Brief History of Camberwell Borough Council

The Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell replaced the vestry of the civil parish of St. Giles, Camberwell, in 1900, under the terms of the London Government Act 1899. Similarly, the London Government Act 1963, which came into force in 1965, merged the metropolitan boroughs, abolishing Camberwell as an independent political entity and creating the London Borough of Southwark. It may be worth noting that the first LBS elections were held in 1964 – the London boroughs were “shadow” entities for a year (presumably to ensure a seamless transfer of power and functions). The exact dates when these acts came into force are mentioned in the Wikipedia entries.

This is a First World War period copper metal sporting medal  .

The vintage medal was for a school’s town sports(Athletics).

The town(Borough) featured is Camberwell in South London.

The Camberwell crest is on the front

.Surrounding the crest is the inscription;


The incumbent Mayor Alderman E.Cook is also mentioned on the front.

Evan Cook was Camberwell’s mayor during the term 1918-1919, so this confirms that the Victory being celebrated was the First World War.

A laurel leaf frame is on the reverse, but there is no recipient’s name present.

Below are some helpful links

Local History Library
Address: John Harvard Library
211 Borough High Street

Tel: 020 7525 0232


The Dulwich Society – www.dulwichsociety.com

The Dulwich Society aims to create the sense of community that one would hope to find in a good village, to increase awareness of local history and the character that make Dulwich special, to foster an appreciation of open spaces and trees, to introduce the people who live and work here to each other, and to help them to enjoy the atmosphere and life of Dulwich. 754
The Dulwich Estate

The Dulwich Estate is a registered charity, governed by a Scheme approved by the Charity Commission on 31 July 1995. The Charity was formally established by the Founder, Edward Alleyn, in 1619 and until 1995 was known as Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift at Dulwich. 761
Dulwich College

Founded by Edward Alleyn in 1619 the College is organised into four distinct schools: the Junior School, Lower School, Middle School and Upper School. The College is academically selective and benefits from historic buildings and scholarly traditions. 696
Dulwich Picture Gallery

The recently refurbished gallery hosts a magnificent collection of old masters by Rembrandt, Poussin, Watteau, Rubens, Canaletto, Gainsborough and many more.  704
Dulwich Festival

Aims to showcase local artistic talent, professional and amateur, as well as Dulwich’s buildings, history and wonderful open spaces with a week-long programme of events
The Camberwell Society

Formed in 1970 and is the recognised amenity society for those living, working or interested in Camberwell

Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

020 7525 5000


Tracing your Family




Ideal Homes: a history of South-East London suburbs

http://www.ideal-homes.org.uk/southwark/assets/galleries/camberwell follow this link to a very interesting & informative site


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Dulwich  follow this link for interesting information about East Dulwich and surrounding areas

http://www.southlondonguide.co.uk/eastdulwich/history.htm  history of East Dulwich




Southwark Historical Maps


V1 & V2 LOGS SE 21 & SE 22 DULWICH


Bomb Sight – Mapping the WW2 Bomb Census


Crystal Palace


Friends of Peckham Rye Park


The Peckham Society


Camberwell History




25 Responses to History

  1. Computedshorty says:

    V1 & V2 LOGS SE 21 & SE 22 DULWICH
    Steve who wrote this list lives in Court Lane.

  2. John Chinery says:

    Thanks for letting me know, It must have taken Steve a long while to compile all of that information, it’s really interesting and gives a clear insight to what happened

  3. computedshorty says:

    Sorry it might not rhyme.

    A memory that stuck in my mind.

    The time was August nineteen forty, is a memory that is mine,
    a long time to have this retained in my head, as I was only nine.
    The London Blitz had started, we still had to attend our school,
    some children got evacuated from London for safety, but not all.

    Heber Road School was for me and six siblings, our local one,
    little did we know then some the education that was to come.
    The three story building alongside the back garden brick walls,
    of houses backing on to Crystal Palace Road, I can still recall.

    A building built on brick piers, the space below was our rain cover,
    the space between the piers got bricked in to make, we discover.
    Made into the School Air Raid Shelter, where we had to spend time,
    the door opening too narrow for desks, but the benches fitted fine.

    Teacher distracted our attention by letting us play games of cards,
    make it interesting, placed a bet of marbles, ball of string by the yard.
    Comics of more valued staked, half a pencil a well worn rubber,
    one kid staked his lead toy soldier, all found one thing or another.

    German Dornier Bombers dropped their bombs, one was very near,
    in Chrystal Palace Road, facing the end of Jennings Road we fear.
    That bomb alone if landed closer than the two hundred yards away,
    a lot of mothers think twice to send to school, so kept home to stay.

    That bomb site when cleared of debris, saved the bricks to build,
    a large brick emergency water Tank with a high wall to shield.
    This proved to be very handy for the Fire crews use water stored there,
    pass there now some years later, there is four new houses built share.

    Men came one day to make a hole in the high playground brick wall,
    a pair of wooden gates soon filled that gap, it took a time to install.
    Then a London Taxi converted to a Fire Engine came here to stay
    firemen were billeted in rooms above our shelter, we had to keep away.

    The small incendiary bombs that were dropped at night, to burn,
    one landed on our front window bay window roof, gave me a turn.
    It landed just above my head while sleeping in my bed, was alight,
    dad dislodged it with a long bamboo pole, I wont forget that night.

