Only the very plummest address was good enough for the creator of Jeeves and Wooster
Wodehouse was born in 1881, Guildford. Educated at Dulwich College, he became one of our most acclaimed writers, producing more than 70 novels and 200 short stories over seven decades.
His most endearing creation was a match made in heaven. Reginald Jeeves and Bertie Wooster were inseparable. Funnier than Laurel and Hardy. And still much loved today. The two men straddled a cultured life of cocktails, comedy and complex romances.
All a far cry from Wodehouse’s home today. The area is now full of ladies who lunch, security guards and chauffeurs.Renovation is rife along Walton Street. Workmen are squeezing every last penny out of these properties in one of London’s best addresses. Buy here, sit on your investment and you may be looking pretty in five to 10 years.
Even in this exclusive enclave of timeless elegance, evidence of that most secretive of species, the valet, is scarce as hen’s teeth. But maybe it is time to bring him back. The economy is awakening from the downturn and a chap needs a right-hand man. PG Wodehouse’s mid-19th century home is the perfect place to start.
The blue-plaqued property is split across five floors. Its basement could be converted into staff quarters, wine cellars added to the vaults under the road and a dumbwaiter installed. Perhaps, all that is missing is a servants’ bell or staff intercom.
Grace and charm ooze from every corner of the tall, narrow Gentleman’s town house. “The first-floor drawing room is most impressive, with elaborate cornicing and a balcony overlooking Saviour’s Church,” says William Duckworth-Chad of Savills Knightsbridge, who is selling the property. “The history of this five-storey house, will not add to the value, but it does of course bring with it some provenance and interest.”
The original wood panelling and shutters have survived the ravages of time. During the Seventies and early Eighties, many period fittings found their way into skips or salvage yards across the capital. But they survived here, thanks to a Grade-II listing in 1984.
Outside space is always important to house-hunters. The rear garden is not large enough for croquet, Bertie would be sorry to hear, but would be perfect for the occasional cocktail party. Yet a huge mirror projects light to give a sense of space and depth. A clever feature that many with small gardens could adopt.
Surely, Wodehouse fans will make a pilgrimage to sneak a peek inside the property? “We ask the normal questions and with a bit of nous can normally sense someone who just wants to look due to the connections, rather than having serious intentions to buy,” adds Duckworth-Chad.
Spring is usually the busiest time of year for the housing market, but 2015 is different. The General Election on May 7 has prompted many buyers to put everything on hold until the next government comes into power. Canny buyers might snap up this historic gem before the market bounces back into life.
But there is one question remaining. “Pardon me for asking, Sir, but how much is the property?” asks Jeeves. “It’s on the market for £8m,” says Bertie. Jeeves barely twitches an eyebrow. “I understand property is a good investment, Sir. One that Aunt Agatha might approve of. Shall I run your bath now?”
If you can’t stretch to £8m, then a two bedroom apartment in Dunraven Street, Mayfair is on the market for £4,750,000. PG Wodehouse lived (1927-1934) in this attractive red-brick property, too. The penthouse is also for sale through Savills (020 7578 5107;).
Walton Street is for Sale through Savills at £7,995m (020 7590 5076;)