Back in July 2016, the South London Gallery submitted an ambitious application to Viridor Credits for funding towards their expansion into the Grade II listed former Peckham Road Fire Station to enable them to create an innovative model of contemporary art centre and cultural hub on the Peckham Road.
The building, originally built in 1867, has a rich and varied history which is every bit as fascinating as the current use. Originally called Camberwell Fire Station, it was the first purpose built fire station to be built after the formation of London's Metropolitan Fire Brigade. By the 1920's it was deemed no longer fit for service and was sold. In 1934 in was acquired by a local firm of butchers and sausage makers who used it as their head office and factory all the way up to 2017.
It was sold at auction in 2008 but remained derelict until it was anonymously donated to the SLG in 2014. A £4million conservation and restoration project was unveiled to celebrate the Fire Station's architectural significance and works started in January 2017. The Viridor Credits application focussed on works to the façade of the building, including the repair of cracks, repointing, decorations and other integral works to the doors and windows.
The new building provides gallery spaces, an archive room, artists studio's, kitchen and terrace, combined with both community and education facilities, all spread out over four floors, maintaining the original layout of rooms wherever possible.
On the 20th September, General Manager Alison Salvador attended the official opening of the South London Gallery's annexe at the Fire Station was able to preview the brand new 'Knock Knock' exhibition that was launched.
Alison Salvador, General Manager at Viridor Credits was fortunate to be able to attend the opening night and said: "It was over two years ago that the South London Gallery (SLG) approached Viridor Credits with their ambitious plans to create a new contemporary art space and second venue for the SLG in the former Peckham Road Fire Station. The Grade II listed building dating from 1867and gifted to the SLG through a rare philanthropic gesture, is the earliest surviving example of a purpose-built fire station in London but was derelict and in desperate need of renovation. The project offered the unique opportunity to bring this heritage landmark back into public use and will enable the SLG to grow to a new level of reach and impact, doubling the SLG's floor space and increasing visitor numbers accordingly. The Board were incredibly impressed with the plans for the building itself and also the local and national impact the cultural programme of events would have. They didn't hesitate in awarding almost the maximum funding available to this project. I was delighted to be able to see at first hand the completed building and the amazing space that is now available for the local community."