Old Kent Road: walks

dates: 2017-ongoing
project title: Old Kent Road walks
collaboration with: Livesey Exchange, Peckham Weeklies, Vital OKR, London Festival of Architecture, Open House London and all the fabricators and manufacturers we visited.
photography: Alexander Christie, Luke O’Donovan

In collaboration with the Peckham Weeklies what if: projects organised guided walks offering a window into the Old Kent Road’s wider industrial goings-on, taking visitors behind usually closed doors to see businesses in action.

The Old Kent Road (OKR) is one of London’s oldest roads, and for well over a century it has been at the centre of an area alive with industry. From hats, costume, tin can, terrazzo, scenery and tray manufacturers to printers, menders, fabricators, construction merchants and couriers, the close to 1000 businesses trading along and around the OKR are a rich resource for the Capital, making and supplying the things and the services it needs, as well as offering thousands of local jobs.

“In terms of the open house tour you led of the Livesy Exchange, Kaymet Factory and surrounding area around the Old Kent Road I found it very informative and eye opening. I am a resident in Peckham and had no idea that there were so many local businesses, studios and industries in the area. The Livesy Exchange project is exactly what the area needs to encourage local industry and UK manufacturing generally. The tour gave me a new found appreciation of the importance of these buildings and the people in them. Especially in light of Brexit, there needs to be more done to encourage UK led industry and innovation. More needs to be done to nurture and protect local industry. I for one fully support your project and the need to protect our local businesses.” (feedback from walk participant, Open House London, September 2017)

Thank you to all the businesses we visited as part of the walks Flux Metal, James Glancey who make the Christmas Lighting for Oxford Street amongst other things, fabricators Studio Make Create, terrazzo company Diespeker, community art project DIY space, Miber engineering, tray manufacturer Kaymet, London Stone Carving, fabricators Weber Industries, John Hinds framing and the Livesey Exchange temporary workshops.

Walks were led by Ulrike Steven of what if: projects, Mark Brearley of tray manufacturer Kaymet, Professor at CASS Cities, London Metropolitan University and founder of business association Vital OKR; Alex Marsh a contributor to the Peckham Weeklies

A photo zine ‘Old Kent Road a place of industry’ was produced by the Peckham Weeklies with photographer Alexander Christie and is available for £3.