Article from FOCUS Magazine – Summer 13 issue.
Most people love the idea of their home possessing a soupçon of history and it can be fascinating to discover who lived in the property a hundred or so years ago, or what the site was &previously.
“Properties with historical interest create interesting talking points when conducting viewings and are usually extremely well received. Typically a buyer will not necessarily look to exclusively acquire a home because of the historical context – instead the property will capture their imagination and will offer them the opportunity to buy into its heritage and therefore create a legacy” says Jasper Colliver from Hamptons’ Kingston office.
One very good example of this is Aulion, an impressive and rather unusual looking house in Coombe Park, Kingston-upon-Thames. The property was designed by the renowned British architect and architectural historian, Sir Banister Fletcher who also designed the Gillette factory on the Great West Road at Brentford. He is best known for his text book ‘A History of Architecture’, which was the first major work of history to include an overview of the architectural achievements of the 20th Century. Coombe Park itself has historical connections with Dwight D. Eisenhower living there at Telegraph Cottage during World War II, when he was Supreme Allied Commander.
Aulion is a large house, set over four floors with six bedrooms, two reception rooms on the ground floor and another with a balcony on the raised ground floor, where you will also find the dining room, kitchen and breakfast room. At the top of the house, there is a wrap-around roof terrace with superb views across the nearby woods. Hamptons (Wimbledon) and John D Wood (Kingston upon Thames) are selling Aulion for £4 million.
Windsor has had royal connections since the 11th century when Windsor Castle was built by Henry I. The castle has been modified several times and was extensively rebuilt by George III and George IV in the 19th century. So, Octagon is proud to be building a terrace of houses in the historic town that have views across the famous Long Walk, which leads up to the castle. Eton College is also only a few minutes’ drive away.
David Smith, head of group marketing for Octagon comments “living in a town so steeped in royal history is always a very attractive proposition. Our new houses at Long Walk Villas overlook the wide open spaces of Windsor Great Park, are within a Queen’s canter of her most favourite home, Windsor Castle, but still only a few minutes’ walk from the High Street. Understandably we are already receiving enormous interest for this, our first Windsor development.”
The development will consist of 9 classically designed five bedroom town houses, built in mellow brick with York stone dressings. Each will have an integral garage, landscaped rear garden and stunning roof top terrace, where owners will have privileged views over the Royal land. On the lower ground floor, there will be an open plan kitchen and informal eating area extending into a spacious family room with direct access to the garage. A drawing and dining room are on the ground floor, opening onto a balcony and upstairs on the first floor are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. On the second floor are two more bedroom suites. Throughout the fixtures and fittings are of very good quality and there is a gated entrance to the Villas. Prices start at around £2.75 million through Hamptons.
Esher has a long and colourful history with strong royal links. Queen Victoria regularly visited Esher and owned a lot of land in the area, including Claremont Park. She honoured the town by gifting it a drinking fountain, which is still located on the High Street. The Bear public house, which still exists today, was formerly a royal hunting lodge which played host to King Charles II, William of Orange and Lord Nelson.
Octagon’s Esher development, Wootton Place comprises 7 large houses in a gated cul de sac off Esher Park Avenue, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the bustling High Street, with easy commuting to London. In this secluded development, there are three substantial detached villas, all with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, which overlook a small lake, so perfect for family living. The other four homes are generously sized 4 bedroom 4 bathroom semi-detached houses, which have already been attracting local families, professional couples, as well as downsizers looking for larger than average townhouse properties. Price guide £2.75 million – £4.25 million through appointed agents Savills.
Two apartment developments, both with a noteworthy past, are being marketed by Knight Frank. Princess Square, Esher is a development by Royalton where the original palace, Milbourne House – in which Princess Beatrice and Prince Leopold once lived, has been converted into six luxurious apartments and three penthouses with generous ceiling heights and period features combined with new contemporary fixtures and fittings. Prices for the remaining three bedroom apartments and two and three bedroom penthouses are from £1.675 million to £2.1 million.
In Leopold Court, a new building within the grounds of Princess Square, there are two and three bedroom apartments priced from £875,000 to £1.75 million. At the development, there is a concierge service, communal gym and games room and gated underground parking spaces.
