Peckham Road Fire Station, London
What’s So Special About this Place?
Built in 1867, the former Peckham Road Fire Station is a striking example of Victorian domestic Gothic architecture.
Originally called Camberwell Fire Station, the Grade II listed building is the earliest surviving purpose-built fire station constructed after the formation of London’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) in 1866. Designed by Edward Cresy Junior, architect to the MFB, the ground floor was originally comprised of space to house the fire engines and other working areas, whilst the upper floors were given over to living quarters for the firemen and their families.
By the 1920s, the station was no longer deemed fit to meet the operational and domestic requirements of a modern fire station. A general lack of space, the absence of sliding poles from the upper floors to the ground floor, and no hot water installation all contributed to the decision to build a new station. When the new Peckham Road Fire Station opened in 1925 on the nearby corner of Talfourd Road and Peckham Road, the old station was sold.
Kennedy’s, a local firm of butchers and sausage makers, acquired the former fire station, and from 1934 to 2007 used it as its head office and factory and a new manufacturing area at the rear of the building.
Why Was The Building Under Threat?
The Fire Station was sold at auction in 2008 but remained empty and eventually became semi-derelict.
How Was It Saved?
It was donated to the South London Gallery in 2014 by an anonymous benefactor and opened to the public in September 2018 after a £4 million conversion and restoration led by the award-winning 6a architects.
How Is The Building Used Now?
The Fire Station is a contemporary arts space and annexe to the South London Gallery’s main site. It is a mixed-use building over four floors, maintaining the original layout of rooms as far as possible. The new building provides gallery spaces, an archive room, artists’ studio, kitchen and terrace, combined with community and education facilities.
How Did The AHF Help?
The AHF provided early stage support by awarding a Project Viability Grant to contribute towards the costs of business planning, quantity surveyors and architect fees. As with many projects AHF was the first funder to support the building. The grant award acted as a catalyst enabling the South London Gallery to complete feasibility and development works, secure additional funding and be ready to begin capital works
Project: Peckham Road Fire Station
Client: South London Gallery
Status: Grade II Listed Building
New Use: The Fire Station doubles the size of the South London Gallery, transforming the ways in which they can support and profile the work of British and international artists.
On the top floor, a new education space has enabled the gallery to expand its innovative arts programme in the local area. The SLG’s extensive archive of its 127 year history, in addition to material relating to the social, architectural and cultural history of the local area, is now available to the public for the first time both digitally and through changing displays in a dedicated archive gallery on the ground floor.
Find out more at: https://www.southlondongallery.org/your-visit/our-spaces/fire-station/
Other Project Funders
Heritage Lottery Fund
Arts Council England
Mayor of London