Brockwell Lido in 1938.
Now we go from an urbane, cosmopolitan Dutchman to the other end of the spectrum: a demure English lady from the provinces, "careful and...patient in play" (EW/BCM). We’ll meet her on the other side of Tulse Hill.
To our more energetic readers we now offer the opportunity of a long detour east, via, if you wish, a gem in the Palladian style: Dulwich Picture Gallery, although alas it has no chess paintings. Camille Pissarro’s 1871 work Lordship Lane Station, Dulwich is not there, either. It's in the Courtauld Gallery, but let’s have a look at it anyway as it perfectly conveys the contemporary flavour of these South London not-yet-suburbs, i.e. rural, with the railway paving the way for the Victorian terraces that engulf the scene over the next couple of decades or so.
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
Lordship Lane Station, Dulwich (1871)
Courtauld Gallery, London.
Beyond Tulse Hill we pass close to Knollys Road (we won’t stop to look now, as you can see it here), along the High Street, its Victorian façades suffering the ravages of the 20th and 21st Centuries, past West Norwood Library (mentioned again later), and eventually on to the top of Knights Hill. As you pause for breath on the climb you could be forgiven for complaining that as well as the plentiful green spaces mentioned in Stroll 1, South London also has rather a lot of hills. And that Knights Hill is a bit dull.
At the summit, and Stop 15, is the British Home for Incurables (as it was called then, jarring as it sounds to us now). And it was here that Mary Rudge lived out the final years of her life from 1913 to 1919 (she was moved to Guy's Hospital for her last weeks, aged 77 - see note). Mary, who won the first International Women’s Chess Tournament in 1897 in London, deserves to be fêted as she was, at her peak, “the leading lady player in the world” (CCC 1889).
Mary Rudge (1842-1919)
From Scientific American Supplement, 8 June 1878.
Now let’s pause again, a few hundred yards down the road, to gather our strength and to enjoy the Rookery, a delightful public garden laid out 100 years ago (perhaps Mary sat here, too, re-living past glories). Its spring was said, back in the mid 1600s, to be three times more efficacious than those at Epsom, and accordingly the congested hordes made their excursions up from the city to take the waters. That's against the bylaws now, of course; but it was already polluted by the 1700s. However, another stream at the "Streatham Spa" down in Valley Road, was still healthily gurgling away in the 1930's, bottled and delivered with Victorian-style efficiency by Curtis and Dumbrill's dairy, along with the milk.
The plot thickens.
In the foreground is the empty location of Gunsberg's grave.
Streatham Vale Cemetery. #8478, in square 6.
Crowley mentions his brief childhood stay in Streatham in his self-serving autobiography; it must have been around 1891, when he was 16. He also attended school here – possibly Immanuel (demolished). One November 5th he made his own fireworks and pretty nearly killed himself (I ask you: what will some people do to be at the centre of attention?).
We are definitely heading north now, up Streatham High Street and into the home straight. But if you need some refreshment try the White Lion at Stop 18.
It is in fact steeped in chess history, as this press cutting from the 1929 reveals.
Of all the EVCPs perhaps Staunton’s name is the best known today, so we’ll leave him with just that brief reference (his house no longer exists anyway), and give the last word to a contemporary and thriving chess group at Streatham Library (Stop 19).
Tate SuiteThe Library chessers have been going for maybe six or seven years. They meet at 4.00pm on Wednesday afternoons offering casual games and, for aspiring players, a stepping-stone into the world of local league and competitive chess under the umbrella of S&BCC.
That’s it. We've made it.
There is unfinished business, and new directions, to explore, and I hope you’ll come along again for another outing, soon.
Acknowledgements , notes etc., and sources not otherwise linked in the post.
TH and/or EVCPs indicates Tim Harding's Eminent Victorian Chess Players 2012 MacFarland & Co.
Loman's census records show him: lodging at 121 Upper Bridge Road in Dorking in 1901; as Head of household, at 36B Heath Street, Hampstead in 1911.