the peckham experiment
The Peckham Experiment took place between 1926 and 1950, initially generated by rising public concern over the health of the working class and an increasing interest in preventative social medicine.
Williamson and Pearse recruited 950 local families to be part of “The Peckham Experiment”. Paying one shilling (5 pence) a week, they had access to a range of activities such as physical exercise, swimming, games and workshops.
Members underwent a medical examination once a year, and they were monitored throughout the year as they participated in the Centre’s events.
Central to Scott Williamson’s philosophy was the belief that
left to themselves people would spontaneously begin to organize in a creative way, and this happened,
the members initiating a wide range of sporting, social and cultural activities using the facilities offered by the Centre.
The Pioneer Centre was designed by Sir Owen Williams and moved away from the idea of traditional lines dominating medical buildings. Williams created a large open space using the latest structural techniques allowing the Centre’s doctors to properly observe the members. At the middle of the Centre a large swimming pool was covered by a glazed roof, which, along with large areas of windows, allowed natural light into the building. These windows could be fully opened to circulate fresh air into the building. The cork floors allowed people to move about barefoot.
The Centre went into abeyance during the Second World War, but was restored to a condition fit for re-opening by the members themselves. In 1950, however, it finally closed, since its innovative approach did not fit well with the new National Health Service, and it proved impossible to obtain adequate funding from other sources to keep it going as an independent concern.
echoes of mincome.. ness..