Inventory Site Record

Alleyn's School Memorial Garden

Alleyn's School Memorial Garden (Southwark)

Brief Description

Alleyn's School Memorial Garden commemorates Old Boys of the school who died in the two world wars. It is a gated triangular garden located in the west of the school grounds leading directly onto playing fields, near the site of an RAF Barrage Balloon in WWII. The Memorial Garden was officially opened in 1954 by the Chairman of the Board of Governors. Red brick stone-capped gate piers flank a small ornamental gate topped with Alleyn's crest and the words 'God's Gift'. The garden has a central path of paving slabs, either side of which are shrub beds to railings and beech hedge on the road boundaries, with a low hedge to the playing fields beyond. Since it opened additional commemorative trees have been planted in memory of pupils and staff.

Practical Information
Site location:
Townley Road/Calton Avenue, Dulwich Village
SE22 8SU
Type of site:
Private Garden
Open to public?
By appointment only
Opening times:
private but visible from the road
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: North Dulwich. Bus: 12, 37, 40, 176, 185, 312, P4, P13.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2009
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Alleyn's School is named after its founder Edward Alleyn, who was a famous theatrical impresario, and a partner in the Fortune Theatre by 1600, the rival to Shakespeare's Globe. He became wealthy as a result of his various activities, which included staging entertainments such as bear- and bull-baiting; in 1604 he was made Joint Master of the Royal Bears, Bulls and Mastiff Dogs. In 1605 he purchased the Manor of Dulwich from the then owner Sir Francis Calton, whose name is recalled in a street in Dulwich Village. In 1619 Alleyn was given license to open a school by James I. Alleyn's foundation provided almshouses for 12 old people and a boys' school for '12 poor scholars' known as Alleyn's College of God's Gift. The early name of the college refers to the fact that entry depended on the successful young scholar drawing lots and getting the paper marked 'God's Gift'. The original buildings, albeit extended and re-modelled over the years, comprising school, almshouses and a chapel, remain at the junction of Gallery Road and College Road, still partly used as almshouses. Edward Alleyn died in 1626 and is buried in the chapel; he left the majority of his estate to support the college he founded.

In 1870 the college, greatly enlarged, moved to new buildings further south down College Road, now called Dulwich College (q.v.). Alleyn's School became a separate part of the college in 1882, and moved to the current site in 1887, renamed by the Governors of Dulwich College as the Lower College of God's Gift. A path, named Smith's Walk after the headmaster Revd. J H Smith, was created from Dulwich Village to provide access to the school.

During WWI 264 Old Boys of Alleyn's School died and a further 131 met their deaths in WWII. The Memorial Garden was laid out after WWII on a triangular site with its apex at the junction of Townley Road and Calton Avenue, where during the war there had been an RAF barrage balloon sited. The garden was officially opened on 19 June 1954 by Lord Gorrell, the Chairman of the Board of Governors.

Sources consulted:

John Beasley, 'Southwark Remembered', Tempus Publishing 2001.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Alleyn's School
Site management:
Alleyn's School Gardeners
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

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