Peckham Soul

Music, design and events in Peckham & South East London

Aural Postards from SE15

Posted on 13 Sep 2017


Staged as part of Peckham Festival 2017, The ‘Peckham Sound Map’ tour explores the rich and diverse musical history of SE15. Taken from available archive, we’ve put together a pictorial guide, or some Aural Postcards to accompy the Tour.

The Walmar Castle, 102 Peckham Road.

This respected Jazz venue played host to prodigious array of both American and UK Jazz talent in the 1950’s and 1960’s before becoming a Rock venue and night club spot from the late 1970’s onwards. Taking from 1979, this photo was taking during a concert of one of the many 'Mod Revival' bands to play the venue around that time


The Bouncing Ball & Mr Bee’s, 43 Peckham High Street.

Predominately a West Indian club, this  venue played host to some of Jamaica’s biggest Reggae stars during the 1970’s. It began to struggled in the 1980’s, and with a confused music policy and a reputation for aggro, it closed it's doors in the mid 1980’s.

Admiral Ken, Fatman's Hi-Fi, Brown Sugar, Johnny Clarke, Delroy Wilson, King Tubby, Jah Caesar. Classic Bouncing Ball line up.

Admiral Ken's Sound System was resident at the venue through much of it's glory days.

The colourful, pixilated and now generally forgotten Kari Band perform at the club in 1976. Below, Peckham High Sreet as it ws in 1979. You can just make out the Bouncing Ball sign.

Collyers Place / The Dolehouse, SE15

Pictorially, two desperate portrayals of cultural identity here. Firstly, smart Mods pictured in Collyer Place in late 1963. South East London Mod Scene was huge, with clubs such as The Glenlyn Ballroom in Forrest Hill where The Who had an early residency, and The El Partido in Lewisham where Soul Arists such as Major Lance, Doris Troy, Don Covay, Solomon Burke and many others, all performed.The other photos are taken from The Dolehouse, the old Social Security offices which became a centre for Anarcho-Punk Activism during late 80’s and early 1990 with gigs by the likes of the Levellers, RDF and many more.

An Iconic photo which became the cover for Richard Barnes seminal book 'Mods'

More South East London 'Faces.'

Classic DIY Dolehouse poster. Below, The Dolehouse kicks off it's reign of rebellion

Ariwa Studios

The Mad professor set up musical laboratory at 42 Gautrey Road in the early 80's, bringing a prodigious array of talent to record in the area. Amongst them Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Johnny Clarke and Pato Banton. Peckham was by the Mad Professors admission 'rough' in thoese days. A lot of people just simply wouldn't go there to record. In a supreme stroke of irony, the Professor had to quit Peckham after the studio was robbed, moving the opertation to Thornton Heath where he continues to make musical magic to this day.

Setting the controls for the heart of the Sun, The Professor in his Ariwa Studio.


The Montague Arms, 289 Queens Road.

The Montague Arms was a titan of South London pub culture during the 1960’s and 1970’s. It even boasted it’s own record release with easy listening LP's from the pub’s house band. From the late 1970’s onwards, forward thinking promoters started put on gigs by an array of cutting edge artists, includig the Gang of Four and Band of Holy Joy. In more recent times King Krule, Metronomy, Carribou, Tom Vek, Anna Calvi and King Krule have all played thee.  The NME interview pictures from February 1989, shows Indie music’s three most profligate stars amply sampling the Montague’s light refreshments.

The Montague's house band, including pub favourite Peter London, primed on the precipice of Stardom.

NME cover star, The Pogues Shane MacGowan, Nick Cave and Mark E Smith from The Fall at their Montague Summit. Below, amongst The Montague's famous Taxidermy.






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