Herne Hill’s travel options into and around London are improving this weekend, with the joining up of the Elizabeth Line (formerly known as Crossrail), which we can of course access via Thameslink trains to Farringdon (except when Thameslink’s all too frequent weekend maintenance works rule this out, as on this Sunday).
This latest improvement means that from tomorrow, the lines from Reading, Heathrow, and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels of the Elizabeth line – opening up new direct journeys across London, without having to change at Paddington.
In addition, customers will be able to use the Elizabeth Line seven days a week: Sunday services through central London will also start from tomorrow, Sunday 6 November.
Train frequency has improved too: between Paddington and Whitechapel, it goes from 12 trains per hour to up to 22 trains per hour in peak times and 16 trains per hour during off-peak. The final timetable, which will see 24 trains per hour during the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel, is on track to be in place by May 2023.
And there’s a new convenient interchange. Bond Street’s Elizabeth line station, which opened on 24 October, connects with the London Underground Bond Street station, accessing the Jubilee and Central lines. The new station is step-free from street to train with two lifts, further enhancing accessibility on the Elizabeth line and across the TfL network.
Caution: There are some future planned engineering works when sections of the Elizabeth line will be closed: Saturday 12 November – no service between Shenfield and Liverpool Street / Whitechapel Saturday 19 November and Sunday 20 November – no service between Shenfield and Liverpool Street / Whitechapel, or between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow
It appears that the much-heralded work to replace the railway tracks in the Penge Tunnel, which closed our rail link to Victoria last week, has been completed enough to allow the reopening of the line.
But there are some restrictions in place until Sunday 7 August. Passengers are advised to check before they travel – updated timetable information for Monday 1 August is available in journey planners.
This is all because there is still some work in the tunnel to be completed by Network Rail, which means that their trains will run at a reduced speed through Penge tunnel from Monday 1 to Sunday 7 August.
Accordingly, the Shortlands and Bromley South/Victoria stopping service via Herne Hill will have only two trains per hour to London Victoria in peak times this week.
The 1935 art deco style house at 10 Dorchester Drive in Herne Hill has just been granted Grade II listing by Historic England (@HistoricEngland) , following representations by the Herne Hill Society (@HerneHillSoc), the Twentieth Century Society (@C20Society) and Lambeth Council.
The house by Leslie H Kemp and Frederick E Tasker (1935-36) is based on the architects’ winning design for the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition in 1934. It is one of only two versions known to have been built in England, both of which are now listed.
Responding urgently to news of the house’s possible demolition by the new owner in February (he had already started to demolish the boundary wall!), a Building Protection Notice (BPN) was issued by Lambeth Council in response to pressure from the Herne Hill Society, independent experts, and @C20Society. A BPN protects unlisted buildings of special architectural or historic interest, but only temporarily, pending a formal legal decision by Historic England – which has been announced today.
A leading design historian @DeborahSuggRyan has commented: : “This is… the best example I have ever come across of this combination of International Style and Moderne that British builders experimented with in the mid 1930s… [It] has a remarkably intact original exterior and interior…”
The Artists’ Open House project, a major element of the annual Dulwich Festival every May, goes from strength to strength. The full programme now has nearly 100 pages! And the area covered reaches from Peckham Rye down to Crystal Palace and from Loughborough Junction across to the fringes of Forest Hill and Sydenham.
This year, we have an open house here on Fawnbrake at number 73 where Alan and Jorge are opening their house to show Jorge’s landscape, portrait and abstract paintings. There is more information about his work on his website www.sanchezart.co.uk
Here, as across the festival, the artists open their houses for visitors on 14–15 May and 21-22 May, normally between 11 am and 6 pm
The website for the whole of this year’s Artists’ Open House programme can be found here.
There’s plenty of good stuff to read in the latest issue of “Herne Hill” magazine: a beautifully illustrated article about the treasures to be seen in Saint Paul’s Church; an interview with the owners of the new and already popular bubble tea shop, Cuppo Bubbo; a revealing survey of a unique 1935 house on Dorchester Drive; and a snapshot of the very cosmopolitan population of Herne Hill at the end of the 19th century and on the eve of the First World War – with an unexpected preponderance of residents of German origin. Also an affectionate review of the major exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, featuring the work of Helen Frankenthaler – a show that has been widely recognised in the national media as of major significance.
Members of the Herne Hill Society get the magazine automatically, of course. Non-members can buy it at Herne Hill Books, or can get it (along with future issues), by easily joining the Society online.
A new and deeply interesting book about John Ruskin and Herne Hill has just been published by the Herne Hill Society (as members of the HHS have just been told).
John Ruskin spent his childhood and most of his working life here in Herne Hill. When he died in 1900 just a year before Queen Victoria – about the same time as many of the houses here on Fawnbrake Avenue were built – he had become one of the most original, controversial and globally influential thinkers and writers of the 19th century.
Despite the cascade of studies and biographies of Ruskin over the last hundred years, this is the first book to look with authority and in depth at the importance of South London in shaping Ruskin’s thinking.
Despite all his foreign travels, public lecturing, the academic posts at Oxford, his work for London’s museums, and those messianic forays into the new industrial regions of England, Herne Hill was the place where Ruskin spent his childhood and most productive years. Here he wrote the increasingly passionate books, articles and speeches that made him nationally and indeed globally celebrated.
It was also from here, and well into his old age, that he studied and pronounced upon his shifting world.
A witness to a degrading environment
Even from his early age a precocious and acute observer of nature, Ruskin loved the then unspoilt hills, skies, rivers and fields of Herne Hill, Dulwich, and Norwood .
But his affectionate memories of this unblemished (but as he discovered, all too fragile) environment also turned out to be a painful benchmark for what developed in later decades. So it was also in Herne Hill, as the years passed, that Ruskin witnessed and described, with increasing horror, the destruction of the natural environment through railway building and uncontrolled suburban growth.
A prophet of climate change?
As early as 1860, he had written “Whenever I look or travel in England or abroad, I see that men, wherever they can reach, destroy all beauty.” (Modern Painters V). His vivid 1876 watercolour “Sunset at Herne Hill through the Smoke of London”, featuring on the front cover of the new book, is a melancholy and prophetic attempt to illustrate this change
Published by the Herne Hill Society, this important new book by local historians Jon Newman and Laurence Marsh, based on meticulous research, brings sensitive and original insights into the development of Ruskin’s distress about the world and the environment, as he prophesied how manufacturing and hasty urbanisation was damaging society and the climate across England, and especially, from his own bedroom window, in the world metropolis that his native city had become.
“Sunset over Herne Hill” concludes with a rewarding examination of the social and historical context of Herne Hill and Denmark Hill during Ruskin’s lifetime and his family’s place within South London as the 19th century progressed, when London was becoming the most prosperous and populous city in the world, as well as probably the most polluted.
“This illuminating and touching book restores John Ruskin to South London… the authors of ‘Sunset over Herne Hill’ take us back to the neglected roots of the great Victorian romantic’s creativity” – Andrew Saint, Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, general editor of the Survey of London, and author of the newly-published “London 1870-1914: a City at its Zenith”
The book has 160 pages with 80 colour & b/w illustrations, with a map by David Western.
£17.00 (including delivery) by mail order from the Herne Hill Society
or from Herne Hill Books.