Property of the Week: Hampstead Home with Mandela-Inspired Summer House
A South African Royal Kraal in a Hampstead garden is a rare find indeed, but that’s not the only thing that’s special about this glorious property…
This magnificent 9,194 sq ft detached residence is not only located one of Hampstead’s most sought after streets, it also has a full-size tennis court, a swimming pool and a summer house inspired by Nelson Mandela’s Royal Kraal. Take that, lockdown…
A kraal is a traditional South African enclosure for livestock, a humble dwelling, or even a small village, but there was nothing humble about late President Nelson Mandela’s Royal Kraal, located within the Shambala Private Game Reserve in Limpopo, the northernmost province of South Africa.
This property on Greenaway Gardens boasts a 0.77 acre plot, in which you’ll find the most extraordinary oval-shaped summer house. Designed by South African architect Ted Levy of Levy Benjamin & Partners, it was inspired by no less than Mandela’s beloved Shambala retreat.
Another rare characteristic of this property is that it has been in the same family ownership for 56 years, and this is the first time it has gone up for sale.
The detached Neo-Georgian house on Greenaway Gardens was built in 1923-24 and designed by renowned English architect Charles Henry Bourne Quennell (1872-1935) in his trademark Arts & Crafts and Queen Anne-influenced style.
The property has an elegant red brick façade with pillared entrance portico, brick detailing and a tile-hipped roof with dormers and tall feature brick chimneys.
On the ground floor, there’s a grand reception hall, three/four reception rooms (a living room, reception room, dining room and drawing room), and large family kitchen-breakfast room.
The principal bedroom, on the first floor, spans the entire depth of the house, with a walk-in dressing room, and a bathroom with freestanding bath and walk-in shower. There are four further bedrooms (one with en suite) on this floor and the family bathroom. On the top floor of the house there are three bedrooms, one with en suite bathroom, and a separate toilet with washbasin.
The property also has a sauna, front carriage drive, loft storage, wine cellar and substantial store rooms in the basement, as well as a two-to-three car garage adjoining the house.
The family added a swimming pool around 1965), and, after purchasing an adjacent piece of land in 1971 with a tennis court, added the summer house.
Levy Benjamin & Partners, an architectural practice led by a trio of South African émigrés, came to define contemporary architecture in Hampstead during the 1970s, with clients including Peter Sellers, Anne Howe, Baroness Serota, Britt Ekland and Michael Sellers.
‘Levy Benjamin & Partners, an architectural practice led by a trio of South African émigrés, came to define contemporary architecture in Hampstead during the 1970s’
The summer house has a dramatic main reception room with curved walls, exposed brickwork, dark floor tiles recalling crocodile skin and a traditional African-style feature fireplace with sculptural hearth. It also has a separate lounge/snug room, a kitchen and changing rooms and shower facilities for the outside swimming pool.
Only the traditional vaulted Kraal roof was not installed, as Levy feared local planners would reject it, so a flat roof with dramatic large timber ceiling beams were installed instead.
The current owners have held large summer parties on the lawns and around the summer house over the years, attended by the likes of Russell Grant, Michael Caine, Michael Parkinson, Bob Monkhouse and Ronnie Corbett, as well as politicians, playwrights and musicians.
The property does require a little updating, but its unique T-shaped plot has vast potential and, subject to the necessary consents, could be substantially extended or redeveloped.
Named after Kate Greenaway, the Victorian book illustrator, Greenaway Gardens runs between Oakhill Avenue and Frognal Lane on the west side of Hampstead Village.
The house is about half a mile from three stations: Hampstead tube station on the Northern Line, Finchley Road & Frognal on the London Overground, and Finchley Road tube station on the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines. Plus, Hampstead has a plethora of excellent private schools for children of all ages.