Peckham is an area of south London within the London Borough of Southwark. It is situated 3.5 miles (5.6 km) southeast of Charing Cross (a point considered to be the centre of London from which distances are measured). The 2001 census recorded a population of 11,381 in the Peckham ward of Southwark, while the 2011 census count was 14,720.
From 1900 until 1965 it was part of Camberwell Metropolitan Borough. Prior to 1889 it was located in the county of Surrey and was part of the parish of Camberwell. It was, however, a registration sub-district as were North Peckham and South Peckham which were created in 1905 (and probably existed until 1965). It was never a civil parish.
A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Peckham from John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles of 1887:
The manor was owned by King Henry I, who gave it to his son Robert, Earl of Gloucester. When Robert married the heiress to Camberwell the two manors were united under royal ownership. King John probably hunted at Peckham and local anecdotes suggest that the right to an annual fair was granted to celebrate a particularly good day's sport. The fair grew to be a rowdy major event lasting three weeks until its abolition in 1827.
Peckham became popular as a wealthy residential area by the 16th century and there are several claims that Christopher Wren had local links. By the 18th century the area was a more commercial centre and attracted industrialists who wanted to avoid paying the expensive rents in central London. Peckham also boasted extensive market gardens and orchards growing produce for the nearby markets of London. Local produce included melons, figs and grapes. The formal gardens of the Peckham Manor House, rebuilt in 1672 by Sir Thomas Bond were particularly noticeable and can be seen on the Rocque map of 1746. The manor house was sacked in 1688, as its then owner Sir Henry Bond was a Roman Catholic and staunch supporter of James II. The house was finally demolished in 1797 for the formation of Peckham Hill Street, as the Shard family developed the area. Today Shard's Terrace and the western side of Peckham Hill Street represent this Georgian planned expansion.
The village was the last stopping point for many cattle drovers taking their livestock for sale in London. The drovers stayed in the local inns (such as The Red Cow) while the cattle were safely secured overnight in holding pens. Most of the villagers were agricultural or horticultural workers but with the early growth of the suburbs an increasing number worked in the brick industry that exploited the local London Clay.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Peckham was a "small, quiet, retired village surrounded by fields". Since 1744 stagecoaches had travelled with an armed guard between Peckham and London to give protection from highwaymen. The rough roads constrained traffic so a branch of the Grand Surrey Canal was proposed as a route from the Thames to Portsmouth. The canal was built from Surrey Commercial Docks in Rotherhithe to Peckham before the builders ran out of funds in 1826. The abbreviated canal was used to ship soft wood for construction and even though the canal was drained and backfilled in 1970 Whitten's timber merchants still stands on the site of the canal head.
In 1851 Thomas Tilling started an innovative omnibus service from Peckham to London. Tilling's buses were the first to use pre-arranged bus stops, which helped them to run to a reliable timetable. His services expanded to cover much of London until his horses were requisitioned for the Army in World War I.
The late 19th century also saw the arrival of George Batty, a manufacturer of condiments, whose main business stood at Finsbury Pavement on the northern border of the City of London. The company's Peckham premises occupied 19 railway arches. It was acquired by the H. J. Heinz Company in 1905 as their first UK manufacturing base.
Before Peckham Rye railway station was opened in 1865 Peckham had developed around two centres: north and south. In the north, housing spread out to the south of the Old Kent Road, including Peckham New Town, built on land owned by the Hill family (from whom the name Peckham Hill Street derives). In the south, large houses were built to the west of the common land called Peckham Rye and the lane that led to it.
With the arrival of the railway and the introduction of horse-drawn trams about ten years later, Peckham became accessible to artisans and clerical staff working in the City and the docks. Housing for this socio-economic group filled almost all the remaining fields except the Rye. In 1868 the vestry of Camberwell St Giles bought the Rye to keep it as common land. Responding to concerns about the dangerous overcrowding of the common on holidays the vestry bought the adjacent Homestall Farm (the last farm in the area) in 1894 and opened this as Peckham Rye Park.
Nunhead is now a place in the London Borough of Southwark in London, England. It is an inner-city suburb located 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Charing Cross (a point considered to be the centre of London from which distances are measured). It is the location of the 52 acres (0.21 km2) Nunhead Cemetery. Nunhead has traditionally been a working-class area and, with the adjacent neighbourhoods, is currently going through a lengthy process of "gentrification".
Nunhead formed part of the large ancient parish of Camberwell in the Brixton hundred of Surrey. It has not formed an independent unit of civil administration, however as population grew a separate Nunhead St. Antholin (or St. Anthony) ecclesiastical parish was created in 1878, with a church built in 1877.
The area then came within the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1855 and was transferred to the County of London in 1889. Having formed part of the Camberwell parish, it became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell in 1900. In 1887 Nunhead is recorded as having a population of 10,727.
Camberwell Old Cemetery, on Forest Hill Road, is a later example of the ring of Victorian cemeteries that were built to alleviate the overcrowding of churchyards that was experienced with the rapid expansion of London in the 19th century. Camberwell Old Cemetery did not have the grandeur of nearby Nunhead Cemetery, which was one of the original London necropoleis, and once nearing capacity it was replaced by Camberwell New Cemetery on Brenchley Gardens.
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