This incredible apartment unfolds across four storeys of a Grade II*-listed building in the heart of Bloomsbury. Extending to around 1,200 sq ft, it has a large private garden and its own front door. It sits on Woburn Walk, designed by architect Thomas Cubitt in c.1822, as the first solely pedestrian shopping street in London. With an incised stucco façade and early 19th-century railings, the house is defined by its original black bow-fronted windows that overlook the once gas-fired street lamps that still burn on Woburn Walk today.
Setting the Scene
Designed by Thomas Cubitt (who was also responsible for building much of Belgravia, Pimlico, the Embankment and the east front of Buckingham Palace), Woburn Walk is one of the best-preserved Georgian terraces in London. Laid in flagstone, the street is lined with shop fronts topped by apartments with cream stucco façades, accented by broad windows set in depressed arched heads in unmoulded architraves studded with patera. For more information, please see the History section
The Grand Tour
The flat is entered through a panelled door with a brass knocker, original letterbox, and a fanlight above. A private entrance is complete with the original inset arched door head in the hall and corbel pediment detail. Unchanged from its original layout, the apartment has a curved staircase lit by a large sash window that ascends to the first floor.
A bright living room is at the front of the plan. Here, light pours in from French casement windows set in a depressed arch, decorated with original railings that create a Juliet balcony over the shop window below. The ceiling is decorated with period crown moulding, and an original bullseye marble fireplace with a cast-iron grate creates a focal point. Built-in bookshelves sit on either side of the chimney breast.
The kitchen is behind, at the rear of the plan, and is defined by a huge sash window overlooking the garden. An original Georgian marble fireplace with the original iron range is intact, and the crown moulding has been painted in a playful egg-yolk orange, drawing the upwards and accentuating the high ceiling.
The curved stairs ascend to the second floor, with the large main bedroom at the front of the plan. Another large casement window overlooks the street below with views across London, and there is ample built-in storage. Behind this is the bathroom, illuminated by another large south-facing sash window letting light all day. In the hall, handy built-in storage is tucked under the stairs. The second bedroom is on the third floor. Currently used as an office, this room has two tripartite gable windows on either side that allow views in both directions.
The Great Outdoors
A private south-facing garden lies to the rear of the plan, with a charming patio perfect for eating outside. A large fig tree borders this space, and palms, camellias, banksia and bay are framed by curling ivy along the enclosing garden walls, creating a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.
Out and About
Set in the middle of Bloomsbury, Woburn Walk is close to the colleges and institutes of the University of London. The British Library is nearby, as is the Wellcome Collection, the Charles Dickens Museum and the Foundling Museum. The British Museum is just over a 10-minute walk past the Brunswick Centre, which has a cinema and a Waitrose supermarket.
Green space can be found at Tavistock Square and Gordon Square, as well as Russell Square, Gray’s Inn Gardens and Coram’s Fields. Lambs Conduit Street, with its boutique-style shopping, numerous cafés and quality restaurants, is also within easy reach.
The nearest station is Euston, a five-minute walk. Kings Cross St Pancras is an eight-minute walk with frequent trains running all over the country and Eurostar connections to the continent.
Underlying Lease Length: approx. 93 years remaining
Service Charge: approx. £432 pa
Ground Rent: £109
Council Tax Band: C
Woburn Walk was the first pedestrianised shopping street in London. Designed by Thomas Cubitt in 1822, it was built in response to the era’s newfound love of retail therapy; prior to the early 1800s, shopping areas in London were of little note and were modest and low-key. This street was paved, making popping in and out of shops easier than ever, hence the name Woburn ‘walk’.
Built on the boundary of the Bedford and Southampton estates, the street is also an important part of Bloomsbury’s rich literary history. From 1895 to 1919, Irish poet, Nobel Prize winner and dramatist W. B. Yeats lived on Woburn Walk at 18 Woburn Buildings (today, 5 Woburn Walk). Yeats held Monday evening social gatherings that were often attended by many members of London’s literary circle.
Ezra Pound, an American expatriate, as well as a poet and critic and a major figure in the early modernist poetry movement, was fascinated with Yeats and made a concerted effort to join his circle. Moving into a flat at nearby 48 Langham Street, it wasn’t long before he was entrenched in this literary circle. Soon he was acting as co-host for many of the events in Yeat’s house and is documented as freely handing out Yeats’ wine and cigarettes. T. S. Eliot was often in attendance too (he lived nearby at 28 Bedford Place).
After Yeats moved out, Irish Nationalist and actress Maud Gonne took up residency. She was considered by many the most beautiful Irish woman, and was the love of Yeats life. Author and journalist Dorothy Richardson also lived on the street between 1905 and 1906.
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