The Victorian Villa in Hampton Hill
A unique period piece is available to rent in Hampton Hill. Richard Nye recounts the latest chapter in the tale of the Victorian Villa
Das Kapital hit the bookshelves, Marie Curie was born in Poland and a young Thomas Edison lost his job at Western Union for spilling sulphuric acid on the floor. It’s not always easy to spot the brightest bulb in the set.
The year was 1867, and Hampton Hill was steadily evolving into a world of pleasant, prosperous villas; a creature of the Shepperton branch line railway which had opened just three years before. Up went No 3 Park Road, currently available to rent. But as the builders put the finishing touches to this sturdy home, they little thought that it would one day serve as a living, local monument to the age.
That the house exists today as a period showpiece, every room restored to its original state, is down to its present owner, Sharon Parker, who acquired the property at the nadir of its fortunes back in 2001. Embarking upon a thorough overhaul, the TV producer transformed the tumbledown wreck into an elegant evocation of the mid-Victorian era, open to paying guests: The Victorian Villa Bed and Breakfast was born.
“It was the ultimate labour of love,” she told The Richmond Magazine in an interview back in 2009. “From the first moment I saw it, the place inspired me. But the amount of work has been huge. When I was painting the drawing room, my neck and shoulders ached for weeks from standing on a ladder and looking up at the ceiling. It was all very well for Michelangelo – when he did the Sistine Chapel he had a scaffold!”
But the rewards were worth it. Pink, Green, White, Yellow, Blue: the named bedrooms flood the house with a restful rainbow of colour. Baths are as deep as an Olympic pool; the imposing entrance hall comes complete with vintage phone. Stop all the clocks: the Victorian age has returned to Hampton Hill.
Now, after five successful years of garnering awards and acclaim, the Victorian Villa is closing its doors to guests for the foreseeable future while Sharon heads off on her travels. But while the breakfasts may have stopped, the beds and baths remain, presenting a golden rental opportunity for anyone with Victorian tastes and an imperial wallet to match. Monthly rent: £3,500.
And the lucky tenant will be walking in the footsteps, if not of Queen Victoria herself, then certainly of her son. Documents discovered on the premises shortly after WWII reveal that the future Edward VII was once a visitor to 3 Park Road – firstly as the patient of an eminent medical practitioner who occupied the property early on, and then as a friend of the Lambert sisters who lived here in later days. Lillie Langtry, mistress to the stars, came too.
For further information about this rare opportunity to rent a slice of history call Fitz-Gibbon St Margarets on (020) 8892 8921 or Chase Buchanan on (020) 8941 7576.
Retire in style
They may be geared towards buyers of retirement age, but the 28 apartments at Templeton Lodge have nothing to be retiring about.
Designed specifically for over-55s, Templeton Lodge is a stunning, stylish development of one- and two-bedroom properties (left) on Hampton Hill High Street, and is already selling as fast as a Usain Bolt sprint.
Relaxation is the watchword here. Not only do many of the apartments come with a balcony or terrace, but there is also a communal lounge where owners can meet and socialise, plus a guest suite for visiting family and friends.
Developer Beechcroft has adhered to its principle of creating homes with fewer bedrooms than most properties of a similar size, but without sacrificing living space. Throw in a dining hall, large drawing room, en-suite bathroom, separate shower room, garden and fabulous kitchen, and you have the perfect base for your mellow, late summer years.
An estate manager is on hand to look after day-to-day affairs and keep an eye on apartments while their owners are away.
Prices from £385,000. Call Chase Buchanan on (020) 8941 7576.