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Peckham name is of Saxon origin and it means “homestead of/around Peck.” Peck is a small South London stream. It ran through Peckham Nunhead until 1823 when it was enclosed. Archaeological findings show that there was a Roman settlement here. In the 11th century, the area was known as Pecheham and it was under the administration of the Bishop of Lisieux. Supposedly, King John hunted here. Rumor has it that an annual event celebrated a good hunting session. The small fair grew into a three-week event and it was discontinued in 1827. The area was a popular place for wealthy people in the 16th century.
In 1894, the London City Council bought Homestall Farm and established Peckham Rye Park. Sexby Garden is one of the park’s first facilities and it is named after Colonel J.J. Sexby who was the First Officer of Parks at that time. World War II Italian prisoners were housed on the park’s Common. A part of the River Peck can be found on the west side of the park. In 1767, artist William Blake had a vision of angels in Peckham Rye Park. The railway station in this SE15 area was opened in 1865.
Peckham Nunheah features in several literature and TV works. It is the setting for The Ballad of Peckham Rye 1960 novel by Muriel Sparks. The sitcom Only Fools and Horses and its spin-off Rock & Chips was set in the area as well. Youngers and Desmond’s TV series are filmed here. The Old Nun’s Head is a pub in Peckham Nunhead. The name is derived from the local legend that a nun was beheaded here. The Stone House in Camberwell Old Cemetery features in the Entertaining. Mr. Sloane 1970 movie. Frederick John Horniman the founder of the Horniman Museum and Jack Whicher, founding member of the Detective Branch of the Metropolitan Police, rest here.