This fine, Grade II-listed Regency townhouse is positioned on the west side of the much-coveted Crescent Grove in the heart of Clapham, south London. Incredibly peaceful, the grove forms a beautifully maintained private estate, with grand classical houses surrounding verdant communal gardens. The six-bedroom home is set over five light-filled storeys, with wonderfully versatile internal accommodation extending to almost 3,700 sq ft. Countless historic details have been preserved, including chimneypieces, fine plasterwork, joinery and fenestration. The home also has a wonderful west-facing walled garden, with views out to the communal gardens from the east-facing rooms.
Setting the Scene
Situated just off Clapham Common’s south side, Crescent Grove was built as, and has since remained, a private estate, laid out by Francis Child in 1827 in the Regency style, with 40 fine houses surrounding a beautiful crescent-shaped garden filled with mature trees and shrubs.
The grove is managed by a board of trustees who retain control over the roads, gardens and lighting – the last private estate in London to do so. Crescent Grove is part of the Clapham Conservation Area, and the homes are beautifully preserved as excellent examples of late Georgian residential architecture. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
Two tall, white stucco pillars on either side of the road form a dramatic entrance to the estate from Clapham Common, with two large white stucco houses on either side, respectively called Denmark Lodge and Crescent Lodge. Opening to the gardens themselves, the grove splits into two, forming two crescent shapes around the verdant gardens, with a cul-de-sac at the very end conveniently preventing any through traffic and ensuring a constantly peaceful ambience.
The east track is mainly comprised of handsome semi-detached villas, while the west track, upon which this home lies, is formed of a stunning continuous arc of grand five-storey townhouses. A decorative iron Juliet balcony spans the entire first floor of the houses, with further iron railings with spike and crescent heads at street level. This home has a slated mansard roof with dormers and a balustraded parapet wall, with channelled stucco to the ground floor; stucco dressings, some with pediments, surround the apertures. The elegant fenestration is mainly comprised of box sashes, with elegant French windows at the piano nobile.
Primary entry to the home is via raised steps behind railings, where the original black gloss-painted and panelled front door is set below a roundhead radiating fanlight. Further separate entry to the lower-ground floor is via an iron gate within the railings, with steps descending to the secondary entrance. Opening to the slate-tiled main hallway, elevations are framed with acanthus leaf cornicing, and doorways are surrounded by fine architraves with pediments above, inset with original six-panel doors. There is a guest WC at the end of the hallway, with further entry to the garden at the rear of the hall.
The principal rooms on the ground floor connect to create a 32 ft-deep bipartite space, conveniently separated by original folding wedding doors that close into housings, with a wide Diocletian window set above. Oak veneer floorboards extend underfoot, with the dining room set to the front of the room and the kitchen to the rear. Pale Silestone rests above bespoke cabinetry in the kitchen, with an island unit positioned centrally and room for a range cooker in the open tiled hearth. The dining room is centred around a Kilkenny marble bullseye chimneypiece with a working fire and iron basket. Both rooms feature further examples of excellent decorative plasterwork cornicing.
The elegant winding staircase ascends to the first floor, home to the similarly spacious bipartite drawing room, with excellent proportions and dramatic ceiling heights, again framed by further beautiful plasterwork cornicing. Two sets of French windows are set to the east elevation overlooking the gardens, and a large sash window is set to the rear, allowing for an exceptional quality of light from both aspects. Carrara marble bullseye chimney pieces feature in both rooms, with panelled wedding doors separating both sections if required. Further Greco-Roman pedimented architraves surround door openings. To the rear of this floor is a separate study room, positioned just off the staircase.
The second floor is mainly comprised of the principal bedroom suite, with a further separate study room that could also act as a dressing room or as an additional bedroom. Egg and dart cornicing features on this floor, with the bedroom set to the rear, connecting to the en suite bathroom. The bathroom here features handsome bespoke panelled cabinetry with plentiful storage. There is a boxed bath and separate shower enclosure, with Carrara marble used for the vanity, which is inset with double sinks, and for the bath surround. Nickel-plated brassware is by Perrin and Rowe in a traditional design.
The uppermost storey is home to two further bedrooms and a bathroom, with all rooms featuring original box cornice, and the front bedroom has an original chimneypiece with hob grate. The lower-ground floor has two additional bedrooms, a shower room and a large utility room that could easily be converted to a kitchen if required, making this floor an entirely separate accommodation with independent access from both the grove itself and the garden to the rear.
The Great Outdoors
The west-facing walled garden is the perfect spot for afternoon lunches and evening suppers in the warmer months, with a flagstone terrace surrounded by raised beds formed of a wonderful selection of trees, shrubs and flowers of a structural design.
There is a wonderful variety of mature specimens, including a palm tree, flowering Chinese bamboo, fuchsia, gardenia and abutilon. An iron balcony to the rear of the garden leads to steps that descend to the lower-ground courtyard and further separate entry to the rooms on the lower-ground level.
Out and About
Crescent Grove is brilliantly positioned in the heart of Clapham, on the Common’s southside, close to both the High Street, Abbeyville Road and Clapham Old Town. The open green spaces of Clapham Common are less than one minute’s walk from the house, home to over 200 acres of parkland with a café and recreational/sporting facilities. Battersea Park is also nearby to the north, just 10 minutes away by bicycle or car, and is adjacent to the Nine Elms development and the incredible Battersea Power Station, recently opened and home to an excellent array of high-end shops, restaurants and a cinema.
Clapham Old Town, just a short stroll to the north, is home to the celebrated M.Moen & Sons butchers, The Common bakery and homeware shop, and stalwart café Fantasia. The brilliantly served Abbeyville Road, just to the south of the crescent, offers further excellent purveyors and restaurants, including Bottle Apostle wine merchants, All Greens and Macfarlane’s delicatessens, Life of Fish fishmongers, Gail’s bakery, Ginger Pig butchers and The Abbeyville pub.
There is a further range of independent shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants in the greater Clapham area and just off the High Street, all within walking distance. Noted favourites include the Michelin-starred restaurant Trinity, The Pig’s Head, The Little Orange Door, Minnow, Sorella, The Bobbin and much-loved cinema, the Clapham Picture House.
There is an excellent selection of local state and independent schools, including nearby Eaton House, Parkgate School, Thomas’s and L’école de Wix Lycée Français.
Clapham Common (Northern Line) and Clapham High Street Overground are each a couple of minutes’ walk from Crescent Grove, offering direct services to the City and West End. Clapham Junction Station is just a five-minute drive away, with excellent links, including a journey time to Gatwick Airport of just 25 minutes.
Council Tax Band: H
The medieval village of Clapham was first recorded in the 9th century and was later noted in the Domesday Book. It remained a rural area, with a few fine houses built by successful bankers and city merchants in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, becoming increasingly connected to London during the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. The village steadily expanded east to meet the new High Street.
In the early 1800s, the area was fast becoming a desirable suburban village. Still strong with rural hinterland separating it from London four miles to the north, it attracted the well-to-do middle classes who could travel to London by coach (before the trains arrived later that same century). Many of the original coach houses that provided stabling for horses, with manservant’s accommodation above remain on Crescent Grove to this day.