Secret hall beyond Platform 3 holds key to Peckham’s future?

SECRET HALL BEYOND PLATFORM 3 HOLDS KEY TO PECKHAM'S FUTURE?

From Southwark News by Kevin Quinn

A waiting room left hidden on platform three of Rye Lane Station could be the key to unlocking future investment in Peckham.

Like something out of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, this enormous space opened as a waiting room in 1865 and was turned into a billiards hall in 1890 until it closed in 1960.  Forgotten, over the years this space was left to fall into disrepair. It has only recently been opened to the public (albeit briefly), but for those wanting to attract future investment into Peckham town centre the space represents a way forward.

For over a decade the planners and officers at the council’s regeneration department have toyed with a multitude of ideas on how to improve Peckham as commercial hub.

In 2001 radical proposals to transform Peckham into ‘the Notting Hill’ of south London were being considered by Southwark Council’s Peckham Partnership. The head of this regeneration body, Russell Profitt, was looking at recommendations which would mean knocking down huge parts of the high street, pedestrianising large parts of Rye Lane, demolishing the dank and dark buildings around Peckham Rye train station and expanding the Aylesham shopping centre.

Years before in the 1990s, Peckham had undergone a huge regeneration programme, when £64 million (and £150 million in other funding) was given to the area, predominantly to transform housing in the north. As well as removing the notorious estates, some of the legacy from that money was the new Peckham Square and the iconic library within its boundaries.

Last year the council officers were back on the hunt for a way forward, producing a document entitled ‘Future Peckham’ in a bid to garner people’s opinions on what they wanted to see. This hefty 54 page document again suggested a myriad of radical changes in the area, including relocation of the cinema, the creation of three fifteen storey buildings for new homes and once more the redevelopment of the Aylesham centre and Rye Lane to produce a vibrant shopping environment.

But since the initial proposals from Russell Profitt for a ‘Notting Hill’ of the south much has changed on the ground in Peckham. Mr Profitt left the renamed Peckham Programme in 2008 and the subsequent abolition of a town centre management has left a vacuum in the council’s daily coordination on the ground.

In its place is a grassroots group, ‘Peckham Vision’, made up of local stakeholders including residents, community groups and business owners. It is becoming the driving force behind change and importantly they understand that in light of the present economic climate Peckham’s future relies on private investment. Read more…

Student workshop in Old Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station


Over 40 students from the 2nd year Canterbury School of Architecture came to Peckham on 28th May 2010 to show their designs for the area around the Peckham Rye Station. They met in the Old Waiting Room at the station.

For the last two years the school’s spring term design studio has focussed on Peckham’s town centre, in particular the open spaces in front of and behind the station. Many of the students come from south London.

The event was held at the enormous former waiting room at the Peckham Rye Station, which has been unused for more than forty years. This remarkable, grand, space is one of the highlights of Peckham’s architecture and is being restored by the local architect Benedict O’Looney, with the help of Southwark Council. Benedict is a conservationist active with the Peckham Society and a design and history teacher at the Canterbury School of Architecture.

Southwark Council’s community-oriented ‘Cleaner Greener and Safer’ fund has put forward several grants to unblock the windows and restore the floor to the former waiting room, which was used as a billiard hall from the 1890s to 1960. This room was bricked up and closed off to public use when the station’s southern platforms were rearranged in 1962. The Peckham Rye Station was designed by the eminent Victorian architect Charles Henry Driver in 1865, and this large and lofty waiting room was the building’s principal interior space. The Peckham Society has been campaigning forthe restoration of this prominent local landmark and was successful in getting the station listed grade 2 in 2008. It is hoped that the former waiting room will one soon find a new life as a community meeting space, gallery or cafe. The large student gathering made clear the space’s excellent community potential.

Contact: Benedict O’Looney, architect, teacher, Committee, the Peckham Society 07981 – 785 950
Kristina Kolotov, Second Year Coordinator, Canterbury School of Architecture 07977 – 038 105

Major development Bournemouth Road / Rye Lane corner

Latest news 6th March: Planning permission refused. See decision here. See planning report here. Meeting Thursday 18th March 2pm at CLF Art Cafe, Bussey buildng, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 to seek better planning from the developers and owners of the land on the Copeland Cultural Quarter site (see here for more).

January 2010 – Developers sought permission to demolish what remains of the historic Holdron’s on the corner of Rye Lane / Bournemouth Road. It looks potentially as inappropriate and poor quality in design as the Wandle housing block next door to it. Also its design with cramped flats might exacerbate the social problems already experienced from the Wandle block after only two years. It is not integrated at all in the thinking of the developments that can happen now on all that big site behind, now that the tram depot threat is fully lifted.

