A Hell of a House

Section of Knightsbridge church conversion for sale for 5,000% more than it sold for in 1998 or 450% more than it fetched in 2003; this £55 million property is more hellish than homely

In October, The Guardian reported on a play about a school being performed at a church in Knightsbridge. In it “disadvantaged and alienated young people” explored issues such as knife crime (which has sadly claimed several victims in this location around the corner from Harrods in the last two years). Now, in complete contrast, another section of the very same building where that drama was put on is on sale for a staggering sum.


Though double the size of the £37,000 Gothic mansion in Auburn, New York we featured yesterday at 12,102 square foot, St Saviour’s House – which forms one third of a building constructed to the designs of George Basevi (1794 – 1845) between 1838 and 1840 – is quite the opposite of that charming example of Victorian architecture. In July 2001, it was described by The Telegraph’s Anne Atkins as a “ghastly temple to Mammon” and most would agree with that sentiment.


Not holding back, at a time when the property was for sale for (just) £10 million, Atkins went further. “It is so awful I hardly know where to begin,” she mused; “not my idea of a cosy home… Hideous and tacky… I tried to imagine living with this… The monstrosity of it… Vile,” she continued.


Subsequently owned by the writer of the musical adaptation of Les Misérables, Alain Boublil, between 2003 and 2009, all that was put in during the original no doubt costly redevelopment of St Saviour’s House was again ripped out in 2009 after it was sold to a Thai businessman. Only she whose “extravagance knew no bounds” Barbara Amiel would have been proud of this Imelda Marcos-like behaviour.


The house subsequently created was then altered yet again in 2014 when an Arab bought it and once again the resulting 5 reception room, 7 bedroom, 7 bathroom Grade II listed residence is for sale freehold through Knight Frank. A price of £55 million is sought and for that a buyer will also get a swimming pool, media room with bar, a glass lift and parking for three cars.


One thing’s for certain about this dark “disaster” of a house – Anne Atkins won’t be putting in a bid.


The Numbers – St Saviour’s House, Walton Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 1SA


December 2019 – For sale for £55 million ($73 million, €66 million or درهم269 million).


April 2014 – Sold to a Saudi businessman for £41 million ($55 million, €49 million or درهم201 million).


2009 – Sold to a Thai businessman for £13.5 million ($18 million, €16 million or درهم66 million). An additional £10 million ($13.3 million, €12 million or درهم49 million) was spent on redevelopment.


2003 – Bought by lyricist Alain Boublil for £10 million ($13.3 million, €12 million or درهم49 million).


1998 – Half the church and the church hall sold by the Diocese of London for about £1.2 million ($1.6 million, €1.4 million or درهم5.9 million) for conversion into two dwellings. The central portion of the building retained as a place of worship.


1837 – Plot on which entirety of St Saviour’s Church now sits sold for £300 or the equivalent of £33,000 today ($44,000, €40,000 or درهم162,000 today) to the Metropolitan Church Fund.


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