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❧ISSUE 135 ❧SUMMER ❧2016 ❧£2

REMEMBERING THE SOMME ▶ Charter School pupils help mark centenary of WWI battle - See Page 17

t Ge ur yo py co day to



▶ After the closure, library still shrouded in doubt - Turn to Page 3

▶ Parents protest at plans for Judith Kerr Primary - Turn to Page 5


▶ Writer and art historian who was born in Herne Hill - See Pages 12-13


THE COMMITTEE President Chair Vice Chair Secretary Treasurer

Bill Kirby Colin Wight Laurence Marsh Jeff Doorn Rosalind Glover


Michele Arnal John Brunton Elizabeth Ochagavia Jackie Plumridge Pat Roberts Val Suebsaeng


Mike Richards

COMMENTS & ENQUIRIES To advertise in the Magazine To contribute to or comment on the Magazine To comment on planning or licensing issues To order a publication Membership enquiries Local history enquiries Herne Hill notice boards Website Community safety Other issues Postal and online addresses The Herne Hill Society, PO Box 27845, LONDON SE24 9XA Twitter @hernehillsoc

CONTENTS Carnegie Library’s future Recycling in a good cause Herne Hill Velodrome update Book review: The Pubs of Herne Hill Will children lose their playing field? Cut your speed and save lives Herne Hill luvvies Paving for plants Jimmy, L’Artisan Coiffeur Return of Winifred Knights Memories of Anita Brookner Norman Hartnell Society’s AGM and accounts Insurance holds key to Herne Hill Transport news Unknown warriors Letter from the past Barred from the Half Moon Tracking rise and fall of tower blocks

Planning & Licensing 6 Diary of Events 6 Councillors & MP List of contacts


Opinions expressed in the Magazine are those of the authors and not necessarily of the Herne Hill Society Committee, which likewise does not approve or endorse the quality or suitability of any goods or services advertised in the Magazine.


3 3 4 4 5 7 9 10 10 11 12-13 13 14 15 16 17 18-19 19 21


Advertising space is available in this magazine at the following rates for four issues over one year: Quarter page: £55 Half page: £110 Full page, including back page according to availability: £230 Please supply your own artwork. For further details, email

Herne Hill-Summer 2016


Carnegie Library’s fUTURE STILL VAGUE Friends joining forces with eight other groups in bid to take over

The Occupation of Carnegie Library ended peacefully when the remaining campaigners emerged on 9 April, to lead a march of more than 2,000 supporters via Minet Library (closed the same day as Carnegie Library) to Brixton for a rally. Since then, both Carnegie and Minet Libraries have remained closed, occupied only by security staff. After many months of promising a public meeting, Lambeth distributed a flyer around Herne Hill Ward, headed Public exhibition on the future of Carnegie. This announced that plans for possible future uses of the building would be exhibited at St Saviour’s Church Hall on Tuesday 21 June from 2 – 8pm and Wednesday 22 June from 11am – 6pm. The exhibition consisted of four panels which did not provide much if any new information. The promised “regular” visits by library staff are now shown as “every day for up to two hours”, i.e. a maximum of 12 hours a week, compared with the previous opening hours with dedicated on-site staff of 36 per week. The sketch floor plans had already appeared on Lambeth’s website in April;

they do not show any space specifically allocated to a library. Visitors who found the panels vague and unhelpful were also disappointed by the lack of detailed information from officials questioned. Those from Greenwich Leisure Ltd seemed unaware of the fierce opposition to installing a gym in the building. Visitors were invited to speak to local councillors and representatives of GLL about their plans, and to give feedback. The Friends of Carnegie Library committee prepared a leaflet which suggested questions visitors to the exhibition may want to ask. It is not clear how visitor feedback will be collated, assessed or used,

Since closure, there has been a lack of information about Carnegie’s future or whether this is the extent of public consultation on offer by Lambeth. Alternative plans are being drawn up by Carnegie Library Association CIO, a charity comprising the Friends and eight other user groups. These will be submitted in September in a bid for asset transfer. The Friends also held a celebration on Saturday 9 July, the 110th anniversary of the opening of the library. The date also marked 100 days since closure. Jeff Doorn, Chair of the Friends of Carnegie Library

Pedalling their way to recycling in a good cause The Bike Project is an enterprising charity with a local base in Crossthwaite Avenue (off Sunray Avenue). It was founded by social entrepreneur Jem Stein in 2013. Having mentored a refugee while at university, Stein was inspired to create

the Bike Project as a way to provide secondhand bikes to refugees in and around London, giving them with the benefits of free transport in the city. Refugees with bikes for transport have greatly improved accessibility to healthcare, education

and social activities. And if allowed to work, they enjoy better access to employment. The project also offers an inclusive and supportive community for refugees to learn new skills through active workshops, where volunteers are welcome

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on Thursdays. A separate initiative teaches women refugees with no cycling experience how to ride a bike safely in London. To date the charity has given away more than 1,000 bikes. It relies on the donation of bicycles ­— in any sort of condition ­— so bear

that in mind when you clear out your garden shed and come across that forgotten machine. And if you’re in need of a bike to buy, check out the Bike Project’s website at www. Recycling in a good cause, you could say.




hat a wonderful addition to the great range of books on our local history of Dulwich and Herne Hill. This book is a fascinating read with a rich mix of primary research, gorgeous photos by John East, great images, engravings and maps from Lambeth Archives and Southwark Local Studies library and compelling accounts of the histories of the 40 hostelries featured by authors John Brunton, Laurence Marsh, Ian McInnes and John Walters. Not just an architectural history, this book explores the intriguing social history and the human dimension of the publicans and their customers, recounting often engrossing individual events. The account of the not uncommon hazard in the Victorian era of exploding soda-water bottles is in the entry for the Cambria pub, as is a burglary at the former Green Man at Loughborough Junction in 1833 that resulted in a constable with a cutlass giving chase and apprehending


The Pubs of Dulwich & Herne Hill the robbers, one of whom was transported to Tasmania. The book is a both a celebration of the survivors and a nostalgic commemoration of those pubs no longer with us, which sadly constitute the majority of the 40. Some closed years ago, such as those destroyed in the Blitz (eg The Sun on Effra Parade and the

spared photographs of some of the dismal developments that have replaced wonderfully characterful old pubs. The grandes dames justly listed by Historic England are showcased — namely the Crown & Greyhound in Dulwich Village, whose reopening (with a boutique hotel added) later this year is

Available at Herne Hill Books, The Barber Shop or for £9.50 Royal Oak on Dulwich Road) or those on the Brixton border such as the fine old Windsor Castle on Mayall Road and The George on Railton Road, both burnt out following acts of arson and larceny during the unrest in 1981. However, most licensed premises have been lost during the orgy of closures in the last 20 years. Thankfully we are

keenly anticipated; as is the refurbishment of the Half Moon in Herne Hill (current buildings both completed in 1896). Others probably deserve heritage protection such as the newly-restored Tulse Hill Hotel, the stately Rosendale and the Italianate-style Paxton at the foot of Gipsy Hill (all erected in the early Victorian era); the 1890s Prince Regent

on Dulwich Road with its wonderful ‘streaky bacon’ façade of bands of brick and stone; and the quirky George Canning on Effra Road (now the Hootananny), both from the last decade of Victoria’s reign. Inter-war and post-war pubs are also described in detail, the charming 1930s art deco style former Hamilton Arms (now a supermarket) on Railton Road and the 1950s Fox on the Hill an intriguing fusion of the NeoGeorgian and Jacobean/Dutch styles) — both surely good candidates for Local Listing. Finally, the entry on the Phoenix is a tribute to all those in the local community who campaigned to save the 1860s Denmark Hill station from demolition after an arson attack in 1980 which was then restored by British Rail and converted into a pub. So all in all, this book is a must-buy for anyone who loves living in Herne Hill and Dulwich, a fabulous record of the Now and the Then, and a reminder to us all when it comes to our local community’s pubs: Use Them or Lose Them! Edmund Bird


