DULWICH, a hamlet, in the parish and union of Camberwell, E. division of the hundred of Brixton and of the county of Surrey, 4½ miles (S.) from London; containing 1904 inhabitants. The village is pleasantly situated in a small vale, sheltered by rising grounds in the immediate vicinity, and by the Surrey hills in the distance; the houses are irregularly built, but of handsome and respectable appearance, and the environs abound with elegant villas. It is lighted by subscription among the inhabitants, and is within the limits of the metropolitan police establishment. A fair for toys is held on the Monday after Trinity-Monday, and a court leet annually. A free school was founded in 1741, by James Alleyn, Esq., master of God's Gift College, who endowed it with lands in the parish of Kennington, now producing a rental of more than £200 per annum; the school-house, facing the college buildings, was given by the master and warden of the college. There are several medicinal springs in the immediate neighbourhood, the water of which is similar in its properties to that of Sydenham.

At the eastern extremity of the village is God's Gift College, founded in the year 1619, by Edward Alleyn, who endowed it with the manor of Dulwich, and tenements in the parishes of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, in London, and St. Luke, in the county of Middlesex, producing at present a revenue of £14,000, for a master (who must bear the same name as the founder), a warden, four fellows, six poor brethren, six poor sisters, twelve poor scholars, six assistants, and thirty non-resident members, to be chosen from the parishes of St. Botolph, St. Saviour (Southwark), St. Luke, and Camberwell. Of the four fellows, three must be in holy orders, and graduates of Oxford or Cambridge, and the fourth well skilled in music; the two senior fellows are to officiate in the chapel of the college, the third to be master of the grammar school, and the fourth, who officiates as organist and choir-master, to be the usher. In addition to the twelve scholars on the foundation, the sons of inhabitants of Dulwich are entitled to gratuitous instruction, and strangers are admitted on payment of such sum to the master and usher as shall be appointed by the master and warden of the college; according to whose discretion, certain sums may be allowed as exhibitions to either of the universities. Scholars sent from this school, and taking the degree of master of arts, receive a further sum, and obtain a preference in election to any of the offices in the college. The brethren and sisters have apartments, with every thing requisite supplied them, and a very considerable pecuniary allowance. The buildings, chiefly in the Elizabethan style, occupy three sides of a quadrangle, the chapel forming one side: the east wing was handsomely rebuilt of red brick ornamented with stone, in 1740, and contains the schoolroom and apartments for the fellows; the opposite wing comprises the library and apartments for the scholars. The whole has been lately faced with Roman cement, and beautified. The chapel has been enlarged by the addition of an aisle and a gallery, for the accommodation of the inhabitants; divine service is performed regularly in the morning and afternoon: the altar-piece is ornamented with a fine painting of the Ascension, presented by Mr. Hall; and in front of the chancel is a black marble slab, covering the tomb of the founder, who was buried in the chapel. An extensive collection of pictures was bequeathed to the college by Sir Francis Bourgeois in 1811, for the reception of which a handsome gallery was erected at the south end of the college; the building is well calculated to display the pictures, and comprises five rooms, in each of which are many specimens of the first masters, of the Italian, Flemish, and English schools.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.