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pig sties on Peckham Rye.

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KidKruger Wrote:


> I heard there was a prisoner of war camp for

> Italians.

> Maybe they were making cured hams Parma-stylee.

Yes there was... There is still one remaing hut which I believe is for the 1 o'clock club.

The others were pulled down some years ago ???

My mother told me it was an open camp and the POW's used to walk about in Rye Lane ??

They made no attempt to escape ans after the War many stayed and opened Cafes..


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The Italian prisoners of war came to Peckham Rye Common in 1943, after Italy's capitulation. They were used as a labour force as agricultural labourers in the country but in the cities they were used for clearing bomb sites, repairing roads and later on in post-war reconstruction. It is unusual to find POW work hostel buildings still remaining especially in an urban area. There is evidence that the two huts nearest the old putting green were used by German POWs after the war. Later all the huts were used by displaced persons from Poland.

During the Italians' occupation they were treated as 'trusties'. They were allowed to go down Rye Lane to shop, they grew vegetables, cereals, kept pigs and poultry. They wore fatigues with a large circle on their backs. They occupied themselves by building a shell and stone grotto 3 and making wooden toys 4.

The huts were surrounded by barbed wire, however, and no doubt there was a curfew at night time. I understand that a few of the Italians stayed on over here, but that is anecdotal.


1. Prisoners lived on the Rye during the First World War. PSN No 67, p14, 1997

2. German POWs were housed in huts during the First World War. 'East Dulwich Remembered' John D Beasley, p25, Tempus Publishing Ltd, 2002

3. Letter, Bill Clark, PSN No 97, p6, 2004

4. Windmill made by POW. PSN, No 95, p11, 2004

5. SLP, Sept 1946.

6. Thanks to Debbie Gosling.

7. We are heavily indebted to Gary Magold, chair of the Friends of Southwark Park for this whole section.

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I remember P.O.W.s in the huts when I was young. I think it was after the war and I believe they were German. I particularly remember icicles on the huts. Someone told me that the kids used to collect cigarette ends for them. I thought I remembered an air raid shelter with a sloping roof in that vicinity, opposite the open air swimming pool.
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