The Run Down
Dulwich Village is a quiet little neighborhood situated in the London Borough of Southwark, about 5.5 miles south of London Bridge in Zone 3. Dulwich includes Dulwich Village, East Dulwich, and Dulwich College, with a total population of 38, 273. Dulwich is mostly a premium residential community categorized by its expensive cottage-style housing, abundant greenery, parks, and local shops. Unlike the fast paced, energetic lifestyle that London is known for, Dulwich is one of the few areas that has preserved its village character within the capital borders.
Dulwich is home to the predominately white, middle aged, and professionally skilled. The male to female ratio is fairly equal, and the average age range tends to be 30 to 44 years old. Most are married with one to three children with all members of the household standing in good health. Most hold professional degrees and work full time in administrative, scientific, educational, and health industries. These higher paying jobs enable a higher standard of living in Dulwich. Rented houses and flats start at £2,500/month without utilities, and they start to sell at £1,500,000. Most crimes in the area are theft related.
Dulwich Village has been a modest farming town from the 14th to 18th century. The founding of Dulwich College in 1619 and the Picture Gallery in 1817 is what began the growth of the town. Click here for more Dulwich History: Southwark Heritage
Dulwich Village is very much a private community. The first thing struck me was how quiet it was. There was a point where if there were no vehicles on the road, the only thing I heard was my own footsteps, the rustling of trees, and the occasional chirp of a bird. The number of people walking on the streets was significantly less than those seen in Central London. Next to driving, the most popular mode of transportation would be by bus. They come quite infrequently though, and I’m always impressed of how these buses can squeeze through the narrow streets. Cycling is next in the chain and then walking.
Detached houses in Dulwich Village resemble cottages, only slightly more contemporary. Most of the houses, however, are terraced or semidetached. This gives the area a very uniformed style and without the aid of street names, one could easily get lost. I assume Dulwichians (???) value plants, flowers, and greenery because there’s a lot of it: along the streets, in front of houses, beside shops. There’s also an abundance of parks and green spaces for recreational use. Dulwich has quite a few local sports clubs for both children and adults.
Dulwichians (still ???)
Becoming familiar with a neighborhood through your own research and observation is one thing, but chatting with a local is another, and often more valuable. It’s also a sign that you’re getting out of your comfort zone as a tourist, and becoming a traveler. I decided to target local shop workers/owners for my interviews because they’re in the area on a daily basis. Owners tend to know the area better because they’ve been there for a while.
In a 30-minute period, I probably went into a dozen or more shops and came out with only 3 interviews. Even after I explained who I was, what I was doing, and how long it would take (5 minutes max), I was dismissed out of their shops quite abruptly. Keep in mind that I went in at a time of day when hardly anyone was inside shopping. Very private they are. Most of the shops were retail locations selling clothing, stationery, home décor, or food products. Out of the ones that were willing to talk, this is what they said:
Stewart, Floral Shop Owner
“I like to hang out at the Greyhound [pub] because it’s the only one we have. My mum used to own this shop until I took over about 20 years ago, and this place hasn’t changed much. Dulwich is quiet. Not much happens here except for that festival we have. There’s good people here, and I’m not cut out for that wild London life anymore.”
Stewart doesn’t really use media to keep up with local news. He gets his news and events through his friends, family, and colleagues.
Julie, Children’s Clothing Shop Owner
“I frequent the Dulwich Picture Gallery for the exhibitions. It’s one of the few really good things we have here. As an owner, I definitely feel like I’m in a community. I do collaborations with other shops all the time, and it helps out all the business. I stay updated on things through The Dulwich Society Newsletter. They also have a Twitter with pictures of events.”
David, Wine Shop Worker
“Dulwich is a very quiet area, but we still have interesting people! At least we get them in here [the shop]. I go to the Greyhound every once in a while, and I also exercise through Belair Park. I don’t have any kids, but if I did, I think I would raise them here. I subscribe to The Dulwich Society Newsletter for local happenings.”
If you’re looking for a more low-radar, peaceful side of London, check out Dulwich Village. I personally wouldn’t live there because I’m young, hip, and would die of boredom (kidding). Dulwich seems like a place that might be difficult to fit in if you don’t fall into a few certain categories, but once you’re in, you’ll probably love the sense of a private, family-friendly community.
Information in this post was taken from the following sources. Use them to become more acquainted with Dulwich Village.