I was excited to be at the launch of the former Peckham Road Fire Station last week - a new contemporary art space and annexe for the South London Gallery (SLG) which has been realised through a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, amongst other fundraising. When I first worked at the SLG I carried out a Community Consultation that fed into the phase 2 bid and then set up a Community Forum for the Gallery.
I was lucky to look inside the building at an early stage when it was in a derelict state but two and a half years later it has undergone an incredible transformation whilst retaining original features such as the windows and doors. On the lower floor there is a shop, a gallery space and an archive room - the SLG archive has been made public for the first time. The next floor up contains two gallery spaces, and on the third floor a gallery space and community kitchen. On the top floor ‘the attic’ is the Gallery’s new education space with a room adjacent which will become an artist studio but is currently showing a film made as part of a local community project. A lift replaces the original staircase and a beautifully designed white stairway has been inserted into the space where the horse drawn fire engines were kept.
The Grade II listed 1867 Fire Station building is the earliest surviving example of a purpose built fire station in London, and it housed the families of the firemen which is why there were domestic sized spaces including a kitchen. I for one am keen to find out more about the building and the stories it could tell, as well as to see the exhibitions and participate in the events taking place there both now and in the future.
For more information about the SLG Firestation visit here
The former Peckham Road Fire Station