Country houses for sale

The Grade II*-listed former home of the BBC’s founder, Lord Reith, is for sale in the heart of Westminster

Rumour has it, Reith would ask broadcasters to wear black tie at Salutation House. It’s a far cry from the days when the Georgian period property was a pub.

Fancy following in the footsteps of the founder of the BBC? This Grade II*-listed house in the heart of Westminster is the former home of Lord Reith.

The Scot secured his position in the history books as the first general manager of the British Broadcasting Company in 1922. He went on to become the first director general when it became a corporation five years later.

The grand Georgian period property, known as Salutation House, is now on sale via Hamptons for £5,000,000.

Reith lived at the five-storey house on the corner of Barton Street and Cowley Street from 1924 until 1930. It’s thought that he would record in the basement. And in a nod to formality, he would ask that all broadcasters should wear black tie at the house. A blue plaque for the property was unveiled in 1995 to honour Reith.

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Built around 1722, Salutation House has had something of a double life. It used to be a pub — though it’s hard to believe at first glance. In fact, it’s thought to be one of the oldest examples still standing in Westminster. The house retains several original features. They include the pub entrance on the street, and the internal door and window that was used to form two rooms: one for the working class and one for the nobility, according to Hamptons.

At more than 4,000 sq ft, Salutation House is certainly not short on space and classic period charm. The wood-panelled dining room and elegant drawing room are grand, formal spaces to entertain. There’s also a study, a more informal and cosy kitchen, and an office that doubles up as a bedroom.

Further up the house, there’s four bedrooms and a kitchenette/living room. And on the lower ground floor, there’s a modern, self-contained, one-bedroom flat, alongside an incredibly well-stocked wine cellar. Does the collection of wine come with the house, we wonder?

Salutation House is tucked away in a sought-after corner of Westminster. The ‘small and exclusive enclave…offers a surprisingly tranquil setting’, says Hamptons.

Yet the property is within spitting distance of the world-famous Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. The top floor terrace offers enviable views of the corridors of power. If you sat quietly, might you be able to hear the roars from PMQs?

Salutation House is not the only property of note on Barton Street. A few doors down, another blue plaque commemorates  T E Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia, who lived at 14 Barton Street between 1888 and 1935.

Salutation House is currently on the market via Hamptons for £5,000,000 — see more pictures or enquire with the agent for further details.

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