ondon is full to the brim with prime property – we are spoiled by an abundance of Georgian estates, Regency columns, and Edwardian terraces. They all provide that inimitable London luxury that attracts buyers from all over the globe.
But once in a while, a property comes along that is really special. That is so intimately connected to the fabric of the capital that, in occupying it, you feel a part of that history yourself.
Such an accolade, we feel, is appropriate for the former residence of Harry Selfridge, founder of the iconic Oxford Street department store. The Park Lane apartment that he occupied during the 1930s and '40s – an elegant 3,777 sq ft, five-bedroom home – is now for sale.
The original building – Brook House – was constructed by Thomas Henry Wyatt between 1867 and 1869. It was the home of Edward VII's private banker, Sir Ernest Cassel, and his granddaughter, who later married The Queen’s uncle and became Edwina Mountbatten. Upon her grandfather's death in 1921, she inherited Brook House and, between 1933 and 1935, had it remodelled into flats, moving into the duplex penthouse.
One of the first residents of Brook House was Harry Selfridge, who opened the world-famous Selfridges department store in 1908. He moved into a fourth floor apartment in order to live close to the store which, believe it or not, was a downsize: during the Great Depression Selfridge lost much of his personal fortune, and had to leave his Manhattan-style residence off Berkeley Square. He remained at Brook House until 1945, when he relocated to Ross Court in Putney Heath to live with his daughter, where he died a few years later.
In 1993, Brook House was demolished and replaced by the current building, which comes complete with basement parking, ground floor residential foyers with concierge/porter, a passenger lift and a total of 15 apartments (12 on the second to fifth floors and one penthouse per floor on the sixth to eighth floors).
Selfridge’s apartment, now worth £19.95 million, provides an abundance of lateral living space and panoramic views over Hyde Park. The centrepiece is a 44ft, dual aspect reception room with a coffered ceiling and marble flooring, incorporating two bays with floor-to-ceiling windows and ornamental balconies.
There is also a spacious entrance hall, a guest powder room, a family kitchen with separate utility room, a principal bedroom suite with balcony, walk-in dressing room and main bathroom, a guest suite with balcony and en suite bathroom, and three further bedroom suites, all with en suite bathrooms. Not to mention 124.8 sq ft of outside space and five balconies.
Although the fourth floor flat is modern in style, you still get a sense of place that the American retail magnate would have enjoyed in his original apartment. You can imagine him looking out across Hyde Park as he talked business with Miss Ravillious, his Head of Fashion. Or mixing a pre-dinner cocktail for his mistress, Syrie Maugham, in the marble-floored reception room. It isn’t difficult to envision the fashionable founder perusing the walk-in dressing room in the principal suite, before striding off around Mayfair Village, Mount Street and Marble Arch.
It is this proximity to London’s beating heart that is sure to attract buyers. Therefore, interested parties should enquire ASAP.
For further information visit wetherell.co.uk