  4. computedshorty says:

    Those tradesmen who called on us.
    There were many who worked away from their place of employment, those that reported to the Dairy Distribution Depot in Melbourne Grove on the corner of Lordship Lane was the shop of United Dairies, the milk was brought to the Depot in churns to be bottled into wide necked glass bottles, of a pint or Quart ( 2 pints ) and loaded into galvanised steel crates then onto one of the dozen or so red horse drawn Carts, the horse once arriving at the round of the milkman would follow along after the milkman passed from door to door. They had trained to stop each time clear of the tracks of the passing trams.
    Another Dairy Depot was Hill’s Dairy in Hindman’s Road here they used small box Green vehicles electric controlled by the milkman using a steering arm the cart followed him along the road, Later the Dairy was bought out by Home Counties Dairies Ltd. Our milkman came right into put the bottles at the from door and take away the empty ones.
    The Baker we used had their bakery on North Cross Road corner of Crystal Palace Road facing the Police Station, this was just a hand pushed cart with little weight carried, we had hot bread called a Cottage loaf two tier it was circular with a smaller circular one on top.
    The open cart of the horse drawn Green Grocer moved slowly a long the road as the house wives came out to purchase the vegetables, this was a god send as mum had to buy for nine of us and potatoes alone was very heavy if bought from the local shop.
    The Coalman would call to get an order, he had been to East Dulwich Station Goods Yard to fill weigh and load the black canvas sacks, he wore a leather cap that had a long back piece of leather that reached down to his waist, this stopped the coal dust getting inside his shirt. Our Coal Cellar was under the front stone steps, so he had to come in the side front door along the passage to tip the coal onto the earth floor, Mum would get me to count how many sacks were brought in, some coalmen would leave the emptied sack outside the back door to prove how many sacks had been brought in. We had ten at a time Mum paid from her purse.
    The Chimney sweep had to come to sweep the chimney that reached up the four floors then up a tall stack out of the roof we waited to see the round brush come out of the chimney pot. Before he started he hung a sheet from the mantel shelf to the grate making sure that it was secured all round then he reached inside a slit in the sheet to get the brush head that he had already put inside the grate, then one by one added the three foot long cane rods pushing up and down to clear the soot, it came down in lumps and spread all over the room, mum knew this so had covered up all she could. The sweep pulled back down the rods and unscrewed each rod then fastened them together with two leather straps, he then took down the sheet and shovelled all the soot into big sacks, to take away. He was by now very black with soot, where he had sweated he had streaks down his face.
    We had a large Grand Piano when it had to be tuned the Tuner came he was led to the piano as he was blind, dad said that he went by sound so he had a better ear for the sound than a seeing tuner.
    The Dustmen Came to the back Garden to collect he two large galvanised Dust bins, carried them out to the dust cart where they could walk into the back to tip the contents of ash and tins any other paper or anything that would burn were kept the fire going to heat water.
    The Muffin man would walk down the road with a tray balanced on his head ringing a hand bell shouting Muffins and Crumpets all hot. Mum did not always buy some as I now know she just did not have the money.
    The Cats Meat man came along, with a rod on his shoulder sticking out front and back, hanging from this was strips of black dried horsemeat I was sent to buy a strip for a few pence, our tabby cat could worry mum for a week to get a treat. The only other food it got was what was slipped under the table by one of us Kids.
    There was always lots of activity out front where the council repaired the pavement or the road, or the L.C.C. gangs repaired the road between the Tram tracks. The Council Drain Cleaning Wagon came and poked about under the opened drain cover and lots of stinking black water and muck was left on the road. This was cleared later by the Road sweeper man on his way back to Milo Road where a dozen men kept there two bin dust barrows in a small Yard. They had an ancient Hut there to use for their clothes it was about ten by eight foot on small iron wheels.
    On Lordship Lane the Lamp posts were higher than the back streets, to let the double deck trams pass by, the electricity people wheeled a box ladder on wheels that could be raised by ropes to lift inner sections up to reach the lamps the cleaner then climbed up, the traffic had to wait for a while. Later they changed the lamp posts to two in pairs sited each side of the road with the lamp hanging in the middle of the road, these could be wound back to a post and down to be cleaned.
    There was the local Policeman who seemed to be about, we often got told off, persistent kids could look forward to a whack from his folded cape that he had on his shoulder. No use going home to tell your dad he had hit you, you might get another one for getting the family a bad name.
    Here comes the Knife Grinder man with his bike grinding wheel to sharpen our carving knives, he would put his bike on a stand that lifted the back wheel then a strap drove the grind stone he peddled away pouring water on the stone.
    Occasionally there was a funeral a neighbour would lay the deceased person out, and in some Catholic families would have them on display in the parlour so that neighbours could come to pay respects, all the near neighbours closed their curtains, and family wore black, those that did not follow on foot to the cemetery, the men removed their caps the women kept the children quiet.
    A sight never forgotten is a pair of black horses with white feathers on their head with the glass sided hearse bearing the simple wooden coffin covered in flowers with dozens of mourners following slowly moving off into the distance.

  5. computedshorty says:

    More callers were the Tally man, to collect the weekly loan repayment, some people would go to extreme’s to avoid paying him as hiding behind the curtains or in a neighbours house a few took out a loan on the Christmas club to buy essentials for the family. Uncles ( the pawn broker ) was already holding any valuable suits and cooking pans.
    The Rent man called this had to be paid or they would be evicted onto the pavement, seeing them borrow a green grocers barrow and loading their few possessions onto it, just iron bed ends two side rails and the spring frame, and rolled up mattress thread bare mats pots and pans, all now precariously perched in the high stack. The father pushed the barrow, the mum trying to keep the things from falling off and the children picking up any and tried to put the back on. That had gone to try to stay with a family member, now gone their front door that had always remained open was now closed the Bailiffs left, their old cat came to sit on the doorstep wondering why it could not get in, the milkman left a pint of milk putting it down by the cat who stood up expecting to be let in and get a drink of milk. Perhaps it would get a new home or just remain as a feral cat.
    A window cleaner would ask to clean windows but did not get much work, he carried his extendable ladder that came to a point that was covered by a sack pad in case it damaged paint work or came into contact with the glass, if he cleaned upper windows he had to go in and do it sitting on the window sill with his legs sticking back in.
    The gas man came to read the gas meter, and if you were lucky enough to have electricity their meter man came, the meters were in cellars or just inside the front door up high so the door could be opened fully. The houses had lead water piping and in cold weather froze then burst, water soak the room locally there lived a Water board Turncock who would come and turn the water off with a large iron key, he knew where all the cocks were under the pavement.
    When a house got electricity laid on the men worked on a whole road digging up a trench and piling the clay in a heap this took weeks so a night watchman an old man or ex serviceman who had been wounded in the war would have to remain over night in a little canvas hut, he had to put paraffin lamps along the open trench, so he spent a lot of time trimming the wicks and filling the lamps using a funnel the cleaned the glass as it had become black with the wick burning, to keep him warm during the night he was given a brazier that he burnt coke on ( his was Coal that had had the oil removed from it at the Gas Works ) it glowed bright he poked it as it became cinders causing a shower of sparks to rise up, he sat there on his milk crate, fiddling inside his large over coat pocket drew out a big red handkerchief revealing thick cheese sandwiches, in another pocket was his little bottle of milk and a twist of sugar and some loose tea. His tea can was once white enamel now blackened by the fire was filled from the water stand pipe where the men drew the water they needed, the lid closed and put on the fire to heat, it had a wire handle so with a stick was lifted off to make a strong dark tea in a stained mug.
    Some of the street lights were gas so a man came with a pole with a hook on the end reached up to pull a chain and the light popped alight he had to come back later to turn them back off.

