- 1 The Peckham Experiment
- 2 2017
- 3 The Peckham Experiment
- 4 Pre 2017 information
The Peckham Experiment
The Peckham Experiment was a study into the nature of health in the 1920s-1940s. The researchers decided to study the family unit in a community setting to identify what contributes to human health. See below for more information. This page records the current work in Peckham to bring the information about the Peckham Experiment back into Peckham today. Peckham Vision shop, in Holdrons Arcade at 135A Rye Lane, has original Peckham Experiment books and later publications for sale and reference. Eileen Conn, Peckham Vision coordinator and long term resident in Peckham, is the local contact and a Pioneer Health Foundation (PHF) Associate.
25th February 2017 Ilona Saga's arts event
Ilona Saga's arts event in the Peckham Experiment building - detail to be uploaded. This event is further preparation for Ilona's 'Correspndence O' an installation at the South London Gallery in later 2017. The first event in Peckham in this work coincided with Art Licks Weekend in September 2016, where The Ballad of Peckham Rye presented 'Hesitant desire shall flourish in a soil not too strong', an audio work that featured as part of Ilona Sagar's exhibition at DKUK Salon. This new body of work "looks at the history and social significance of the Peckham Experiment, a holistic model of healthcare, which aimed to cultivate community wellbeing from 1926-50. It uses the radical Peckham Pioneer Centre, as a lens through which to examine ideas of health, welfare and wellness, exploring interactions between collective understandings of common good and individual wellbeing."
February 2017 Heritage Roots project
South London Gallery announced their heritage roots project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.This will be exploring the history of the Peckham Experiment, and led by the Arts Assassins, South London Gallery’s young people’s forum. Peckham Vision and Pioneer Health Foundation are full partners along with the Wellcome Library, the Science Gallery at King’s College, and the Wilderness Wood. The project, which will run until autumn 2018, will see the group work alongside a historian-in-residence, heritage experts and artists to investigate the Peckham Experiment.
28th January 2017 Peckham Vision display at Community Council
Local Councils are now responsible for public health and well-being in their areas. So the Peckham & Nunhead Community Council held an exhibition from local organisations on local Public Health & Well-Being at its meeting on 28th January. Peckham Vision's displays were aimed at bringing the historic legacy of the Peckham Experiment to the attention of the people who live and work in the area now, and highlighting the way the information is still highly relevant today and how it links also to Peckham Vision's own work in strengthening the local community networks of relationships. The display was put together by Peckham Vision with the assistance of Pioneer Health Foundation (PHF). Special thanks to the staff at Southwark Local History Library and Archive for their assistance and permission to reproduce three articles about the Pioneer Health Centre.The display included:
- The ideology behind the Pioneer Health Centre - Lancet article by Dr Williamson
- The First Pioneer Health Centre -1926-1929 - Why Peckham?
- The Peckham Experiment 1935 – 1950
- A Living Legacy (note from PHF)
- Peckham Vision and the Peckham Experiment
- How to contact the Pioneer Health Foundation
- A5 introduction leaflet to the Peckham Experiment
Photos from the Community Council and the exhibition:
The Peckham Experiment
Nature of the Peckham Experiment
The Peckham Experiment was a study into the nature of health in the 1920s-1940s. The researchers decided to study the family unit in a community setting to identify what contributes to human health. This was very different from the study of sickness and the prevention of sickness. The modern promotion of health is often focussed on preventing sickness or the absence of sickness. The Peckham Experiment was focussed on the nature of health and how it could be cultivated.
What was the Peckham Experiment?
The centre/laboratory, known as the Pioneer Health Centre, was purpose built for the Experiment in St Mary's Road, in Peckham. The blue shaded area of the map shows the boundary of the Peckham Experiment. The research was conducted by annual medical checks and observations of families interacting in social activities. Recognising the importance of sound nutrition, they rented a farm to provide fresh organic food. The experiment pioneered thinking, decades ahead of its time, about the way in which health could be nurtured rather than just sickness remedied. The Peckham Research Findings have influenced authorities across the world including the WHO. The Health Centre building is still here in St Mary's Road and is listed by English Heritage in recognition of its historic importance as architecture and its pioneering in health and social understanding. Read more...
Where was the Peckham Experiment?
The original catchment area for the Centre in 1935 is shown on the map below. The major part of this small area was in what is now called New Cross Gate in the London Borough of Lewisham. But in 1938 the area was extended west further into Peckham and just beyond Peckham Rye station, and south to Nunhead and north to just beyond the Old Kent Road, so that most of the eastern half of Peckham was covered. The main Peckham Experiment grew out of the first exploration in a centre in a house in Queens Road 1926-1929.
Pre 2017 information
Film & audio
- 1947 film (20 minutes) about the Pioneer Health Centre
- 8 minutes on Dr Innes Pearse from BBC Radio 4 Womans' Hour 2014
- 37 minutes radio broadcast: Lisa Curtice in conversation with Henrietta Trotter who was closely involved at the time with the Pioneer Health Centre, later known as the Peckham Experiment.
- TV news programme The One Show 2012 on Peckham Experiment.
- * Human Fish 1949 Video of a contest between human fish Harold Elven and an expert angler. Harold was a member of the Peckham Experiment and a champion swimmer. The contest was held in the swimming pool in Pioneer Centre of the famous Peckham Experiment. (2 minutes)