Top Ten Endangered Buildings 2021: Jones & Higgins Department Store, London, Unlisted, Henry Jarvis & Sons, 1894

The Jones and Higgins Department store opened on the corner of Rye Lane and Peckham High Street in 1867 and formed a key part of a ‘Golden Mile’ of shops that rivalled Oxford Street. The clock tower was designed by Southwark architects Henry Jarvis & Sons, who also built Dulwich Hospital and the Walworth Town Hall. They took their inspiration for the building’s façade from the Clock Tower in St. Mark’s Square, Venice.

The Jones and Higgins Department Store opened on the corner of Rye Lane and Peckham High Street in 1867 and formed a key part of a ‘Golden Mile’ of shops that rivalled Oxford Street. The clock tower was designed by Southwark architects Henry Jarvis & Sons, who also built Dulwich Hospital and the Walworth Town Hall. They took their inspiration for the building’s façade from the Clock Tower in St. Mark’s Square, Venice.


The original store closed its doors in 1980 and part of the building has since been demolished to make room for the Aylesham Centre. The rest of the building was taken over by the Peckham Palais nightclub until it closed almost 10 years ago.


Without an occupier or purpose, the building is falling into ruin, despite receiving some respite in 2015, when local architect Benedict O’Looney received funding to repair the clock that had been out of service since 1980. The building was intended to become a new pub or club venue, but remains unused, and now there is cause for serious concern about the building, and the clock has stopped again. Peckham has seen huge investment and change in recent years.


Griff Rhys Jones said: “There is a feeling of nostalgia for this beautiful building in the local community, many of whom still remember it as an important part of the high street. The building’s architectural credentials, with its clock tower and design that is an ode to Venice, make it a valuable heritage asset. Its local connections with other buildings that were built by the same Southwark architects make it a vital part of a larger heritage context. This impressive structure at the centre of Peckham is at risk of falling further into disrepair. Surely a use can be found for this striking building in what was described by the New York Times as ‘The Beating Heart of London’s Most Dynamic Art Scene’?”


Picture Credits: John Cowley


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