In the early 20th century, East Kennington’s magnificent Pullens Estate, AKA the Pullens Buildings, comprised almost 700 properties and stretched all the way to Manor Place. In the seventies the surviving buildings were threatened with demolition. Residents and squatters fought back (Kennington owes a lot to the preservation efforts of squatters) and thank goodness they did – these are some of London’s last surviving Victorian tenement buildings, and their workshops host a thriving community of creative people, as well as providing film sets for the likes of The King’s Speech (in the scene where the king goes to visit the speech therapist for the first time).
Twice a year they host an open day and their Christmas event is coming up next weekend. It’s the ideal opportunity to look around these unique spaces and pick up unusual Christmas presents. How about some Alex Monroe jewellery for a fraction of the Liberty’s price, or some pottery moulded from vegetables, or a handmade loot, or some architect-designed furniture, or a print of all the regions of the shipping forecast? It’s all here, in the most amazing and rather Christmas-y setting.
Pullens Yard, with workshops along both sides:
An installation of umbrellas from a previous open day, an idea that later made it to Carnaby Street:
Naomi Campbell used to live in Iliffe St, below, and, wait for it, the young Charlie Chaplin lived in one of the Pullens Buildings for a while:
The loot making workshop, who supply all Kanye West’s loot needs: