"Peckham" is a Saxon place name meaning the village of the River Peck, a small stream that ran through the district until it was enclosed in 1823. Archaeological evidence indicates earlier Roman occupation in the area, although the name of this settlement is lost. Peckham appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Pecheham. It was held by the Bishop of Lisieux from the Bishop of Bayeux. Its Domesday assets were: 2 hides. It had land for 1 plough, 2 acres (8,100 m2) of meadow. It rendered £1 10s 0d (£1.50). The manor was owned by King Henry I, who gave it to his son Robert, Earl of Gloucester. When Robert married the heiress to Camberwell the two manors were united under royal ownership. King John probably hunted at Peckham and local anecdotes suggest that the right to an annual fair was granted to celebrate a particularly good day's sport. The fair grew to be a rowdy major event lasting three weeks until its abolition in 1827. Peckham became popular as a wealthy residential area by the 16th century and there are several claims that Christopher Wren had local links. By the 18th century the area was a more commercial centre and attracted industrialists who wanted to avoid paying the expensive rents in central London. Peckham also boasted extensive market gardens and orchards growing produce for the nearby markets of London. Local produce included melons, figs and grapes. The formal gardens of the Peckham Manor House, rebuilt in 1672 by Sir Thomas Bond were particularly noticeable. The manor house was sacked in 1688, as its then owner Sir Henry Bond was a Roman Catholic and staunch supporter of James II. The house was finally demolished in 1797 for the formation of Peckham Hill Street, as the Shard family developed the area. Today Shard's Terrace, the block that contains Manze's Pie and Mash shop, and the western side of Peckham Hill Street represent this Georgian planned expansion.
The village was the last stopping point for many cattle drovers taking their livestock for sale in London. The drovers stayed in the local inns (such as the Red Cow) while the cattle were safely secured overnight in holding pens. Most of the villagers were agricultural or horticultural workers but with the early growth of the suburbs an increasing number worked in the brick industry that exploited the local London Clay. In 1767 William Blake visited Peckham Rye and had a vision of an angel in a tree. At the beginning of the 19th century, Peckham was a "small, quiet, retired village surrounded by fields". Since 1744 stagecoaches had travelled with an armed guard between Peckham and London to give protection from highwaymen. The rough roads constrained traffic so a branch of the Grand Surrey Canal was proposed as a route from the Thames to Portsmouth. The canal was built from Surrey Commercial Docks to Peckham before the builders ran out of funds in 1826. The abbreviated canal was used to ship soft wood for construction and even though the canal was drained and backfilled in 1970 Whitten's timber merchants still stands on the site of the canal head. In 1851 Thomas Tilling started an innovative omnibus service from Peckham to London. Tilling's buses were the first to use pre-arranged bus stops, which helped them to run to a reliable timetable. His services expanded to cover much of London until his horses were requisitioned for the Army in the First World War. The station opened with the line on 13 August 1866, and had two wooden side platforms and an intermediate centre platform to serve the third centre line. Until 1911 passenger trains ran to the East London Line, stopping at Old Kent Road. This link was re-instated on 9 December 2012 by London Overground. The present island platform dates from the 1970s which is on a viaduct with the line: there are 48 steps leading to it, and one block of platform buildings. The station is in Travelcard Zone 2 and has payphones, a waiting room and help points but no toilets.
Connections: National Rail. London Buses routes 36, 136, 171, 177, 436, P12 and P13 and night routes N89, N136 and N171 serve the station.