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Dulwich, Surrey

Historical Description

Dulwich, a hamlet in the parish of St Giles', Camberwell, Surrey, 4½ miles S of St Paul's, London. It has railway stations on the L.B. & S.C.E. and L.C. & D.R. The village, which lies in the valley formed between the hills on which stand Sydenham and the Crystal Palace, Norwood, Tulse Hill, Streatham, and Camberwell, is beautifully situated, and retains many rural characteristics which can nowhere else be found in such close proximity to London. The High Street is lined with fine old elms and chestnuts, and many of the houses still retain unmistakable signs of their antiquity. These old cottages are, however, now being replaced by fine modern villas, standing in their own grounds, which have been erected to supply the demand caused by the exceptional educational advantages the place affords. These are due to Edward Alleyn, a famous actor and contemporary of Shakespeare, who in 1605 purchased the manor of Dulwich,and in 1614 acquired the whole district. In 1619, in spite of the opposition of Lord Bacon, under letters patent of James L, he " did make, found, erect, create, and stablish, one College in Dulwich which should endure and remaine for ever, and should consist of one master, one warden, fower ffellowes, six poore brethren, 6 poore sisters, and 12 poore schollers," and willed that ' the same college should for ever be called the College of God's Gift in Dulwich." In 1858 this ancient charity was dissolved by Act of Parliament, and a new scheme was formed. As a result of this, in the year 1865-69, new buildings were erected (costing £100,000) and opened in 1870 by the Prince of Wales. They form a magnificent pile in the Northern Italian style of the 13th century, standing in a playing field of 30 acres. This field contains a swimming bath, gymnasium, an engineering block, workshops, and sanatorium. The college contains accommodation for over 600 pupils, and is divided into a senior and junior school. The senior school is subdivided into four sides-viz., the classical, modern, engineering, and science. In these students are prepared for the Indian civil service, army, London matriculation, and other similar public examinations. £2000 is yearly devoted to scholarships and exhibitions to universities, which are awarded to boys of sufficient ability, who have been educated at the. college. This college stands high in the list of English public schools. Alley—'s school was formerly known (prior to 1882) as the Lower School of Dulwich College. It is now situated in Townley Road, East Dulwich, in a new building which contains accommodation for about 550 boys. The school itself contains, in addition to 18 class-rooms, a large hall, dining hall, physical science laboratory, lecture room, &c. Scholarships are awarded every year to boys who are not already in the school, and also exhibitions to those who have attended the school for over three years, which enable them to proceed to. Dulwich College, or any other place of higher education approved by the governors. The school buildings cost £14,000 in 1887. In the same year James Alien's girls' school was. opened with accommodation for 300 pupils. In addition to these there is at West Dulwich a high school for girls belonging to the Girls' Public Day School Company.

The picture gallery at Dulwich contains a collection made in 1790 by the Polish consul in England, M. Desenfans, for his master, the last King of Poland. M. Desenfans left them to a French artist, Sir Francis Bourgeois, who, in 1811, bequeathed them to the governors of Dulwich College. The collection contains some very valuable specimens of the old masters. Dulwich Park, opened in 1890 by Lord Rosebery, contains 72 acres of land, the gift of the College governors, and is considered one of the prettiest parks in South London. Under the Local Government Act of 1888, Dulwich is within; the county of London. For parliamentary purposes it form& with Penge, in Kent, a division of the borough of Camberwell, and returns one member to the House of Commons, Population, 83,320.

The following are the ecclesiastical districts-(1) St Barnabas, North Dulwich, formed in 1891. The living is in, the gift of the Bishop of Rochester. Population, about 4000. This district includes the old village of Dulwich, and a new church, which cost about £10,000, was consecrated, in 1894. (2) St Stephen's, South Dulwich. This churck was erected in 1868 at a cost of £8000. The living is a vicarage worth £500, in the gift of the College governors, Population, 3799. (3) St John the Evangelist, East Dulwich, formed in 1865. The building is a Gothic church, and stands on the old " Goose Green." The living is;ii vicarage, value £500 per annum. Population, 19,496. (4) St Clement's, East Dulwich, formed in 1886. The living i& a perpetual curacy worth £200, in the gift of the Bishop of Rochester. Population, 12,400. (5) St Peter's, Lordship Lane, Dulwich Common, formed in 1884. The living is a perpetual curacy in private patronage, value £500. Population, 5552. (6) St Emmanuel, West Dulwich, formed in 1878, and built in the Early Gothic style. The living i& a vicarage, value £400, in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Population, 5519. There are, in addition, Congregational, Baptist, Wesleyan, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic chapels, and also an infirmary, which belongs to the St Saviour's Union, Southwark, erected at a cost of £80,000. A new workhouse for Camberwell parish was built at Dulwich in 1894.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountySurrey 
Civil parishCamberwell 
Poor Law unionCamberwell 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records, in association with Surrey History Centre, have images of the Parish Registers for Surrey online.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Dulwich from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Surrey is available to browse.


Online maps of Dulwich are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Surrey papers online:


The Dulwich College Register, 1619-1926 is available to browse.

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Surrey, 1662-1668 is available on the Heraldry page.

CountyGreater London
Postal districtSE21
Post TownLondon