Chez l'abeille

Culture. Travel. Writing. My world in words and pictures

Walking the line

Peckham coal line walk routeThere’s been a lot of talk about lines recently. Mainly red ones, drawn metaphorically by politicians, marking the extent of their policies in the recent General election. There is however a newer line being discussed down in SE15: The Peckham Coal Line Walk.

Historically, the space between the twin railway lines which connect at Peckham Rye Station formed a coal yard – run by a company called Rickett Cockerell & Co Ltd. The railwayline sidings were used as a coal drop, where coal would be stored before being sold on. A rather grandiose royal warrant and a sign over the doorway to their office in a photo held by the Museum of London indicate their status as “Coal Merchants to the King” (enlarge the image to see the detail). It would also appear that they were involved in an interesting lawsuit involving the sale of goods act. From this I learn, as consumers, we are not expected to test the entire contents of a sack of coalite, just in case of rogue detonators.

On then to the big idea of the Coal Line Walk : There are so many little pockets of green space around the railway lines which hold the centre of Peckham in an interlocking embrace. Why not link two Peckham stations and the communities around them, by creating a walkway which would use Victorian high level sidings and existing green spaces to create a greenway within our urban sprawl?

This is not a design but a model of the vision.

Today, as part of the Chelsea fringe, there was an opportunity to walk around the route and see how this will fit into the existing infrastructure. Quite a crowd gathered at the Bussey Building for the 11.30 guided walk – there is clearly a high level of enthusiasm for this type of development. The project has apparently got a fair amount of involvement from Network Rail and Southwark Council but even with this it will be at least 5 years before anything is fully realised, so we will have to wait to see how this fully pans out.

During the walk to Queens Road, in an area I thought I knew well, I was also fascinated to discover a previously unknown nature reserve, a short hop from the last school I taught in. Which just goes to show there is always something new around a corner!

If you are interested in this project, further details can be found at the website

An update from The Coal line can be found here.

©Chez l’abeille 2015


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