2017. And, thanks to contractor Conamar's carefully placed bluemesh fencing round the works areas, cycling will be continuing, almost uninterrupted, throughout the construction period. So please keep coming to the Velodrome at 104 Burbage Road. There are cycle sessions for all ages and abilities, and

the Friends of HHV’s very attractive range of cycle merchandise. Please go to www. hernehillvelodrome. com for all the details. Any donations will be very welcome! Funding has been secured for the Pavilion building, but more is going to be required to fit it out. Charmian Hornsby, Trustee, Herne Hill Velodrome Trust

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It was a sad May Day this year to see the original 1891 Herne Hill Velodrome Grandstand building half-demolished, with a few homeless pigeons sitting on its roof. But six of its 10 iconic cast-iron Victorian pillars will, like the Phoenix, rise again to support the canopy of the new pavilion, due for completion early in


Herne Hill Velodrome’s new pavilion under way

NEWS The school’s valuable outdoor space could be lost under the new plans (inset below)

Will children lose their playing field? The Dulwich Estate, which owns the freehold to the school grounds, intends to develop the Green Space playing field at Judith Kerr Primary School for its beneficiary, the Dulwich Almshouse Charity. It aims to relocate the current almshouses situated in the centre of Dulwich Village to a new development of assisted living accommodation for up to 20 elderly residents on the school grounds. If this development goes ahead, the 350 schoolchildren would lose two-thirds of their already tight outdoor play and sports space and all of the school’s usable green space. The Judith Kerr Primary School ( JKPS) Green Space Campaign has been set up by the local community to prevent the school’s only playing field being developed by the Dulwich Estate. The removal of the playing field will severely restrict the opportunities for education, play and sport for generations of school children (a reduction of more than half the total outside space). If one includes the Green Space the school still has only just over half the recommended minimum external space for P.E. Without the Green Space it would be just 19 per cent. The local community needs good schools and the playing field is a vital resource to JKPS to achieve this. Katherine Leopold, secretary of the Friends of Judith Kerr, said: “The Dulwich

Parents protest at the plans for Judith Kerr Primary School

Estate is an extensive landowner in this area. We are asking them to look elsewhere for possible development sites. We are asking them not develop this site and safeguard our children’s right to play, exercise, and learn outside. As an educational charity, the Dulwich Estate knows how important this is and how unjust they are being pitting their beneficiary the Dulwich Almshouse Charity against a thriving state primary school”.

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Why is it at risk? JKPS is a state primary school and leases its building and grounds from the Dulwich Estate. The lease was negotiated by the Department of Education when the school was set up in 2013. At this time the Dulwich Estate incorporated an option into the lease allowing them to reacquire part of the site (the playing field) and to develop it into residential housing subject to planning permission. If the development is approved by Southwark Council, the playing field will be permanently lost. The Council launched the “Southwark Plan” – a document which explains the principles by which they will consider planning applications. In this first draft, the school's site was earmarked as a “development site”. Parents and local people protested, and the second draft of the Plan proposes that the site be designated as open space. We are calling on Southwark Council to listen to the community and grant this designation. What can you do? We are asking the community to write to Helen Hayes MP and to Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, to express their opposition to these plans. For more information, please visit or @ JKPSplayground. Emma Huntly, school parent


Planning & Licensing


Licensing 18 Half Moon Lane We objected to an application for a Premises Licence at the above, formerly a toy shop, on the grounds that it included live and recorded music. If granted, we felt that this could lead to disturbances to people living in the flats above and to the side of the property. The applicant subsequently withdrew this element of the application. Off the Cuff, 301-303 Railton Road We have submitted a formal objection to an application for a new Premises Licence. This was because of the significantly extended hours proposed for supply of alcohol (to 2am. Fridays and Saturdays, midnight on other days), live music (from 10am daily to 11pm Sunday to Wednesday, 11.30pm Thursday and 1.30am Friday and Saturday), and recorded music (to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 2am Friday and Saturday). We were concerned that these hours, combined with a significant expansion of the premises, may result in disturbances to people living nearby, despite efforts by the operators to mitigate noise from patrons or from the premises.


12B Red Post Hill, SE21 7BX. 020 7733 3697 POTS Traditional and Contemporary Exterior and Interior Terracotta, Glazed, Polystone, Metal, Ceramic, Terrazzo, Fibreglass. PLANTS Trees, Shrubs, Roses, Grasses, Herbaceous, Perennials, Annuals and Herbs. COMPOSTS Multipurpose, Peat Free, John Innes, Ericaceous, Pebbles, Slate, Gravel, Grit. SHOP House Plants, Indoor pots, Tools, Seeds, Bulbs and horticultural supplies. Local delivery available. Free parking outside North Dulwich Station 6


Wednesday 14 September “Housing Schemes in South London” by Kate Macintosh, Architect Kate Macintosh will talk about her two housing schemes in London: Dawson’s Heights for Southwark and 269 Leigham Court Road for Lambeth. She will also refer to the housing of her late partner, George Finch, who designed Lambeth Towers, and touch on the work of Rose Stjernstedt, Central Hill, which is now under threat. Wednesday 12 October “Lt. George Bemand” by S.I. Martin, Historian Dulwich Collegeeducated Jamaican George K Bemand (right)was probably the first non-white officer to be accepted into the British Army in World War One. He lived with his brother and mother in Denmark Hill; and his life shines a light on Black people in WWI and South East London’s small Black community 1900-1919. Wednesday 9 November “River Effra, South London’s secret spine” by Jon Newman, Manager, Lambeth Archives The Effra vanished underground 150 years back, leaving just a few legends and a nagging fascination. This willow-fringed haunt of eels and herons had been transformed by unregulated suburban development from a small river into a large sewer until finally it was covered over. Yet it still flows below South London and, just occasionally, it still floods.

l Unless otherwise stated, Herne Hill Society meetings will be at Herne Hill United Church Hall, at 7:30 (doors open) for 7:45pm. Please try to arrive before the speaker is introduced.

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20mph limits are changing roads in Lambeth and Southwark


outhwark is now a 20mph borough. Every road the Council controls has a speed limit of 20mph. It believes this limit is the most cost-effective way of reducing accidents, encouraging more sustainable forms of travel, such as walking and cycling, and helping to improve air quality. Evidence from several areas across England shows that the implementation of a 20mph limit reduces the number and severity of road traffic collisions. On this basis, the Government has recommended that all local authorities consider a 20mph speed limit on their roads. This will have a direct impact on pedestrian safety and is one of the main reasons for introducing the scheme across most London boroughs by 2017. Research shows that on urban roads with low traffic speeds, any one mph reduction in average speed can reduce the collision frequency by about six per cent. So even a modest reduction of one mph could reduce the number of accidents by 56 each year in Southwark (based on 2012 data). The severity of an injury sustained in a collision is directly linked to the speed at which vehicles travel. A pedestrian, if struck by a vehicle driving at 20mph, is likely to suffer slight injuries, while at 30mph, they’re likely to be severely hurt. However, at 40mph, or above, they will probably be killed. Driving more slowly on residential roads has been proven to reduce traffic accidents, making the urban environment safer, not only for drivers but for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as motorcyclists, who make up 80 per cent of all serious and fatal collisions in the UK. The Southwark 20mph zone scheme started in March 2015 and will be reviewed later this year for roads with a persistent problem where speeds remain high (in excess of 24mph). The Council says this will be addressed by way of physical speedreduction measures. Although the police expect the scheme to be self-enforcing, with cameras and monitoring equipment, they’re working with the Council on a series of targeted speed-enforcement programmes.

