her justice – Mavis was “one of the leading codebreakers of either sex”. In Smith’s estimation, Mavis’s codebreaking genius “was absolutely critical at various points of the war”. Her work helped to ensure Britain’s important naval victory over Italy at Matapan in 1941, as well as the ultimate success of the D-Day landings in 1944. “Mavis was something special, and what she did was something special,” Smith said. For many years, however, the strict conditions of the Official Secrets Act meant that the wartime contributions of Mavis and her husband, fellow Bletchley codebreaker Keith Batey, were not only unknown to the general public, but also to their own family. When the truth was finally revealed, Mavis observed that her children had long wondered why she and Keith were so good at Scrabble. For many years, Mavis was far better known for her influential work as a gardening historian, writer and campaigner. She received the Veitch Memorial Medal in 1985, awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society for “outstanding contribution to the advancement and improvement of the science and practice of horticulture”, as well as an MBE in 1987 for “services to the preservation and conservation of historic gardens”. Mavis was a product of a modest but loving south-east London family. Born Mavis Lilian Lever on 5 May 1921, in a small terraced house on Crebor Street, East Dulwich, her father Fred sorted letters at the post office and her mother Lilian was a dressmaker of Irish descent. “Our lives were very self-contained and sustainable,” Mavis later said of her childhood, adding with typically dry humour: “We made few demands on the planet and there was no television to lure us into sex and violence, or aggressive advertising to buy what we didn’t need.” The young Mavis loved working in the quiet of the local library, away from the noise of her brother Stanley’s beloved wireless and his hobby of shooting air-gun pellets – one of which he once accidentally fired into Mavis’s foot, necessitating a trip to hospital. After passing her 11-plus exam, Mavis attended Coloma Convent Girls’ School in Croydon, by which time her family had moved

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021

to Norbury. She relished the close academic focus afforded by the dedicated nuns who taught at the school. “They would take two hours over your essay – they were absolutely brilliant,” she later recalled. “It was like having one-on-one tutorials.” Although 14 was the standard school-leaving age at the time, Mavis’s parents encouraged her to continue with her studies. She remained at Coloma before moving on to University College London to study German. Mavis had visited Germany on a family holiday before the outbreak of the war, and had observed elements of the Nazi regime, including aspects of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels’ Strength Through Joy campaign. “They were to be indoctrinated in the myths and legends of German heroes as part of the Nazi philosophy of Aryan superiority,” Mavis said of the young Germans she witnessed attending Nazi rallies. This first-hand experience perhaps explains why the teenager was especially keen to break off her studies and assist with the war effort. “I was concentrating on German Romantics [at university],” she later explained. “And then I realised the German Romantics would soon be overhead, and I thought, ‘Well, I really ought to do something for the war effort’.” Initially Mavis attempted to enlist as a nurse, but her linguistic talents

were put to use instead, as she was tasked with scouring the Times newspaper’s personal advertisements for possible coded messages. It wasn’t long before, aged just 19, she was sent to the famed Bletchley facility in Buckinghamshire, where she worked under renowned codebreaker Alfred Dillwyn Knox, known to all and sundry by the nickname Dilly. Dilly was a brilliant man, though somewhat absent-minded and eccentric. He managed to forget to invite two of his brothers to his own wedding, and once mistakenly filled his pipe with the contents of his sandwich, rather than tobacco. Alongside fellow female codebreakers such as Margaret Rock, Mavis was known as one of “Dilly’s girls”. “Give me a Lever and a Rock and I can move the universe,” Dilly once quipped of his proteges, who were just two of the thousands of women who made up the facility’s 80% female workforce. After Mavis’s contribution to victory at Matapan, deciphering Italian Enigma messages which allowed British admiral Andrew Cunningham to get the upper hand, Dilly wrote a poem about the battle and dedicated a stanza to her, declaring that it was won “by the grace of God and Mavis”. Ever grateful for Dilly’s support, Mavis would later write an accomplished and warm-hearted biography of her mentor, who she once jokingly described as “a far cry from James Bond”.

