A Peckham (North) Walk

Route & what to see


A 3 mile circular walk from Peckham Rye Station. It includes the award-winning Peckham Library, the route of the Grand Surrey Canal, the Chumleigh Gardens (refreshments available) plus other green spaces and buildings of interest. This walk can be combined with the Peckham (south) route as indicated in the text.

Exit station and go left along Rye Lane.
The station opened in 1865 and in 1921 the waiting room became a billiard room. The Baptist Chapel was designed by John Bland in 1863. Further along an indoor market is located to the left. Only the corner building remains of the former Jones & Higgins store.

Cross Peckham High Street to Peckham Square
The square occupies the site of the canal basin and has artwork by London Arts. The Arch was installed in 1994 and the lights change with the atmosphere. Peckham Space is an arts initiative developed by Camberwell College of Arts and Southwark Council. Peckham Pulse is a Healthy Living Centre provided by the local authority in 1998. The Library designed by Alsop & Stormer won the Sterling Prize in 2001. It replaced the pre-fabricated building in Peckham Hill Street opened in 1954. There are good views in both directions from the 4th (public library) floor.

From the square follow the signed route to Burgess Park (cycle route 22)
There is a notice introducing this walk which follows the line of the Peckham extension of the Grand Surrey Canal (1826-1971). It passes under two retained bridges of the 1870s.

When the path enters the park take the path to the left
Burgess Park was created piecemeal from the 1950s from bomb sites and demolition of premises. It is named after Jessie Burgess, a former mayor and councillor.

Cross Trafalgar Avenue and continue towards the church ahead.
The route is now following the main canal opened in 1811. On the right there were ice stores until 1920.

Before the church follow signs to Chumleigh Gardens to the right.
These are laid out among buildings that were formerly the Friendly Female Society Almshouses, opened in 1821 and added to in 1844 & 1847. There are attractive gates by Heather Burrell and a memorial to 22 people killed in a Zeppelin raid. The site has themed and community gardens, a cafe, toilets and ranger's office.

Return to the path and go towards the library building on Wells Way.
The Passmore Edwards Library was designed by Maurice Adams in 1902 along with the neighbouring baths and wash house.

Left at Wells Way
The Camberwell Beauty Butterfly depicted in tiles came from the demolished gummed paper works of Samuel Jones. The area alongside, planted with trees in 1977, was formerly a coal wharf. St George's Church was designed by Francis Bedford in 1822-4 and closed in 1972. It was converted into 31 small flats in 1993. The bronze war memorial of 1918 is by Arild Rosenkrantz.

Opposite the baths continue through the park (a subway runs under the road).
There is a tiled map in the subway and an art installation around the restored lime kiln further along. This was part of works which closed in 1916.

Between the new sports building and the tennis courts go left into Addington Square.
The houses were built 1810-1855 alongside wharves, baths and a vestry depot site. The gates leading to the former King George's Park have been retained.

Exit on the far side into New Church Road
Opposite are Evelina Mansions of 1900.

Cross and go left then right at Southampton Way
The premises of a salvage company are of interest. [
view pix 192KB]

Right into Sedgmoor Place
The Aged Pilgrims' Home was completed in 1837 and founded by William Peacock.

Right at Dalwood Street
At the end an unusual circular building of the former hospital has been converted to flats.

Right along Havil Street
Notice Brunswick Villas to the left. Opposite is the Bethel Asylum for aged women also founded by Peacock in 1837.

Left at Ada Road. Cross St Giles Road into Brunswick Park.
This was originally a private garden for the surrounding early 19th century houses. It was purchased in 1901 and opened to the public in 1907. A playground and tennis courts were added in 1937 and it was refurbished in 1997-9.

Walk to the left through the park then exit into St Giles Road and go right.
Arts & Crafts style buildings of 1904 remain from the hospital, much of which was demolished for housing.

Left at Peckham Road then cross into Vestry Road
There are some Arts & Crafts style houses.

Opposite Maude Road go into Lucas Gardens and walk through to the left.
Originally the grounds of East Terrace these became a public park in 1955.

Exit into Peckham Road.
Opposite is the Southwark Town Hall. This was rebuilt by Culpin & Bowers in 1934 to incorporate the former vestry hall of 1872-3.

Go right along the main road.
Set back are some Georgian buildings including the Southwark Registry office. Beyond these is a former piano factory. Further along on the left is the Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts and South London Art Gallery. Both were designed by Maurice Adams in the 1890s. The present fire station is next to that built in 1867. There are two fine school board buildings. Peckham Lodge, former premises of the TGWU, provides acccommodation. Wilsons cycles have been trading on this site since 1882.

To continue on the Peckham (south) route go right at Bellenden Road otherwise next right at Rye Lane back to the station.


The Story of Peckham and Nunhead by John D Beasley (LB Southwark Neighbourhood History No 3)
Discover the Real Peckham (Information leaflet produced by
Southwark Council and the Peckham Society)
Retracing Canals to Croydon and Camberwell (Living History publication No 7)
Buildings of England - London 2: South by Cherry & Pevsner
Green Camberwell walk leaflet
More info on the hospital building [
click here]

london-footprints.co.uk 2010

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