  6. computedshorty says:

    Dulwich Club.
    Local men used the Dulwich Club at 110 Lordship Lane, my own experience came for me when I reached the age of eighteen, now I could apply to join the Club. I had to find a Proposer and someone to second my application, I knew lots of those who used the club, they were all older so I asked my pal if his dad would Propose me and he got a mate to second it.
    I was told that I should attend on a certain day at eight o’clock to be interviewed by the Committee.
    I don’t know if anybody remembers that at the front of the club was a small building, with a Doorman seated looking out of a small window checking that each person showed a current membership card, I was accompanied by my Proposer who vouched for me, then down a long path to the main building.
    Entering the main bar my mates dad bought a drink for me, as non members could not buy one. We waited for me to be called in front of the Committee. When called I was shown in alone they asked me why I wanted to join, I said that most of my friends belonged and I wanted to spend time with them. They asked if I had been in any kind of trouble, or banned from any other club, I had not so was thought to be a suitable candidate.
    I was told that I could buy the Membership Card the Dulwich Club for ten shillings ( 50p ) and if I wanted to enter any of the Affiliated Working clubs that card would cost another 50p.
    The club was controlled by the Committee Members one was on duty every day, to see that there was not trouble, if any it only it was by a couple who had booked the Billiard table at a certain time he had to sort it out, and oversee he bar, where the drinks were a lot cheaper than in a Pub.
    I soon got used to the fact that if a certain person had been used to sitting in a certain chair we never used it if he was in the club, otherwise it was OK.
    Time was spent playing games Darts Cards Billiards Bowls Housey Housey as it was called then now Bingo, Concerts and Shows. Other Clubs teams came to play against us, but one of the best times was going in the coach to other clubs to play away, so many different types of clubs. Some up market and others in Coal Mine Towns could be a bit dusty.
    It was a good place to be a member of as you were all treated the same.
    The club has long gone its space is now called Sage Mews enclosed by a gate.
    So many of these clubs have now closed leaving a large unfilled gap for locals to enjoy their leisure time locally.

  7. computedshorty says:

    East Dulwich Station.
    The station was named Champion Hill when it first opened in 1868. It stands where Grove Vale meets Dog Kennel Hill.
    It was later changed to East Dulwich Station as it got confused with Denmark Hill Station.
    The Station Staff of about twenty included Station Master, Porters, Booking Office Clerks, Signalmen, and many workers in the goods siding, unloading Coal, Sand,, Cement Bags, Timber, Bricks, Corrugated Iron sheets that formed Anderson Shelters.
    This branch of line into the sidings was used to bring wounded soldiers from World War Two to Dulwich Hospital as the line had passed near Dulwich Hospital to have the casualties taken back along the short distance.
    I understand that during the night trains did not run, so the train carrying the wounded could stop outside the back of Dulwich Hospital. There is a high embankment just here but a ramp had been made.
    The Coal wagons were unloaded by the local coal merchants by filling and weighing the large canvas sacks, and dragging them into the backed up horse drawn carts that were about the same height, when the cart was loaded the coalman toured the streets to sell the coal, but had to avoid trying to climb up Lordship Lane by going up Barry Road.
    A lot of the goods were collected by Companies on their own transport, or most used the local Building Merchants Lorries and Tippers that were painted Red bearing the name of HALL & CO, who had a large depot and material stockyard where the fleet of lorries would be parked at night.
    Their depot was in Grove Vale near Oglander Road .
    They might have employed forty men.

  8. computedshorty says:

    The Saint Francis Hospital in Saint Francis Road was long ago known as;

    The Constance Road workhouse of the Camberwell Union opened in 1895 with 898 inmates. It became the Constance Road
    Institution, caring for unmarried mothers, the handicapped, the elderly and the mentally ill.
    In 1930 the LCC took control of the administration and, in 1937, the Institution was renamed St Francis’ Hospital.
    During WW2, on the evening of 12th July 1944 a V1 flying bomb impacted on the west side of the Hospital. The boiler house was demolished and several Hospital buildings were damaged.
    In 1948 it was incorporated into the NHS under the control of the Camberwell Hospital Management Committee, which also ran St Giles Hospital and Dulwich Hospitals. St Francis’ Hospital joined the King’s College Teaching Group in 1966 and, following yet another reorganisation in 1974, became part of the Camberwell Health Authority.
    In 1984 it became the north wing of the Dulwich Hospital, It closed in 1991 and services moved to Dulwich Hospital or King’s College Hospital.
    Present status (January 2008) The site was sold for redevelopment and the Hospital buildings were demolished in 1993.
    There is now a housing estate.
    The 898 Inmates or Patients had to have a very large staff to look after all of those would be about 500 people, including Doctors Nurses, Porters, Boiler and heating staff, the Cooks who prepared the meals, the Laundry staff washed all the soiled linen and bedding, and uniforms.