HER WORK HELPED TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF THE D-DAY LANDINGS

ABOVE: MAVIS BATEY Illustration by Jessica Kendrew

It was Mavis’s contribution to the breaking of the Abwehr Enigma machine, allowing the Allies to learn that Hitler had been successfully deceived into thinking that they would launch their main D-Day invasion at Calais rather than on the Normandy beaches, which was the crowning glory of her work at Bletchley. Mavis married Keith in 1942, and together they had three children after the war. Her love of gardens and the history of gardening developed after the family moved to an 18th-century estate at Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, in the 1960s, when Keith was working for the University of Oxford. “It seemed to me that the moment I got interested in these lovely landscape parks, they came under threat,” Mavis later said, reflecting on her campaigns to preserve numerous historic gardens that were being threatened by proposed developments. Her activism was wide-ranging and energetic, and she rapidly acquired expertise in her new field of interest. She served as honorary secretary of the Garden History Society (GHS) from 1971, was a major force in establishing a national register of historic gardens, and wrote widely on subjects varying from the history of Regency gardens to the links between the works of Jane Austen and the national landscape. Mavis stepped down as secretary of the GHS in 1985, when the organisation declared: “Under her guidance we have grown from a tiny specialist society to an organisation of national standing.” She took up the new position of president, which she held until her death at the age of 92. Pursuits that occupied Mavis in the final years of her incredible life included helping to establish the American Garden Trail at Bletchley, a project that commemorates AngloAmerican wartime cooperation, and which fittingly combined the location of Mavis’s wartime work with her post-war love of gardens. “There were 300 Americans working with us [at Bletchley], and that’s where Churchill’s ‘special relationship’ through intelligence began,” she explained of the project. “We wanted to do something that would be commemorative of that. Not only did we have a special relationship in the war, but there is this special gardening relationship.” As memorials go, the American Garden Trail could not be a more appropriate reminder of Mavis’s remarkable life. As for an epitaph, the eternally modest Mavis’s own words more than suffice: “You should make your voice known. You never know how things are going to turn out.”

THE DULWICH DIVERTER


18 | FOOD AND DRINK

Smoking success DANIEL ZANE SOLO AND SAFRON AUSTIN’S DELICIOUS SMOKY BARBECUE DISHES ARE PROVING A WELCOME ADDITION AT CHAMPION HILL BY MIRANDA KNOX

If a tantalising whiff of smoke fills the air when you head down to the game at Dulwich Hamlet on a weekend, you can credit Dot Cotton. Thankfully, we’re not referring to the legendary chain-smoking EastEnders character, but to local eatery Barbecue Beer Brothers’ impressive food smoker. The kit – named after the iconic TV figure by customers because “she smokes 40 a day” – uses English apple and oak wood to pack in smoky flavour and is capable of cooking 42 whole racks of pork ribs at once or even a whole hog. It’s a far cry from barbecuing duo Safron Austin and Daniel Zane Solo’s original kit when they started out with their business in 2018. Dan says: “In the beginning we actually built all our own barbecue gear. It was a filing cabinet and two oil drums and we slowly progressed. “It was a labour of love. The filing cabinet was great, although a bit of a pain in the a**e to move about – we had to hire Luton vans. We knew to upscale the business we needed something bigger [so] we bought our smoker. “We asked people to give their best name suggestions on Instagram, picked four and put it down to a public vote and Dot won.” Head chef Safron, 30, and Dan, 32, have been best friends for 14 years. Both south-east London born and bred, Dan is originally from East Dulwich, Safron was born in Greenwich, and the pair first got a proper taste for barbecue back in 2013. Dan says: “We’ve both worked in the hospitality sector pretty much all our adult lives. I went into events afterwards and was mainly bartending but always working closely with food. “We used to work for a company called Regency, which went up and down the country working at events including Foodies Festival, travelling from Edinburgh to Manchester and Brighton. We’d do a whole summer of events like that looking after the bars. “I was dating a girl who worked on a barbecue stand, an Argentinian style of grilling, and that’s where my passion for barbecuing came from.” After honing their skills, in 2018 the opportunity arose to turn their passion into a business. Dan says: “We were running a bar in Bank called The Arbitrager. “We had a lot of ties with breweries in London through that, working with them and collaborating with them. “We’d go down to tap rooms [and knowing] the festival scale barbecuing could do, I thought [those kind of places] needed barbecue to go with beer.

