Restoration of the appliance baysPeckham Road's fire station is London's earliest surviving purpose-built fire station. It was built in 1867 by the architect Edward Cresy Jnr for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the first public authority fire protection in London. There were two appliance bays on the ground floor, next to the carriage way for the horse-drawn carriages to enter, plus accommodation for the firemen and their families on the upper floors. The upper floors are domestic in style, with moulded terracotta and polychromatic brickwork. Once the shift working system was in place in 1920, firemen no longer needed to live at the station with their families and many fire stations went out of use. Peckham's was replaced by a new building next door in 1925.
Once superceded, the building was used as a factory and offices by the south London business Kennedy's Sausages. whose building remains next door. It has been derelict for thirty years and although structurally sound it is in poor condition, with water ingress and dry rot.
The HOLT grant is helping the South London Gallery restore the fire station to become a contemporary arts centre and annexe to their main site, and house archives relating to the South London Gallery and the fire station. The first floor will house exhibition spaces and the top floor an artist's studio and education space. The appliance bay doors at the front of the building will be restored to their original design, while the carriage way will be restored as the main public entrance to the fire station.
The new gallery will be an accessible and free venue encouraging people to engage in contemporary art and heritage. Programming will include a traineeship scheme for young people and a volunteering programme.