Wednesday, February 21, 2024

A £5m Roofless Ruin

Fire damaged Wimbledon house with half its roof missing goes on sale for the staggering sum of £5 million; is this Britain’s most expensive roofless wreck?

In June 2015, The Steeple Times featured the sale of a repossessed 15,453 square foot house in Cumbria without any protection from the elements. At the time, its punchy £3 million ($4.1 million, €3.5 million or درهم15.2 million) price tag seemed ludicrous, but now we can ‘rain on its parade’ as it has ‘lost its eaves’ to a £5 million ($6.9 million, €5.8 million or درهم25.4 million) house in Drax Avenue, West Wimbledon currently for sale.


Britain’s now likely most expensive wreck without a roof comes in the form of a 5,000 square foot detached house – which, surprisingly is “locally listed” and thus cannot just be flattened – on a plot of one acre backing onto the Royal Wimbledon golf course.


The “period” property lost half its first floor and half its roof on 10th January 2018 when it caught fire. It took six fire engines and thirty-five firefighters just over two hours to bring the blaze under control, according to the Wimbledon Guardian.


James Morrison of selling agents Savills is anything but despondent about the future prospects for this currently not-so-regal residence. In typically bullish realtor fashion, he seizes an exclamation mark and begins: “[This is] a simply exceptional opportunity!”


Continuing Morrison gushes: “The house requires extensive refurbishment throughout. However, there is plenty of scope to extend and renovate this wonderful period property.”


Aside from “well balanced living and entertaining space across three floors with a central galleried stairwell” – and presumably a lot of charring and ingressed water damage, there is also an overgrown garden, weed infested swimming pool and a currently derelict tennis court.


Buyers will no doubt be flocking round the block to move in time for the Wimbledon Championships 2021, which starts on 28th June.



The Lilymere Estate, Killington, Cumbria, England

Lilymere Estate

Featured when offered as repossession from a disgraced and struck-off solicitor in June 2015, this lacking shelter from the elements, potentially 8-bedroom, house came with a price tag of £3 million ($4.1 million, €3.5 million or درهم15.2 million) and 1,530 acres of land.


Of the estate, at the time, another overly optimistic estate agent, Andrew Black, also of Savills, mused: “An awful lot has been invested in it and what has been done has been done to a high standard. You can see what the vision was but they never got to complete it.”


“It needs someone with the vision and the resources to finish it. Within reason, they’ve essentially got a blank canvas to put their own decorative style on. It is a one-off and a special place but it will be a challenge and require further investment.”


Muness Castle, Island of Unst, Scotland

Muness Castle

Offered for auction in April 2021 for just £130,000 ($179,000, €151,000 or درهم659,000), this Grade A-listed castle came with with cottages, barony title, gold and copper reserves and 240 acres of land. It was bizarrely subsequently put up for auction again with just 160 acres of land a few days later after apparently selling for £184,000 ($254,000, €214,000 or درهم933,000).


Knockhall Castle, Newburgh, Aberdeen, Scotland

Knockhall Castle

Also priced at £130,000 ($179,000, €151,000 or درهم659,000) when placed on the market in August 2017, this shell dates to 1565 and stands near the Trump International Golf Links course. The B-listed structure was accidentally burnt to the ground by Jamie Fleming, “a servant fool” of the then owners, the Udny of that Ilk family, in 1734.



Drax Avenue Wimbledon fire damage 1
Seen from the rear, the damage to the roof is more extensive than it appears from the front of the building.
Drax Avenue Wimbledon fire damage 2
From this angle, the front doesn’t look quite so bad.
Drax Avenue Wimbledon fire damage 3
An aerial view of the setting shows neighbouring houses undergoing alterations also.
Drax Avenue Wimbledon fire damage 4
The one acre plot has become somewhat neglected since the January 2018 fire and a former tennis court is now nothing but a ruin.
Drax Avenue Wimbledon fire damage 5
The current condition of the swimming pool makes the one at Katie Price’s ‘mucky mansion’ look decidedly desirable.
Drax Avenue Wimbledon fire damage 6
A lawnmower is definitely required.
Drax Avenue Wimbledon fire damage 7
An aerial view of the wrecked house on Drax Avenue in otherwise ritzy West Wimbledon and its environs illustrates the degree of work required to fix up this property to liveable conditions. Beyond the somewhat punchy £5 million price tag, any purchaser will have to shell out a fortune for a lot more beyond just roof tiles.
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.


  1. I went to The Rowans school next door on Drax Ave. Gravel road in those days. Incredible sprawling ’30s houses and rambling gardens hidden away. Ideal for Enid Blyton style of antics. Def no basements

  2. Seems outrageous – can’t even pull it down. And an acre’s not a lot of land to be giving you privacy. To put it into perspective, can you find out what the neighbours’ houses are worth? They’d surely have to be worth, say, double the £5million to justify the renovation costs and put it back in line with the rest of the street.

  3. £5 million for a dump that I could not just take my wrecking ball to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Insane!!!!!!!!!!!!! You could get 5 big houses on that plot easy or a few apartment blocks perfect for Wimbledon players!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And they want to protect this sh*tehole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Swing baby swing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wrecking ball urgently required for this HIDEOUS DUMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. It’s so ugly. No thanks. What a shame it didn’t burn to the ground. The kind of place that some washed up slapper from Emmerdale who has made a dime or two like Claire King would consider desirable. Anybody else would just want to start again.

  5. The purchaser will probably arrange a gas main to explode. Simples. Bang and its gone… And good bloody riddance.

  6. You could build a hell of a lot of flats there. Bung one to Robert Jenrick and you will get it through. Well worth £5 million on that basis.


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