Archive for October, 2009

Witches hat come to mind?

Halloween is nearly upon us. For some this means locking the doors, turning the lights out and hoping the trick-or- treaters pass by quietly. For others it’s a chance to dust off the skeleton suit and perform mischief on homeowners or their property if no treat is given!

The UK is home to some of the most haunted and scary (no we’re not just talking architecture) buildings and sites in the world so we browsed property for sale in near some of these well known haunted sites and found properties that bear an uncanny resemblance to a witches hat – take a look below.

Let us know if you find any more properties that have a similar blueprint.

1. Property near Highgate Cemetery – home to eerie, crooked gravestones and dark overgrown passages

Talbot Road, London

Photo 1 of Talbot Road, London

More properties for sale in Highgate

2. Property near Berry Pomeroy Castle, near Totnes – home to the White Lady and the Blue Lady

East Winton, Littlehapmton

More properties for sale in Totnes

3. Property near Borley Rectory – ‘The Most Haunted House in England’

Photo 1 of Cross Street, Sudbury, Suffolk

More property for sale in Essex

4. Property near Pendle Hill – nearby to Britain’s most famous witch trial

Photo 1 of 4 Hammond Drive, Read, Lancashire BB12

Property for sale in Lancashire

5. Property near Glamis Castle, Angus, Scotland – home to the ghost The Monster of Glammis

Photo 1 of Smiddy Haugh, Memus, Forfar

Property for sale in Angus

6. Property near Llancaiach Fawr Manor, near Caerphilly – the site of a bloody civil war between King and Parliament

Photo 1 of Marlborough Road, Cardiff

Property for sale in Caerphilly

October 30, 2009 at 2:23 PM 1 comment

Lovely Views Over … Headstones

Following on from Joss’s Gothic charmers below, here are some properties that come with views over cemeteries.

We did research on this subject a few years ago – prompted, it has to be said, by my slightly morbid fascination with cemeteries – to see how people felt about views over headstones.

Modernist house, Swains Lane, Highgate

Modernist house, Swains Lane, Highgate

58 per cent said they’d be happy to live next to a cemetery and reckoned the green space, proximity to land unlikely to be developed, and … err … peace and quiet, were all strong plus points.

But a third of respondents said they would worry about crime and dark non-residential spaces, and 23 per cent just said no, no way, never – it would be too bloody creepy by far to live in such a property.

Not surprising really – there are cemeteries and cemeteries, and how they’re maintained is fundamental. And not everyone likes daily reminders of their mortality.

That said, there are some magnificent Victorian examples – especially in London – that offer great open spaces in otherwise densely populated areas. I used to live next to the wonderful Kensal Green cemetery and spent many happy hours there.

And  before you start thinking I’m a bit of a weirdo, let me quickly point out that Highgate, Nunhead and Stoke Newington (Abney Park) all have superb cemeteries that agents say actually help sell properties.

Here are a few fine examples, including the amazing house in Highgate pictured above:



House overlooking Highgate cemetery



Flat backing onto Nunhead cemetery

Abney Park, Stoke Newington


Flat backing onto Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington

October 30, 2009 at 9:13 AM 2 comments

Five To View: Gothic Property

This week, in honour of Hallowe’en, we’re going Gothic.  Nope, we don’t mean dressing entirely in black, piling on the scary eyeliner, and emptying a bottle of noir-shaded hair-dye over our head.

Although – note to self – that may not be a bad idea for Saturday night’s festivities…

No, we’re talking about the Gothic style of architecture.  Typical features of which include vaulted roofs, towering spires, sharply pointed arches, imposing buttresses (flying or otherwise) and even – yikes – gargoyles.

In summary: a bit like the haunted houses in Scooby-Doo.  Zoinks!

Fortunately, we’ve managed to find a not-too-macabre selection of Gothic style properties to cast your peepers over. Just try not to picture them in the dead of night.

(Click on pics for full details)

1. Virginia Water, Surrey



2. Allerton Road, Merseyside



3. Dalry, Ayrshire

£595,000 OIEO


4. Liberton Edinburgh



5. Rawcliffe, East Riding of Yorkshire



October 29, 2009 at 5:39 PM 1 comment

Robbie Williams Selling Country House … And Buying City Pad

Word reaches us that Robbie Williams is in a mad rush to sell Compton Bassett House, his vast, rambling and very expensive country estate in Wiltshire.

Williams bought the 18th century mansion earlier this year for £8.5 million but is, apparently, willing to take a hit of £1m to sell the place before Christmas.  That should make Nic Cage feel a bit better.


According to The Sun, the house was an impulse buy – and who hasn’t impulsively shelled out £8.5m on a country estate? – but the upkeep of the place is draining.

Williams, it seems, also wants to move back to LA – though he will still need a place to rest his head in the UK, which may be why he’s being linked to this mews house in London, by award-winning developers Landmass.

Highlights include an inner atrium with a 9m water feature; a Zen garden; media room; steam room; and gym. It’s fair crackling with technology and includes ten miles of cabling.

Guide price of £7.95m via Strutt & Parker.







October 29, 2009 at 1:02 PM 2 comments

Meet the king of buy-to-let – a former maths teacher

This video is currently doing the rounds and was first brought to our attention via The Rat and Mouse; London’s property blog and was first posted on the Renegade Economist blog.

It’s an unintentionally comedic interview with Fergus Wilson – the straight talking king of buy-to-let. There is a queen, but we don’t know where Judith was on this day but the interviewer certainly has his hands full with the straight-talking Fergus.

Here’s a little introduction – back in the 1990’s Fergus and Judith were busy taking maths lessons and writing school reports in Blackheath. They bought a couple of properties and realised that, helped by falling interest rates and banks very willing to lend, the rent more than covered the mortgage. As a result, over the last 10 years he and his wife have built up a buy-to-let portfolio of over 900 homes – all houses – worth an estimated £180m.

We now believe, according to the The Sunday Times, that the Wilsons are looking to sell the portfolio – maybe they’ve fallen foul of the market like other buy-to-let investors recently?

Here are some of his top insights and learnings…

1. “Flats are a lie…where poor people live”

2. “The smaller the house, the greater the increase in value”

3. “A property investor relies on the property going up in value”

4. “February 2010 house prices will go upwards”

We’d like to state that these are his views and not ours! Let us know what you think below.

October 28, 2009 at 9:38 AM 1 comment

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