Thursday, July 9, 2015


A glimpse over the garden walls.  Dulwich, photo by Mary M Payne

Although I lived in the London for some months years back,   it was a surprise to me to find an enchanting, leafy enclave only 17 minutes from London Bridge where I was to stay for a visit.   It is called Dulwich village and has both East and West Dulwich included in the area which falls mostly in the borough of Southwark( with parts in Lambeth borough as well).      

 This area to the south of London, has mansion houses,  at least 8 excellent schools ( plenty of kids everywhere in various uniforms) and transport links into both the "City" and central London,  but surprisingly, Dulwich is not just the home of the very wealthy. 

   I learned that the Dulwich Estate, a charity that historically managed the area, (and still owns and controls local development) maintains and owns smaller flats as well as large family homes offered at various price levels.    It was in one of the flats that I enjoyed several London days as guests of my English friends.  

  • 1.  Dulwich Village was first recorded in AD 967 as Dilwihs, meaningdill meadow’.
  • 2. London’s last remaining tollgate is located on College Road. Constructed in 1789, today the standard toll for non pass holders is £1 per single journey. ( is anything one pound anymore?)
  • 3. In the Second World War, Dulwich was hit by many V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets.....a possible explanation being that the British military when announcing V-1 and V-2 explosions deliberately gave incorrect map co-ordinates in an attempt to protect densely populated central London and let the drops fall on the open spaces in the suburbs instead. 
  • 3. Despite its close historical links with Camberwell, to the north-​​west, Dulwich has remained distinct and has long been more exclusive. This is almost entirely due to the role of Dulwich College, founded in 1619 by the actor Edward Alleyn as the College of God’s Gift, which consisted of almshouses and a school for under­-priv­ileged boys
  • 6.  Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery: it was founded in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois RA bequeathed his collection of old masters “for the inspection of the public”.
  • Rembrandt’s portrait of Jacob De Gheyn III has been stolen from the Dulwich Picture Gallery four times since 1966. It was found every time, once in a taxi, once in a train station, once underneath a bench and last on the back of a bicycle.   

Here is a peek inside and out.    I trust that my friends won't mind if I play "nosey parker" with a few pics.  

Row of houses where I stayed.   Dulwich,  photo by Mary M Payne  

My room was very welcoming....and doubled as a sitting room.  Photo by Mary m Payne

Levitation of favorite reads.  Photo by Mary M Payne

Window tableau with my blue striped reflection by Mary M Payne

Pattern upon pattern handwork: by Mary M Payne

Close up of the beautifully woven traditional Welsh by Mary M Payne

The house with lots of art and the flower and vegetable garden were a treat,  as was the  neighborhood... filled with varied sizes of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian houses and resplendent with mature trees ( Elms?) 

 Near our house,  I found this reminder of the days when the "stocks" made physical punishment and public humiliation a hoped for deterrent to petty crimes.   That would be 1760. 

Former location of Village Stocks,  " It is a sport to a fool to do mischief to thine own...Wickedness shall correct thee." photo by Mary M Payne
 The short walk to the renown Dulwich Picture Gallery was lush with playing fields, old cemeteries, Alleyn's Almshouses, ( still in use for the elderly) and Dulwich Park.     A few decorous shops and eateries make a comfortable little village. 
Can't stop looking at British pastries....Mary M Payne
 The only thing I could find for the residents to complain about in Dulwich were the annoying nightly visits of foxes tipping the garbage bins.  

So if you ever want to escape the hub of London, head into this part of London, go to the Dulwich Picture Gallery and have lunch there.  Its well worth a visit and you can see a bit of "the green of England" while still in the city.  

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