On a side street in picturesque Dulwich village can be found a small memory of a dark past that haunts the memory of the place.

The Stocks and Cage isn’t the name of a pub, but a place of judicial torture, and just around the corner from the posh boutiques and cafes where people sit sipping their morning brews, can be found a memento to this darker age of penal punishment.

The village “stocks” and “cage,” with the motto, “It is a sport for a fool to do mischief; thine own wickedness shall correct thee,” formerly stood at the corner of the pathway across the fields leading to Camberwell, opposite the burial-ground; and the college “pound,” which formerly stood near the toll-gate in the Penge Road, was, in 1862, ordered to be removed to the end of Croxted Lane.


It was also a sufficient sight that it was used as a convenient marker for a guidebook to the area.

Around 1814 the stocks were taken down, and the cage removed in 1841. Then curiously, the stone tablet with its dark warning was found, in a garden near to the petrol station, and restored to public display again.

And there, behind railings sits the stone plaque that was mounted next to the stocks as a warning to all miscreants.


Miscreants included by the way, any pensioner of Dulwich College who if, caught being drunk, on the fourth occasion would be sentenced to the stocks as punishment[1]. They took their temperance very seriously in those days.


[1] Municipal Parks Gardens, and Open Spaces of London: their history and associations … Illustrated, etc SEXBY, John James, 1898


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  1. Greg Tingey says:

    There’s the remains of another “cage” (With an outline on the extant building to which it was attached) … elsewhere in London.
    Try the excellent: Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow.
    The museum is well-worth a visit on its own ….

  2. Greg Tingey says:

    Oops, HTML link to Vestry House museum site didn’t work – never mind it will probably be the first hit on a Google-search!

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