    The Picture att. is taken from near the Dulwich Hamlet Ground is now, showing East Dulwich Hospital in the Background.
    There was a Tunnel under the Railway track joining the two Hospitals, this saved time going by road, the stretchers on wheels had large pnumatic tyres to cushion to ride on the uneven pathway.

  9. computedshorty says:

    Public Baths on East Dulwich Road.
    Public baths and wash houses, now converted to leisure centre.
    Built 1890-1892. By Spalding and Cross. Red brick with stone dressings. Panel with lettering “Dulwich Public Baths. Inside is a hall staircase with cast-iron supports, elaborate cast-iron newel post and mahogany handrail. The large bath is now a sports hall. Warm baths survive with original fittings. Second World War preparations in 1938–39 before Second War 11 included laying floors over both swimming pools for use as First Aid Posts and Medical stores and equipment were brought in. The fuel shortage in late 1939 lead to the pool being closed over winter. In 1940 the pools were again planned to close for the winter but the Auxiliary Fire Service asked for the pool to be kept full for use when dealing with air raid damage. The Council decided to keep the pools open as a result and adapted the pools for Fire Brigade pumps. The original sign of “Dulwich Public Baths” is on the front of the building though there has been significant, if sympathetic, redevelopment inside. There are two original entrances on the front separating men and women. The entrance is raised using steps up to the main doors in order to provide a high basement where a laundry was originally in operation. The hall was latter used for entertainment such as Wrestling, Concerts and Sports, the pool having been covered by a temporary timber frame and flooring sections, the wrestling bouts held on the portable raised Ring would vibrate by the falls of the contestants shaking the seating giving more involvement of the patrons. There has always been a large staff there when the personal baths were in use, and the pools and laundry. Part was taken over by the Southwark Borough Council as offices, I used it to pay my rent for my Garage in Milo Road. A part is now accessed from Crystal Palace Road, that was only used years ago as the Emergency exits. How many people actually work there I don’t know.

  10. computedshorty says:

    East Dulwich Stream Laundry.

    No 116 Lordship Lane corner of Bassano Street, the East Dulwich Steam Laundry was built much to the anger of the owner of the houses on the other corner No’s 106 to 114 Lordship Lane,, these were some of the very first houses to have been built in the Lordship Lane, it was thought that a factory was out of place so close to their four story Building. These Houses were used as a temporary Morque during the war.
    The two story Steam Laundry extended along Bassano Street, with double doors that the dirty Bagwash, Blankets, Sheets Uniforms and Carpets were delivered, to be cleaned in the boiling tanks of water, the windows to the road were always open with steam coming out. further along was the doors where the cleaned and dried and ironed washing was brought out and loaded onto the company vans.
    Next doors were to the boiler house, where the boiler was fed with coal that had been dumped onto the pavement, by the end of the working day the remaining coal was shovelled into the coal store. The children going to the school opposite kicked the odd piece of coal up the road. This building is now ESPH Mot Centre.
    Next to this is Saint Thomas More Hall, this was called St Johns School Hall.
    How many worked there? I guess thirty.
    Next to this the shop at 118 was the Affiliated Insurance Agents run by Mr Bunce, I bought my Motor bike and later Cars Insurance there. Now the Irish shop.
    There were other Laundries but they did not have shops, they collected either from a house or agents, they were Dutch Boy , Maxwell, Hatcham Cleaner these were clothing cleaning and pressing Suits and Dresses.
    There was a yellow fronted cleaners shop opposite The Plough Public House corner of Barry Road named Achillie Serre. Now called Country Spray

  11. computedshorty says:

    Dulwich Hospital over the years
    The Metropolitan Poor Act, 1867, required that infirmary accommodation be separate from workhouse buildings. To relieve overcrowding in its workhouse in Newington, near the Elephant and Castle, in 1871 St Saviour’s Union (made up of the parishes of St Saviour and St George-the-Martyr in Southwark, and St Mary in Newington) planned to build a new infirmary outside its area near Peckham Rye Common, as no suitable site could be found in Southwark. However, the plan was abandoned when the cost proved prohibitively high. Instead, the Union was allowed to purchase a 6.5 acre site in East Dulwich, on the edge of the Dulwich Estate near Champion Hill station, for £14,000 on condition that the exterior of the buildings have ‘a more pleasing effect’ than would normally be expected for such an institution.

    Despite virulent objections from the local populace led by Charles Barry (1823-1900), the architect and surveyor of the Dulwich College, who felt that property prices would fall and affect the College’s income, and by the engineer and inventor Sir Henry Bessemer (1813-1898), a local resident, whose home would look down towards the proposed building, the project went ahead and the foundation stone was laid in June 1885.

    The St Saviour’s Union Infirmary opened in April 1887. It had 723 beds and had cost £50,000 to build. Its frontage along East Dulwich Grove measured 700 ft (210 metres). Built in the typical pavilion-plan layout, it had a large 2-storey central administrative block with two projecting wings at the front. The west wing contained the Medical Superintendent’s residence. In the east wing were the Committee Room and, above it, apartments for the Matron and Assistant Matron, bedrooms for the senior nurses and mess rooms and day rooms for the nurses. The central portion contained various offices for the Superintendent, clerks and stewards, and Matron’s sitting room. Above these was the chapel, some 70 ft (21 metres) long and 28 ft (23 metres) wide. The basement, which extended under the centre and the two wings, was used for storage of foodstuffs, beer and coal. An underground tramway enabled trolleys to transport the coal.

