Peckham Rye Station
From Peckham Vision
Peckham Rye station began operating in 1865, with an open square in front (see picture). It was designed by the noted Victorian architect Charles Henry Driver, who also designed some of London’s great pumping stations. Driver was also an energetic proponent of cast iron. In the station’s alterations in the 1930s and 1960s most of the station’s distinctive cast-iron work was removed. Examples of this can still be seen at the Denmark Hill and Battersea Park stations. The original iron stair remains at Peckham Rye. The work initiated by the Peckham Society and Peckham Vision will restore this and extend it to give access to the Old Waiting Room.
The building was Grade 2 listed in early 2008 by English Heritage after years of campaigning by the Peckham Society. The original building remains but the square in front was filled in with commercial buildings in the 1930s. The Council agreed in 2008 to adopt a policy to have the buildings in the square removed, and the square reopened as an open space in this central part of the town centre. This has been part of the integrated plan produced by Peckham Vision for Rye Lane Central since 2006.
In the meantime, Peckham Vision, with the Peckham Society and the Rye Lane and Station Action Group (RLSAG) and with support from the Community Council, worked together on a step by step process to restore the station; see the illustrated summary here. The historic original waiting room above the ticket hall is being restored stage by stage, and showing its potential. In late 2012 the first steps to restore the original staircase from the forecourt have been completed. Now, the long term ambition, to restore the station square, is to be achieved in the next few years - on 23 November 2011 it was announced that the London Mayor, through the GLA, and with Southwark Council will provide sufficent funds to restore the station square over the next few years. Read more on all the details below. The news on all this and about the future were reported and discussed at the public community meeting on the 14th March 2012, and at Peckham Vision's town centre exhibition 2-4 August 2012. This is the news in October 2012.
It was agreed in 2008 by all local elected representatives across the political parties at local ward, borough Council, London Assembly and Parliamentary levels that the aim should be to re-open the square in front of Peckham Rye station. Read more... The aspiration was included in the draft PNAAP (which is now reaching its final stages: the public hearing (Examination in Public) in June/July 2013). The idea needed a viable Network Rail business plan to be created for future income, and to compensate the owners of the long leases on the buildings to be removed. This obstacle was paritally removed when, in November 2011, the London Mayor announced that he would grant £5m towards the cost, so making it a plan that can be implemented in the next few years; see further information here and below.
Peckham Rye station does not comply with the requirements for disabled access. It can also be inaccessible for people with heavy luggage and small children. This is recognised and the aim is to install lifts to each platform. This needs major works. Initial plans developed for Southern Rail the managers of the station were presented by Southern’s architects to the RLSAG on 28 October 2009. Read more... This raised a number of problems relating to the historic building, and access to the platforms and the Old Waiting Room. However they were not progressed as Peckham Rye station had not been incuded in Department for Transport's (DfT) Access for All programme for funding. Because of the major restoration programme now being planned, Network Rail is currently (2013) examining the access issues and will be putting a proposal to the DfT this year to make the station fully accessible. Peckham Vision has developed proposals for new lifts which meet platform 3 users' needs and also the needs for lift access into the Old Waiting Room.
The huge magnificent empty space above the ticket hall began to come to light again during the recent years through campaigns by the Peckham Society, Rye Lane & Station Action Group and Peckham Vision. It was referred to as the Old Billiard Hall as it had been used for many decades by the railway staff as a recreation room. But the Billiard Hall was closed and the windows bricked up over 40 years ago and it remained a secret silent place inhabited mainly by pigeons. It was originally the Waiting Room for platforms 2 and 3, so it is also referred to as the Old Waiting Room. Over the last few years, it has been revived and opened to view again. This work has been inspired and led by Benedict O’Looney, local architect and historian, working with Eileen Conn from Peckham Vision, and supported by the Peckham Society, with small grants from the Community Council Cleaner, Greener, Safer Scheme. Restoration work and fund raising continues. See here for what remains to be done and the current plans.
Some CGS funding was secured by the Southwark Rail Users' Group (SRUG) for 2010/2011 to put together for a joint project with Southern Rail to clear away some of the clutter and to brighten up the station forecourt. This work dovetailed with the work to reveal the stone and cast iron staircase when the ground floor windows were unbricked in the tower to the left of the ticket hall. The first stage of this work has now been completed. Read more...