CUT YOUR SPEED... and save lives

Community RoadWatch One new programme is Community RoadWatch. TFL has formed a partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to run this new road-safety initiative, which aims to reduce speeding in residential areas. Community RoadWatch gives local residents the opportunity to work side by side with their local police teams, and use detection equipment to identify speeding vehicles in their communities. Managed by Southwark Police’s Safer Transport team, several operations have already been running in Dulwich and Herne Hill this year, with vehicle speeds recorded at more than 40mph on both Half Moon Lane and Lordship Lane. Warning letters have been issued, while the information captured will assist the future activity of local police teams and ensure further enforcement activity with other speed control measures. Other boroughs And this isn’t just in Southwark. In April, Lambeth Council also introduced a

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borough-wide 20mph speed limit. As part of the Council’s stated aim to have the safest and greenest streets in the capital, there’s now a 20mph speed limit on all Lambeth-controlled roads. Only the major routes into and around London — ‘Red Routes’ ­— which are controlled by Transport for London, will continue to be 30mph zones. Somewhat belatedly, Lewisham Council has recognised the problem and its borough-wide 20mph speed limit will come into effect in September 2016. A large part of Lewisham already has many 20mph zones in residential areas and this scheme extends the limit to most of the remaining borough roads. Again, it is disappointing that it won’t include Lewisham’s Tf L ‘Red Routes’. These councils say the 20mph speed limit is expected to bring about a culture change over time and they hope it will become socially unacceptable to drive faster, in the same way as drink-driving or not wearing a seat belt is. Let’s hope they are right. Simon Taylor, Chair: Safer Neighbourhood Panel – Village ward

7 020 8678 6646


020 8678 6646 61 NORWOOD ROAD HERNE HILL SE24 9AA


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Herne Hill Luvvies – Miss Fanny Harrison


nder the heading ‘Death of an Actress’, an obituary in the London Evening Telegraph and Post on 22 February 1909 reported the death of Mrs Isaac Cohen, ‘the actress mother of Mrs Joe Lyons, wife of the famous caterer’. She and her husband, Isaac Cohen, were, in the early 1900s, one of the first purchasers of the new houses in Winterbrook Road – living at No. 24 from 1900. He was the stage manager of the Pavilion Theatre in Whitechapel Road opposite the London Hospital, while she was a singer and light opera star. Her stage name was Miss Fanny Harrison. From 1879 to 1890 she was a principal contralto in the D’Oyly Carte Gilbert & Sullivan touring companies. She played Little Buttercup in November 1879 — with the ‘First Pinafore Company’. A month later she was playing Ruth in Pirates of Penzance in a tiny theatre in Paignton before an audience of just 50. This was in fact the world première of the opera, put on at very short notice, and barely rehearsed, in order to establish the British copyright and thus, G&S hoped, to secure the basis for copyright protection in the United States. A full production of Pirates was due to open in New York the following day. However, copyright protection in the US continued to elude them. In the 1880s, Fanny continued to perform the parts of Little Buttercup and Ruth, as well taking the part of the Queen

A poster for one of Isaac Cohen’s productions

of the Fairies in Iolanthe. Her final G&S role was as the Duchess of Plaza-Toro in performances of The Gondoliers in 1890. She also appeared in soubrette parts under her husband’s stage management. And at one time she toured her own opera company. Her daughters, Phoebe and Katie, also toured with the D’Oyly Carte organisation in the 1880s. A third daughter, Hannah, married Joe Lyons the caterer, the man who gave us Lyons Corner Houses. The Pavilion Theatre was one of the largest theatres in London with a capacity

New plan for small grants The Herne Hill Society have decided to use some of our surplus funds to make small grants available to individuals or organisations. In order to qualify you need to demonstrate that your project will benefit Herne Hill. No

grant will normally exceed £200, and you cannot apply for more than one grant in any calendar year. Applications are welcomed at any point in the year. We have set out the rules and procedures for application on our website.

This is a new development for the Herne Hill Society. We know that Herne Hill is a great place to live — and we hope that using our funds in this way will help to make it even better. For more info, email enquiries@

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of 3,750, including 2,000 in the pit. Perhaps better remembered today as a prominent Yiddish theatre in the early decades of the 20th century, in earlier years it was a more conventional theatre rivalling Drury Lane in the West End — it was often advertised as ‘the Drury Lane of the East’. Originally built in 1828, it had been rebuilt and considerably enlarged after a fire in 1858. Following bankruptcy in the early 1870s, it had been taken over by Morris Abrahams, the manager of the nearby East London Theatre, who appointed Isaac Cohen to run it, which he did very successfully. Over the next 25 years Isaac produced and directed a large number of shows, from straight plays through to pantomimes such as Jack and the Beanstalk. At a benefit held for him at the theatre in 1890 (apparently he had lost much money in a court case), George Conquest, once described as ‘the most stunning actoracrobat of his time’ and a resident of Alleyn Park, performed his celebrated strangling scene from Mankind (a melodrama written by Conquest) as the opening act. Conquest later appeared with Dan Leno, who lived at 2 Stradella Road in 1902–03. A small world. Ian McInnes

l The sixth Herne Hill Music Festival (7–16 October) offers local people the usual range of music from jazz, folk and blues, to family and children’s concerts and classical music. Innovations this year include a family concert of Indian Classical music in Brockwell Hall as part of our Music in the Park on Sunday 9 October, a concert of music by Haydn and Mozart by the Southwark Sinfonietta under Rupert Bond, performances by two rising jazz stars at Off The Cuff, and Fiddling the Night Away with folk fiddlers at Canopy Beer. All the details are on


paving for plants Project to replace concrete with new anti-flood gardens

Locals at work on greening the pedestrian island on Lowden Road



As you walk around Herne Hill this summer, look out for places where grey concrete paving has been prised up and replaced with lush, green gardens. It’s part of the Lost Effra Project, a local scheme led by London Wildlife Trust that is busy working with local people along the Effra’s former course to create vibrant wildlife gardens that also reduce flood risk. One of these newly planted areas is the pedestrian island on the corner of Milkwood Road and Lowden Road: an area previously covered with broken concrete paving slabs. It started when Simon, a resident of Lowden Road who had been looking for ways to improve the neglected space he walks past every day with his family, approached the Lost Effra Project. Through working in partnership with Lambeth Council and the Greater London Authority, the paving was replaced with new gardens, brimming with colour. The gardens themselves are practical as well as beautiful, soaking up the water that flows off the tarmac road when it rains. This stops it from reaching the outdated sewers underneath Herne Hill (already full from the water that would have flowed in the River Effra as well as the wastewater from

a growing number of Herne Hillians) and helps to reduce the risk of the area going under water again in heavy downpours. As you walk back towards Herne Hill station, you’ll notice that six new gardens have also sprung up around Oborne Close, a low-rise housing estate (and well used shortcut) that backs on to Milkwood Road. Thanks to efforts from local residents, London Wildlife Trust and Lambeth Council, concrete has been replaced by flower-beds that soak up rainwater, help prevent fly-tipping and anti-social

behaviour, while also bringing residents together through planting and looking after their new gardens. From taking up a few paving slabs in your front garden to building a green roof on your bike shed, there’s plenty you can do cheaply and in small spaces to help prevent flooding by working with nature. For more information visit www., follow the project on Twitter at @LostEffra or email Helen Spring

Jimmy (or Jeremy), L’Artisan Coiffeur

His name is Jeremy, though most people know him as Jimmy. Herne Hill’s resident Parisian can be found, seven days a week, at his Barber Shop in Railton Road. Jimmy came to England in 2007, unable to speak more than a few words of English. He soon found his way from Cambridge to Brixton where he worked in a club, collecting glasses. A couple of years later, now able to communicate properly, he started working in Leicester Square as a hairdresser, the profession he’d trained for


Jimmy, the barber in his shop in Railton Road in Paris. In 2013 he moved to the salon in Herne Hill. Jimmy points out how much has changed for the better, even in three years. ‘When I arrived, it was quieter, with many closed shops,’ he says. ‘Now it’s livelier, and the

