West Dulwich

West Dulwich, Lambeth/Southwark

A Victorian and Edwardian railway suburb bordering Dulwich, Tulse Hill and West Norwood

geograph-4607280-by-Chris-Whippet - Park Hall Road - West Dulwich

Although some believe that the local­i­ty is an estate agents’ inven­tion, West Dil­wysh was first record­ed in 1344.

Hes­i­tant growth began here after the open­ing of Dul­wich sta­tion in 1863 (it did not become West Dul­wich until 1926). The rail­way com­pa­ny laid out Thur­low Park, Rosendale and Tur­ney Roads to pro­vide access to the sta­tion, although these were at first unsur­faced. Build­ing frontages were adver­tised but take-up was slow.

Rosendale Road’s even­tu­al width and grandeur was sup­pos­ed­ly the con­se­quence of a plan to make it part of a grand pro­ces­sion­al route to the Crys­tal Palace. A spec­u­la­tor attempt­ed to prof­it from this by lay­ing out Trit­ton Road in its path, hop­ing to be bought out, but his bluff was called and the scheme was aban­doned.

All Saints church was built in 1891. A spec­tac­u­lar struc­ture for such a mod­est sub­urb, it is deserved­ly grade I list­ed.

The first hous­es in West Dul­wich were very select, but prop­er­ties became pro­gres­sive­ly more afford­able as devel­op­ment spread west­ward. The main phase of con­struc­tion came in the years before the First World War, although gaps were still being filled in the 1930s.

The area suf­fered bad­ly in the Sec­ond World War. West Dul­wich Con­gre­ga­tion­al church, which stood on Chan­cel­lor Road (now Grove), was wiped out by a direct bomb strike in 1940. All Saints was dam­aged but sub­se­quent­ly restored.

Five V1 rock­ets fell on West Dul­wich in 1944, prompt­ing a post-war recon­struc­tion pro­gramme that includ­ed the cre­ation of the Rosendale Road estate.

In 1999 the unlucky All Saints church was gut­ted by a fire caused by a fan heater that had been left on overnight. An exten­sive ren­o­va­tion pro­gramme has since restored the exte­ri­or and improved the inte­ri­or.

Pop funsters the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band first came together at 164A Rosendale Road, in 1962.

Postal district: SE21
Station: Southeastern (zone 3)
* The picture of Park Hall Road, West Dulwich, at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Chris Whippet, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.