Peckham Rye station is at the intersection of two railway lines - one from London Bridge in a south west direction, and one coming from Blackfriars and Victoria (which join at Denmark Hill) and going south east to Kent. This means that going into central London Peckham Rye is directly connected to several Tube lines:
- London Bridge within 10 minutes connections to Jubilee & Northern Lines
- Blackfriars within 13 minutes connections to District & Circle Lines (suspended until Autumn 2011 for work at Blackfriars)
- St Pancras/Kings Cross (via Blackfriars) within 23 minutes to Northern, Victoria, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Circle Lines
- Victoria within 15 minutes to Victoria, Circle, District Lines
- Farringdon within 20 minutes to Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Circle Lines
Going out of central London there are several ultimate destinations in south London, Kent and Surrey.
For handy tips from rail users on how best to use all these connections, click here.
 Stages in Peckham Rye Station Rehabilitation
 Opening the discussion about the possible changes on the site April 2013
We have produced, as a discussion aid, this illustrated map of the station. It is based on the map in the Cabinet report. The colours are broad brush indications of different parts of the site and not precise boundaries. They show how the different parts might relate to the regeneration ideas, so it can help us all to know what we are referring to in discussion. The colours refer to
- Station Arcade (blue): the buildings between the rail lines in front of the station building.
- Holly Grove & Blenheim Grove (pink): the buildings fronting these two streets & fronting the station forecourts under the rail-tracks adjacent to either side of the station building.
- Potential rear market (green): the rail arches, their forecourts and access road from Blenheim Grove.
- The Arches (yellow): the rail arches beyond the potential rear market with separate access from Blenheim Grove.
The agreed plan is to remove the buildings in Station Arcade to recreate the public square, and to create a path from front to rear of the station at ground floor level within the station building to connect the new front square and a new rear market. There is no information on ideas or plans for other buildings or parts of the site. We had understood that there would be public consultation and discussion about the design of all this before decisions on design and final plans are made. But the process is currently not known.
In the meantime lots of people want to know more and discuss different aspects of it so we hope that the map we have produced will be useful for that, and for clarifying what the range of possibilities may be. We will be glad to respond to any queries to help the discussion along.
 PV Deputation to Cabinet to stop wholesale clearance of businesses on station site 16 April 2013
We had a shock in discovering a Council report for 16 April 2013 which seemed to recommend a total clear out of the businesses on Network Rail land around Peckham Rye station between Rye Lane and Bellenden Rd. See the report and map It had been expected that some businesses would be displaced by the plans to recreate the station square and reclassify the industrial land behind the station for town centre commercial use, and that for the rest there would be an organic process of change. No one expected that everything would be swept away to create a sterile place which would have to start all over again.
Peckham Vision took a deputation to the Council Cabinet meeting on 16 April at Council HQ 160 Tooley St, for clarification, and if it was a plan for wholesale clear out to seek a postponement for urgent discussions about a different approach. The room was packed with supporters from Peckham. It was nerve wracking but we won! The report had said the Council was working to secure 'vacant possession' across the whole site. After our reprsentations, the top councillors said they had no intention of clearing the whole site and going for ‘vacant possession’ of it all. They said the report was not well drafted. Council had wanted the blanket authority to do what they wanted. They didn’t get it. The community was united to protect the key local enterprises of the future. So it was a great result, with a united community, and the drastic plan appeared dead. Our vision of an integrated sustainable Peckham is still alive. But there is much hard work still ahead to keep watch and to nurture our Peckham.
While the deputation was presenting its case to the Cabinet meeting, young artists supporters from Peckham created a pop-up art performance in the lobby of Southwark Council. This was a tasteful inspiring illustration of the free independent spirit of the creative economy in Peckham which needs gentle nurturing and not a heavy handed regeneration site clearance.
See media reports:
- Southwark News 25 April 2013
- South London Press 23rd April 2013
- ARTWEEKLY website post
 Station restoration news January 2013
The latest news is summarised in Peckham Vision's January 2013 Peckham Town Centre News. This covers the work on the original staircase, the Old Waiting Room, the station square and rear (the Council's Gatway project), and the historic buildings in Rye Lane and the High Street (the Townscape Heritage Inititative project).