For those not up to date on this – TfL consultants finally a year ago reported that that site was completely wrong on all counts for the tram depot and another different and appropriate site was found. This news got completely lost in the news of the tram project itself being suspended. This was a shame as it fully vindicated everything Peckham Vision had said including that it would be bad for the tram itself if the tram depot location plan was not thoroughly re-examined ASAP. Once TfL did review it, they conceded everything Peckham Vision had said about why it was a defective decision.

Historic Bournemouth Rd/Rye Lane corner as it was - these buildings are still intact there January 2010

In spite of the blight caused by the TfL plan to locate the tram depot here, organic developments have continued in the Copeland Industrial Park, resulting in the growth of important cultural and small business enterprises. These have demonstrated the significant potential for this part of Peckham Town centre in the life of the town centre as a whole. In response to the Issues and Options report, Peckham Vision asked that the Preferred Option Plan should include an overall framework plan for the part of site 71P which lies between Copeland Road, Bournemouth Road and Rye Lane, including the applicant’s site which is an integral part of it. We submitted an indication of the outline of such a framework. This indicates that considerable progress has already been made in developing such an approach.

Peckham Vision believes that this needs to be completed as soon as possible to provide the right planning context for a redesigned development on the applicant’s site. We know that two major objectors to the current application – The Peckham Society and Peckham Business Park – both of whom are members of the Peckham Vision Consortium, are very ready to cooperate in the development of such an overall plan with the owners of this applicant site, and in liaison with the Council as appropriate both in terms of meeting the objections to the current application and also contributing to the development of an overall framework plan for site 71P in the PNAAP Preferred Options report.

Peckham Vision has therefore asked the Council to encourage the applicant to withdraw the current application and to work with the other property owners and occupiers on the adjacent sites, and to liaise with the Council on its work on the PNAAP. This would enable a redesigned proposal which meets the Council’s UDP criteria for developments in Peckham and enables this site to fit within the overall plans which are emerging for this important part of the town centre and Rye Lane. See Peckham Vision letter here.  Failing that we have asked the Council to defer consideration of, or refuse permission for, the current application to enable this discussion and collaboration to take place.

See other objection letters here, from The Peckham Society, and the Peckham Business Park.

PLANNING APPLICATION INFORMATION

See all the details on the Council’s website.

All documents can be downloaded and saved. The main ones appear to be:

  • Design and access statement – 1 OF 2  2009-11-25: There are 38 pages of pictures and diagrams of what the buildings will look like as well as details of design and access provisions, and of the site now.
  • Planning statement (1)  2009-11-25: This covers their case for how it meets all the Council’s criteria and requirements. First 21 pages are the key ones.

Peckham’s art scene

by LAUREN HOUSSIN formerly on laurenetcaetera.blogspot.com  22 December 2009

From New York’s Meatpacking district to Berlin’s Mitte or Paris’ Montmartre, dirty corners of cities all face the same destiny: they are pioneered by young artists, and later colonized by the trendy bourgeoisie. The rents soar, and the starving bohemia has yet to migrate again.  Take the case of London. After Ladbroke Grove in the 1970s and Camden in the 1980s, the East End was conquered in the late 90s. By the early noughties, Brick Lane, Shoreditch, even Dalston were out of price. Artists soon decided to move south of the river, to Peckham. Known to most people for its gang warfare and knife crime rates rather than its culture, Peckham is home to a burgeoning art scene. Because of its empty industrial spaces and proximity to art schools, the bloody district is now an area of choice for young up and coming artists.

“An advantage of working as an artist in Peckham is that there is an audience for art in the area,” said 26-year-old Bobby Dowler, whose paintings are currently showcased at the Hannah Barry Gallery, one of the great pioneers of the area’s scene and one of the most dynamic new art galleries in Britain. “There’s an extremely good dialogue between people,” the young artist added, “and a seriousness about what they’re doing, a kind of belief that it’s important.”

Located in a former cricket bat factory at the end of an industrial road populated by factories, the Hannah Barry Gallery was invited at this year’s Venice Biennale to stage the first Peckham Pavilion. Ms. Barry founded her eponymous gallery in 2008 with Sven Mündner, and works with 32 artists, all aged between 21 and 35. Whether they are showing paintings, installations or photographies, their aim is to always show the work in-depth, in order to best represent the progress of the artist.

“Peckham is the land of freedom and opportunity,” said Ms. Barry. A hallmark of the area’s art scene is its large-scale and high-reaching projects: the spaces available can accommodate shows and works that could not take place in typical West End or East End galleries.

“Everbody has their own possibilities,” she explained, “and for us the space that we have here allowed us to do the shows that we wanted to do. It would have been a different price in the West End, and perhaps not the kind of price that a young gallery can afford. Being in Peckham has enabled us to do things on a scale that we wouldn’t have been able to do over there.”