Sunday market is great for business’. Above all, he loves the village atmosphere. ‘People wave to me through the window, and I wave back. There’s a good community feeling.’ But what about

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returning to France one day? ‘It’s a beautiful country; but it’s very hard to make a living. You have more freedom here’, he says. He knows one or two French ex-pats, but no one wants to go back. Jimmy, now joined by an assistant, works from 9:30am until 8:00pm Monday to Friday, so that commuters can get a trim on their way home. He’s also open Saturday and Sunday. As a sideline, Jimmy stocks this magazine and is selling our new pubs book too. Colin Wight


he first picture in this comprehensive exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery is “Self-portrait sketching at a table”, a remarkably confident watercolour by the 16-year-old Winifred Knights. She directs her clear-eyed gaze outwards, drawing us in. The Slade School student was to include self-images in many future paintings; and to visit this, the first major retrospective of her works, is to go on a journey, with the striking young woman as guide. Winifred Knights was born in Streatham in 1899 and studied at James Allen’s Girls School before beginning her formal art training at the Slade in 1915. She intended to make a career in book illustration, and several charming examples in this genre are on display. Her drafting skills impressed Henry Tonks, whose favourite student she became. Tonks had taught the 1908–1912 group of art students featured in Dulwich Picture Gallery’s 2013 exhibition “A Crisis of Brilliance”. Knights first concentrated on life drawing; and examples displayed here show why she won a First Class Certificate in 1917. However, the horrors of the World War brought on a breakdown, and she left the school for a year. In Worcestershire she met Edward Carpenter, whose influence spurred her to create depictions of rural life, notably “Apple Harvest” and “The Potato Harvest”. Back at the Slade she began producing fresco-like “Decorative Paintings”, winning a Summer Composition Prize with “A Scene in a Village Street with Mill-hands Conversing”, shown here with several studies. The social commentary evident in this and other works stems from the influence of her aunt, Millicent Murby, a campaigner for

Above: Edge of Abruzzi: boat with three people on a lake; and below: Self-portrait sketching at a table



women’s and workers’ rights. A cartoon and oil painting of “The Deluge” made her the first woman to win the British School in Rome scholarship (1920); it is fascinating to see various compositional studies alongside the finished work. Epic and personal, it features herself, family, friends and lover (fellow Slade student Arnold Mason) fleeing in terror. At Rome and in the Italian countryside she produced lovely landscapes, absorbed the glories of Giotto and Piero della Francesca, emulating the latter with a grand narrative depiction of “The Marriage at Cana”. Like so much of her work, this has a strong autobiographical connection, as she had left Mason and was engaged to marry Thomas Monnington, the 1922 Rome Scholar. Joining a pilgrimage and later travels in Italy inspired further great and beautiful paintings.


er work was in demand and won awards and critical acclaim. This exhibition gathers a wonderful range from private collections, UCL, Canterbury Cathedral, the Tate, Courtauld, Fitzwilliam and British Museum to as far as Florida and New Zealand. We finish with portraits of Knights by other artists. Her intensity and beauty shine, as does her distinctive fashion sense (she designed her own clothes). Sadly, after her early death in 1947, her star has waned. This show will help reestablish her importance in the artistic firmament. The exhibition, which opened 8 June, continues until 18 September. Open Tuesday–Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 10am–5pm. Entry: £12.50 (including voluntary Gift Aid donation); seniors £11.50; students, unemployed, disabled £7; children and Friends free. Jeffrey Doorn

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Memories of anita Brookner A nita was a very different person from the women she invented. I first met her in 1965 when I was a second-year undergraduate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and I remember going into her office at the top of the building in 20 Portman Square. You knew you were approaching her room because you could smell her scent, and on going in she would be standing waiting, books spread out on the table, her packet of plain Woodbines open beside her notebook, and she would be dressed in a close-fitting cable-knit sweater in beige or cream, her hair and make-up perfectly done, and she would be spreading birdseed on the window ledge to keep the pigeons quiet. She was so kind and approachable that we all blossomed under her teaching, as did a number of now very well-known art historians. She loved teaching, and among the acknowledgements prefacing her book on French art criticism she wrote that her interest had been “kept alive by my students who alone can furnish that sensation du neuf which is the teacher’s greatest reward”. Her kindness to me never abated, and when I published my first novel she was unstinting in her generosity and public support. She was so thin we used to worry that she was ill, but were reassured


Anita Brookner, CBE (16 July 1928 – 10 March 2016) was born in Herne Hill and educated at JAGS. She was the only child of Newson Bruckner, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, and Maudie Schishka. At the time of her birth the family lived at 55 Half Moon Lane, her birth certificate describing her father as a ‘tobacconist’. The family later moved to 25 Half Moon Lane. Brookner wrote more than 20 novels, winning the Booker Prize in 1984 for Hotel du Lac, as well as several academic studies. Art historian and novelist Dr SARAH SYMMONS recalls the woman she came to know well. when a shopping list fell out of her copy of Diderot’s Œuvres esthétiques. It consisted of a small pot of Marmite and slimming biscuits, and we realised that her thinness, which she preserved all her life, was the result of self discipline and prodigious walking. I passed her one sunny afternoon in 1966 walking down the King’s Road looking pale, remote and beautiful in a floaty dress, her hair very auburn, her mouth very red, her eyes distant as if seeing another world, as indeed she must have been since I greeted her


She played up to the role of being lonely, though she was much loved by her many friends

twice and she failed to see or hear me. I was reminded of that day when reading the last line of her novel Fraud (1992) “the bright dark, dangerous and infinitely welcoming street”. Her teaching was highly personal: rather formal for someone who was so approachable. She was supposed to be writing a biography of Théodore Géricault, and I remember her saying “suddenly it is natural for him to paint things in the dark”. That biography never materialised, but she did publish biographies of David, Greuze and Watteau, and essays on Géricault, Ingres and Delacroix. All of these eccentrics became real as she succeeded in bringing the past to life and giving a vividness to documents, biographies and masterpieces. For me, she transformed paintings and drawings into eternal works in progress; you could almost see the artist at work. Her novels depicted similar

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fragile, yet vivid and vulnerable people, mainly but not always women, people with comfortable incomes, usually derived from profitable commerce or trade or a business such as printing or import export, and who lived in solid, comfortable dwellings, shopped at Harrods, stayed in cosy hotels but who never quite fitted into the British middle class, although they try to do everything right, as do the younger women, the standard Brookner heroines who are nearly always betrayed by the men they love.


lthough she rarely if ever wrote of Jews and Jewishness, the families in her novels do reflect her own Polish-Jewish background which she was immensely proud of. Latecomers (1988) is the only novel to refer specifically to the Holocaust, but in 1967, the year before she became the first woman to be appointed Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge, she applied to join the Israeli war effort. “I passed the medical” she told me

Norman Hartnell, a Streatham lad and the Queen’s dressmaker





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Herne Hill born and bred: Writer Anita Brookner in some triumph, although the Yom Kippur War ended before she could swap academe for the army. These paradoxical dramas of her life occurred in many different contexts. I remember being in a bar with her when she suddenly, unaccountably, turned to me and said: “We can’t stay here, they’ll think we’re hookers”. Anybody less like a hooker than Anita in her close-fitting jackets and skirts, her immaculate hair, questioning blue eyes and small square shoulderbags which, unlike my handbags, were never crammed full of stuff but always hung just so, it would be hard to imagine. If, as it was once reported, Anita said she was the loneliest woman in London, this was something I always saw as a mask, as much as all the other roles she played. When I started teaching with her we always went out for lunch where she ate very little and I, with her encouragement, ate a lot. I remember meeting her in Paris in the 1970s when I was

her research student. She always stayed in the Hôtel Madison near Les Deux Magots, and she took me to Le Procope, said to be one of the oldest restaurants in Paris, and ordered me a bombe surprise which I ate mainly to please her. It was a special occasion because I was getting married, and when I took my step-daughter Allegra to have tea with her in her little flat in Fulham (where she remained until she died) she served up the richest chocolate cake which Allegra and I had ever eaten. After she won the Booker Prize she deliberately became reclusive, and she warned me that if ever I became successful, the media would take me apart, just as they shredded every aspect of her life. I think that was why she played up to the role of being lonely, although she had many friends, was fiercely ambitious, amazingly successful and much loved by all her ex-students and friends. In that sense, the heroine of the novels is the complete contrast to her real persona, but the role made her a success, and she stuck to it.

