In pockets of ‘smart’ London you can find mews houses and railway cottages; both now smart niche property types which were once were servants’ and horses’ dwelling places.
The need to accommodate the tradesmen, artisans, servants and all the working people needed in the industrial and commercial powerhouse that London became in the 18th century onwards led to a boom in the building of modestly sized houses in the back streets, away from the prestigious and often ostentatious residences of the middle and upper classes.
In W2 the houses built in Bridstow Place by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, were homes for Great Western Railway employees.The cottages of the workers were despised then, but nowadays their unassuming charm combined with manageable size makes them very desirable homes indeed.
‘Mews houses are outperforming the big houses they were built to serve!” says James Robinson, General Manager at Lurot Brand. “Non-specialists estate agents find them extremely hard to value, or indeed sell, as they often get their prices spectacularly wrong because they use surrounding property sales for comparisons.
This sounds bizarre but it’s true. Specialist knowledge is key to value mews correctly. Robinson says that Lurot Brand “recently sold a mews house in Hyde Park Garden Mews, which is considered to be one of Bayswater’s best, for £2326 sqft. We also sold a mews house in Ladbroke Walk, which had potential to extend, for an all-time Notting Hill record of £3323 sqft.”
Provenance can also has a massive influence in a mews’ cachet. For instance there is a mews in W2 where a singer super star lives opposite a rock legend and until recently there also resided a celebrity chef. It’s a cute mews but it’s because of them that the prices in the mews are considerably higher than the location would normally warrant.
Built for the railway workers at Paddington railway are similar in feel, size and value as mews. “We sell a great deal of these charming houses which are dotted around Bayswater.” says Robinson. “Bridstow Place is a lovely run of these on the W11/W2 borders and have averaged £1815 sqft compared with the adjacent Hereford Road properties at £1400sqft again outperforming the grander houses surrounding them.”
Extracts of this article originally appeared in ‘HIDDEN GEMS: Undiscovered locations that make memorable living spaces‘ by Lurot Brand