THE DULWICH DIVERTER

“We created a burger, our BBB Angus burger which is our signature, and we went on tour around different breweries. “Value for money [is important]. We want to get the right balance for what you’re getting for your money. I’m all about big portions, especially if you’re drinking a 10.5% beer – I can’t be having a little bit of falafel!” At the start of last year the pair were gearing up to go full time – then the pandemic struck. Dan says: “Before lockdown, we had a whole summer of events planned – a couple of festivals and residencies and it all just went south. “In that time we had a look at our model and we just decided we’d upgrade and try our luck.” Now, after a stint at the Pyrotechnist’s Arms in Nunhead, they can be found at Dulwich Hamlet’s ground at Champion Hill as well as Rye Lanez Tattooing in Peckham and the Wickham Arms in Brockley. They’ll even be popping up at Hampton Court Palace on the first weekend of December. The menu can be subject to change, but currently customers can choose between the 6oz Angus beef or 6oz chicken and chorizo patty, both served in a brioche bun, with onions, lettuce and a side of fries, plus the option to add cheese and bacon for a small extra charge.

Dot also makes an appearance, slow cooking an array of meat – and “pulled pork” jackfruit or halloumi fries are available for any veggies and vegans. All beef served on the smoker is free range, grass-fed and sourced from Paisley in Scotland, and there’s also a six-hour smoked beef short rib box that comes with skin-on fries along with BBB coleslaw and BBB chimichurri. The wings are smoked for an hour and a half and are served “as they come” or with Korean or buffalo sauce, and rotational specials are available too. Dan says: “The big chunks of meat like the beef short ribs, the pork belly burnt ends – stuff that takes about six hours to cook, comes off later. “It’s cooking all day, and if there’s any left later, it’s still slowly cooking so it gets more and more tender.” If you’re not sure what to order, Dan can offer some recommendations. He says: “We’re really proud of the burgers – they’re our signature. “If we’re talking about Dot, for me it’s the beef short rib. The satisfaction of just being able to pull the bone out – it’s so juicy and tender. “It’s got a really nice smoke to it and I really like smoked food, even down to cheese. “Also having the chimichurri that Safron makes that’s slathered on the

ABOVE: THE BARBECUE BEER BROTHERS TEAM Photo by Lima Charlie

I’M ALL ABOUT BIG PORTIONS – IF YOU’RE DRINKING A 10.5% BEER YOU CAN’T BE HAVING A LITTLE BIT OF FALAFEL

top of it – it’s hard to describe, you have to try it!” A key part of the Barbecue Beer Brothers offer is the sauces, which are all made fresh – particularly important for the array of chicken wings on the menu. Dan adds: “We do a Korean sauce for wings. Jerk wings as a special come as they are – literally just off the smoker, just smoky flavours, seasoned and brined. “The only sauce we don’t make ourselves from scratch is for our buffalo wings, and we use Frank’s, but I’ve always said you can’t emulate Frank’s. “But then you have the smoky flavours coming through the chicken, which makes it different to other Frank’s wings. “We [also] do a smoked vegan jackfruit, which is the same consistency as pulled pork on the smoker. With the smoky flavours and Safron’s BBQ sauce, it’s amazing.” At the Wickham Arms in SE4, the pair have branched out into Sunday roasts cooked on the smoker, offering a traditional end-of-the-week dinner with a twist. Their four-hour smoked roast comes with all the trimmings, including roasted cauliflower and other veggies, Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes – the perfect winter warmer.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021


dpg.art/frankenthaler

Media Partner

#radicalbeauty

Official Paint Partner

Helen Frankenthaler, Snow Pines, 2004 [detail]. © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / DACS, London / Pace Editions, Inc., New York

