Country houses for sale

The house that Dickens’s publisher bought with the fortune he made from his star writer’s work (but it probably didn’t have the jacuzzi back then)

10 Ovington Square, in London's Knightsbridge, is here to prove that it can offer the best of times, even through the worst of times.

Much has changed at number 10 Ovington Square since Dickens’s day and the 127 years since Frederic Chapman’s death in the March of 1895. The esteemed publisher — who’s authors included Charles Dickens, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning — lived at the expansive five-bed house until his death.

Located in the heart of Knightsbridge — an affluent area known for its luxury property, wealthy residents and a little corner shop that goes by the name of Harrods — 10 Ovington Square finds itself on the market via Alexander Millett for a sum which would seem unfathomable to Dickens and Chapman (and indeed, many buyers today) at £15.75 million.

Whilst so much has changed both within the property and London since Dickens’s time  — there’s a sleek underground swimming pool and jacuzzi, gym and lift access to all five floors for example — it seems as though a lot remains the same.

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In his 1859 (the year in which Big Ben rang out over the houses of parliament in Westminster for the first time) historical novel A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens wrote one of the most well-known lines in literature: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’

The quote follows:

…’it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.’

Although the novel, which is set in London and Paris, recounts the French Revolution of 1789-1799, it’s hard not to draw parallels from that passage which appear relevant to life today.

With war in Europe, unprecedented energy prices, food and fuel shortages, inflation and rising house prices making it near-impossible for first time buyers to get on the property ladder, the quote seems as eerily valid now as it was intended to back then.

However, those with £15.75 million to spend may feel differently, in which case, 10 Ovington Square may be just what potential buyers with big wallets have been looking for.

Spanning five floors, with a lift serving each level, the property boasts refined and immaculately presented interiors, with four reception rooms and five bedrooms — two of which are en-suite. A balcony overlooks the communal square gardens in front of the house, whilst an internal terrace offers private outdoor space.

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’ and this property has fared through it all — and come out on top.

10 Ovington Square is currently on the market via Alexander Millett for £15.75 million — see more pictures, or enquire with the agent for further details. 


Knightsbridge: What you need to know

Location: Central London, bordering Hyde Park, in-between Belgravia and South Kensington. Knightsbridge, Sloane Square and South Kensington underground are all within easy reach.

Atmosphere: The prestigious postcode is world-famous for its designer shopping, fine-dining and affluent residents.

Things to do: Art lovers can head to the Saatchi gallery, shoppers to the King’s Road and Harrods and theatre and music lovers head to Cadogan Hall (home of the Philharmonic Orchestra) and The Royal Theatre. There are countless restaurants, bars, clubs, pubs plus a weekly food market in the Duke of York Square.

Schools: Hill House and Sussex House School are two local private schools. Also within very close proximity is St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and Saint Thomas More Language College which are both rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

See more property for sale in the area.