 VIPs visit the historic restoration work December 2012
On the 12th December Harriet Harman the local Peckham MP, accompanied by MPs Tristram Hunt and Dan Jarvis, and transport expert Christian Wolmar, visited the station to see the restoration work, and talk with Peckham Vision - see pictures. They applauded the work and pledged their support for the community's continuing work. See Evening Standard article by Tristram Hunt.
 Staircase being revealed November & December 2012
Work has started this week to open up the windowsto reveal the original iron and stone staircase in the SE tower in the forecourt. They were bricked up over 50 years ago.
Windows and door completed and staircase illuminated in the evening - a magical vision at the station.
 Latest news on the station square project October 2012
The money has been acquired and the plans are now being developed. The aim is
- to complete the restoration of the Old Waiting Room;
- to remove the shopping arcade in front and recreate the square;
- to create access from the front of the station on the ground floor to the rear of the station, and create lift access to all 4 platforms;
- to refurbish the arches to the rear of the station (behind Bar Story) so that they can be let for town centre purposes;
- to buy out any leases, and to organise and pay for the relocation of any businesses that need to move
Sometime early 2013 year the Council and Network Rail will reveal what they think they can achieve with the £12m+ in terms of those aims and ask for the public's views.
The plan would be to complete the works by 2015/2016. Subject to progress on consultation, the first 'spade in the ground' might be late 2013 or early 2014 perhaps.
In the meantime, the current restoration of the Old Waiting Room, led by Peckham Vision and Benedict O’Looney Architects, is continuing. The next stage is to unbrick the windows in the two towers in the forecourt and restore the original staircase so that towards the end of 2013 it will enable some access to the Old Waiting Room.
 Peckham Vision town centre exhibition in Old Waiting Room 2-4 August 2012
Peckham Vision’s 3 day exhibition was the culmination of years of work by some local residents and community groups. It demonstrated the success of that work to develop a new approach to the issues of Peckham town centre, including the significant role of the historic buildings including Peckham Rye station, and also the newly emerging function of the cluster of buildings and creative enterprises in the central Rye Lane area. The exhibition was designed:
- to report, to the local community on the historic restoration work and the community work in the town centre;
- to encourage local people to develop their interest in this;
- to demonstrate the significant role that the Old Waiting Room could play, when managed by the community, as a focal point for Peckham town centre in all its different dimensions as a place of commerce, enterprise, community, leisure, entertainment, education, information and social life.
 Original station square to be restored November 2011
On 23rd November 2011, the London Mayor announced that Peckham would receive between £4m-£5m from the Mayor’s £70m Regeneration Fund, which was set up to help repair the damage caused by the August 2011 riots. Southwark Council has said it will match fund the project to restore the open square in front of the station, and transform the spaces around the station in the middle of the town centre. Read more comment and Evening Standard The proposal for this project was able to be put together by the Council to meet the GLA's very fast timetable immediately after the riots because of all the work that had already been done by Peckham Vision, the Peckham Society and the Rye Lane & Station Action Group in collaboration with the Council over several years. The Southwark News reported it as recreating the 'Grand entrance’ for the Victorian station. Read the article here. The Council are now working on the details of the plans, and discussing with Peckham Vision the way the community work on the station and surrounding area can be aligned with those.
 Celebrating the Old Waiting Room and Peckham's historic buildings 31 March 2011
On 31st March 2011, the Peckham Society with Peckham Vision held a meeting in the Old Waiting Room to celebrate Peckham’s historic architecture. It was standing room only as over 120 people crowded into the historic room. New research was reported by the Peckham Society and English Heritage about the local landmarks, there was a report on progress with the proposed Conservation Area to help restore and preserve the best local buildings for the future. Exciting ideas on improving the forecourt as it is now, including new lighting, were described. An enthusiastic welcome was given to a major fund raising campaign launched at the meeting, and new volunteers recruited to the growing team: some photosand very short video
 Local residents campaign for social enterprise multi purpose venue Dec 2010
The Community Council applauded at their 8th December 2010 meeting the latest reports and pictures about the Old Waiting Room, and discussed suitable commercial uses to make the best of the wonderful space. Further funds are being sought to continue the restoration to the external staircase, & to improve the station walkways. This would be the public entrance to the space and make it useable for public activities. Local residents are developing a social enterprise project to bid for the lease for the Old Waiting Room from Network Rail as a multi purpose flexible venue. For more information, see brief here, and and blog here. If you want to get involved in this exciting project email email@example.com
 Two restoration projects completed at the Old Waiting Room July 2010
On Friday the 16th of July the latest stage of the restoration was celebrated to mark the completion of two restoration projects which have helped open up and reveal to the Peckham community the grand Victorian waiting room that had become a bricked up and forgotten space. This huge, vaulted, hall was ‘lost’ in the early 1960s when the station’s southern platforms were demolished and re-built further west. At this point British Rail closed the billiard hall that had been using the hall since about 1900, bricked up the windows and essentially forgot about this fantastic room. It became a time capsule with all its original Victorian paintwork and most of its joinery intact. The Peckham Society and the Rye Lane and Station Action Group have campaigned to restore and open up these lost parts of the Peckham Rye Station.