  

R ADICAL BEAUTY HELEN FRANKENTHALER

UNTIL 18 APRIL 2022


Opening times: Monday: 11 am - 5.30 pm Tue-Fri: 9 am - 5.30 pm Saturday: 9.30 am - 5.30 pm Sunday: 10.30 am - 4.30 pm Tales on Moon Lane 25 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, SE24 9JU 020 7274 5759 info@talesonmoonlane.co.uk www.talesonmoonlane.co.uk @talesonmoonlane

The Family Business serving you for over 55 years NOW IN TWO LOCATIONS

UICK PRINT

www.quick-print.org.uk

PHOTOCOPYING

PRINTING FOR ANY TYPE OF BUSINESS INTERNET • SCANNING AND EMAILING

DOCUMENT PRINT - DIGITAL PRINTS • PLANS & POSTER PRINTING PRINTING FOR ANY OCCASION We Design It or You Design It • We Print & Finish It FOR YOU SAME DAY QUALITY SERVICE QUICK PRINT 20 Maxted Road, SE15 4LF

QUICK PRINT

T: 020 7639 6764

E: info@quick-print.org.uk Open Mon. to Fri 9am to 7pm Sat 10am to 3pm

PECKHAM RYE BR STN

E. DULWICH BR STN.

FARR’S QUICK PRINT

FARR’S QUICK PRINT @ ORU 20-22 Lordship Lane, SE22 8HN

T: 07305 812 513

E: quickprintdulwich@gmail.com Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Working from Home Planning an Event Starting a New Business We can assist you with all your printing needs


DIVERSIONS | 21 TO THE BOOKSHOP 1

The Upper World BY JESSICA GULLIVER

When Femi Fadugba finished his debut novel, a gripping sci-fi thriller for young adults called The Upper World, a fierce bidding war ensued, with a 15-way auction between publishers. Set predominantly in Peckham, one of the protagonists is Esso, a year-11 student attending the local comprehensive and all that entails – the rough, the tumble, and the realisation that a love of physics is never going to be cool. But Esso is drawn to the subject, and becomes even more intrigued when he receives a series of notebooks that belonged to his deceased dad, containing all sorts of formulae and suppositions. Through this discovery, Esso finds he is able to see glimpses of the future, and reaches the mysterious Upper World.

Due to these visions he is haunted by a recurring image of a bullet being fired in an alleyway… with devastating consequences. With a split narrative, the chapters alternate between Esso and flash forward 15 years to Rhia, a 15-yearold orphan, or so she’s been led to believe. In foster care, her passion and her escape from a rudderless life full of hardship is football, at which she is very talented indeed. And like Esso, her ability to untangle the knot of time and the past through a burgeoning understanding of physics leads to a realisation of who her parents were and where they went, the parents she never got to meet. East Dulwich does make an appearance in this future narrative; a friend of Rhia’s lives there, in what is known colloquially as “Peckerly Hills”.

Femi, who was born in west Africa and spent part of his life growing up in Peckham, became “super interested” in physics at school and loved watching YouTube videos about time travel. He went on to gain a degree in material science from Oxford, followed by a master’s in quantum computing. He is also a highly talented writer, who weaves glimpses of humour, clever word-play and poetic phrases into his narrative. Femi hopes The Upper World will introduce a whole new generation of young readers to the wonders of physics, the subject he is so passionate about. On a local level, his observations of life in Peckham away from the oat lattes and bespoke breweries are brilliantly evocative and remind us that it is one of the most deprived areas in the UK.

