Tuesday, May 28, 2024

All in a flap

Former Hampstead home of the “father of plastic surgery” and pioneer of gender reassignment surgery Sir Harold Delf Gillies for sale for £18.95 million


Sir Harold Delf Gillies (1882 – 1960) is best known as being both the “father of plastic surgery” and a pioneer of the “flap technique” that allowed sex reassignment surgery from male to female. His former home in Hampstead – complete with an English Heritage Blue Plaque – has just come to market for £18.95 million ($29.7 million or €26.1 million).


All in a flap – 71 Frognal, Hampstead, London, NW3 6XY
71 Frognal occupies a prominent position in Hampstead
All in a flap – 71 Frognal, Hampstead, London, NW3 6XY
The interior is somewhat eccentrically styled


New Zealand-born, Gillies moved to Britain to study medicine at Gonville and Caius College. He participated in the 1904 Boat Race, joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at the outbreak of the First World War and was eventually knighted in 1930 for having led a team that performed more than 11,000 operations on over 5,000 men using revolutionary plastic surgery techniques during the conflict.


After the war, in 1946, Gillies – a “champion golfer and inveterate practical joker” – carried out one of the first sex reassignments from female to male on an Irish aristocrat named Michael Dillon. He subsequently carried out one of the first from male to female using a flap technique on Roberta Cowell, a racing driver and fighter pilot, in 1951.


All in a flap – 71 Frognal, Hampstead, London, NW3 6XY
Pioneer of plastic surgery and gender reassignment Sir Harold Delf Gillies


The home of Gillies and his family between 1882 and his death in 1960, 71 Frognal occupies a “prominent peninsula site” in Hampstead Village. It was built in the early 1800s and provides a total of 6,071 square foot of accommodation over four levels. There are 5 reception rooms and 6/7 bedrooms in the main house whilst in addition there is a 3-bedroom guest house. Features include a cocktail bar, turret room, a piped music system and a heated outdoor swimming pool.


71 Frognal is being marketed by Beauchamp Estates.



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    1. Never heard of him before. Sounds like he did a lot of good; a shame the current owners of the house wrecked the place though. Hideous decor. Who did they hire? Laurence Llewelyn Bowen? Sharon Osbourne? Vivienne Westwood?


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