An elegant 3,777 sqft five bedroom apartment, offering five balconies with 124.8 sqft of outside space, located on the fourth floor of Brook House on London’s Park Lane which, pre-redevelopment, was the London home during the 1930s and 1940s of Harry Selfridge, the founder of Selfridges department store on Oxford Street, is now for sale via sole agent Wetherell.
Along with the Harry Selfridge backstory the magnificent Brook House apartment provides an abundance of lateral living space and panoramic views over Hyde Park. The centrepiece of the apartment is a 44ft dual aspect reception room with coffered ceiling and marble flooring, incorporating full height glazing overlooking Hyde Park including two bays with floor-to-ceiling windows and ornamental balconies. There is also a spacious entrance hall, guest powder room, a family kitchen with separate utility room, principal bedroom suite with balcony, walk-in dressing room and main bathroom, guest suite with balcony and ensuite bathroom, and three further bedroom suites, all with ensuite bathrooms.
The original Brook House apartment building was built in 1933-1935 by developer George Fee of building firm Gee, Walker & Slater, designed by architectural practice Wimperis, Simpson & Guthrie, with advice from Edwin Lutyens, the luxury project undertaken in partnership with site owner Edwina Mountbatten, the wife of HM The Queen’s Uncle Lord Mountbatten. The site at 113 Park Lane had originally been occupied by a grand mansion, also known as Brook House, which had been owned by Sir Ernest Cassell the financier and grandfather of Edwina Mountbatten.
Edwina Mountbatten had inherited her grandfather’s financial acumen. Not wishing to live in the outdated mansion she partnered with developer George Fee and in return was given a share of the sale from each of the new Brook House apartments, along with ownership of the vast duplex penthouse on the top of Brook House, whose interiors were bespoke designed for Edwina between 1935-1937.
The involvement of the glamorous Mounbattens in the Brook House apartments made the building one of the most sought after addresses on Park Lane. In 1936, one of the first residents was Harry Selfridge, the founder of the Oxford Street department store Selfridges, who moved into a large fourth floor apartment in order to live close to the store.
Harry Gordon Selfridge (1858-1947) was an American retail magnate who founded and built the world-renowned Selfridges department store on Oxford Street in 1908-1909. When he originally opened Selfridges Harry Selfridge lived in a grand Manhattan style lateral residence at 9 Fitzmaurice Place in Mayfair, just off Berkeley Square, and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with a private yacht, the SY Conqueror, and a rented country estate, Highcliffe Castle, in Hampshire.
However during the Great Depression of 1929-1936 Harry Selfridge’s personal fortune declined rapidly so in 1936 he left 9 Fitzmaurice Place and moved into the fourth floor apartment at Brook House. It is here he entertained his official mistress, the glamorous Syrie Maugham, and his on-off secret lover dancer Rosie Dolly. Selfridge remained at Brook House until late 1945 when he relocated to Ross Court in Putney Heath to live with his daughter Rosalie where he died at the age of 89 on 8th May 1947.
In 1993 the original Brook House apartment building was demolished and replaced in 1997-1998 by the current building, designed by architectural practice Michael Squire & Partners, the TH Wyatt of our times, with the modern building providing basement parking, ground floor residential foyers with concierge/porter, passenger lift and a total of 15 apartments within the building comprised of 12 apartments on the 2nd to 5th floors and one penthouse per floor on the 6th to 8th floors.
Although the current fourth floor apartment is modern in style, with a different layout and specification from the original 1930s flat, you can still get a sense of the unchanged leafy Hyde Park views, the buzz of Park Lane below, and the refined style and luxurious entertaining that Harry Selfridge would have enjoyed in his original apartment during the 1930s and 1940s.
The main reception room has white-slab marble flooring and space for several seating areas provide the perfect venue for relaxation or entertaining. You can imagine Harry Selfridge gazing out across Hyde Park, giving orders to Kitty Hawkins, his Selfridges Head of Cosmetics, or mixing a pre-dinner cocktail for his mistress Syrie Maugham.
The spacious family kitchen has a central island, breakfast/dining area and a separate utility room. Here you can imagine Harry Selfridge’s cook rustling up a dinner with food from Selfridge’s renowned food hall, with the dining table being dressed by Miss Ravillious, Harry Selfridge’s famous Head of Fashion and store presentation.
There are five double bedrooms, all with bespoke built-in wardrobes and ensuite bathrooms. The principal and main guest suites have balconies and the principal suite – which would have been used by Harry Selfridge – has a walk-in dressing room, perfect for a fashion lover like Harry Selfridge.
The apartment comes with 24-hour concierge, an additional storage room and two secure underground parking spaces. Brook House is located on Park Lane, arguably London’s most famous address, directly adjacent to Hyde Park, and the boutique shops and restaurants of Mayfair Village, centred on Mount Street, as well as access to Marble Arch and Bond Street undergound stations.