Although East London is an established part of the city’s gallery circuit and houses the highest population of artists in Europe, it is no longer what it used to be. Its charm and character seem to be lost since property developers have taken advantage of its popularity. As rents have rocketed, many younger artists have in fact headed south of the river in areas like Peckham, where rents are more affordable.

Situated inbetween two of London’s leading art colleges, Goldsmiths School of Arts and Camberwell College, plenty of young, artistic and imaginative people are challenging the negative stereotype that is still all too-often applied to the area. “A lot of students live in the area and continue living in the area after they graduate. I have done so and I graduated in 1998,” said Emily Druiff, Director of the arts initiative Peckham Space.

Through annual commissions, workshops and public events, Peckham Space supports art practice that forges sustainable links between the arts and the local community in south east London, and aims to provide professional development opportunities for artists. The organisation is also plans to open an art venue in a raw space in Spring 2010, showcasing artworks made in conjunction with and in response to the locals of Peckham.

Peckham is home to 25,000 people from all over the world, and has the highest proportion of people born elsewhere compared to the rest of Southwark. One of the best metaphors of Peckham is the Bussey building, that from the outside looks like a run-down factory in a dodgy back alley. But penetrating the almost historic monument -it was built in the early 20th century- and looking closer, it is occupied by an aggregate of over 60 artists, faith groups, exhibition spaces  and small businesses, all existing and working happily alongside each other.

Turner Prize winner Antony Gormley and his fellow Royal Academician Tom Phillips, who both have their studios in Peckham, decided a few years ago with a clutch of others to do an artistic makeover of the run-down neighbourhood’s landscape. With this street art initiative, residents now enjoy some of the most original street murals, barcode-patterned pavements in the city and twisted or heart-shaped lampposts by the fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.

Just a step out of Peckham Rye station is a wooden sculpture of a phoenix with splatters of paint on it. According to legend, the Phoenix is reduced to ashes at the end of its life, from which a new, young phoenix is reborn to live again. Using the metaphor of destruction and creation, the sculpture aims to communicate a message of rebirth among the community and the role played by the young art scene in this rejuvenation.

Most people will hear the word ”Peckham” and they will just picture graffiti, dirty pavements and urinated phone boxes. But aside from the drama that the South London area evokes, a few pioneers have managed to raise up the profile and status of the place for everyone, bringing new audiences to the area, creating people of different ages and backgrounds mixing in the same place and causing the area to now easily betray people’s expectations.




‘Shocking, unexpected and genuinely thrilling’: My Peckham Christmas present

from Architects’ Journal – London, UK  17 December, 2009 | By Rory Olcayto

Architects who turn derelict sites into places worth living in are modern-day alchemists, says Rory Olcayto

Last weekend, taking advantage of the bright, crisp December weather, I wandered around my south London neighbourhood of Peckham with an architect friend. We were talking about how tough the year had been for the construction industry. ‘Soul-destroying’, said my friend, as we drifted from bustling Rye Lane into a post-industrial no-man’s-land.

Within minutes however, we caught sight of Walter Menteth Architects’ supported housing scheme on Consort Road, and our gloomy discussion stopped. Given the immediate context – a railway viaduct behind, with arches beneath, bus depot and materials yard opposite and a busy A-road running along its length – its visual purity proved shocking, unexpected and genuinely thrilling.

Let me explain. The project has a bold sculptural form, comprised of three distinct blocks. A six-storey shared ownership scheme links with a terrace and a corner block of rented flats. The elevations are white render, they incorporate glazed winter gardens and magically, at street level, they sparkle. The architect has laid vertical slabs of Tarmac, embedded with glistening aggregate, to break up the elevational strip. Stainless steel panels on the north end, which comes to a point, soar above these slabs. It looks amazing.

The rear elevation is just as good, perhaps better. It deals with an access road (serving the arches) by sectioning off its footprint with a perimeter wall of concrete and gabion cages. It feels – and is – robust. Beyond, an elegant curving glass wall, beautifully modulated with strips of galvanised steel, provides a buffer zone between the flats and railway.

We spent time examining the building, which was completed just over two years ago. It was one of those moments when you feel good about architecture. About how compassion and craft can combine to transform the mundane, make a place out of nothing, and bring light to the darkest of environments.

It reminded me how hard the architectural profession works, throughout the UK, to steadily and incrementally improve our nation’s lot, and continues to do so, even when times are as tough as they have been lately.

All the best for Christmas and the New Year. You deserve it.
rory.olcayto@emap.com

Food from the Rye: Salt Fish

From: http://helengraves.co.uk/2009/12/food-from-the-rye-salt-fish/

Peckham’s Rye Lane is a right higgle piggle of shops. Traders pile on top of one another; get your mobile phone unlocked while you wait for the butcher to dice your goat meat. There are towers of unusual vegetables, mountains of scotch bonnet chillies, the odd box of African land snails and of course yams, yams and yet more yams  (just don’t look at the frozen fish or broiler chickens). There’s so much interesting stuff down there I just can’t get through it fast enough so I’ve set myself a little challenge. For the next few weeks, I’ll pick up a new ingredient every few days – something I’ve never used before and quite possibly something I won’t recognise. A new and exciting culinary adventure.

