Saturday, February 24, 2024

Peckham Peace Centre 1939

The Peace Pledge Union was the main organisation of pacifists in Britain from its foundation in 1934, based on a pledge to 'renounce war and never support or sanction another'. It had an active Peckham branch, and in 1939 opened a local HQ at 158 Queens Road, Peckham, named after its founder Dick Sheppard.

Peace News, 2 June 1939

The Peckham group of the PPU began meeting at the Dick Sheppard Centre in June 1939. Six members were living on the premises and 'pacifists needing contact or COs [conscientious objectors] advice' were invite to call there any evening. 

Peace News, 23 June 1939

Once the war started PPU members may have refused to fight but they helped support local people caught up in the Blitz. In October 1940 it was reported that the 'Dick Sheppard Centre (158, Queens Road) is always open to the public during air raids and members have been standing by to do emergency rescue work. At times there has been no 'standing' about it, for they have been far too busy finding homes for the homeless, putting out fires, and collecting clothes and furniture to meet the more pressing needs. When an urgent phone call asked them to take in four homeless people, the group meeting room was turned into a bedroom and the Centre generally rearranged' (Peace News, 4 October 1940).

158 Queens Road today

Not sure how long the Centre continued for.

In this period there was also a PPU associated Blackheath Peace Shop.

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