The second development is Gabriella Park Gardens in Teddington. This is a conversion of a Grade II* listed former Normansfield hospital into luxury apartments with high ceilings, original features and huge bay windows. The main building has a lovely clock tower, which has been restored and the apartments are all within gated landscaped grounds. There is a mixture of properties from one bedroom lodge houses, two bedroom mews houses to one and two bedroom apartments, some of which are duplexes. The properties are priced from £420,000 to £1.35 million through Knight Frank’s Richmond office.
Another fine Grade I listed mansion, Roehampton House, has been converted by St James into 24 apartments. This 18th century property is set in two acres of restored land-scaped grounds and formal gardens. The building was originally designed in 1712 by architect, Thomas Archer, as a family home and later extended in 1910 by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was then used as a convalescent home for injured soldiers during World War I, until St James acquired the building in 2006. Each apartment is unique and a wealth of period features can be found throughout, including round portal windows, large Georgian sash windows, intricate cornicing, fireplaces, wooden panelling and original staircase. A new dressed apartment is being launched this Spring, designed by Martin Goddard, who designed the luxury Corinthia Hotel, near Trafalgar Square in London. Of the 22 one, two and three bedroom apartments, five are left for sale priced from £950,000 to £1.85 million.
In Cobham, Savills is selling Compton House, a handsome Victorian house that used to belong to Thomas Sopwith, the aviation pioneer who built the Sopwith Camel. It is thought that he designed the Camel from the study in this house, which still has the original desk at which he would have sat. In 1920, the house was sold to Philip Lyle, who was part of the sugar refining industry. Compton House was built in 1865, has over 10,000 square feet of space and is set in one acre. The eight bedroom property has been extensively refurbished over recent years with some fine oak panelling in the dining room and hallway, which is understood to date back to the 17th century. With a grand reception hall, drawing room, library, study, gym and separate games room, plus a separate two bedroom flat and new conservatory, it is on the market for £5.5 million. Planning permission has been granted to build an indoor swimming pool complex attached to the property.
The same office is selling Foxholm, a beautiful Grade II listed Gothic Victorian house that once belonged to the architect and MP, Charles Buxton. He also built the Buxton Memorial Fountain outside the Houses of Parliament to commemorate his father, Thomas Fowell Buxton, who worked alongside William Wilberforce in the abolition of the slave trade.
Foxholm was built in 1850 for Arthur Philip Perceval, who was Chaplain to Queen Victoria and his wife, Margaret, set up the Francis Holland Schools in Chelsea and Regents Park. The house, which has a separate coach house and 14 acres of landscaped grounds, has been extensively refurbished by the current owners and has six bedrooms, three reception rooms, sauna and gym. In the grounds there is a working well, pond and nine-foot long barbeque table which was built from an oak tree which fell in the grounds. The house is on the market for £6,999,999.
Richmond Green in south west London was once a walled garden for Richmond Palace, built by King Henry VII after the old Palace of Shene burnt down in December 1497. Part of the grounds were given to a Franciscan order, who used it to found the Convent of the Observant Friars and cricket was played on Richmond Green from 1666. Since 1899 it has been home to the popular Richmond Theatre. A Palladian style Georgian villa, Tudor Lodge, with commanding views over the Green, is on the market through John D. Wood with a guide price of £3.5 million. The house is on four floors and has been beautifully refurbished with elegant interiors, high corniced ceilings and large sashed windows. It has seven bedrooms and four reception rooms, a walled rear garden and secure gated off-street parking at the front.
And in Twickenham, Featherstone Leigh is marketing Waterman’s Lodge, which is close to the River Thames. Although it doesn’t have quite such an impressive heritage as the other properties mentioned, it has had several guises as it was once a corner shop and also a Victorian pub, called the British Lion. The pretty late Georgian corner house, built in 1810, has three bedrooms and three reception rooms with light modern interiors blending with period features including wood floors, period fireplaces and sash windows. The kitchen and bath/wet room both have under floor heating. There is a rear garden and the house is on the market for £995,000.