Michael Armitage The Chapel, Installation View.

Michael Armitage, The Chapel, installation view at the South London Gallery, 2017. Photo Andy Stagg

The South London Gallery (SLG) is an internationally renowned public institution, with an established reputation for its contemporary exhibitions, education and events programme.

The SLG opened to the public in May 1891 to “bring art to the people of south London”. Today the SLG comprises the original South London Gallery building and the former Peckham Road Fire Station, two permanent gardens and Art Block, a creative space on Sceaux Gardens estate for local children and families.

Admission to the SLG is free for everyone throughout the year.

History

The beautiful Victorian gallery space on the ground floor, completed in January 1891 and designed by Godfrey Pinkerton, is still in use today. The original marquetry floor in the main gallery (not on public display) was designed by artist and illustrator Walter Crane and bears the inscription “The source of art is in the life of a people”.

In June 2010, the SLG almost doubled in size with the opening of the Matsudaira Wing, Clore Studio and Fox Garden, designed by 6a architects. The expansion created additional gallery space, an artists’ flat, café, the Fox Garden and the Clore Studio for education projects and events on the footprint of the original lecture hall, which was destroyed in World War II.

2018 marks the next significant phase in the Gallery’s history. Working again with 6a architects, the SLG is restoring the former Peckham Road Fire Station to create a new contemporary art centre, opening to the public in September 2018.

Dating from 1867, this Grade II listed building is the earliest surviving purpose built fire station in London, and possibly the UK, and was given to the gallery by an anonymous benefactor in 2015.

The redesign of the Fire Station will include new exhibition and education spaces, an artist’s studio, communal kitchen and an archive room exploring the SLG’s history as well as that of the local area.

Click here for more information about the history of the SLG and the Peckham Road Fire Station.