After arriving in London, the family briefly lived in Bassett Road, Ladbroke Grove, before moving to a maisonette at 10 Willow Road, Hampstead, where Peri used the spare room as a space to work. In 1937 he found a permanent studio a couple of miles to the east in Camden Town, enabling him to work on a larger scale. Many artists exiled from Germany now came to London and Peri was in contact with John Heartfield, Moholy Nagy, Gyorgy Kepes, Arthur Segal and others that he had known in Berlin. Through the newly formed Artist’s International Association he met English artists and became involved with the artistic and political life of London, exhibiting with the group and speaking on behalf of Realism in their debates. Peri typically argued against Surrealism, Abstraction and Soviet style Social Realism in favour of a modern Realism that would express human relationships and emotion. Initially Peri was close to Herbert Read, the Peri's and Read's holidayed together in Northern Ireland in the summer of 1935. From 1936 onwards though Peri was supported critically by Read's rival Anthony Blunt, who regularly reviewed his exhibitions in The Spectator and organised an exhibition for him in Cambridge in 1937.
During the latter half of the 1930s Peri appears to have been a frequent visitor to the Victoria and Albert Museum, mining Egyptian, Italian Renaissance and French 19th century art as source material for what he now termed The New Realism. Theatrical elements recalling Gordon Craig’s influence also reappear in the work of this period, particularly in a series of black concrete mask-like portraits and bas-relief figures on stairs. Most importantly Peri drew obsessively from life, travelling all over London to record scenes in streets, pubs, cafes, and workhouses. These quick studies would then be rigorously analysed and formalised as subjects for sculpture. At this time Peri became dissatisfied with casting in bronze: it was expensive, and he wanted a more direct working process. Having first cast in concrete in 1920 he now developed a technique for modelling directly in wet concrete using his own formula for “Pericrete”.