Sue Collins gave an illustrated talk on Norman Hartnell to our April meeting. Hartnell was born in 1901 in The Crown and Sceptre on Streatham Hill, the only son of the publican. He went on to become one of the first English couturiers, designing for the aristocratic elite, including the royal family. He designed the Queen’s wedding dress, and her coronation robes. He had started his own salon in Bruton Street in 1923 when he was only 22. He had a passion for clothes and designing from the outset – always artistic as a child, and obsessed with the glamour of the theatre and movie stars. He designed for divas such as Gertrude Lawrence, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich. During the war, he designed utility clothing, although he was quoted as saying “I despise simplicity – it is the negation of all that is beautiful”. Hartnell’s style went out of fashion in the 1960s and the House of Hartnell began to struggle. When he designed outfits for Diana, Princess of Wales, she refused to wear his clothes. He was forced to sell his beloved Windsor retreat. But the Queen clearly valued him and he was awarded a knighthood in 1977. It was an amazing story, as he came from what could

Herne Hill-Summer 2016

be described as humble beginnings. Originally his family, on both the paternal and maternal sides, were farmers from Devon, although his father became financially successful, owning a number of London pubs. Hartnell was gay, as was his rival Hardy Amies (who came to prominence a little later). Amies famously said of him: “It’s quite simple. He was a silly old queen, and I’m a clever old queen!” Hartnell died in 1979 just

before his 78th birthday He is buried in St Matthew’s Churchyard, Clayton, near Brighton, along with his mother, his sister Phyllis and her husband, who lived in Herne Hill. We were treated to photographs of some of Hartnell’s extraordinary creations. He undoubtedly was one of the first designers responsible for weakening the power of the Parisian fashion houses and establishing the industry here in the UK, which is now worth billions to our economy. Val Suebsaeng


l The Herne Hill Society’s

accounts for the year to 31 December 2015 were presented at the AGM on 9 March 2016. The Society’s main sources of income were from membership subscriptions and donations, and from magazine advertising. The Society is also dependent on the profit on the sale of publications and on Gift Aid, both of which increased in 2015. Our main expenditure was the cost of printing and posting the quarterly magazine. The Society also made a number of donations this year, including to Lambeth Local History Forum’s Heritage Festival and to the Brockwell Park Fun Palace. A copy of the full, examined account is on the Herne Hill Society’s website. If you have any questions please contact the Treasurer. Rosalind Glover

HERNE HILL SOCIETY ANNUAL ACCOUNTS FOR 2015 Income Subscriptions and donations.......£2,518.26 Magazine Advertising..................£1,145.50 Profit on Publications......................£890.19 Monthly meetings...........................£599.40 Gift Aid............................................£562.08 Bank Interest....................................£26.92 Total Income................................£5,742.35 Expenditure Printing/Stationery/Postage.........£2,195.44 Refreshments/Raffle Prizes..............£88.45 Hall Hire/Stall Fees.........................£345.30 Insurance............................................£5.00 Subscriptions & Donations.............£403.00 Speaker Fees ................................£170.00 Audit/Accountancy............................£50.00 Website Maintenance.....................£127.71 Other Misc Admin & Equipment.....£220.35 Total Expenditure.........................£3,665.25 The surplus for the year..............£2,077.10


Herne Hill Ward Lambeth Michelle Agdomar (Lab.) @MichelleAgdomar Jim Dickson (Lab.) @JimDicksLambeth 020 3149 6657 Jack Holborn (Lab.) @jack_holborn Thurlow Park Ward Lambeth Anna Birley (Lab.) @annamayb Fred Cowell (Lab.) @fredacowell Max Deckers Dowber (Lab.) Village Ward Southwark Anne Kirby (Lab.) Jane Lyons (Con.) Michael Mitchell (Con.) 07535 932 326

Your MP Helen Hayes MP (Lab.) House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.


The 2016 AGM of the Herne Hill Society The Society’s AGM — its 34th — was held on 9 March 2016, in accordance with the Society’s Constitution. 45 people attended. In addition to the reports by the retiring Officers of the Society (Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, which can be read on our website), the meeting discussed a proposal from the Committee to introduce amendments to the Constitution, as circulated in advance to all members. One proposed amendment related to the optional publication of the minutes of Committee meetings; another related to the introduction of a clause enabling the Committee to exclude a member. Both proposals were discussed, and on a vote were approved by 27 votes in favour, five against and one abstention. The revised Constitution has been approved by the Charity Commission. One query from the floor related to the Society’s accounts which revealed a healthy surplus; a member suggested that the Committee should look at ways to use some of the surplus for the benefit of the local community. (The Committee has pursued this idea and introduced a new procedure for allocating small grants for local causes: see separate article in this issue.) The AGM concluded with the nomination, seconding and adoption of new members of the Committee for 2016–17. Full details and the minutes can be read on our website.

Your GLA Member Valerie Shawcross AM (Lab.) GLA, City Hall, Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA 020 7983 4407

Environmental Contacts Lambeth Streetscene: Cleansing, rubbish removal, pot holes, abandoned vehicles, graffiti removal etc: Southwark Streetscene (as above):

020 7926 9000 020 7525 2000

Advertising Advertising space is available in this magazine at the following rates for four issues over one year: Quarter page: £55 Half page: £110 Full page, including back page according to availability: £230 Please supply your own artwork. For further details, email

Herne Hill-Summer 2016


n the spring issue of the magazine, Laurence Marsh discussed some evidence for the origins of Herne Hill ('What’s in a Name?'). He ended by suggesting that more could be discovered. It is now possible to provide earlier dated references thanks to a project by volunteers to index policy registers of the Sun Insurance Company in the London Metropolitan Archives. Two policies date from 1792 and are particularly interesting. The first of 30 April (no. 599651) records Thomas Smith, farmer, of “Hearne Hill, near Dulwich”, insuring his brick dwelling for £450, the contents for £100 and a barn for £30, and also a timber building nearby with a tiled roof occupied by “Thompson” gent for £200. The latter would possibly be one of the white-painted, weather-boarded houses commonly found in Surrey at this time. The second policy (no. 608231) of 21 November was taken out by Theophilus Lightfoot, builder, of Denmark Hill, on four houses at “Herns Hill near Dulwich”, made of brick and tile, adjoining each other in equal proportion, and not exceeding £200 in value (£200 crossed out in margin and £300 substituted). Laurence noted that Smith’s house was mentioned by James Edwards during the journey he made from London to Brighton about 1789. The “small genteel white house just built by Mr. Smith” was possibly the building occupied by Thompson. The Lambeth ratebooks list Thomas Smith from 1788 to 1796 as assessed for property formerly “Bulkley’s”, suggesting that he had acquired the farm after the death in 1787 of Robert Bulkeley, a wealthy landowner living in Tulse Hill, who, according to The Book of Herne Hill, had been fined for cutting down 2,000 trees in the area. Theophilus Lightfoot was the son of Luke Lightfoot, the colourful proprietor of the Denmark Hall Assembly Rooms, who died in 1789. The four terraced houses on Herne Hill which he insured in 1792 appear to have been a property speculation, and not occupied until at least three years later when two more houses were assessed for rates. One of them was that of John Davis, also listed in Holden’s directory for 1799, described as a marble paper manufacturer, and 1802 as a paper stainer. The other person listed as a ratepayer in 1796 is John Middlecoat, sometimes spelt Meddlicot. The following year, four more occupiers are listed, and by 1800, when ‘Hern Hill’


