Doves Yard InsideJust on the right as you approach the West face of Holy Trinity Church in Cloudesley Square is the entrance to Dove’s Yard, which was converted into a residential mews about 10 years ago.



Doves YardPreviously it housed the offices and workshops of Dove Brothers, the builders.  This old-established Islington business was founded by William Spencer Dove, a jobbing carpenter, when he arrived in London in 1824.  His first major contracts in Islington were the Islington Literary and Scientific Institution in Almeida Street, (now Almeida Theatre) and much of Milner Square.  By the 1870s the company possessed 12 horses, premises in Moon and Studd Streets, and two steam engines.  The two mansion blocks at either end of the yard were built by the company around 1900, and their offices were in the building at the Cloudesley Place end.  Dove Brothers built about 130 London churches, including at least 15 in Islington, but surprisingly, they were not involved in the building of neighbouring Holy Trinity, although they did carry out several repair projects there over the years - see here.  

The Dove Brothers history is documented in great detail in a book called "Building in the Blood" by David Braithwaite (1981).  The company really was a major force in London and beyond for many years up to 1993.  During the 19th and 20th centuries they worked with many famous architects on buildings such as the Wesleyan Methodist Central Hall, Australia House, and Guildford Cathedral, as well as major repairs to St Pauls Cathedral.  During the first world war their workshops were used to construct aircraft propellers out of teak, as illustrated in the splendid photo below.


Dove Brothers Interior with Propellors 1918 11538 700

Photograph taken 1918 © Historic England Archive ref: bl24379/003