Another rumoured sale of “Beckingham Palace” is reported
November 2012: In March this year, the blog that preceded The Steeple Times looked into reports that David and Victoria Beckham would be selling their Hertfordshire home, Rowneybury House (better known as “Beckingham Palace”). For all the talk of that sale, as far as we are aware, it still remains in their possession. In recent days another media source has reported that the house is indeed on the market and that the Beckham family are now moving to New York. This has now become a story akin to that of “the boy who cried wolf” and it’s one that we’ll only believe to be true when the removal vans actually pull up.
March 2013: In a further update, the story has resurfaced but the supposed price is allegedly now just £10 million. That’s quite a reduction.
Whenever there’s a quiet news day, British newspapers like to put out claims that David and Victoria Beckham are to sell their Hertfordshire mansion, Rowneybury House. Such a sale has never followed but that the Mail Online chose to run this as a lead article is indeed interesting in view of the footballer’s recent return to LA Galaxy.
Similar stories, for example, ran in the Mirror in April 2007 and again in September 2010. In the latter piece, an unnamed spokesman stated:
“We can confirm David and Victoria have had their UK home valued.”
Strangely all of these stories share a lack of credited sources and are written in the same vein on each occasion. Though Rowneybury House has certainly not come to the open market to date, today’s suggestion that the couple are selling as they think it “wasteful to hold on to when they never visit” would appear a sensible course of action.
Rowneybury House itself was built in the 1930s and used as a council owned orphanage. Bought by the Beckhams in October 1999 for £2,500,000, the couple vastly altered and enlarged the Grade II listed house to include 7-bedrooms, a recording studio, gym, pool room and indoor and outdoor pools. They even added a 52ft garden pavilion complete with a huge barbecue reputed to have cost £70,000.
In the grounds, which extend to some 24 acres, the Beckhams have added a petting zoo for their children as well as a soccer pitch, two full size golf holes, a floodlit tennis court and a helicopter landing pad. Three gazebos, one “romantic,” one “lakeside” and another “ornamental” were also constructed.
The sum total for all of this work is, for some reason, always quoted in the mainstream press at £18,000,000. Though it is obvious that vast expense has indeed been spent on Rowneybury House by the couple, the figure does seem a little exaggerated. Equally ludicrous is the suggestion that they will sell at a loss.
The Beckhams’ time at Rowneybury House has not been without drama. In 2002, police foiled an Eastern European gang who planned to kidnap them from the house and on occasions intruders were caught in the grounds. Further drama ensued in 2008 when the pair’s housekeepers, Eric and June Emmett, were arrested after being accused of stealing items of memorabilia.
I myself found myself involved in a story about the house when, in 2004, I worked for a PR firm who were representing an estate agent selling an adjoining property. The owners Mick and Lynda Allen, who I believe eventually sold their home, Rowneybury Bungalow, to the Beckhams, used the surrounding publicity to attempt to launch the pop career of their daughter Nikki. I am not certain how she subsequently fared.
The Beckhams, who are worth some £160,000,000, now spend the majority of their time in America and are said to prefer it there. When in the UK, they opt mainly to stay at either Claridge’s or The Savoy as both are more convenient for Mrs Beckham’s meetings at her design studio in Battersea.
Both the Mail Online and the Mirror suggest that Victoria Beckham has recently been looking at apartments “next to Hyde Park” so that she can maintain a smaller base in the UK. Perhaps a move to the £7,000 per square foot One Hyde Park development could be on the cards.
If this news is indeed finally true, it’ll certainly be the end of an era for the pad dubbed “Beckingham Palace” as a portmanteau of “Beckham” and “Buckingham Palace.”
Read Kimberley Dadds’s Mail Online piece at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2119709/David-Victoria-Beckham-sell-Beckingham-Palace.html
Read Lara Gould’s Mail Online piece at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2301669/Beckingham-Palace-goes-sale-David-Victoria-eye-London-life–wont-allow-developers-buy-it.html