1 Cleve Workshops on Boundary Street in London was built in 1895 by the architect Reginald Minton Taylor. It is now open most weekends, and by appointment in the week, for perusing and trying-on garments.
English Heritage says it best — “Yellow brick workshop, low pitched roof to eaves. One storey. Wide door to right — planked with upper part glazed; small panes; glazing bars. Above and to the left of the door there is further glazing; small panes and glazing bars. Party walls project above the roofline between units. Integral part of the pioneering Boundary Street estate.”
The yellow brick, inside at least, has changed colour, and there are now one-and-a-half storeys rather than the original one — but beyond that, the workshop has changed little since it was built. That is to say, it is still a decidedly diminuitive, north-facing box of brick. And it is still in the tucked into a corner of the Boundary Street estate — the earliest known social-housing estate built by a local government authority in the world.
Upstairs at the workshop are the rolls of cotton, linen, wool, and so on; the jars of buttons, the shears and nippers, the rolls of string and sheets of paper for packing. Better for visitors to stay downstairs, however — for at ground level in the workshop are the garments. Garments on wall-pegs and garments on a rail or two. New garments, newer garments, sometimes garments made, finished, and pressed at the factory that same day — here weekends and some of the week, to be looked at, talked about, and tried for size.