A Netflix series starring Academy Awardwinning actor Daniel Kaluuya has already been commissioned and there will be a follow-up book next year, which will “sandwich the events” of The Upper World and will focus on another branch of physics – quantum mechanics. Femi Fadugba’s star is in the ascendancy. The Upper World is published by Penguin and costs £7.99

TO THE GARDEN 1

On the allotment BY JANE MERRICK

Some time ago a woman named Sandra, a carer for a family member who happened to be one of the best cooks I’ve ever met, taught me how to make rhubarb crumble properly. For years I had been turning this beautiful red fruit into grey mush on a steady simmer, before hiding it under a blanket of crumble. This was, of course, all wrong. Sandra told me to place the inch-long sticks of rhubarb – preferably bubblegum pink from forcing – in a wide shallow dish, sprinkled with sugar and orange rind and covered with a splash of water, and cook them for an hour on a low heat. This method keeps the rhubarb pink or red and only a little softer than when it is picked fresh. It is then covered in crumble and returned to the oven. Rhubarb is one of the easiest crops to grow, and also one of the most rewarding, once you give it time to establish. Plant crowns in autumn or winter in a sunny spot that doesn’t get waterlogged, adding plenty of well-rotted manure in the planting hole and around the small shoots. Do not pick any stems in the first year, because this will weaken the plant and lead to poorer growth for future seasons. In the second year, rhubarb should be ready to pick from March onwards, but with most varieties you should stop

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021

from early February. Remove the forcing jar or bucket and let it grow normally in the open air for the rest of the year to let it regain its energy for next season. Autumn frosts will help old stems and foliage die back, but clear away any old growth in December ready for the new season. Victoria is a good traditionally tart variety, while Timperley Early is great for forcing – both are available from primrose.co.uk. When she’s not on her allotment in East Dulwich, Jane Merrick is policy editor at the i paper. Follow her on Instagram @jane. merrick, Twitter @janemerrick23 and read her blog at heroutdoors.uk

harvesting in June to give the plant time to replenish its energy. Do not cut the stalks but pull each stem from the bottom, as close to ground level as possible, and cut the leaves off at the top (the leaves must not be eaten). If it’s left to grow in the open air the rhubarb will be deep red in colour, with dark green leaves. But you can get earlier – and pinker – fruit by forcing.

Place a traditional terracotta forcing jar or a less fancy but still effective large black bucket or pot, with the drainage holes covered, over the plant in December before any new growth starts. Depriving rhubarb of light will stop it photosynthesising, focusing all growth on the stems rather than the leaves. This will also make the sticks sweeter. Forced rhubarb should be ready to pick

THE DULWICH DIVERTER


22 | DIVERSIONS 7 Across is a Dulwich church.

TO THE PUZZLE 1

TO THE PEOPLE 1

ALDHELM SOLUTION ACROSS: 7 Saint Barnabas, 9 Strident, 10 Vienna, 11 Priest, 12 Listeria, 15 Mutated, 16 Attempt, 19 Pyrenees, 21 Attire, 22 Copper, 24 Abnormal, 25 At short notice. DOWN: 1 Canterbury, 2 Incinerate, 3 Absentee, 4 Brittle, 5 Canvas, 6 Base, 8 Koala, 13 Electorate, 14 Importance, 17 Training, 18 Astaire, 19 Pecan, 20 Earthy, 23 Pâté.

