Inventory Site Record

The Mill Pond

The Mill Pond (Southwark)

Brief Description

The site is part of the extensive Dulwich Estate. The Mill Pond stands near a busy road intersection in a small plot of land surrounded by railings and abuts the playing fields of Dulwich College. Pond Cottages, a row of picturesque C18th weather-boarded timber houses, were probably built to serve the tile kiln that was in operation here until the late C18th. Bricks and roof tiles were made in the C17th and C18th, the clay pit that provided the raw material later filled with water to become the pond. It is one of the few remaining traces of the River Effra stream system in Southwark. It was named after a windmill that had stood on the other side of College Road, demolished by the College in 1814/15. South of the Mill Pond and Pond Cottages is a small private garden with a catalpa planted in memory of George Clout (d.1962), the Estates Bailiff to the Dulwich College Estates from 1914-1957. The garden has railings to College Road and is laid out with lawn, hedges.

Practical Information
Site location:
College Road/Dulwich Common/Pond Cottages
Type of site:
Private Open Land
Open to public?
Opening times:
private - but visible from road
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: West Dulwich. Bus: P4.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

The Dulwich Estate today consists of nearly 608 hectares (1500 acres) and continues to be managed by the successor to Alleyn's charitable foundation. Edward Alleyn was a well-known Elizabethan actor-manager and impresario, also putting on bull- and bear-baiting, as a result of which he had been appointed Joint Master of the Royal Bears, Bulls and Mastiff Dogs in 1604. By now a wealthy man, he bought the Manor of Dulwich in 1605 although he continued to live in London until 1613, staying at Dulwich in the summer. He then decided to establish a charitable foundation in Dulwich to be endowed with his property at Dulwich and elsewhere. Following the foundation of Alleyn's College of God's Gift granted by James I in 1619 he began building his Almshouses for 'six poor brothers and six poor sisters' and his School 'for twelve poor scholars'. All the beneficiaries were to be chosen from four parishes: St Giles' Camberwell and the 3 London parishes with which he was closely connected, St Botolph's Bishopsgate, St Saviour's Southwark and St Giles Cripplegate (q.q.v.), the latter replaced as nominating body by the new parish of St Luke's in 1773.

The charitable foundation underwent reorganisation over the years particularly as a result of the expansion of its educational provision by James Allen, who was Warden and Master of the College from 1712-1746. Rents from his properties in Kensington enabled 2 small schools to be set up in Dulwich after 1741, and in 1842 a grammar school was established. These schools later led to what are now Dulwich College, James Allen's Girls' School and Alleyn's School (q.q.v.). From 1882 2 separate boards of trustees were established, the Estates Governors who had responsibility for the Estate and Almshouses, and the College Governors who had responsibility for the schools, chapel and Dulwich Picture Gallery (q.v.), which had opened in 1814.

In 1995 new arrangements came into being whereby the properties, investments and other estate activities now come under the Trustees of The Dulwich Estate, which includes management of Amenity Areas, that now comprise 28 separate parcels of land including the Mill Pond, and roadway and footpaths of Pond Cottages. The largest area is Dulwich Woods (q.v.), but it also include footpaths, verges, greens and shrubberies of Dulwich Village, as well as the garden of the Old College. There are some freehold 3800 properties on the Dulwich Estate, which are all subject to the Estate's Scheme of Management established by law in 1974 as a means of preserving the estate's exceptional environment. The Amenity Areas are all maintained by the Managers of the Scheme out of a charge made as part of the Scheme and freeholders are also obliged to maintain their properties, gardens and boundaries in a good state.

The Trustees of The Dulwich Estate also acts as Trustees of the Charity of Christ's Chapel of God's Gift at Dulwich. Boards of Governors were set up for Dulwich College, Alleyn's School and Dulwich Picture Gallery. A separate board of Trustees of the Dulwich Almshouse Charity still maintains links with the four parishes of the original foundation.

Sources consulted:

John Archer, Bob Britton, Robert Burley, Tony Hare, Ian Yarham, 'Nature Conservation in Southwark' Ecology Handbook 12, London Ecology Unit, 1989; Pevsner; Andrew Duncan, 'Walking Village London', New Holland, 1997; In and Around Dulwich: A Guide to South London's Green Oasis (no date); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Southwark Listed Buildings data

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
The Dulwich Estate
Site management:
Managers of the Scheme of Management (Trustees of The Dulwich Estate Charity)
Listed structures:
LBII: Pond Cottages 1, 2, 3; 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10.
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:
Conservation Area name:
Dulwich Village/Wood
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance II
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

The Mill Pond

The Mill Pond, Dulwich - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 23/07/20 13:21
Click photo to enlarge.


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