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Artillery Mansions, an Overview
Artillery Mansions is a magnificent, purpose-built, Victorian mansion block consisting of studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments Fronting onto one of London’s grandest thoroughfares, Victoria Street, this splendid development offers the opportunity to own part of a period building in the centre of one of the world’s greatest cities.
With culture, shopping and commerce all being within walking distance of Artillery Mansions this development would suit long term residents, buy-to-let investors and those seeking a city based holiday home or holiday let.
In short, Artillery Mansions provide contemporary modern living in grade II listed splendour.
A History of Artillery Mansions
From initial research it is difficult to build and exact chronological history of Artillery Mansions, but in relation to it’s nearby neighbour the St Ermin’s Hotel it is possible to draw a of the buildings internal history.
Victoria Street saw some of the finest Victorian mansions blocks to be built in London around the mid – late 1800’s. Victoria Street itself was formed circa 1847-1851 and St James Underground Station, very close by, was opened in 1868 which explains the rise of residential mansions blocks and they remain a prominent architectural feature of the area today.
Built around open-courtyards which served as carriage ways and residents gardens, the mansions blocks were typically red brick in the fashionable Queen Anne style. Originally the apartments would have appealed to bachelors as many apartments would not have had kitchens and instead there would have been a communal dining area and a host of servants to maintain the flats, and the needs of the residents. As the need for domestic help begin to decline (the two world wars shaking up the class system) the communal setup of mansions blocks lent themselves well to being turned into hotels and Artillery mansions was one such building. British comedian, Norman Wisdom describes having been an errand boy in a hotel on Victoria Street in the 1920’s which tallies with the buildings history.
However whether it was by coincidence or by design of its name, Artillery Mansions was commandeered in the Second World War as a Secret Intelligence Service Headquarters and is believed that the bar of St Ermin’s Hotel was a veritable playground for double agents and less than honourable spooks.
After the war, records suggest the building was once again used as a private residence, in particular to house ex-servicemen. The Army & Navy Company, which owned and operated from The Army and Navy Store further up Victoria Street, (now the House of Fraser department store), registered ‘Army and Navy ltd’ at Artillery Mansions as a lettings management company.
By the 1980’s however Artillery Mansions was deserted and in a state of disrepair. The result being it was taken over by a group of ideological squatters in an attempt to provoke action from the New Scotland Yard opposite and Artillery Mansions earned the moniker ‘New Squatland Yard’. However infighting and misaligned ideologies meant that the squatters soon moved on of their own accord. In the 1990’s developers bought the site and redeveloped the building into the resplendent apartment block it is today.
Living & Investing In Artillery Mansions
To say this building would appeal to the ‘Old Guard’ would not be to the exclusion of a younger generation but certainly its Victorian magnificence has a different aesthetic appeal to todays glass and steel monumental architecture. Ultimately, Artillery Mansions appeals to those who admire the grade II listed architecture combined with modern day interiors.
It’s security, underground parking and central location are all salient features to buy-to-let investors while the ongoing redevelopment of the area into an ever more fashionable mix of residential and commercial space should ensure that buildings like Artillery Mansions remain popular, safe investments.
While there is plenty of speculation alongside some reasonable archives regarding the commercial history of the building, Information on its former residents is sparse. However it is well documented that James Roche, the 3rd Baron Fermoy? resided here in the early 1900’s. Baron Roche was the great grandfather of Diana, The Princess of Wales.
Artillery Mansions & Beyond
Victoria, a key commercial hub in SW1 has often just been regarded as a quick stop-off for commuters. However the ongoing development of the North Side of Victoria Street and the Station itself is seeing more and more luxury retailers, such as Jimmy Choo, opening in the area. Burberry also relocated their offices to nearby Horseferry Road a few years ago and the Telegraph newspaper has been based in Victoria for many years.
Thankfully living in Artillery Mansion’s means one doesn’t have far to walk in the Jimmy Choo’s as everything you need in London is pretty much on your doorstep. The Victoria Palace Theatre, The Apollo Victoria and brand new St James Theatre all presenting some of the best musicals and plays in the West End are all within the vicinity.
After shopping around the new Nova development, the Goring Hotel remains a perennial favourite for cocktails and supper, while Noura (Lebanese), Mango Tree (Thai) and Olivo (Seafood) all offer obviously different types of cuisine and all are popular with journalists at lunch times or for business and pleasure in the evening. Tate Britain and the National Gallery are both just a short walk away but for those who wish to purchase art rather than peruse, Phillips De Pury Auction House is just a stone’s throw away from Artillery Mansions and is notable for its record breaking sales of contemporary artwork. The Newly Opened Curzon Cinema is just a short stroll as well as Jamie Oliver’s restaurant a perfect location for anything from a sight-seeing pit-stop or casual business lunch to an intimate evening meal or a big celebration
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