Iconic South London sausage shop restored to former Art Deco glory
29 November 2023
Southwark Council is delighted that a precious piece of South London history has been saved at 305 Walworth Road, as one of the oldest surviving Kennedy’s sausage shops in South London which ran for nearly 140 years.
It has now been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register thanks to works grant-funded by Southwark Council and Historic England.
The newly restored Art Deco building is home to Lao Dao, a restaurant serving XinJiang Chinese cuisine by the team behind the much-loved Silk Road restaurant in Camberwell.
The building is Grade II Listed as a notable example of the butcher’s shop from the 1920’s with its distinctive features intact, including a detailed Art Deco shopfront and tiled interior.
The first Kennedy’s shop opened in 1877 on Rye Lane in Peckham, with the family-run chain expanding to nine more branches across South East London. Kennedy’s used a consistent design in shops across the chain, including signage and lettered display cabinets and shelves.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Walworth Road developed as a main trading street. It included East Street Market, considered to be one of the oldest trading markets in London. The Walworth Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) aims to promote the rediscovery and enjoyment of Walworth as a historic urban village.
Under the HAZ, the council worked the new owner of the shop and Walworth-based IDK architects who led on the works to restore the original interior and shop front, with support from Bermondsey-based conservation architects Purcell. This was paid for using over £60k in grant funding split between the council and Historic England.
Cllr Helen Dennis, cabinet member for new homes & sustainable development, said: “Kennedy’s were a staple of South London for many years, with their distinctive shopfronts and eye-catching tiling. We are so lucky to have one of the oldest surviving shops in Southwark, now ready to be enjoyed by the community for many years to come. We are grateful to have worked closely with the new owners and Historic England to preserve this historic gem in the heart of Walworth.”
James Pockson, director at IDK architects, said: “It has been a true privilege, as a local architecture team, to restore a jewel in the crown of Walworth, supported by a fantastic client, Southwark Council and Historic England. Many specialists and craftspeople have come together to revive this important structure and without their immense skill and care, it would not have been possible. A key part of our sustainable future lies in the conservation of our built heritage. It's not only about our built fabric, but our collective stories too. We hope that the story of Kennedy's continues for a long time as the world of Walworth changes around it in diverse and vibrant ways."
Tim Pan, owner of Lao Dao, said: “It is such a great honour for Lao Dao to have the opportunity to participate in restoring of Kennedy Sausage shop. We dedicated our time and effort closely with Southwark Council and Historic England in the past two years to not only restore aesthetic appeal of the shop, but also to revive its essence. We will now offer the authentic Chinese XinJiang cuisine to local community in this extraordinary venue and aim to keep it in that way for years to come."
Richard Parish, Walworth Heritage Action Zone lead at Historic England, said: “The restoration of the former Kennedy’s shop is a key success of the Walworth Heritage Action Zone, which concludes this year. A strong partnership approach has ensured the character of this building lives on and remains a landmark on Walworth Road for everyone to enjoy.”
Kit Stiby Harris, architect at Purcell, said: “Kennedy’s is a remarkable survivor of a gilded age of commerce, where the pride of the brand – once a household name in South London – can be felt in every detail of its wonderful interior. It has been a pleasure to work with Mr Yu Pan, IDK, Historic England and Southwark Council to create Lao Dao, a fantastic new restaurant for Walworth set within this extraordinary piece of local heritage.”
Photo credits: Image Chris Redgrave, © Historic England Archive
Page last updated: 06 December 2023