Home Residential PropertyLuxury Property £18m Howard Hughes ‘aviator’ lair for sale in Mayfair

£18m Howard Hughes ‘aviator’ lair for sale in Mayfair

by LLP Editor
14th Oct 19 3:20 pm

An Ambassadorial newly refurbished 3rd floor apartment at 18 Grosvenor Square providing 3,541 sqft (329 sqm) of lateral living space with four bedroom suites and a south facing reception room, formerly the London home of aviation tycoon Sir Frederick Handley Page (1885-1962), is one of the finest residences in the world-renowned square, for sale via Wetherell.On the façade of the palatial brick and stone apartment building at 18 Grosvenor Square an English Heritage Blue Plaque states that the apartment was the home of legendary aircraft designer and manufacturer Sir Frederick Handley Page. Here he entertained luminaries including American tycoon Howard Hughes, HM The Queen Mother and Sir Arthur Harris, the wartime C-in-C of RAF Bomber Command.

                                                  HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

18 Grosvenor Square was built in 1938-1939 in a neo-Georgian style to designs by Detmar Blow, Estates Manager to the Duke of Westminster, and Fenand Billerey, the French Beaux-Arts architect. The internal fit out was disrupted by WWII so it was not until after 1945 that the building was fully completed, allowing residents to occupy the apartments.The 3rd floor apartment extends the entire depth of the building and has a grand entrance hall with double doors leading into the magnificent double volume reception room, totaling 43.6ft in length, with five tall south facing windows overlooking the square. The residence is complete with a large family kitchen and breakfast room, study, long gallery, guest powder room, master bedroom suite with walk-in dressing room and master bathroom; three further bedroom suites, each with ensuites; with one bedroom designed to serve as a media room/private cinema.When Sir Frederick and his wife Lady Una moved into the apartment in 1946 he was already a legend in the global aviation industry. His company, Handley Page Limited, established in 1909, was the first British public company to build aircraft. The Handley Page Factory at Radlett Aerodrome built bombers essential for British success in WWI. In the interwar period Sir Frederick’s luxurious airliners were used by Imperial Airways on routes to Africa, the Middle East and India. One of his airliners, Hanno, was the first to fly the then rulers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

                                                               Sir Frederick Handley Page

During WWII Sir Frederick’s factories produced the famous Halifax bomber, a major component of Bomber Command. In 1942 he was Knighted by King George VI for the Halifax and his contribution to the war effort.

                                                     Sir Frederick’s famous Halifax bomber

Postwar Sir Frederick and Lady Una spent weekends at Limes House in Middlesex, their magnificent country house, purchased in 1922 and set in 4.2 acres of gardens; and from 1954 Sir Frederick served as Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex. When in London during weekdays, the 18 Grosvenor Square apartment served as the couple’s luxurious Mayfair pied-a-terre.

                                                      18 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair Aerial Shot

Post-War Handley Page Limited produced the V-Bomber, part of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and also the Herald airliner, a favourite of HM The Queen Mother for her journeys from London to Balmoral and Birkhall.

                                          Hanno Airliner, taking Emir of Dubai, on first flight

In 1959 American aviation tycoon Howard Hughes made a rare visit to London, staying at a Mayfair hotel on Park Lane. Whilst there he visited Sir Frederick at 18 Grosvenor Square to discuss his Hughes Aircraft Company acquiring Handley Page Limited but despite hours of negotiations a deal was never agreed.

                                                        Howard Hughes aviation billionaire

After Lady Una’s death in 1957 Sir Frederick spent most of his time at 18 Grosvenor Square until his death in 1962 at the age of 76. After his death Handley Page Limited went into decline, going into liquidation in 1970, despite a highly publicised approach by Howard Hughes to try and rescue the company.

                                     Howard Hughes billionaire and guest at 10 Grosvenor Square 

Fast forward to today and Sir Frederick’s former apartment at 18 Grosvenor Square has recently been completely remodernised and refurbished to provide an immaculately presented and dressed residence with a bespoke specification and interior design of the highest quality and attention to detail.

                                                          Flat 3, 18 Grosvenor, reception room

The entrance hall has Statuary marble flooring with Pietra grey border and bespoke full height doors and architraves. The double volume reception room has two marble fireplaces at each end, panelled walls, marble cladded columns between the windows and handcrafted European oak flooring. The room is dressed to provide a living area, entertaining area with grand piano, and a 10-seater formal dining area.The handcrafted family kitchen has bespoke cabinetry and integrated Sub-Zero Wolff and Miele appliances.

                                                  Family Kitchen and breakfast room

The master bedroom suite has deep luxury fitted carpets and a walk-in dressing room lined with bespoke fully-fitted wardrobes with full-height hanging rails and adjustable drawers and shelving. The sleek design has the ergonomics of a superyacht interior. The master bathroom has Statuary marble flooring and book-matched marble walls with free-standing bath, marble double vanity unit and walk-in rain shower/steam room. All the other bedrooms have deep fitted carpets and ensuites with marble flooring and walls.

                                                                  Master Bedroom Suite

The specification includes comfort heating and cooling in all principal rooms, underfloor heating in the bathrooms and kitchens and state-of-the-art home entertainment and security systems. The apartment building has a grand ground floor entrance foyer, passenger lifts and 24 hour uniformed porterage.

                                                                          Master Bathroom

Peter Wetherell, Chief Executive of Wetherell said, “With its iconic address and garden square views this expansive Mayfair residence at 18 Grosvenor Square is the finest newly refurbished apartment in Grosvenor Square. It is here that aviation pioneer Sir Frederick Handley Page lived and entertained for almost two decades with guests including war heroes, captains of industy, Royalty and American tycoon Howard Hughes. This is an exceptional trophy property, which would serve as an excellent long-term investment and main London residence.”

                                                                  Cinema Room

The apartment at 18 Grosvenor Square has access to the 5-star hotel like facilities of the neighbouring Four Seasons Residence Health Club and Spa which include a magnificent 25-metre pool with adjacent vitality pool and luxurious spa, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, an 18-seat private cinema, a library, private garden, terrace, meeting room and a games and function room.

                                                            18 Grosvenor Square, Study

Wetherell highlight that Grosvenor Square is currently benefitting from a luxury makeover. The former Canadian Embassy and US Naval Building are being transformed back into luxury apartment buildings and the former US Embassy is set to become a 5-star Rosewood Hotel with cafes and luxury boutiques. The eight acre central garden square is also set to be transformed with a new landscaping scheme and enhanced public realm.

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