TO THE HAMLET 1

DOWN 1 KENT CATHEDRAL CITY (10) 2 BURN (10) 3 PERSON WHO’S NOT PRESENT (8) 4 EASILY BROKEN (7) 5 OLD TENT FABRIC (6) 6 HEADQUARTERS (4) 8 AUSTRALIAN MARSUPIAL “BEAR” (5) 13 VOTING POPULATION (10) 14 SIGNIFICANCE, MOMENTOUSNESS (10) 17 COACHING, EDUCATING (8) 18 FRED ____, HOLLYWOOD DANCING LEGEND (7) 19 TYPE OF NUT USED IN PIES (5) 20 ROUGH, COARSE (6) 23 MEAT PASTE (4)

Illustration by Peter Rhodes

ACROSS 7 ITSBANANABARS (ANAGRAM) (5, 8) 9 SHRILL, HARSH (8) 10 AUSTRIA’S CAPITAL (6) 11 PARISH LEADER (6) 12 FOOD-POISONING BUG (8) 15 CHANGED, SHAPESHIFTED (7) 16 TRY (7) 19 MOUNTAINS BORDERING FRANCE AND SPAIN (8) 21 RAIMENT, CLOTHING (6) 22 REDDISH METAL (6) 24 STRANGE, UNUSUAL (8) 25 WITHOUT MUCH WARNING (2, 5, 6)

TV presenter Lucy Alexander was born in East Dulwich in 1970 and is best known for appearing on BBC One property show Homes Under the Hammer. She graduated from the London Studio Centre in drama and dance and appeared in the music video for Chesney Hawkes’ hit single The One and Only alongside Saffron, later of Republica fame. She has presented on the Nickelodeon channel, Channel 5’s morning children’s block

Milkshake! and the game show It’s a Knockout. She co-presented Homes Under the Hammer with Martin Roberts from its launch in 2003 until 2016. The longrunning series is among the BBC’s most successful shows in the 10am slot, with about 1.5 million viewers for every new episode. Lucy, who now lives in Surrey, also presented the first episode of the fivepart BBC documentary series Matron, Medicine and Me: 70 Years of the NHS.

TO THE PUB 1

Carl Asaba Position Forward Carl Asaba was born in Westminster and began his career with Dulwich Hamlet. His goalscoring prowess at Champion Hill earned him a move to Brentford in 1994 and he then played for Colchester United on loan, before moving to Reading in 1997. He then joined Gillingham, where he finished 1998-99 as the club’s top scorer. He clinched a key goal in the season’s nailbiting playoff final against Manchester City, giving Gillingham a 1-0 lead in the 81st minute. Gillingham scored again in the 86th minute, but a last-minute comeback from City took the tie to extra time and then to penalties, which the Manchester side won. Asaba later played for Sheffield United and Stoke City, before

THE DULWICH DIVERTER

Illustration by Peter Rhodes

Born 1973

spending his final season at Millwall in 2005-06. The Crown & Greyhound in Dulwich Village. Illustration by Jessica Kendrew To read more about the history of the Hamlet, visit thehamlethistorian. blogspot.co.uk

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021


Beautifully designed and fully serviced offices in the heart of Brixton with excellent transport links to central London. The Department Store Studios also offers hot desking, breakout spaces, meeting and screening rooms. Members will have access to an events programme as well as discounts at our neighbourhood bar and restaurant, Bellefields. Come in to receive a free hot desking Day Pass using the promo code NEWSDD. Offer valid until 31st January 2021, subject to availability. hello@thedepartmentstorestudios.com 020 7846 7878

M O D ERN M EDITERR AN E AN CU ISIN E

Our family run restaurant and bar spills out onto a cobblestoned courtyard right in the heart of Brixton serving a menu inspired by the seas of the Mediterranean. Book your Christmas meal with us to receive a free glass of prosecco for you and your guests* or enquire about private hire. bookings@bellefields.com | 020 7846 8540 *offer available for up to 10 people


CRAFT BEER HOT SAUCE NATURAL WINE CIDER SPIRITS COFFEE THAT’S CHRISTMAS SORTED. Hop Burns & Black is your one-stop shop for festive good times. Visit our Peckham Rye/ East Dulwich and Deptford stores, or shop with us online. We even offer free local delivery for orders over £ 40 in our 100% electric, zero emissions van.

HOPBURNSBLACK.CO.UK

#SOUTHLONDONBESTLONDON