    On either side of the central block were a pair of double 3-storey ward blocks, placed roughly in a north-south direction so as to make the best use of daylight. The 24 Nightingale wards (12 for men and 12 for women) contained between 26 to 30 beds each, and the open balconies at the ends of the wards were large enough for three to four patients to be wheeled out in their beds onto them. Each ward had a two-bedded isolation ward, a day room and staff rooms. The bathrooms and WCs were located in sanitary towers at the far end of each ward. Corridors on each floor – 9 ft (3 metres) wide – connected the ward blocks with the central administrative block. The ground floor corridor was enclosed, but the upper two storeys were open, so that patients could benefit from fresh air. Heating for the wards was supplied by open fireplaces and hot water pipes. The centre of each floor of the ward blocks was fitted with a telephone, as were the Medical Superintendent’s residence and various other points in the building.

    The porter’s lodge, containing an office, a parlour and bedroom for the porter, was located at the entrance of the Infirmary on East Dulwich Grove. Close to the entrance gates were the receiving wards, one for male and one for female patients. These also contained the attendants’ rooms, bathrooms and clothes stores. There were also two padded rooms lined with India -rubber padding.

    The kitchens and scullery were on the ground floor to the rear of the centre block. Bedrooms for 70 nurses and servants were on the first and second floors of separate blocks behind the east and west wings, connected to them (in case of fire) only by light iron bridges on the second floor.

    In 1902 the Infirmary was renamed the Southwark Union Infirmary, after St Saviour’s Union became the Southwark Union in 1901.
    The Hospital was returned to the Guardians in April 1919. Of the 12,522 soldiers treated at the Hospital, only 119 had died, less than 1%.
    Civilian patients began to be transferred back in May 1919, and in July 1919 a Peace Day celebration was arranged for the patients. They received an egg for breakfast and, later, a meal with chicken and new potatoes, followed by stewed fruit, jelly or blancmange. Tea and cake were served later. The 45 child patients also received toys.

    In 1921 it was renamed the Southwark Hospital.
    When the LCC took over administrative control in 1931 it became a general hospital and was renamed the Dulwich Hospital. The ground floor wards were converted to an Out-Patient Department, offices and laboratories, thus reducing the number of beds to 423. Additional facilities were also built, including a new operating theatre, pharmacy, and a new boiler house with a chimney stack.

    During WW2 the Hospital treated local civilian air-raid casualties and, although bombs exploded nearby, its buildings did not receive a direct hit. In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS, coming under the control of the Camberwell Hospital Management Committee, which included St Giles and St Francis Hospital. The Metropolitan Poor Act, 1867, required that infirmary accommodation be separate from workhouse buildings. To relieve overcrowding in its workhouse in Newington, near the Elephant and Castle, in 1871 St Saviour’s Union (made up of the parishes of St Saviour and St George-the-Martyr in Southwark, and St Mary in Newington) planned to build a new infirmary outside its area near Peckham Rye Common, as no suitable site could be found in Southwark. However, the plan was abandoned when the cost proved prohibitively high. Instead, the Union was allowed to purchase a 6.5 acre site in East Dulwich, on the edge of the Dulwich Estate near Champion Hill station, for £14,000 on condition that the exterior of the buildings have ‘a more pleasing effect’ than would normally be expected for such an institution.

    During WW1, following the 2nd Battle of Ypres, the number of casualties had risen alarmingly and the existing number of hospital beds was insufficient. The War Office approached the Local Government Board for permission to use some Poor Law Infirmaries temporarily. Both Southwark and Lambeth Unions were asked to participate in the scheme. The Southwark Union Infirmary was the first such institution in London to be evacuated. Within two weeks, 166 of its patients had been transferred to the Newington workhouse infirmary in Walworth, 134 to the Lambeth Infirmary in Renfrew Street, and a further 39 adults and 98 children to the Christchurch workhouse infirmary in Lambeth.

    The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) took over the Infirmary on 11th November, 1915, and it was renamed the Southwark Military Hospital at the insistence of the Guardians. The existing staff was retained and augmented with nurses from the V.A.D. as well as 55 RAMC personnel, there were 15 Sisters, 28 Staff Nurses, 59 probationers, 40 orderlies and ancillary staff. The number of beds was increased to 820, with tents erected in the grounds as sleeping accommodation for those patients who could be ambulant during the day. The Hospital received a large proportion of Empire troops – Australians, South Africans and Canadians. By 1918 wounded American were also being admitted.

    The Hospital was returned to the Guardians in April 1919. Of the 12,522 soldiers treated at the Hospital, only 119 had died – less than 1%.
    Civilian patients began to be transferred back in May 1919, and in July 1919 a Peace Day celebration was arranged for the patients. They received an egg for breakfast and, later, a meal with chicken and new potatoes, followed by stewed fruit, jelly or blancmange. Tea and cake were served later. The 45 child patients also received toys.

    When the LCC took over administrative control in 1931 it became a general hospital and was renamed the Dulwich Hospital. The ground floor wards were converted to an Out-Patient Department, offices and laboratories, thus reducing the number of beds to 423. Additional facilities were also built, including a new operating theatre, pharmacy, and a new boiler house with a chimney stack.

    During WW2 the Hospital treated local civilian air-raid casualties and, although bombs exploded nearby, its buildings did not receive a direct hit.

    • John Chinery says:

      Hi computedshorty, Thank you so much for all your input, all the information you have supplied is absolutely fantastic and so interesting, really appreciate it

  12. I remember Shinkfields Shops, the double shop near the corrner of East Dulwich Grove, another a few doors from Northcross Road, and one in Dulwich Village.
    At that time we all had New Cross phone numbers, a new Telephone Exchange was built in the place of Dulwich Fire Station bombed in the war in Lordship Lane, all that remains now is the name Fire Station Alley.
    The renamed Telephone Exchange became Townley Exchange but shared with Forest Hill numbers.
    Shinkfields was a high class Ironmomgers, the only other was Smallbone and Sutton on Peckham Rye near the narrow road leading to Troy Town.
    The pair of shops at 22L/L was at one time used by Southwark Borough Council, later a Library.
    I have just gone through my pictures and find this one of a Tram just about to pass the Shinkfieds shops ( going away )

  13. This was in 1939

    The Day War Broke Out –September 1939

    It was the day we were getting ready for our holiday at Margate.

