Home Residential PropertyLuxury Property Somalian dictator’s London embassy is now a luxury mansion for sale for only £21.5 million

Somalian dictator’s London embassy is now a luxury mansion for sale for only £21.5 million

by LLP Editor
21st Jun 23 5:16 pm

An elegant 8,046 sq ft five-storey five-bedroom Georgian townhouse in Portland Place, in Marylebone, which starred in a 1947 Alfred Hitchcock movie and served for three decades as an Embassy, is now a fully modernised, interior designed private residence for sale with Beauchamp Estates.Fully modernised and interior designed in a collaboration by renowned architectural designer Jan Swanepoel and interiors guru Hubert Zandberg, the townhouse was originally built in circa 1772-1775 by John Winstanley, designed by architects Robert and James Adam, under the auspices of the Duke of Portland. It was originally the London power base of MP Charles Ross in the early 19th century.

The four-reception, five-bathroom townhouse, sits on broad, tree-lined Portland Place between the 395 manicured acres of Regent’s Park and the shopping hub of Oxford Circus and has a Portland stone façade with 14 sash windows, grand arched doorway with elegant fanlight, pedimented middle section, and atmospheric black railings.

Its striking exterior will be instantly recognisable to aficionados of British director Alfred Hitchcock and his works of film noir since the townhouse was given a starring part in 1947 courtroom drama movie ‘The Paradine Case’, as the London home of top barrister Anthony Keane, played by Gregory Peck.

In the David O. Selznick produced film – Hitchcock’s last for the movie mogul, based on the 1933 novel by British writer Robert Hichens and also starring Charles Laughton and Ann Todd – the lawyer (Gregory Peck) agrees to represent the enigmatic Mrs. Paradine, played by Alida Valli, who is suspected of murdering her older husband. Keane becomes intoxicated by Paradine’s beauty, and is obsessed with clearing her name: cue plenty of Hitchcockian suspense, dark, brooding scenes and the inevitable plot twists.

Although the interiors of Keane’s home were recreated in a Hollywood studio, Portland Place serves as a classic motif of one of Britain’s greatest directors, who used property consistently throughout his oeuvre to evoke a sense of status, atmosphere and anticipation.

Between the 1960s and the early 1990s, Portland Place was to have another dramatic role, this time on the global political stage, serving as the Embassy of the Somali Democratic Republic, and the London seat of power of President Major-General Mohamed Siad Barre.

Barre became President after the 1969 coup d’état that overthrew the Somali Republic, and was believed to have had five wives and 29 children. The Embassy served as the President and family’s luxurious base when they were in London for diplomatic visits, shopping and leisure time.

In 1991, Somalia collapsed into civil war following the downfall of Barre’s regime and the former President fled his Mogadishu palace and went into exile in Nigeria, where he died in 1995. Following the civil war the Embassy on Portland Place was forced to close, and the building was sold and later converted into first apartments, and eventually a single house. Somalia reopened its London Embassy only earlier this year, on the Old Marylebone Road.

Today, there is no trace of the Embassy past and the Portland Place townhouse now forms a single haute-luxe residence with its own private courtyard. It is one of the finest surviving Adam-period houses on the street, along with boldly reimagined interiors fit for the needs of a 21st century family.

While the exterior façade remains largely unchanged, rooms within are now a series of beautifully interior designed flowing spaces for entertaining and relaxation. Swanepoel and Zandberg have added grand scale to key doorways, architraves and skirtings and restored or recreated original plaster mouldings throughout the luxurious residence. Cutting-edge technical and AV systems such as Lutron HomeWorks have also been discreetly incorporated within the home’s architectural fabric.

On the lower ground floor, is a large family room, a professionally equipped gymnasium plus treatment room. On the ground floor there is an imposing reception hall, a spacious reception room with feature fireplace and a state-of-the-art contemporary kitchen and breakfast room incorporating a central island, SubZero Wolf range cooker, and a separate pantry and utility/staff room. There is also a separate formal dining room and guest cloakroom.

The first floor is entirely taken over by the principal bedroom suite – once the building’s Grand Salon, where MP Charles Ross and the Ambassador of Somalia would have entertained fellow statesmen – incorporating two ensuite dressing rooms and two bathrooms. Up on the second floor, there are three ensuite guest bedrooms and staff accommodation.

This residential oasis is one of the most remarkable private homes on Portland Place, with added kudos given by the presence of some of London’s finest cultural institutions on its doorstep, including BBC Broadcasting House, the Art Deco Royal Institute of British Architects and several Embassies. Some of Europe’s most famous beauty and wellbeing clinics are on Portland Place and adjoining streets, along with several five-star hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and international schools.

Gary Hersham, Founding Director of Beauchamp Estates, says: “Broad, leafy Portland Place has a particularly important role in London’s regal history, incorporated back in the 19th century into the royal route from Carlton House to Regent’s Park, developed for the Prince Regent by John Nash. This magnificent house has an intriguing backstory, as the home of an MP, a starring role in a classic Hitchcock movie and later as an Embassy. Today, thanks to a painstaking refurbishment programme the house has hit its heyday, as a luxurious London residence that combines family practicality with every possible luxury.”

Portland Place is extremely well connected, just a short walk away from several Underground stations including include Regent’s Park 0.3m (Bakerloo), Great Portland Street 0.3m (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan), Oxford Circus 0.4m (Bakerloo, Central, Victoria), Goodge Street 0.6m (Northern), and with mainline train services from both Euston and Marylebone within 0.9m.

The grand townhouse on Portland Place is available to buy for £21,500,000. For further information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Beauchamp Estates (St John’s Wood) on Tel: 020 7722 9793, or visit www.beauchamp.com

Leave a Comment

You may also like