The station was designed by the talented Victorian architect Charles Henry Driver, who specialised in railway stations and civil engineering structures. He designed London’s great pumping stations at Abbey Mills and Crossness and detailed Bazalgette’s Thames Embankment. He also designed the London and Brighton and South Coast Railway stations at London Bridge, Denmark Hill and Battersea Park amongst many others across the south. He was passionate about the decorative possibilities of cast iron. The Peckham Society first persuaded English Heritage to list the station in 2008, then, with the help of Southwark Council, the Peckham Society architect and conservationist Benedict O’Looney began a programme of restoration.
With two ‘Cleaner Greener Safer’ grants first the windows were un-bricked and new doors and sash windows were fitted matching the original Victorian designs. The second project was to repair the large timber floor replacing the rotten areas with reclaimed 19th century wood, cleaning, sanding and sealing it. With another Southwark grant in hand, and a pledge of support from the Railway Heritage Trust, the next phase is to un-brick the sealed up windows at the station forecourt to reveal a spectacular stone and cast iron stair that has also laid unused, collecting dust for 50 years.
To celebrate the completion of this first phase of the work we decided to have a gathering in the old waiting room on the evening of Friday the 16th of July. Friends in the Peckham Community, Southwark politicians and council officers, and a strong contingent of enthusiasts for Victorian architecture all gathered to examine this ‘lost’ historic room. Hannah Parham from English Heritage spoke about why they listed the station, Paul Dobrasczcyk, the expert on the architect Charles Driver, set the Peckham Rye Station in the context of Driver’s career, Benedict talked about discoveries during the restoration project, and local activist Eileen Conn celebrated the joy of community led regeneration.
 Onwards with revitalising the station March 2010
Two more CGS proposals have been accepted by the Community Council to take this vision forward. The Peckham Society's bid for about £6k was successful to restore the beautiful metal staircase in the left hand tower from the forecourt to the Old Billiard Hall room. This adds to the work now starting on restoring the wooden floor, and the already completed opening up of the windows and flooding the huge room with light. Southwark Rail Users' Group's proposal for clearing up some of the clutter in the front (repositioning the notice board), improving the lighting and the role of the tub plants, was also accepted. This will enable SRUG to add to the money pot being provided by Southern Rail through our energetic Station Manager Barry Jones, and take part in working out the details of the improvements. Some time within the next 12 months it might be possible to open up the magnificent old room for public use. This vindicates the plan from the community groups involved of taking it one small step at a time to get there.
 Making the station accessible October 2009
Southern Rail and Network Rail are working on plans to restructure the interior of the station to instal lifts and new stair ways. The first report and discussion of this work was made at the meeting of the Rye Lane & Station Action Group (RLSAG)on Wednesday 28th October 2009. There were also reports on the plans to transform the square in front and the area behind the station (see above), and how all this fits in central Rye Lane, & with the Council's PNAAP (Peckham Area Action Plan). Read more Transforming Central Rye Lane
Photos of the meeting here. link to minutes.
 Old Billiard Hall comes back to life! April 2009
Daylight now floods, just as it used to, through large Victorian windows into the magnificent huge Old Billiard Hall above the ticket hall at Peckham Rye station. This huge room above the ticket office was originally the old waiting room and then for many decades a billiard room, but has been derelict for many years. The recent restoration is the successful result of collaboration between The Peckham Society, Rye Lane & Station Action Group, Southwark Council, Southern Rail and Network Rail. The Peckham Society have now secured some funds from the Community Council for the next stage see proposals – to restore the wooden floor and make the room fit for community and public use again. This is a significant contribution to the transformation of central Rye Lane (see here). Read more here and here.