What ’s in a

t was Juliet who thought a rose ‘by any other name would smell as sweet’. But would Herne Hill smell as sweet if the area were called Penge or Tooting? I think not, but then I’ve lived here for 28 years and I’m biased. It’s partly the mysterious origin of the name. Could it be a version of the word ‘heron’ — in days when the Laurence Marsh on the river Effra origins of Herne Hill flowed through this area there must have herons around — or even an allusion to Detail from the mythical figure of Herne the Hunter, or James the Herne family who lived Edwards’s in Dulwich in the 17th century? Or does 1800 map its origin lie in the Anglo-Saxon word ‘hyrne’ showing Herne , a corner or Hill as a small angle? If so, it shares the same Anglo-Saxon settlement heritage as Penge and Tooting. But they were actual human settlements, while we were at best a mere corner of a field. There has also been some obscurity about the date when ‘Herne Hill’ can first claim a historical appearance in actual document. The introduction an to the London to Brighthelmston, Herne Hill Heritage Trail in Sussex: says ‘it has been although it is shown on the Consisting of a Set of Topographical map. It is clear suggested that the first reference from the text that Edwards’s to Herne from Actual Surveys (‘Brighthelmst Maps survey was Hill dates from 1789’ , but on’ was under way in 1789. adds that this the way Brighton was often has not been confirmed and referred to at states that Then there is the evidence that time). of a small the earliest confirmed mention so far is sketch in the Huntingdon The book was first published Library in Holden’s Directory of London in complete of 1802. California by Thomas Girtin form in 1801, though it seems (1705–1802), However, a couple of years separate ago I found a inscribed “Herne parts Hill”, showing a group of may have been published earlier. reference to ‘Hern Hill’ dating Of from April houses on sloping ground particular interest is the plate with what might 1801 and since then have with the map been on the be building materials in the foreground. showing our part of London. lookout for an even earlier It has the one. In a way It is not dated but attributed publication date 1 March 1800 to 1796-97. the evidence was staring me and here in the face, This would be consistent with we see the name ‘Hearn Hill’ because in John Brunton’s Edwards and a small Short History recording the first houses group of dwellings, approximately on “Hearn Hill” of Herne Hill a map was included. opposite in the final decade It’s where St Paul’s church came of the 18th century. described as a map by ‘Edwards’ to be built. Editing Wikipedia is something and dated Edwards mentions a “small ‘c1800’. I asked John about of an art in genteel house it but he could itself, but I have now done just built by Mr Smith” some my best to make not recall any details of its 60 yards after origin. sure that the entry properly the red post at the top of Red Post Hill, reflects what All was revealed when I tracked but is known about the down not the group further down name of our ‘hyrne’ of James Edwards’s A Companion the hill. He from London – until also makes no mention of more is discovered. Casino House, Laurence Marsh


The article in the spring edition about the name of Herne Hill

g the story of our, some times forgotten, isTellin given as an address forlocalthe first time in the ratebooks instead of ‘near Dulwich’, 14 people are named as ratepayers. One of the inhabitants was described as poor, and may have been in receipt of outdoor poor relief, six were assessed on property only valued at between £8 and £12, and the rest at Two years ago the Society were proud to publish an expanded and updated edition of our local guidebook, the Herne Hill Heritage Trail. At the same time we announced the next project, to be undertaken jointly with the Dulwich Society: a history of the pubs of Herne Hill and Dulwich. We are happy to report that four local historians took up the challenge and the completed text and the many

images that will be included are now being laid out. Our particular thanks to Sophia Marsh for her time and skill. We plan to publish in the summer, if possible with a book launch to coincide with the re-opening of the Crown & Greyhound in Dulwich Village. From a Herne Hill point of view we would have liked to see a launch at the Half Moon but, delighted though we are by the news that the Half

Moon will be opening again, this is still some way off. The book will tell the stories of 39 pubs, many of which are no longer with us. They reveal an extraordinarily

Herne Hill-Spring 2016

diverse picture of the lives of the people of our area and the many changes in the area over the last 300 years. The disappearance of so many pubs in our own time is a sad fact of life and it is therefore all the more important to record and celebrate their history. We are confident that The Pubs of Dulwich and Herne Hill will provide another publication of which our Society can be proud.


The 18th century policy with the name Hearne Hill (ringed) between £15 and £28. This is quite a mixed group and small compared with the larger houses that began to appear after 1800. The location of this settlement can be approximately estimated from contemporary maps. The earliest traced which include the houses is the land use map surveyed by Thomas Milne about 1795 and issued in 1800. It shows a small group on the Lambeth side of Herne Hill, just where the road drops down towards

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The Half Moon, roughly between Gubyon, Woodquest and Kestrel Avenues. This is between two bends in the main road, giving some support to the suggestion that the name for the area derives from the Anglo-Saxon ‘hyrne’ and later Middle English ‘herne’ meaning a corner or nook, which is applied elsewhere to features such as a bend in a river. One other property is shown on the map towards Red Post Hill, but a lot further than the 60 yards mentioned by Edwards for Thomas Smith’s “genteel house”. There are no buildings on the Southwark side and most of the surrounding land is arable, meadow or pasture. Edwards’s map of 1800 reproduced in the spring issue shows the houses added between 1796 and about 1800, filling space along the top of the hill to about where Rollscourt Avenue joins Herne Hill, with some smaller buildings further down. On the Southwark side, where Dulwich Hill is marked, Casino House and gardens, completed in 1800, are clearly indicated. Neither maps are as accurate as the later large-scale Ordnance Survey plans, and it is doubtful whether all properties are included. Thomas Girtin’s drawing inscribed ‘Herne Hill’, attributed to 1796–97, contrasts a foreshortened terrace of houses associated more with town living and in the foreground an old rustic fence separating them from a field. This is the period when the suburban house and garden developed as Londoners moved to a place in the country on the outskirts of an increasingly overcrowded metropolis. Space for gardens and orchards proved a great attraction; Herne Hill was very accessible from the centre of London, provided clean air and water as well as fine views. The wealthy were soon to discover its advantages. Bernard Nurse


TRANSPORT NEWS More about Denmark Hill Station As mentioned in the spring magazine No 134, there are increasing concerns about crowding at Denmark Hill railway station. The Herne Hill Society has been involved in a joint approach – co-ordinated by the Camberwell Society, and also involving the Dulwich Society and the SE5 Forum – to press the station operator GTR to investigate measures to ease the problems. The station was redesigned and upgraded to ensure accessibility in a programme that concluded in 2013. But, contrary to the expectations of many residents and station users, the redesign left it with only one entrance/exit, with the temporary access from Windsor Walk on the north side of the station removed after the access bridge and lifts were completed. The works were completed just before the introduction of the Tf L London Overground service linking Clapham, Peckham