Things kicked things off on Sunday with salt fish – something I’ve eaten many times but never got around to cooking at home. A few quid bought me the chunks you see above. I’ve no idea what type of fish it is though and didn’t have much joy communicating with the shop keeper: “do you know what type of fish it is?” “£3,” was the reply. It went on like that for a while. We’ll get there.  Read more…

The Art revolution starts in Peckham

Hannah Barry Gallery painting

from: ARTINFO 1st December 2009

How Hannah Barry has managed to take a group of unknown young artists from a Peckham squat to a Venice pavilion in just three years.

It was always likely that British art would recover from its post-YBA slump in a manner as radically refreshing, thrilling, and unforeseen as the arrival of Hirst, Emin, et al. had been at the beginning of the 1990s. But few could have predicted that the revolution would start in Peckham.Change is afoot in this corner of London, specifically behind the anonymous-looking doors of a particular warehouse in an industrial estate. Those doors lead to the Hannah Barry Gallery, one of the most dynamic new art galleries in Britain and home to some of the best young talent in the country. Read more

Emerging Artists Find a New ‘Blank Canvas’ in London

Special Report: Contemporary Art New York Times  By Alice Pfeiffer: October 14, 2009
Peckham, a run-down district of London, south of the Thames, is said to have the capital’s highest concentration of knife crime, hairdressers and gospel churches.
Now, add up-and-coming artists: in easy reach of some of the capital’s leading art schools, the area’s low prices and vast, empty industrial spaces are attracting experimental avant-garde collectives, studios and galleries — a countercultural challenge to the established North-of-the-river world of the Frieze art fair and the gentrified East End.
“Peckham is the land of the free. It’s like a blank canvas,” said Hannah Barry, an enterprising 26-year-old who founded her eponymous gallery last year in a warehouse of a former cricket bat factory.  At the end of an industrial road populated by factories and faith groups, Ms. Barry and her co-director Sven Mündner, 31 — both graduates of Cambridge — put on 15 to 20 shows a year, showcasing young emerging artists. Ms. Barry and Mr. Mündner have also put on an annual sculpture show since 2006, on the roof of an abandoned parking garage nearby. “We felt there was room for an ambitious sculpture park in London,” Ms. Barry said. In June, she and Mr. Mündner took Peckham to a global audience, with a show, the “Peckham Pavilion,” on the fringes of the Venice Biennale.  read more …

Peckham challenging Hoxton for art

From Evening Standard By Tim Burrows 20.08.09

When Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas opened The Shop in 1993 in what is now Redchurch Street in E2, they probably didn’t realise that they were leading the cultural shift that would hit its peak in 2000 with the arrival of Jay Jopling‘s Hoxton Square gallery and result in a decade of the East End’s dominance over art, music, fashion and all things trendy. But 10 years is long enough and a Peckham collective of artists, writers and musicians called Off Modern think it’s time to challenge that monopoly… … the current focal point of the Peckham scene is not a shop, but a café. Behind a defunct Woolworths, on top of a neglected 10-storey car park and multiplex set back from the main drag of Rye Lane, is Frank’s Café and Campari Bar. Designed by Paloma Gormley (daughter of Antony) and Lettice Drake, the visitor-friendly pop-up café-bar is actually one of the exhibits in Hannah Barry Gallery’s Bold Tendencies III show.  Read more http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/arts/article-23734817-details/Peckham+challenging+Hoxton+for+art/article.do

An enchanting evening in Peckham

From blog: http://www.intoxicatingprose.com/2009/08/on-site-parking.html

an enchanting evening

On one of the wettest evenings outside a rainforest, I had come to ‘Bold Tendencies’, the third summer showcase from the local but far-reaching, ‘Hannah Barry’ gallery. Through sculptures, lighting and curious sounds, the otherwise derelict top tiers of a Peckham car park have been transformed into polished decay and dreamy decadence.

Architecture graduates, Lettice Drake and Paloma Gormley (daughter of Anthony Gormley OBE) took two months to build the star of the show. For the first time in the short history of this annual exhibition, the result is an amusingly titled pop-up restaurant, ‘Frank’s Café and Campari Bar’. Sturdy but tactile, its timber counter and communal tables are tinted in the cochineal tones of the famous bitters by a tarpaulin awning. Stretching over and under the tenth floor deck, securing straps were put to the test by a downpour so torrential that London’s landmarks melted into the mist. Armed with hope and broom-handles, dedicated staff prodded away the most threatening bulges pooling above us.

Read more…