Art Deco Quarter

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The Art Deco cluster/quarter

Peckham Vision has brought to attention the cluster of Art Deco buildings in central Rye Lane, and created this page in 2014 to make this information available to the public. This display panel was the first public exhibition of the collection of pictures of this cluster of 7 Art Deco buildings in central Rye Lane.

12-16 Blenheim Grove
2-10 Blenheim Grove + 82 Rye Lane
82 Rye Lane
70 Rye Lane



Station Arcade
117-125 Rye Lane
135 Rye Lane
72 Rye Lane
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Blenheim Grove

February 2018: A plan to double the height of the two storey art deco building at 12-16 Blenheim Grove is being made. The Developer is seeking comments by 15th February 2018. Comments should be sent to them with the subject title 12-16 Blenheim Grove/Pre-Submission Consultation at admin@interpolitan.com. They will summarise them and put to the Council when they apply for planning permission very soon. COMMENT: This plan does not 'preserve and enhance' the nature and character of the town centre Conservation Area as it would harm the low rise nature of the Art Deco cluster around the station, significantly change the sense of place to which it contributes, it would diminish the sight of the sky when walking along the pavement, create another narrow canyon like street, and introduce potential for more conflict between new residents and town centre uses in that vicinity:

  • The plan would damage the nature of the low rise two storey art deco building, which is one of a unique cluster of art deco buildings in central Rye Lane. This is especially important on the boundary between the two conservation areas - Rye Lane and Holly Grove.
  • Extending this building would, together with the approved extension of its companion Art Deco building on the corner of Rye Lane, create a canyon effect, and reduce even more the sky in the town centre area which has only narrow streets. Building upwards would reduce significantly the visible sky for pedestrians, diminishing health and wellbeing.
  • The massing image in the plans gives a misleading impression of the heights of the building in relation to the opposite side of the street. At 4 stories it is higher than the right where two thirds of the buildings are 2 or 3 stories. See the images from the plans showing the comparison between the street now and as it would be.
  • The extra two floors would be residential accommodation. The conflict between residential amenity and business uses in that area is now well recognised. The development is in close proximity to the flow of people between the leisure businesses there.
  • There would be six ‘unaffordable’ flats (that is they would not be 'affordable’) So the destruction of the nature of this part of two Conservation Areas would not contribute social housing the absence of which is at the heart of the housing crisis.

Station buildings

These are the white buildings around the station, numbered 2, 3, 4, 5 on the map below. They are owned by Network Rail who with the Council produced plans in January 2014 for their demolition along with all the other non rail buildings on railway land between Blenheim Grove and Holly Grove. These plans were rejected locally and a further consultation called ‘CoDesign’ started in September 2014, and that first phase ended in November 2014. During this it emerged Network Rail are discussing with the leaseholders of the Iceland building and the Hannah Barry Gallery building demolition and replacement by taller buildings of up to 7 stories for housing and retail, and the Council are exploring demolition of the building on the corner of Rye Lane and Blenheim Grove and replacement of a four storey block. An addition of two stories was chosen instead of demolition, and planning permission was granted in 2016. Detail and images can be seen here.

The Council plan to demolish the Arcade building and create a new square. The Council also gave themselves permission in 2015 against many objections to extend upwards by two stories the Art Deco buildings on the corner of Rye Lane and Blenheim Grove. This revealed mixed views about whether to demolish the arcade or restructure it, but very strong support to retain and restore all the other Art Deco buildings.

Khan's Bargain stores/former Holdron's

Khan's now
Khan's after restoration

The original magnificent ceiling of the former Holdron’s building, now occupied by Khan’s Bargain store, is being restored by Benedict O’Looney Architects with the cooperation of Akbar Khan proprietor of the store, and Copeland Park the owners of the building, who were all brought together by Peckham Vision. Funds need to be raised to continue and complete this work.

See further information here.

launch of Peckham Vision’s art deco installation

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At the Peckham Vision public community event on 8th April 2015, we launched Peckham Vision’s art deco installation. Here above the community-made model of central Rye Lane, we had the images of the seven art deco buildings which are clustered around the station. The images floated in an ethereal fashion above the information displays of the exhibition about plans to develop, redevelop, and regenerate their place in the town centre. A pause for thought and reflection about the nature of the Art Deco Quarter in the town centre while the Council’s consultation proceeds inexorably towards a decision, possibly to demolish enough of the cluster to destroy this unique feature of Peckham. The installation was co-created by Corinne Turner, Clyde Watson, Sam Watson, Geoff Frosh, Eileen Conn, Benny O’Looney.

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history of the buildings

As a contribution to the discussion about the future of the buildings, Peckham Vision asked Benedict O’Looney M.Arch RIBA, the local architect who is a specialist in the history of Peckham town centre buildings, to write up his views on their history and architectural significance. This is an extract:

"The central part of Rye Lane in Peckham has a remarkable cluster of Art Deco buildings, markers of the commercial vigour and enterprise of local business which made Rye Lane South London’s premier shopping destination in the late 19th and 20th centuries. These buildings also demonstrate how London’s commercial architects were quick to adopt the new modernist architectural style which was making waves on the Continent and in the United States. Peckham’s Art Deco Quarter comprises more than six buildings in the central part of Rye Lane, with a further three which were alas demolished in the last decade along the Lane. This group includes the arcade and the buildings around Peckham Rye Railway Station, The former department store opposite at 117-125 Rye Lane, Holdron’s department store & show rooms at 135 Rye Lane and on Bournemouth Road, the former C&A store at 72-74 Rye Lane and the former Marks and Spencer Store at 54-58 Rye Lane…" - For more please read 'Rye Lane's Art Deco Quarter' article by Benedict O'Looney


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Download here the pdf version of this draft map and pictures of Peckham's Art Deco Quarter around Peckham Rye station.

Central Rye Lane, Art Deco buildings montage

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