St Mary’s Church in Peckham, a bold and innovative 1960s landmark building, is due to be demolished after a refusal by Southwark Council to include the church in a Conservation Area. The Church of England (CofE) who own the building are planning to replace it. They have already sold a second site in the neighbourhood in order to finance the demolition of the church and a replacement scheme.
Southwark Council initially backed the Conservation Area designation which would have protected the church building, but has changed its mind. Now that the building has been denied the protection of Conservation Area status demolition is most likely. St Mary’s Church is an impressive, well designed building which is structurally sound. Its demolition would be an act of vandalism.
St Mary’s Church forms the climax of a London street rich in C20 heritage; St Mary’s Road also features the Grade II* listed Pioneer Health Centre by architect Owen Williams, a block of listed flats by the acclaimed modernist Maxwell Fry and a handsome 1930s telephone exchange. The church itself sits in the centre of the road and forms a stunning visual endpoint. What is proposed in its place by CofE is of no architectural merit.
Cordula Zeidler, Caseworker,
The Twentieth Century Society, 020 7250 3857
Also see: www.riskybuildings.org.uk
St Mary’s Church was built in 1961-2 to designs by Potter and Hare, an architectural practice that worked already between the wars and specialised in ecclesiastical architecture and designed inter alia the listed All Saint’s, Bristol and St Aldate’s, Gloucester.