 Peckham Rye station renovation 18 January 2009
Reports that Network Rail is funding £1m renovation work on Peckham Rye station:
15/01/09 Southwark News - £1m funding given to help renovate Peckham Rye Station. Read more...
16/01/09 South London Press - £1m facelift for run-down railway station.
 Transforming Peckham Rye Station: report launched November 2008
A breakfast briefing about Peckham Rye Station and its redevelopment took place on Friday 21 November 2008. The event launched a report, Peckham Rye Station: The Case for Change that brings together a number of ideas for the proposed development of Peckham Rye Station. These include the imminent listing and upgrade of the 19th century station building and recommendations for the creation of a focal point for the area in the form of a piazza or square.
The leader of Southwark Council, councillor Nick Stanton, Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell and Peckham, and Valerie Shawcross, GLA member, attended the briefing along with community activists, representatives from Transport for London, Network Rail and other local stakeholders.
Councillor Nick Stanton, said: “On the evidence of today’s attendance, it’s obvious there is massive support to see these improvements at Peckham Rye Station. We now have to focus our efforts on working with Network Rail to deliver this project, which will drastically improve the station and its surrounding areas, and present commuters and local residents with a far more pleasant experience.”
 Feasibility Study Agreed 2007
Striking new images of plans to create a modern public realm in the heart of Peckham town centre were shown to councillors in a presentation in 2007 to the Nunhead & Peckham Rye Community Council. This is available to download as a powerpoint presentation here and a summary is shown below.
Valerie Shawcross, Southwark/Lambeth elected representative on the Greater London Assembly (GLA), made a strong case for dramatically improving the area around Peckham Rye Station. The image on the right shows something of what this vision could look like, with an open piazza surrounded by shops to replace the shabby buildings which currently occupy the site. Central to this work would be the restoration of the outstanding 1880s station building to its former glory, as well as transforming the first floor room into a community use. The proposal would also help reduce crime and serve to boost local usage of the area. While the removal of the existing buildings in front of the station would affect local businesses in the short term, the proposal also allows for retail space in the nearby railway arches and a number of market stall facilities in the new square.
Southwark Council has recently (2007)agreed to press ahead with working out how to create the piazza in front of Peckham Rye station, and Val Shawcross obtained £50k from the GLA for this work. The Council are now developing a feasibility study with Network Rail who owns the property and Southern Rail who manage the station. Cross River Partnership and other London bodies are supporting. All the elected representatives are on board - Val Shawcross London Assembly Member for Southwark & Lambeth, local Lane ward councilors, Nunhead & Peckham Rye Community Council, and the Council’s Executive. The feasibility study will look at how it can be done technically and financially.
The recent 2007 agreement on a feasibility study is the fruit of years of campaigning by the Peckham Society, Rye Lane and Station Action Group (RLSAG) and Peckham Vision. There is a long way to go yet and local people will need to keep up the pressure. But the pursuit of this exciting new project through Council processes is greatly welcome,and will be an important ‘flagship’ development for the new strategic vision for our town centre.
- Shown to councillors in a presentation to the Nunhead & Peckham Rye Community Council in April 2007.
 Station square presentation summary April 2007
- Why a project for Peckham Rye Station?
- Preserve a beautiful Victorian station.
- Create an attractive ‘front door’ for Peckham.
- Reduce crime and fear.
- Improve local economy.
- Boost usage of area.
- Better interchange with new Cross River Tram.
- How do we go about it?
- Persuade Council to adopt project.
- Council do feasibility study.
- Seek financial support for the project.
- Put together public and private sector partnerships.
- Negotiate with Network Rail/DfT.
- Plan of long term maintenance/business plan.
- Possible Donors
- London Development Agency.
- Transport for London
- Southwark Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.
- Heritage Lottery Fund.
- Railway Heritage Trust.
- Network Rail/Spacia/DfT
- Private Sector Involvement?
- Bar or Restaurant in old ‘Billiard Room’?
- Usage of ‘arches’ building at side of square?
- Street stall style businesses?
- Components of Project
- Feasibility/construction/design (Grant Aid)
- Refurbish station frontage (Grant Aid)
- Install business in station (private investment)
- Compensate existing tenants
- Demolish buildings/construct square
- Utilities realignment.
- Create business space in arches.