A 19th-century London townhouse with links to the war poet Siegfried Sassoon, the creator of Peter Pan and a Times of London editor has hit the market for £11.95 million (US$14.9 million).
The home in Holland Park, an affluent, celebrity-filled neighborhood in west London, bears a blue plaque commemorating Sassoon, who lived and wrote two novels there from 1925-32. In the early 1900s, it belonged to the Llewelyn Davies family whose five sons inspired J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. The 200-year-old property, which hit the market at the end of April, is part of a garden square development with private access to the green space.
Most recently, the five-story Kensington home was owned by Charles Wilson, who edited The Times of London from 1985 to 1990, among other publications. The journalist and newspaper executive, who died in 2022 at the age of 87, bought the property decades ago as a family home, according to the selling agent. Mansion Global could not determine how much the family bought it for.
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It’s “an exceptional house which has been in the same ownership for 41 years. It has late-Georgian and early-Victorian architecture and retains many of its traditional features, including elegant cornicing, carved stone fireplaces and in-built wooden shelving. Nonetheless, it has the potential to be reimagined for contemporary family life,” said selling agent Jake Russell, director and negotiator at Russell Simpson estate agency.
Long before Wilson’s time, playwright and novelist J.M. Barrie was a frequent visitor to the house after he became the primary guardian of the Llewelyn Davies children following the death of their parents. Barrie befriended the family while out walking in Kensington Gardens. The house even features in the story.
“The room that ‘Tinkerbell’ flew into was the top window at the front,” Mr. Russell said, “which is quite magical.”
Located on Campden Hill Square, the five-bedroom property has 5,275 square feet of living space and elevated views over north London.
To the rear of the property is a large, south-facing garden and an “exceptionally large” terrace. There is a self-contained, one-bedroom apartment on the lower ground floor and a balcony in the first-floor reception room, overlooking the garden square, plus two further reception rooms.
The property’s largest reception room is a former artist’s studio with extensive glazing, wooden floors and a separate study area, which was built into the garden. This was created by artist and former resident Harold Speed, who lived there from 1920 until his death in 1957.
Speed, known for his portrait paintings in oil, took in lodgers, one of whom included Sassoon. It was here that the World War I poet wrote his first autobiographical novel, “Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man” (1928) as well as “Memoirs of an Infantry Officer” (1930), which was heralded as a classic.