Exploring Southwark and discovering its history
Designed by Charles Barry Jnr, the surveyor for Alleyn's College of God’s Gift (now Dulwich College), North Dulwich Station is a small suburban, Grade II listed railway station. It incorporates features often found on larger buildings and anticipates Barry’s later design for Dulwich College, both buildings an outcome of the arrival of the railway in Dulwich.
Two railway lines were built over land owned by Alleyn’s College: the London, Chatham and Dover Line from Waterloo to Wimbledon with a station built at West Dulwich, and the London, Brighton and South Coast main line from London Bridge to Croydon with a station built just north of the heart of Dulwich Village near the bottom of Red Post Hill. For the railway companies to expand, it was vital that railway lines were built over land owned by Alleyn’s College and the governors of the College were able to drive a hard bargain. They sold a total of 100 acres to the railway companies at £1000 per acre and stipulated the bridges and stations were to be designed by their own surveyor to ensure the structures were of a standard in keeping with the area.
North Dulwich Station opened in 1866, built above the railway line that had been laid into a cutting that ran from East Dulwich. The iron balustrade of the bridge right opposite the station incorporates the coat of arms of both Alleyn’s College and the London, Brighton and South Coast rail company, and these coats of arms are also a feature of the bridges over Greendale, Village Way, Croxted Road and Rosendale Road.
The money received by the Governors of Alleyn’s College from the railway companies paid in large part for the building of a new elaborate College building which opened 1870 and what we now know as Dulwich College.
With the detritus of modern living – the dumpsters, the waste bins, the notice boards, the automatic ticket machine – it’s easy to overlook the detail on the North Dulwich Station building. It is though quite in keeping that the 1935 red cast iron K6 telephone kiosk installed within the portico of the station should also be Grade II listed.