This alley in posh St James, originally known as Cleveland Yard was probably laid out as soon as the area started being developed, in the 1670s, although it first shows up in 1746 in John Roque’s map of London, as a yard within a large built-up area.
At the turn of the 19th century, most of the buildings between Cleavland Yard and St James Square were demolished, leaving a very large open space – later replaced with a line of small offices.
Sitting next to the entrance was the Orleans Club, the central London home for members of the Orleans country club in Twickenham. The club, described as “a pleasant little club decorated with sporting engravings, which has always prided itself upon the excellence of its cuisine” did not survive WW2, being utterly destroyed by a direct hit from a bomb on 23rd February 1944.
The building that today straddles the entrance of the alley is the appropriately named Cleveland House, constructed at the turn of the millennium.
The entrance to Cleveland Place, as it is now called is enriched by art – the two scollops of stone are carvings by Robin Connelly.
The alley is pretty utilitarian today, a rough road surface facing onto car garages on one side and a stucco-clad office frontage on the other, with a decent enough doorway.
At the far end is the back entrance to the posh Army and Navy Club on Pall Mall.