This handsome and immaculately presented Grade II-listed late-Georgian house is located in the Camden Town Conservation Area in north London, upon the historic Mornington Crescent. The home unfolds over five storeys, with internal accommodation extending to almost 2,500 sq ft, including three bedrooms and a series of beautiful living spaces. Down a cast iron spiral staircase to the front of the home there is a self-contained apartment on the lower-ground floor offering two further bedrooms, additional kitchen, and bathroom. It could be made completely separate as it has its own front door, heating, and provision for separate electricity. Countless historic architectural details have been carefully preserved throughout the home, including a series of exceptional chimney-pieces, original plasterwork and fine fenestration. The house also has a wonderfully landscaped 100 ft long west-facing garden to the rear.
Setting the Scene
The home is at the north end of the famed Mornington Crescent, one of the finest complete rows of Georgian houses in north London. The crescent has featured prominently in the story of Camden over the past 200 years, having been home to, and a source of inspiration for, many of Britain’s finest painters past and present. Built by I. Bryant for the Southampton Estate in the 1820s, the grand crescent is comprised of three curved terraces of Georgian houses originally set around a private park facing Hampstead Road. The land is now occupied by the wonderful Greater London House, a fine example of the Egyptian Revival style of the early 20th century.
This home was built around 1830, towards the end of the crescent’s development. As part of the Camden Town Conservation Area, the house has been specifically acclaimed as a ‘Positive Building’. A ‘Positive Building’ is defined as making a uniquely positive contribution to the area in that they retain almost all of their original architectural features and still form a single home. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
Five storeys high and two bays wide with a Welsh slate mansard roof, the house is made from London stock brick with channelled stucco at street level, set behind original spearhead railings and urn finials. Two arched dormer windows are set into the roof above a stucco cornice to the parapet wall.
The main entrance porch is defined by fluted ¾ Doric columns with an entablature above, set below the roundhead fanlight. Underfoot are fine, recently reinstated Portland stone steps. The six-panel front door is original and features unique joinery detailing, with original ironmongery and newer Banham security locks. It opens to a spacious, light-filled hallway, where limestone tiles line the floors. The staircase lies just ahead, offering an unobscured view through to the garden beyond. The interior doors and architraves are original, and the cornicing here and in all the principal rooms is exquisite.
The dining room is set to the front of the plan and opens through original wedding doors to the kitchen, in turn leading to a conservatory with views over the garden. North American solid walnut flooring extends underfoot and a handsome black marble chimney-piece with cast iron grate acts as focal point. The cast iron radiators here are found throughout the home. The kitchen features contemporary white cabinetry with slabs of granite resting atop. The conservatory is square-set with a tall, pitched glass roof. Built from white-painted hardwood, it has ivory floor tiles with a patterned border and French windows that open to a spacious balcony situated amidst the garden’s greenery.
The lower ground floor has been cleverly designed as a spacious one-bedroom apartment. With access from the main house through an interior staircase or through an independent entrance in the front, the floor has been designed with versatility in mind. Its rooms can be used as additional bedrooms and/or living spaces, offering a further separate bathroom and kitchen. Ceiling heights are generous and there is a small exterior terrace, opening through French windows from the kitchen. There is also a utility area, and two generous vaults are set below pavement level, one of which is currently used as a wine cellar.
The first floor is home to the bipartite drawing room, with exceptionally high ceilings and French windows with shutters that open to a decorative cast iron Juliet balcony to the front. Walls are papered in an elegant light damask wallpaper in the principal part of the space, and with a richer, deep red design in the rear ‘withdrawing’ part. These sections can be demarcated if required by original panelled wedding doors. Each has a beautiful marble chimney-piece with corbels supporting the mantels. In the principal space, this is made from Carrara marble with an iron basket; in the rear, from Kilkenny marble with an iron hob grate. Original plaster cornice frames the elevations, beautifully restored featuring an acanthus leaf and floral design.
The principal bedroom is set on the second storey, with a further Carrara marble chimney-piece and iron grate. The spacious main bathroom is also on this floor, with a beautiful marble mosaic floor designed with an eye to antiquity. The room has been conveniently tanked to accommodate a wet shower area behind a glass screen; subway tiles feature on the walls and traditional design nickel-plated brassware is by Lefroy Brooks. The room also has a stylish freestanding larch wood-clad bateau tub and pedestal sink, and the window offers views of the garden. The uppermost storey is home to two further good-sized bedrooms.
The Great Outdoors
The west-facing fully walled garden is some 100 ft long and remarkably private and peaceful. Opening from both the ground floor hallway’s rear entrance and French windows from the conservatory, a raised balcony with decorative cast iron balustrade looks out to the verdant oasis.
A pea gravel pathway winds through the garden, surrounded by mature plantings including bamboo, magnolia, a flowering yucca, grasses and irises. An exceptional fig tree defines the garden, its branches weaving through the entire outdoor space.
In front of a wall shrouded in wisteria is a further seating terrace, astonishingly secluded given the home’s urban location. Sun catches this spot best from mid-morning until lunchtime, providing an atmospheric spot for reading or for a morning coffee.
Out and About
Mornington Crescent is located just a few minutes’ walk from the vast array of shops, cafes and restaurants that form Camden Town. Nearby, Primrose Hill Village is home to neighbourhood favourites Odette’s, Lemonia, Greenberry Café, Melrose and Morgan, and Primrose Bakery. Camden is also well known for its world-famous market and wealth of independent restaurants, cafes and venues, including an outpost of plant-based restaurant Mildreds, The Jazz Café, The Roundhouse, iconic gelato parlour Marine Ices and “new-school fish and chips” at Hook.