    Mum, Dad, two elder sisters, two elder brothers, myself and the baby twins in their double pram, bags and parcels, all made our way to Herne Hill Railway Station.
    First a half mile walk, then the bus, as we got off the bus there was confusion, people were running about saying that war had been declared, between England and Germany.
    Dad said that we would have to go back home, as it would not be safe to go to the seaside, as it was on the coast near to Germany, and we may be invaded by German Soldiers or get bombed by aeroplanes.

    We waited at the bus stop for ages but none came. A car driver stopped, he said that no buses were running as all the bus
    drivers had taken them back to the bus depot,and he asked where were we trying to get to, and Dad said, “East Dulwich”. The driver offered to take us all home, as it was a very large car it took all nine of us, and the bags! And the pram! As we drove home Dad said to the driver;
    “All I want to do is get home with my family”. In the first World War he had been a prisoner in Austria for four years.

    He thought that now as he was fifty-four years old he would not be called up for service abroad, although he thought he might have to join something.
    Aunt Ali who lived with us, she had a room on the forth floor, came running down, she was flustered, and did not know why we had returned home. I can still remember her saying, “Oh my gawd! What’s happened?”.
    Dad said it “Its because the war had started”.
    Aunt knew nothing of this, but she did wonder why the church bells had been ringing all morning.

    Dad thought that the wireless would be broadcasting the latest news of the war.
    We had a radio that worked from an accumulator, that is a glass jar with lead hanging in acid with two terminals, when charged it worked as a battery.
    Dad always put this away after it was used into the cupboard under the stairs, and we were forbidden to go near it as we could get burnt by the acid if it were spilt.
    We all watched and waited while Dad fetched the accumulator, put it on the table, then got the receiver connected two wires to it, then an other wire that he pulled in through the window,
    The other end of this wire went up to the top of the house, down the garden to the conker tree.

    This was called the aerial. all these were fitted together, we all sat around the large table, all ten of us, waiting for the set to warm up, we could see the valves inside start to glow as they warmed up.
    Dad fiddled with the tuning knob, then we could hear someone speaking but it was foreign.
    Dad tried again, this time it was music, but after a while a man said;
    “There will be a special announcement shortly by The Prime Minister, Mr Chamberlain”.

    The speech was made, we were told that a state of war was between us, nobody knew what this meant, or how it would affect us.

    Mum made tea, and opened the sandwiches that we were going to have on the beach at Margate.

    By Shorty aged 8.

  14. Cinema at Goose Green East Dulwich.
    The site of the first Cinema the Pavilion, was built close to the School keepers Lodge of the adjacent school in Grove Vale SE 22, this had only a small front with two floors above possibly the managers accommodation with four Crittal galvanised window frames with very small panes of glass, it was one of the few that boasted a car park, that was next to the cinema and occupied the space up to the corner shop of Tintergel Crescent. It was sited behind high Advertising Placard Boards, these were supported by a heavy wooden structure of timbers that inclined back and took up a large part of the parking space, this did not matter as there were very few cars then. The back of the simple red bricked cinema backed onto the pavement in Tintergel Crescent, the only clue of what the building was the emergency pairs of exit doors.

    In the thirties it was renamed as Odeon taken from Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation, Odeon Cinemas was created in 1928 by Oscar Deutsch, the colour scheme was light green and cream, of the Art Deco architecture style. Inside the entrance was the central Cash desk to purchase your tickets a long vestibule led to the auditorium in front and the stairs to the upper circle to the right.
    The auditorium floor slopped down towards the screen, the cream safety curtains that were always drawn at the end of a show had a display of coloured butterflies on the lower part, to each side of the screen there was a tower on a plinth of three sections high with four green glass panels that reduced in size as they got higher and illuminated light green, and an electric clock to the right.

    The cinema was very popular and had two shows a week day, a main film that lasted about an hour and a half, a News Reel, and the 15 minute interval the lights came on and when the sales girl stood under the clock selling ices and sweets, still advertisement slides were shown, the seats were self folding up and when the patrons rose to go to the toilets there was a constant banging. The second half was a B movie and lasted for about an hour, then there was the showing of future films that would be coming soon.
    Although there were two separate shows you could come in at any time the film was showing and stay for the rerun and left when you got to the bit when you came in.
    Saturdays there was the Children’s Club Matinee in the morning Cowboy films, Mickey Mouse, Buck Jones Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger, Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Marx Brothers, all the kids loved it and shouted like mad.
    When the very peak of films were available it meant that you had to stand in a queue that was inside to the left of the entrance hall, where you waited until the Commissionair dressed in his green uniform overcoat with gold braid all over it, and a peaked Military style cap with ODEON on it, he would come over and count about dozen then put his arm behind that number and let those go and purchase their ticket, Some times there were so many waiting in the queue that it led in from out side and down the side passageway, I remember waiting there several who had to wait a long time used the Public Phone Box to tell their family they would be home late.
    Those who walked home after, some bought chips from the fish shop in Lordship Lane and ate them direct from the broadsheet newspaper as they walked along, getting home to find that their hands were covered in black ink from the print.
    During this time there were some horse drawn vehicles, outside the East Dulwich Hotel was a Granite Horse Trough where the horses could get a drink, there were two lower long troughs underneath for the dogs and at one end a drinking push button to get a jet of drinking water direct to your mouth or use the Puter cup on the chain.

    The trams passed the Odeon, to Goose Green some went on to Dulwich Library or Forest Hill or terminated at Blackwell Tunnel, there were two branch lines, one that entered Sterling Road to allow the trams to terminate there and stay until their time of return, the other branch was used by a man changing the points for the trams to proceed to Peckham Rye then terminate at Stuart Road.
    Goose Green has as far as I can remember been enclosed possibly to prevent the livestock of the early days from roaming onto the roads. The Pointsmans wooden hut also acted as a passengers waiting shelter, the style reminded me of the sea side shelters on the Promenades.

