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Five years at the Dolphin

In July 2006, as owners of The Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill, we were treated to a walking tour of the delights of Sydenham. Led with great enthusiasm and at a brisk pace by Pat Trembath of the Sydenham Society, we were there to be persuaded of the opportunities awaiting those brave enough to set up shop in SE26. Not long afterwards, we were informed that the Dolphin had closed. It was a rather sad sight, but we were immediately taken by the impressive building and the large overgrown garden at the rear.

We decided to take it on and have since been warmly welcomed and drawn gently, but relentlessly, into Sydenham life, greatly enjoying and admiring the strong sense of local community that exists in our area. Our staff has cooked and served countless meals to our regular and occasional visitors. We have also hosted some wonderful parties for local people helping them celebrate their birthdays, weddings, job promotions, retirements and much else.

Life in Sydenham is rarely dull. Several years of road works drove us to despair and Sydenham Road does seem to be the designated route in London for any vehicle with a siren, but a constant stream of public events organised and frequented by local people have left some special memories.

The annual summer plays in the garden are magical. Our participation in Sydenham Arts Festival brings Balalaika and a French or Italian evening. The annual concerts of The Sydenham International Music Festival are a delight and none of us will forget Burns night or our St George’s Day celebrations.

We look forward to many more years in Sydenham and much more to come. This year’s play, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ will take place in August and our birthday celebrations will follow later in the year. If you are interested in these or any other events coming up at The Dolphin, why not sign up to our mailing list at  or just come in for a meal and a glass of wine and ask the staff.

Michael and Violeta Richards