The iconic, recently restored Grade II-listed music venue, KOKO is moments from the house and includes two stages, a late-night pizzeria and House of Koko, a new four-storey members club with a roof-top bar.
Nearby green spaces are plentiful, with Primrose Hill a short walk to the west. The wide-open parkland of Regent’s Park is just beyond, with its boating lake, famed rose gardens, open-air theatre and large wetland area. Laid out over some 395 acres, it is one of London’s eight Royal Parks and was named after the Prince Regent, later George IV. Its history extends further back, however, with it originally being King Henry VIII’s hunting ground.
Nearby King’s Cross has become London’s regeneration success story, welcoming the likes of Google, Louis Vuitton, Universal Music and Havas, alongside existing outposts of Caravan, Waitrose, Dishoom, and audiophile bar Spiritland. The Thomas Heatherwick-designed Coal Drops Yard brings Margaret Howell, Tom Dixon and Aesop stores to the canal, along with a fine selection of bars, restaurants and cafes. An Everyman Cinema caters for confirmed cinephiles.
The area has some excellent schools, most notably the ‘Outstanding’ Torriano Community Primary School and Camden School for Girls, a state secondary school with a co-ed sixth form. There are a number of local independent schools, with Northbridge House, The Hall and South Hampstead High School a short drive away, and Queen’s College and Wetherby’s just to the south of Euston Road.
Mornington Crescent (Northern Line) is a 30-second walk away. There are also multiple bus routes to Central London. King’s Cross Station is a short tube journey away or a fifteen-minute walk, providing national railway connections as well as Hammersmith & City, Circle, Victoria, Northern, Piccadilly and Metropolitan Underground services. St Pancras International Station provides easy and quick access to Paris and the continent via the Eurostar.
Council Tax Band: H
Mornington Crescent lies on part of what was the Southampton Estate, land associated with Tottenhall Manor that had been given to the Earl of Arlington by Charles II. The Earl’s daughter married Henry Fitzroy, (Earl of Euston) in 1672, and their male descendants were later to became Lord Southampton. It was another Henry Fitzroy, the 5th Duke of Grafton who started leasing lands he owned to developers taking advantage of the growth of London, particularly around the Euston area. The crescent is named after Richard Colley Wellesley, Earl of Mornington, Governor-General of India and eldest brother of the Duke of Wellington. Lady Anne Wellesley, the only daughter of Richard Wellesley, 1st Earl of Mornington and sister of the Duke of Wellington married Henry Fitzroy, son of the first Baron Southampton. Fitzroy died young, so Mornington Crescent was named after Lady Anne’s family link.
Construction of the crescent started in 1820, with the first houses completed a year later, and fully completed in 1832. It was laid out as a grand crescent comprised of three curved terraces of Georgian houses around a private park facing Hampstead Road, now occupied by the original building of cigarette company Carreras Ltd, though with views across open country to both the front and rear initially.
The crescent appears first in the rate books in 1821, with one entry and a note by the collector to “leave room for 30 houses.” In 1823 Nos. 3, 5 and 7 were occupied, but it was not until 1832 that the full complement of thirty-six houses were completed and inhabited.
Defining the east of the crescent is the forementioned and famed Carreras building, also known as Greater London House, opening to the west side of Hampstead Road and the rear to the fore of Mornington Crescent. Built as the Carreras Tobacco Factory in 1926 to the designs of M & O Collins, its extravagant exterior is said to have been inspired by the Egyptian temple of the cat-goddess Bubastis, with Egyptology being very fashionable at the time. After some years of decline after the war, it was converted in 1998 to offices. Many important architectural features were reinstated, including the flamboyant Egyptian giant order and two gigantic bronze cats flanking the entrance.
Slightly earlier in the 20th century, Mornington Crescent underground station was built, in 1907, in Leslie B Green’s distinctive house style for his Northern Line stations. It has oxblood glazed tiles and bold arches incorporating a mezzanine office floor. Mornington Crescent station is complete and undamaged (and recently restored), hence the deserved Grade II-listing.
Except for Cheyne Walk, few London streets have rivalled Mornington Crescent as a creative hotbed. Among its former residents are the artists Spencer Gore, Clarkson Stanfield and Walter Sickert, who was living here when he founded the post-impressionist Camden Town Group in 1911. Frank Auerbach’s 1973 painting ‘Looking Towards Mornington Crescent Station – Night’ hangs in the Graves art gallery, Sheffield, and indeed the now 92-year-old Auerbach still paints in the area, being a local resident. Sickert lived at No 6, while Spencer Gore had lodgings in No 31 on the Crescent and Harold Gilman, another of the Camden Town Group, lived nearby in Cumberland Market.
Over the years, Sickert ran several painting schools in the area, which drew in other artists. There were links with the Bloomsbury Group through Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, who both painted with them. The artists varied in their subjects and palettes, but they exhibited together and became a very influential group; Mornington Crescent Gardens were the subject of several paintings and drawings.
Artist Harden Sidney Melville lived in this exact house for several years and documented the formation of Australia in 19th Century. Two original oil paintings by the artist are included in the sale of the home. Harden Sidney Melville (1824–1894) was an English painter, illustrator, and draughtsman. He received a medal from the Society of Arts and had three paintings hung in the Royal Academy’s show between 1837 and 1841. He conducted the first official hydrographic survey of the northeast coast of Australia in 1842–1846 on board the H.M.S Fly, which was under the command of Captain Francis Price Blackwood. He illustrated Curiosities of Savage Life by James Greenwood and several notable Australian works including Joseph Beete Jukes’s official narrative of Fly’s voyage and Ludwig Leichhardt’s Journal.