Denmark Hill Station, where passenger numbers have increased by more than 50 per cent in two years and Dalston. This new service has resulted in the passenger flows through the station increasing by over a half from 3.7 million in 2012-13, to 5.6 million in 2014-15. The station is now one of the busiest in south-east London, with a mix of local residents commuting, interchanging passengers, and staff and visitors travelling to King’s and Maudsley hospitals. A meeting was held between the local societies and representatives of GTR one evening in early June. All agreed there was a congestion problem, with arriving and departing passengers crowding the ramp and stairs, especially when two trains arrived at the same time. While the staff do their best to keep passengers moving through the ticket gates, passengers queuing to buy tickets add to the crowding in the entrance. A proposal for a one-way passenger flow system was generally considered both unworkable, and to need extra staff. There was strong agreement that the best solution was to reintroduce the


previous temporary entrance from Windsor Walk as a permanent feature, with the ticket gates remotely monitored from the main concourse. The challenge is now to build the consensus between the various interested parties, to develop a costed design, and to look down the back of the various corporate sofas for the money needed. Officially, the capital investment plans are fixed for the next few years, and the next rolling programme is some way off, but it is hoped that there is scope to combine funds from the operator, perhaps National Rail, and possibly Tf L. ‘Station Hosts’ at Denmark Hill, Tulse Hill and Loughborough Junction Stations Following widespread objections to their plans to close 83 ticket offices, GTR has softened their attitude... slightly. At Denmark Hill, the ticket office is now planned to stay open from 7am to 10am, and be replaced by ‘Station Hosts’ at other times (staff near the ticket machines, able to issue tickets, most importantly for ‘add on’ journeys starting within the London Travelcard zone and needing an extension — not currently available from ticket machines). At Loughborough Junction and Tulse Hill stations however, the ticket offices are still slated for complete closure, to be replaced by ‘Station Host’ staff available near the ticket machines. It remains to be seen how these revised proposals are greeted by staff, and how ‘soft launch’ pilot schemes work out. Herne Hill Station to be refurbished Network Rail has published plans for extensive remodelling of Herne Hill Station. It was built in 1862, and the front façade was listed Grade II in 1998, but recent work has somewhat diminished its ‘heritage’ appearance. The current proposals (supported in principle by the Railway Heritage Trust) have been submitted for listed building consent, and can be summarised as: • to repair and restore the front façade, moving the ATM inside, and repairing the brick and terracotta work; • to move the ticket office to a smaller space on the right-hand side of the booking hall, with two ticket windows (but still a proper ticket office!); • to improve level access, by reducing the newsagent space, and providing a new arch access from the piano to the booking hall (this will make provision for the introduction of a ticket gateline in future, although this is NOT part of the current proposals) • to create a large new café area in an unused space behind the lift shaft; • to generally improve the facilities on the platforms. The Society’s planning group has welcomed the proposals to restore and improve the station building and has supported the application for listed building consent. However, it drew to the Council’s attention to a number of issues and asked for the ATM to be reinstated in a location available 24 hours a day and that the details of the restoration in the ticket hall be agreed with the conservation officer. It also referred to the missing external canopy which is understood to be undergoing restoration. The canopy was not part of this application, but as it is a key feature of the station the Society asked that it be reinstated as soon as possible. Bil Harrison/David Taylor

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Unknown Warriors The Charter School remembers local soldiers to mark the centenary of Battle of the Somme


little way outside the town of Albert lies the Ovillers Military Cemetery. It contains some 960 graves, and one of them belongs to a Private Courtney William Paxton. Courtney was 19 when he was killed in action on 1 July 1916 on the first day of the Battle Somme, widely regarded as the worst day in British military history. Courtney’s story may seem unremarkable — one of many young soldiers lost. However, what should make Courtney significant to us is his address. He lived at 6 Hurst Street, opposite Brockwell Park. The 1911 census tells us that his father was a carpenter and he was one of 10 siblings. Courtney was just one of 13 Herne Hill residents who lost their life on that day. Eleven have no known grave. The Charter School has sought to remember the sacrifice of all the people of Dulwich and Herne Hill this year, and was fortunate enough to play a major role within the national commemorations. On the evening of 30 June 2016 , five students attended the national service of commemoration and remembrance at Westminster Abbey in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Following the service a public overnight vigil took place at the Abbey; and The Charter School was one of 17 schools from across the country to participate in this act of remembrance. Throughout the night, in the countdown to 7:30am on 1 July, vigils took place at the grave of the Unknown Warrior. The last of these vigils was led by The Charter School students Sophia El Salahi, Calum McEwan, Reuben Duncan, Eva Blair and Jessie Ross, all aged 14 to 17. Each vigil told the story of one individual in their own words. While Sophia narrated the words of the artist William Orpen, the historic individual, the other students joined members of the Armed Forces in silent vigil at the tomb of the Warrior in

Charter School pupils at the Cenotaph in November 2015 the Abbey. The school’s Head Teacher Christian Hicks said: “The Charter School was honoured to participate in this important commemoration of the Battle of the Somme. Our five students were proud to have been chosen to help all of us remember the sacrifice of both sides during five long months of fighting in 1916. We are delighted at the level of engagement from all our pupils in remembering the events of both World Wars, which are a key element of our very popular history curriculum”. Within the school, students also remembered the Somme in a very different way. In March the school hosted a debate on British command at the battle with a panel of experts, including Dr. Andrew Murrison MP, the minister for special

From left: Pupils Sophia El Salahi, Reuben Duncan and Eva Blair

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responsibility for overseeing the centenary commemorations. In June, students from Years 7, 8 and 9 created over 100 ‘memory square’ drawings dedicated to the 13 Herne Hill residents who died on the first day of the battle. The ‘memory squares’ were part of a national project created in Manchester to mark the battle, in which they were printed on to ceramic tiles to pave a ‘Path of Remembrance’ in the city’s Heaton Park. Assemblies were also held during the centenary week with a focus on the stories of Courtney and the other Herne Hill men to lose their lives on 1 July. The school also looks forward to paying further respects during the Year 9 battlefields trip, which is scheduled to see over 50 students present as the Last Post is played at the Menin Gate in Ypres on 11 November this year. The census records tell us that Courtney served as a school milk boy just three years before the outbreak of war. At 19 he was not much older than many of our sixthformers. One hundred years on from his death it is important that our students remember his sacrifice, along with all the others whose lives were cut short in service of their country. It is also important to us that Courtney is remembered not just as a soldier, but a local boy lost. Dan Townsend, Subject Leader for History, The Charter School, Dulwich



e lived in Milkwood Road, opposite the Milkwood Tavern on the corner of Heron Road. Our home was a three-storey Victorian ‘industrial dwellings’ building with neither bathroom nor inside toilet when we arrived shortly after the War, and with me aged about five. My father worked for a developer called Clapperton, for whom he refurbished this and other houses. Just up Heron Road on the right, behind the Milkwood Tavern pub corner were stables, and a dairy in the late 1940s/50s, so perhaps the pub had once offered stabling and lodgings. On our side of the road behind our garden was the marshalling yard and then the mainline trains between Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction. I cannot recall that house without train noise night and day: my lullaby in those early years. They ‘made up’ and ‘broke down’ goods trains there in the days before containerisation, and enterprising youngsters could often be seen ‘finding’ coal which had fallen from the coaling operations, while others just collected train numbers, which could be achieved at a safer distance. Our house had been hit during the Blitz and thus became an end-of-terrace, though it was never refinished properly so was always cold, in spite of the open coal fires throughout my childhood. Opposite us and running right, towards Herne Hill from next door to the pub, was a row of shops, with that closest to the pub a newsagent’s, where sweets were weighed, bagged and sold by the quarter-pound. It was still there when my parents were moved out to Kent for re-housing. On our side, left towards Loughborough Junction, were


Ron Crisp’s friend Pete Byfield in the snooker room in the Half Moon and, right, Ron in Milkwood Road more shops, which ran from the end of the terraced houses up steps, and included a barber, Turkish-Cypriot I think, with a Greek/Greek-Cypriot greengrocer about halfway down (Costas – still there, I am told), and the last shop before the petrol station was a bakery where hot cross buns were only available on Good Friday morning from 8:00am, by which time one had to be well-positioned in the queue or lose out - “when they are gone, they’re gone” is not a new marketing device! (Also, a ‘baker’s dozen’ was not unknown then, especially if one had run errands or done odd jobs for the baker: this could be eaten on the way home, so as to save confusing parents who were expecting

only the usual 12!). Round the bend, and almost below the railway bridge on the other side of the road was the fish and chip shop, and good it was too. Close by at rightangles was Wanless Road, with the Salvation Army hall running most of the Loughborough Junction side and Hinton Road, with the Lord Stanley pub on the Wingmore Road corner. As a child, I went to the Mission at the junction of Heron Road and Lowden Road: now a nursery, playgroup or similar? My job was to pump the small organ for hymns and songs. My junior school building still exists: what was Caldecot Road Juniors is used as offices by the King’s College Hospital Trust, I think. Then it was the same tall and rather forbidding building,

