Originally called Camberwell Fire Station, the Grade II listed building is the earliest surviving purpose-built fire station constructed after the formation of London’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) in 1866. Designed by Edward Cresy Junior, architect to the MFB, the ground floor was originally comprised of space to house the fire engines and other working areas, whilst the upper floors were given over to living quarters for the firemen and their families.
By the 1920s, the station was no longer deemed fit to meet the operational and domestic requirements of a modern fire station. A general lack of space, the absence of sliding poles from the upper floors to the ground floor, and no hot water installation all contributed to the decision to build a new station. When the new Peckham Road Fire Station opened in 1925 on the nearby corner of Talfourd Road and Peckham Road, the old station was sold.
Kennedy’s, a local firm of butchers and sausage makers, acquired the former fire station, and from 1934 to 2007 used it as its head office and factory and a new manufacturing area at the rear of the building. Several alterations were later made to the building, including the removal of fireplaces and the addition of a dumb waiter.
The Fire Station was sold at auction in 2008 but remained empty and eventually became semi-derelict. It was donated to the South London Gallery in 2014 and has recently opened to the public as the SLG’s second venue after having been restored in a design led by 6a architects.
Find out more about the SLG’s redevelopment of Peckham Road Fire Station.