Country houses for sale

A lovely Art Deco apartment that was once the home of a genuine rags-to-riches star, plucked from London’s bombed-out streets

The Chelsea flat once owned by the actor Harry Fowler has come up for sale.

Plenty of people like to talk about their a rags-to-riches life stories — claims which are generally debunked as spurious nonsense. In the case of the English actor Harry Fowler, however, the claims really are true.

Fowler was a teenage newspaper seller living in London in 1942 when fame knocked on his door. He was interviewed by a radio reporter to talk about his life in London during the Blitz, and the segment happened to be heard by a film producer looking for a local boy to star in a propaganda film. Fowler was tracked down, offered a screen test, and embarked upon an acting career that spanned seven decades, and which saw him appear in everything from Lawrence of Arabia to The Bill.

Selling papers had earned him eight shillings a week; his first job as an actor paid £5 per day, effectively an 84-fold increase. And with his new-found affluence, Fowler ended up living in the beautiful apartment seen on this page.

The Art Deco block of Chesil Court was then relatively newly completed, having been built in 1938, and will be familiar to those who have haunted the King’s Road. The opportunity to own a flat in this famous Chelsea building comes along rarely, but few will be rarer than the one which was Fowler’s home.

Recommended videos for you

The one-bedroom apartment retains many of its original features, such as the iron bath and marble surround and Chesil Court clock.

The rainforest wallpaper in the bedroom is Parisian and based on a 1930s print by Madeleine Castaing; it inspires much of the home’s eccentric decoration. Those touches include peacock blue blackout curtains and a leopard-print carpet made from silk which runs throughout.

The flat has a balcony with sunny, south-facing views in a location opposite Cheyne Gardens, a short stroll from the bright lights of the King’s Road, and barely a few moments from the Albert Bridge — the prettiest bridge in London — across which lies Battersea Park.

All this comes at a price: the asking price is £975,000 for this 568 sq ft, one-bedroom flat — and buyers will also have to factor in a £5,000 annual service charge on top. You might have to wait for your big break to come along before you put down a deposit.

Harry Fowler’s former flat in Chesil Court is for sale at £975,000 via Strutt & Parker — see more details and pictures.