Striking Grade II* listed Georgian manor house that was the premises of a renowned antiques dealer for 130 years and the setting for ‘Kavangah QC’ for sale for less than a price of a studio flat in SW3
For sale for £20,000 ($26,000, €23,000 or درهم94,000) less than a poky 409 square foot studio flat in Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea with just 23 years left on its lease, a Grade II* listed Georgian manor house in Hertfordshire that was the premises of Phillips of Hitchin from 1884 until 2015 is for sale.
Extending to over 2,165 square foot and coming with a graveled courtyard parking area, the terraced property has planning permission to convert from commercial to residential usage. Named ‘The Manor House’ or more simply ’26 Bancroft,’ the building is situated in the heart of the town and is being marketed as “having a wealth of potential for redevelopment.”
Consisting currently of one large ‘grand hall’ on the ground floor that is 31-feet by 30-foot in dimension, a basement and a first floor with a galleried area and two rooms, plans drawn indicate the potential for an open plan ground floor and two bedrooms suites above. Strangely, given from the external photograph there are clearly two dormer windows on the second floor, no mention of what is up there is made in the marketing brochure.
What makes the property most attractive, however, are its grand features. A sweeping staircase is the most impressive, but there are also carved fireplaces, original sash windows and cornices and an oak front door described as “beautiful.”
Prior to closing the shop at the age of 75 in 2014, Jerome Phillips – the third generation of his family to run the antiques dealership – told The Comet:
“Having been in Hitchin for more than 100 years there is a pang of regret. We are closing because the next generation of the family will not be running it. It’s a pity but you can’t go on forever, you have to look forward to the next chapter.”
“I studied History at Oxford University when I was younger and I am already looking into doing a postgraduate degree. I would say I am young at heart.”
“We have tremendous memories. The first piece I ever bought was a wardrobe which turned into a bed – it was purchased by an American University. We also sold a mirror by a polar explorer to the office of the then Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, so it is nice to think it’s still somewhere in Canberra.”
Used also as a location for the filming of Kavanagh QC – starring the late John Thaw – of that Mr. Phillips added: “It was funny because when the cast had a teabreak they were all sitting around dressed as judges! I spoke to John T haw. Everyone said he was a bit grumpy but I found him to be a perfectly pleasant chap.”
Elsewhere, the University of Leeds, has a page devoted to the business. On it they refer to the company’s founder, Frederick Phillips (1856 – 1910), as a “celebrated antiquary and naturalist.” They added:
“During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the business had over 80 rooms of antique furniture and other objects and was also involved in the reproduction of historic wallpapers and textiles, as well as the construction of ‘ancient’ houses – mostly famously at Bailiffs Court, Sussex, constructed for Lord Moyne in 1927 using a variety of genuine medieval architectural fragments and fittings. Phillips was well-known for producing catalogues and brochures of their stock from the 1880s onwards. Their client lists reads like a who’s-who of major collectors and museums, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, and Temple Newsam House, Leeds.”
To listen to an interview with Jerome Phillips, click here.