Above: The 19th century buildings in Illife Yard seen from the main entrance gates.
Illife Yard is one of those places that, when you see it, you feel as if you have entered a ‘time warp’ and been transported back to the 1800s.
The map should help you work out where it is. Illife Yard, along with Peacock Yard and the smaller Clements Yard are situated a short distance west of Walworth Road, on land that is just south of Elephant and Castle.
Above: Map showing the position of the three remaining yards.
The yards are located beside long terraces of Victorian flats that were built by James Pullen and Son, a local builder, who acquired land and developed it over a period of 15 years – from 1886 until 1901. The development extended over six streets, housing 684 dwellings in 12 blocks.
At the rear of the blocks were built 106 workshops, arranged around large yards. Originally there were four yards but Clarence Yard was demolished and redeveloped during the 1960s.
The remaining three yards with their workshops are now occupied by some of the most high-tech craftsmen to be found anywhere in London. Although the yards are private, cars go in and out of the premises during normal weekdays and nobody working there will take any notice if you just stroll around.
For subscription members there is a pdf document presenting a guided tour of the three existing yards.