November 1880 – Hamlets into suburbs

The inhabitants of Dulwich are at the present much concerned by a proposal of the Camberwell vestry to lay down York paving in the different roads, which it is urged would altogether destroy the exceptionally rural character of the hamlet of Dulwich. Last week a numerously attended meeting of the inhabitants was held in the hall of Dulwich College for the purpose of opposing the action of the Camberwell vestry. Among those present were several governors of the college.

One resolution said it would be a thousand pities to introduce York paving in Dulwich, for a thing that might do very well in Camberwell Green was quite out of place there. It seemed to Mr Wragge, the proposer, that it was quite absurd to say that rural traffic required York paving. He said he was sure that nobody present would like to see that beautiful hamlet converted into a mere suburb of London, but that all of them would very much prefer that it should retain its present rural aspect.

Mr Goodall, who supported the resolution, denounced the proposal of the vestry as one of spoliation. They might as well talk of paving Kew Gardens with York paving as Dulwich. It was on aesthetic grounds, in opposition to the utilitarian notion that every place should be alike because they were under the control of one vestry, that he deprecated the conversion of that rural hamlet into a town. He had heard strangers remark that they would not find a more charming aspect of rusticity fifty miles from London.

The general feeling of the meeting was that asphalt and tar was the most suitable for the footways in the hamlet.