This 'very special' home exudes the spirit of old Kensington.
This is a rare opportunity indeed to buy a piece of history: the London home of Sir Winston Churchill is up for sale.
Churchill and his wife, Baroness Spencer-Churchill, lived in this house in Kensington from 1945 until his death in January 1965, as its prominent Blue Plaque testifies.
It’s an impressive and exceptionally wide, seven-bedroom family house boasting some 5,760sq ft of cleverly arranged living space on four floors, including a large drawing room with doors leading onto the wonderfully private, 55ft-long, west-facing garden.
For James Gow of Strutt & Parker’s Kensington office, 28 Hyde Park Gate –located within a short walk of the beautifully kept grounds of Kensington Gardens – is one of those ‘very special’ houses. It is on the market at a guide price of £23m.
For the past 20-odd years, the landmark, mid-19th-century, brick-built house, listed Grade II — incorporating neighbouring 27, Hyde Park Gate, which served as office accommodation for Churchill’s staff — has been the family home of its present, low-profile owner, who carried out a major refurbishment in the early years of her tenure.
As the photographs show, it’s a beautiful, modern home; though you wonder if the great man himself would recognise it were he to return in spectral form for a viewing.
The house, as its listing notes, has been ‘considerably altered’ internally since it was offered for sale by Knight Frank & Rutley in October 1965, although, externally, it still exudes the spirit of ‘old Kensington’.
The very fact that this house is up for sale points to a healthy market at the top. In a year that saw higher taxes and political and economic uncertainty suppress prime London residential values by 4.9% overall, a report from Savills Residential Research suggests that the very top end of the market was more active in 2016 than in the previous year. Some £1.43 billion was spent on properties worth more than £20 million in the 11 months to the end of November 2016, compared with £1.07 billion for the whole of 2015.
Realistic price adjustments, coupled with the currency play for international buyers, appear to have triggered greater buyer commitment and prime London sales volumes picked up significantly from September 2016 onwards, Savills say.
It is a marketplace increasingly split between overseas buyers looking for secure, service-driven, turnkey developments and discerning home-grown or UK-based buyers, who will wait for as long as it takes to get their hands on the perfect home. When the right place comes along, however – one of these special houses, tucked away in a quiet, leafy corner of the capital – it looks as if those vendors and buyers are ready to move.