Peckham Rye Station

Restoration of Peckham Rye station cresting

Peckham Rye Station, built in 1865, was designed by Charles Henry Driver (1832 – 1900), architect of the London Bridge Station Sheds, Battersea Park Station and Denmark Hill Station. Peckham Rye was at an important junction – the London Brighton and South Coast Railways used the southern platforms and the London Dover and Chatham Railway the northern platforms. The 1865 rebuild was prompted by the need to add a transfer to the new Crystal Palace a few miles south. The station is in bold Continental Renaissance Revival style, with a French mansard roof, elaborate ironwork, including cresting along the roof, colonettes and a canopy. It was built at the height of 1860s architectural fashion, unusual for a suburban station. The station has three storeys, with two projecting wings. The impressive stone staircase in the western wing has been recently restored. This leads to a vast former first-class waiting room, above the booking office. The next phase of restoration has focused on the front elevation.

The ironwork at Peckham Rye Station is of special interest. Charles Driver lectured on the design and use of cast iron and worked for a number of iron foundries on patterns and designs. Peckham’s naturalistic ironwork was specially designed for the site. Driver described its foliate style thus: ‘If scroll-work ornamentation is used, all curves and sprays and leaves should spring from the main stem in a natural way, growing out of it.’ In the early 20th century, the circulation of the station was significantly reorganised. Windows were blocked up and one wing’s staircase was removed. In 1962, the main booking hall was truncated and the first floor waiting room closed off. The iron cresting, a visually significant element of the original façade, was removed from the building.

HOLT’s funding will enable new cast iron cresting for the mansard roof to be designed and installed to match archive photos. The project will include the steam cleaning of the yellow/pink brickwork, repairs to the iron rainwater fittings, the renewing of the ‘Taylors Patent’ tiles on the wing roofs and the repainting of all decorative cast iron work. These repairs will make visible a distinctive aspect of Peckham Rye station’s original design, restoring an element for which its architect was particularly renowned.

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