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with a large asphalt yard, including some outbuildings and the boys’ toilet-block where the car-park is now. I can’t be sure exactly where my first school was, though I have dim recollection of Lowden Road, perhaps where the grounds of the Michael Tippett School and the Jessop School would be now. Not far away was my real ‘home from home’, the Carnegie Library; did a philanthropist ever do anything so universally useful, expecting that the local rates would fund the staffing for ever? Those were the days indeed, and sad the news from there now. The newspapers and magazines were available to those who had neither the funds nor the home heating to read in comfort, and

LETTER FROM THE PAST Musings by a former Herne Hill resident

So, were you barred from The Half Moon? The now infamous ‘South London pub barred list’, featuring inter alia, Mickey Two Suits and One-Armed Kieth (sic), became a Twitter sensation this year and ended up being discussed on BBC TV’s Have I Got News For You? COLIN WIGHT tracked down the bar manager at the Half Moon who compiled it.

so a trip to the library was a daily or weekly occurrence. Michael Crawford, living off Half Moon Lane, was an acquaintance of my teenage years, with us meeting mostly at the record shop in the old cinema building. We were avid record collectors. and I have still one or two of his swaps — I should have had them autographed at the time! I moved away from Herne Hill to join HM Forces, but my parents lived in Milkwood Road until they were moved out to Edenbridge, presumably to make way for the demolition and the Mahatma Gandhi Estate. I am seeking more news of the New Park Theatre Club to which I belonged, which was head-quartered in Herne

Hill in the late 50s/early 60s, being run by a Mrs Edgeley. I have a few photographs of productions mounted both there, in a very small theatre within a house, and the much larger venue at Lambeth Town Hall. Names I recall: Jean Claudius, Ena Claudius, Frederick Pyne (later ‘Matt Skillbeck’ of Emmerdale fame) and James Morgan, an American. The Lambeth Drama Group offered similar opportunities – but with Ena Claudius and some girls more my own age, too: Pamela Dean, Pat Hayes, Deidre Bice, I recall from our Twelfth Night, a Shakespeare Festival entry at Southwark’s Duthy Hall. Any news welcome: where are they now? Ron Crisp

The thing about the barred list was its gallows humour. Most, if not all the people on it, were actual psychopaths. Bullies. Owned the place. Or so they thought. Legs akimbo. Elbows rested, one on each knee, and each knee spread as far as their stretch would allow. More owning of the space. And they would sit, and shout to each other. OY STEVE! OY JOHN! OY OY OY! It never occurred to them to fetch a stool or a chair, and join each other at the same table. I also used tea-lights. Candles on the tables? CANDLES on THE EFFING TABLES??? And put Stella up 40p a pint. Stopped them smoking in the (soon to be) dining area. I’m lucky STILL to be alive. They seemed to hate anyone and everyone else.

They liked cocaine and Stella. And sometimes a spliff. And their pub. But that didn’t really work as a business model. Not that we really had a business model, but that wasn’t it! A friend of mine pointed out that ‘if you're going to start selling food, you can’t be having cocaine’. He knew that because he ran a pub himself. The sticky carpet had to go and the floorboards got sanded. We made great pizzas; played nice tunes. And it became a lovely pub. But I was threatened, abused, screamed at and hated venomously. So, that barred list is funny; it does make me laugh still. But I didn’t like the fuss it caused. I didn’t want to look clever and patronising. After all, they could still kill me.”

l Read more on our website at uk/news_articles/view/half_moon_remembered

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Herne Hill-Summer 2016

Society member Edmund Bird gave an illustrated talk based on his book, Lambeth Architecture1965-99, after the formal part of our AGM. He began by noting that it was younger people who tended to appreciate the buildings of the 1970s and 80s, and memorably quipped: “It seemed that no sooner had I written an entry than it was demolished.” There was a dramatic increase in the population of the borough during this period. It is only now back to the level it was in the 1960s. The influence of transport, notably the opening of Brixton tube station in 1971, was significant. The era was dominated by public sector developments, many of which show innovative use of concrete and glass. Local examples include Olive Morris House and Brixton Rec — which took 20 years to build and is not yet listed. More celebrated are the South Bank Centre (also unlisted) and the Royal

Tracking the rise and fall of tower blocks National Theatre (Grade II*). Waterloo International station (1994) was closed in 2007, but is due to come back into service for commuters next year. There was a flirtation with Corbusian tower-blocks in the 1960s, but in 1968 came the Ronan Point disaster, which effectively put a stop to it. Two that remain are in Herne Hill, with their moat, oriel windows, and generous views over Brockwell Park. A key figure of the time was Lambeth’s Director of Architecture and Planning Ted Hollamby; under him ‘the

Lambeth vernacular’ came into being: medium-rise, highdensity, such as the threatened Cressingham Gardens estate, in Tulse Hill (1971-78). Oborne Close, off Milkwood Road, can be described as a cascading Mediterranean village! The mega-structures of the time haven’t, on the whole, lasted well. Witness the Barrier Blocks of Brixton (Southwyck House) in the 80s, sometime home of Damien Hirst — designed to protect against the noise and pollution from the (never constructed) high-level motorway, which explains

Herne Hill-Summer 2016

the tiny windows and zig-zag design, intended to bounce the sound back to the ground. Among the many losses are Westminster Tower, and County Hall Island, built in 1974 and demolished only 12 years later. Closer to home were Brixton’s multi-storey car park, and Sainsbury’s at Nine Elms. Today, we are witnessing higher development once again, a factor of steeply rising property prices. According to the so-called ‘Vauxhall Vision’ we may soon see the skyline that was envisaged 50 years ago. Colin Wight


Registered Charity No.207328


The Friends of King’s is a charity that raises funds to provide comforts for patients and staff at King’s College Hospital in SE London. As part of our fund-raising efforts we are currently looking for volunteers to fulfil the following positions:

Thinking of Advertising in Herne Hill Magazine?

l A shopkeeper/buyer for our Trolley Shop. This is a pivotal position and the successful candidate will be responsible for ordering, taking in and pricing items from our suppliers to enable to shop to keep open. l Volunteers who are willing to set aside half a day a week to come and join our friendly team and help take our snack Trolley to patients and staff on the wards or serve in our Gift Shop. If you possess good social skills, are confident at handling modest amounts of money, ideally are local to King’s College Hospital and think you could help please contact our Administrator on 020 3299 3370 or kch-tr.



Herne Hill-Summer 2016

E-mail: advertising@hernehill

We provide an individual focus when it comes to finding or selling properties in Herne Hill, where we have fifteen years of specialised experience. We pride ourselves on a forward thinking, and progressive approach to the property market.

5 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, London SE24 9JU Tel - 020 7274 3333, info@oliverburn.comHerne Hill-Summer 2016


MSC “Olley’s Fish Experience in Herne Hill has become the

first in the UK to add a total of eight MSC certified species of fish to their menu. The fish and chip shop now offers its customers the widest choice of MSC certified fish in the country.”



Norwo od Ro ad


ll Half Moon Lane




d Road





rn e









d Road Olleys Fish Experience olleysfishexp

65 - 69 Norwood Road, Herne Hill, London, SE24 9AA 0208 671 8259 (Takeaway)

0208 671 5665 (Restaurant)

Why not have fish & chips at your next event weddings, birthdays & anniversaries We can cater at your event “Mobile Fish & Chips”


Herne Hill-Summer 2016

Herne Hill #135 (Summer 2016)  

The magazine of the Herne Hill Society Copyright © The Herne Hill Society

Herne Hill #135 (Summer 2016)  

The magazine of the Herne Hill Society Copyright © The Herne Hill Society