Sunday 9 June 2024

The Pullens Estate, South London

The surviving parts of the Pullens Estate, just south of Elephant & Castle, feel like they belong in a museum, albeit one with bohemian bars and cafes. The estate encompasses three cobbled yards - Peacock Yard, Illiffe Yard and Clements Yard - lined by two-storey late Victorian workshops, which are now used as studios for artists, artisans and other creative businesses. They back onto late 19th century tenement buildings, which are four storeys in height, with an ornate central entrance to a common stairwell. The front elevations of these buildings have decorative bands of nail-head decoration in moulded brick, and detailed painted terracotta windows and door heads. 

The full estate originally comprised 684 dwellings in 12 four-storey blocks, and 106 workshops around four yards, according to Southwark Council's conservation area report. The estate also included a small number of shops, mostly located at the entrances to the yards.  In the 1970s, the estate was acquired by Southwark Council through a compulsory purchase order. During the 1980s the buildings between Manor Place and the South side of Amelia Street were demolished by the council. But the demolition of the rest of the estate was prevented when squatters, intent on preserving it, occupied some of the blocks.  Today, 360 of the original 684 flats remain.