  15. More memories

    When we think back, we mostly think of places or the people who were there then.

    I have a memory of our family dining room, a large mahogany table with ornamental legs and a insert that was placed in the middle to extend it by two foot, then it measured ten foot by six foot.
    This enabled dad to sit at the head of the table in his wooden chair with arms, on the left sat we three boys, on the right sat great aunt Alice, and two sisters.

    Things changed there was the arrival of twins, a girl that sat in the girls side, the boy at the foot with mum, as there was no more room on the boys side, it was handy for mum to feed the baby girl, the baby boy was next to me so I had to keep an eye on him and help him to feed.
    All of ten of us sat on wooden chairs even mum, that was when she got the food in front of each of us on the table, nobody was allowed to start before she sat down, and nobody left until the last had finished.

    On the winter days the only heat was from the cast iron Range where on top black soot coated kettles boiled all day, if the front was open then we felt some heat.
    Above the fireplace was the mantle shelf with a fancy pelmet curtain hanging from it, made of a black material as it soon got soot stained.

    The pair of Gas brackets were above the mantle shelf, a swan neck pipe with a tap to turn it on then the glass shade, this had to be removed to fit the mantle that when fitted looked like a knitted piece of cloth shaped like a thimble very soft, but when fitted and lighted became very brittle and could easily be broken when lighting it, a lighted wax taper was the best way of getting to it under the glass shade, the light vas very yellow at times it changed to a light green, and hissed and often went out mostly when neighbours lit up their gas. If anybody passed in front of the gas lamps they cast a shadow and left you in the dark.

    If I could take my place today at that table eight of the seats would now be unoccupied, now just myself and my sister the twin now a elderly lady of seventy three, her twin brother now also diseased, I did get to his funeral last Friday, but after it had finished, that was down to my infirmity, I went into the Crematorium just as the mourners came out, I spoke to the lady vicar and said I had missed the service, she said would I like to see Brian’s coffin, she led me to where it had been, now it was below out of sight, she asked if she could say a prayer, I could hardly answer just said no thank you and came away.

    Things change as we get older, places alter or get demolished and new building get built, people die and others take their place, this is a gradual process and we do not realise just how much the change is.

    Memory is a great thing to have, that is if it is accurate, I think mine is pretty near.

    I wonder what my father would remember if he were here, aged at one hundred and twenty eight?

  16. Something I remember was that very little was in any colour, just the red Trams and Buses, and phone boxes and letter post boxes.
    There was also the Blue Police Phone boxes and the little blue police box on a pole.
    Every thing was dull with very little street lighting because of the war, then there was the dense fog caused by the house coal fires.

    There was no need to travel far as all you needed was close by.
    Lordship Lane had street lights susspended from two posts one each side of the road so that the light was positioned in the middle of the road, these were quite large with a glass shade, we liked watching the men come and incert a handle into the socket and wind the lamp from the center of the road then down to the bottom of the pole to be cleaned.

    The Trams ran in two recessed grove rails, the third rail was not a rail really it was a slot that the electric Plough Pick collected the electricity up, this moved along hanging down in the slot as the tram moved, I often wondered where the rain went when it ran down the slot.

    There was a time when one of the boys worked loose an iron rod from the church railings on the corner of Goodrich Road and dropped it down the electric grove, there was an almighty blue flash, the lad did not get eletrocuted thankfully, we did not see any trams for hours, then workmen came and removed the rod.

    We watched and asked what they were doing very innorcently, I wonder if they ever replaced that rod in the church railings? I remember where it was removed from the second section in Goodrich Road it was the first in that section.

    That was the most colour I had seen for years.

  17. I have read your memories of your school days they certainly bring back memories for me.
    I went to Heber Road school from 1939, so our generations overlap.
    The names that you mention Freddy Stains, Cornwall lived in the shop, Able the one I knew became a Copper, Dons sweet shop one step down as you entered.
    The Greengrocers up Crystal Palace Road was called Stalards, you talk of Paraffin oil, the shop on the corner of Goodrich was the called an Oil Shop, where you bought Paraffin oil poured into your own tin or jug, they also sold candles, matches, and carbide crystals for your bicycle lamp, I am told that they sold Petrol in the early days of motoring.
    The School Keeper that lived in the small house in the Infants playground was Mr Roberts.
    The other side of the Heber Arms was a builders with their yard at the back.
    The Heber had a large Beer Garden reaching out into Jennings Road, next to that in Jennings Road was a open space that they built a brick Air Raid Shelter, then Colemans the Builders had a Yard where they kept building material, then a block of lock up garages.
    I recollect that one of the lads in Rodwell road was nicknamed Gongee was living in one of the houses with the erie.
    We lived in Lordship Lane, so we might have had the same Doctor on the corner of Townley Road.

    • John Chinery says:

      Yes, We did have the same Doctor on the corner of Townley Road, Dr Hunter & Dr Haile, also Dr During, another great Doctor, I remember when you went to the Doctor’s you would pick up a round plastic disc with a number on it near the reception area, the disc’s were on a stand on the mantleshelf, then a lot later was Dr During, we also went to the dentist upstairs above the Doctors surgery, I think the Dentist’s name was Mr Boucher

