Understanding and caring for traditional buildings

The full programme for this all day free event which was held on 30 September 2017. This event had talks and demonstrations on topics relating to traditional brick-built buildings, as well as a number of information stalls. It was relevant for anyone interested in Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian buildings, also a great opportunity to find out about careers and training in the fields of Construction, Architecture and Conservation. The series of talks, which attendees could book in advance, were popular, and we provided free childcare for those who needed it.

Peckham’s history and heritage

The websites of both the Peckham Society and Peckham Vision are treasure troves of information about Peckham’s built heritage. For example, Peckham Society History pages contain research and articles on themes such as Peckham in 1878, Peckham Rye park and Peckham theatres.

Peckham Vision’s website also has also has an Historic Peckham area which has a collection of photos and film clips of the town centre. You can also access there pdfs of the information boards prepared by the Peckham Society and Peckham Vision when they were lobbying for the Rye Lane Peckham Conservation Area.

In addition there is a section showing the images created by Peckham Vision to highlight the Art Deco quarter which includes a number of landmark buildings within central Rye Lane in Peckham town centre.

Both organisations have given their permission for their websites to be referenced in these pages.

Changing Peckham

Rye Lane Peckham Conservation Area

For several decades the Peckham Society played an important role in highlighting the heritage value of individual buildings within Peckham. Eventually their work led to English Heritage undertaking an extensive Historical Area Assessment of Central Peckham, 2009.

In more recent years Peckham Vision has built on this work to raise awareness of how these historic buildings have played, and continue to play, a pivotal role in shaping the town centre. Peckham Vision worked closely with Southwark Council’s Design and Conservation Team to prepare the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Townscape Heritage Initiative grant.

A further stage in the funding application was the adoption in November 2011 of the Rye Lane Peckham Conservation Area Appraisal. In April 2014 the Conservation Area Management Plan was approved. Here is the map showing the area in the town centre covered by the conservation area. There are adjacent conservation areas, to the east – and to the west.

The designation of a conservation area means the local planning authority recognises that the area is one of ‘special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’.

The UK’s planning system requires planning permission to be sought for a range of works to homes and business premises. Where the property is in a conservation area there are additional situations where formal permission has to be granted.

All planning applications have to be made through national Planning Portal

– Applications are considered and decided by local planning authorities. For properties in Peckham this means Southwark Council. The Planning Portal has interactive images of homes and shops to help people identify what work needs planning permission as well as a list of common projects

– Southwark Council provide information about planning permission for business including shop-fronts and security shutters.

– Southwark Council provide information about permissions required by domestic properties in conservation areas.

Shop front design

The design of shopfronts within a town centre can make a significant impact on how a retail area is experienced by people who live and shop there. Shop-fronts include a number of elements:

– shop sign or ‘advert’ (as it’s known in planning terms);
– lighting above the sign;
– the arrangement of doors and windows;
– the materials used – timber, or powder coated resin; and
– security shutters.

For shop-fronts in older buildings there is widely accepted good-practice about what features of the building should be retained, repaired and restored. But’s it’s not about ‘one-size-fits-all’, it’s about understanding the age and architectural style of each building and using appropriate proportions and materials.

Southwark Council Planning Policy team will be drafting planning guidance about what is regarded as best practice in shop-front design for both contemporary and traditional properties in the spring 2017. It will be widely consulted on amongst both businesses and residents and if approved by councillors will be referred to as a material consideration in determining planning applications.

Peckham Heritage Regeneration Partnership

The Peckham Heritage Regeneration Partnership is made up of local people, community organisations, council officers and elected councillors who meet four times a year to contribute to the successful delivery of the Peckham Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

The Partnership is made up of people who are passionate about Peckham – its past, present and future: there are architects, planners, community activists, historians, conservation specialists, artists and local businesses around the table.

The role of the Partnership is to:

– Review progress of the capital restoration and repair projects;
– agree how to spend the community budget and celebrate Peckham’s heritage; and
– support the implementation of the Rye Lane Peckham Conservation Area.

Claire Hegarty – Chair

The partnership has an independent Chair, Claire Hegarty, who brings to the partnership here her love of urban settings and her experience of running an architecture practice in North London. Claire has been working with historic buildings for over twenty years.

‘Coming to Peckham from a different part of London and reading and looking at the work that has been going on in Peckham, what strikes me is the incredible energy and commitment to the THI project and the work done by local people.

I’m looking forward to this amazing opportunity to work with local people who have such a body of knowledge about Peckham and its history, but it will also be a challenge. London is experiencing great change, which in many cases is positive, but this project is also about creating continuity and keeping that sense of place and history.

Neighbourhoods like Peckham are distinctive to London, with layers of memories and stories that we want to protect and I am very much looking forward to working with the council and local people to do that.’

Peckham Heritage Talks

Throughout the THI there will be a series of workshops and presentations on heritage and conservation-related themes.

The first Peckham Heritage Talk took place on 14 September 2016 and was attended by thirty local people. Seon Soyemi, Senior Grants Officer from the Heritage Lottery Fund gave a presentation about the national programme of Townscape Heritage Initiatives, and Paul Latham from The Regeneration Practice spoke about the work he’d done to research the condition of buildings in Peckham town centre in order to identify which properties would be eligible for THI funding.

The second Peckham Heritage Talk: ‘Breathable buildings’ took place on Tuesday 14 March 2017. Bill Morris, a local architect talked about his approach to working on Petitou café in Choumert Road. Joseph Orsi, who serves on the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings Technical Panel, described the performance of lime renders and mineral paint.



Architect Benny O’Looney took the floor on Wednesday 14 June, in the Old Waiting Room, Peckham Rye station for Talk 3. He described several restoration projects that have been undertaken at the station, with a focus on the latest one – the stair project.

Benny spoke about the restoration techniques and the conservation ‘philosophy’ used, and highlighted the roles of the different local trades involved including steel fabricators, the makers of the new lath and plaster ceiling/lime-plaster repairs, and the carpenters/main contractor.

Peckham Platform’s Open 16

Peckham Platform host an open exhibition every year.

This year, with support from the Peckham THI, they themed their exhibition Peckham’s Heritage – people, culture and place – and ran drop-in workshops through October for people of all ages to make screen-prints of some of Peckham’s most iconic buildings.

Schools and heritage

Our Hut, a London charity which specialises in architecture education, is being funded through the THI to develop teaching resources for primary schools on Peckham’s history and its built environment. They’re also doing a similar project as part of the Brixton THI. Check out the Our Hut website for information on this and other projects they have delivered.

Lucy Lavers, Judy Ovens and Suzanna Prizeman make up the Our Hut team. They’ll be working with St James the Great Primary School to develop and pilot the learning resources. The work will take place in the summer term 2017.

The work took place in summer term 2017, please see our Primary Schools’ education resource news post, and you can download the Teachers’ Resource Pack, which was created by Our Hut, from ‘Community documents’ in the Community section.