  18. East Dulwich Community Centre, Darrell Road. SE 22 8N.

    It might be of interest of the existing area prior to the Blitz in the second world war.
    Darrell Road backing onto Crystal Palace Road starting with the shop on the corner of Whatley Road, then a Warehouse with an upper story where a doorway opened to the street a pole protruded above it a GInny Wheel ( Steel Circular Wheel that a rope was used to pull or lower the sacks or boxes ).
    The houses were continuous terraces on both sides of the road built to two stories with bay windows these were built in pairs ( Front Doors close together ) The first house No 88 was left handed entrance, The Snashfold Family lived here.
    The Crystal Palace Public House, on the corner of Whatley Road, next to the pub going towards Uplands Road were three storied with shops below an entrance between the shops just along led to a Corn Chandlers Warehouse where horse drawing laden loads of straw and bags of wheat, there was always a lot of straw blowing about here, across the road facing this entrance was the last of the shops it was a Pet Shop. I can remember the baby chicks in the window under a dust bin lid hanging down with a light bulb underneath to keep the chicks warm. We bought a tabby kitten there.
    Hindman’s Road was much the same two storied houses, but a more varied style some Terraces some semi detached, toward Upland Road on the right the houses were far older, and a row or shops facing.
    There was backing onto Darrel Road, Hills Dairy depot and yard where the green milk carts loaded to deliver to the streets.
    There was a Yard used by the Singer Sewing Machine Company, early morning a fleet of little vans would drive away. To return in the evening to park.
    This whole area was very badly damaged in the bombing during the war, it is totally rebuilt now and very few things give a clue to how it was then.
    Many of the families who had lost their home had to move elsewhere, taking any item of furniture or clothing that could be saved, it was possible to hire fruiterers wheel barrows at local shops, these were often seen loaded with the few belonging of those people and being pushed by the mum and kids very few men were still living there as they had been called into the Services, and eventually the father got a letter saying their house had gone, and the remaining family were living in a Church Hall or School that was not being used because the children had been evacuated from London.
    I knew many families who lost a member killed, or taken to hospital never returning back to the area.
    It is distressing to recall those, and to remember hearing the teacher when the school Register was called, a child did not reply to his name, the teacher called out again the name, a child might raise a hand and say they got bombed last night Sir! Needless to say the classroom gradually had less pupils, who would be encouraged to move to the forward desks.
    We had very few Male teaches those we did have were very old or those who had been injured returned from the war, there were women one was very young . Miss Childs she said she was the sister of one of the Crew who bombed the Mohne Dam in Germany. I seem to recall over fify of in those crews got killed.

    • John Chinery says:

      Thank you computedshorty, the memories you have recalled and added to the site are absolutely fantastic, have you ever written a book of your memories or thought about writing one ? it would make great reading.

  19. omputedshorty says:

    Pre Decimal coinage.

    The Haberdashers Shop.
    That sold buttons, cotton’s, needles bow’s ribbons and all fancy bits to add to clothing, most also sold School Uniforms.
    There was such a shop in Crystal Palace Road facing the Castle Pub.
    I remember that mum sent me there to buy some cotton and other bits mum had written on a piece of paper, I watched as the
    assistant filled the paper bag, I had been given a two shilling coin to pay for the purchases she said that it cost “ eleven pence three farthings” she handed me a shilling coin and put a packet o f pins in the bag.
    I said mum did not ask for pins, she said I have not got a Farthing you will have to take the pins in the place of the Farthing.
    Of coarse I ran home to tell mum I had been fiddled, mum said that it was alright as they often did that, anyway she was always dropping pins and could not see in the gas light to find them so they would soon come in handy.
    I still have a few Farthings I liked the impression of a Robin on the back.

    I found this about farthing change.

    The Draper’s Farthing Change was originated by a small Linen draper in the Borough, who divined that an article ticketed “one and eleven pence three farthings” would be a more tempting bait for custom than another at two shillings, obviously because the farthing was knocked off. But his customers were not aware that he was by no means a loser by the transaction. At first he remitted the farthing per article or per yard only upon such goods as represented a large margin of profit, and the increased business was a clear gain to him. By-and-by, when the system became firmly established, he not only succeeded in having this supposed rebatement more than allowed for by the wholesale houses, but he had no compunction about actually marking up many a cheaper article to the popular “eleven three.” Possibly the same thing is done now. The substitution of a packet of pins for the farthing change is the latter-day development of an exceedingly smart stroke of business.

    Now the coinage has even dispensed with the Half New Penny.
    The nearest discount now is 1p from a Pound, Cost 99p.
    I wonder what they could give in place of a Penny?

    You could always use their toilet instead of spending a penny.

  20. computedshorty says:

    Nnunhead Bus Depot
    In 1911 the National Steam Car Co Ltd opened a bus garage at 20-26 Nunhead Lane in South Peckham. The Clarkson steam buses were fired by paraffin and served routes from the area to Shepherd’s Bush and Hampton Court. The company ceased operating in 1919 and the garage was acquired for petrol buses by first the London General Co and then the LPRT.
    London Transport closed the garage in 1954. The garage was used from 1958 to the 1970s by Banfield’s Luxury Coaches. After then it was used by a drinks wholesaler.
    In 1997 plans for total demolition were put forward but were opposed by the Peckham Society who asked GLIAS to help with mounting a case. The surviving structure with its three central bays with a central clock turret is now believed to be the sole survivor of the this type of bus garage in Britain.
    The original aims of total demolition to build new sheltered housing were counted by John Beasley of the Peckham Society. The case was called to the Regeneration & Environment (Planning & Traffic schemes) sub committee of Southwark Council in May 1999. The decision was taken that demolition would be allowed but that the distinctive central portion with clock turret should be retained in the redevelopment.
    The Clock Tower is now preserved

  21. jenny says:

    please can anybody give me information/photos about the house which stood on the corner of lordship lane/Overhill which is where Ruben gardens now stands? I can’t find anything Thanks

  22. Nick Parry says:

    I am in the process of researching the background to my Grandfather Arthur Jewitt’s childhood. Born in 1907, he grew up in Ondine Rd, East Dulwich.

    In 1992, he wrote some brief memoirs of his childhood, and mentions a direct hit on the Kings Arms public house in Peckham Rye, during a World War 1 air raid.

    I have found information on line about this pub being bombed in World War 2, but cannot find any information about this happening in WW1. I was wondering whether anyone had any information about this? It is possible my Grandfather may be mistaken in this recollection.

    With thanks for any help and replies,


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