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Marsham Court, an Overview
Built in 137, Marsham Court on Marsham Street has proved to be perennially popular with Londoners and has remained in constant occupation since being built, even during the Second World War.
Comprising of 147 generously proportioned studios and spacious one and two bedroom flats, Marsham Court boasts a central location, Grade II listed pedigree and a symmetrical art deco façade that is both quietly elegant and warmly welcoming.
Situated at the head of Marsham Street, the development is superbly located for London’s key destinations. Not least the Parliamentary District, Marsham Court being well within the division bell area.
A History of Marsham Court
Marsham Street is named after Charles Marsham, 3rd Baron Romney and 1st Earl of Romney when the title was recreated in the 1800’s. Marsham Court and Romney House, also on Marsham Street, take their names from the Earl as do many of the streets in the surrounding area.
Originally nearly one whole side of the street was taken up by the old Westminster Brewery, and this is the site on which Marsham Court now Sits.
On the other side of Marsham Street was Messrs Hadfield’s marble works and sculpture gallery.
While it is not entirely clear, research suggests that Hadfield’s marble works originally founded by Joseph Hadfield was a precursor and subsequent London Showroom to Matthew Ellison Hadfield’s Architectural practice based in Sheffield. This would make sense as Hadfield’s was known for its admiration of the Victorian Gothic Revival and the extensive use of architectural ornamentation. The practice worked extensively with the likes of A.W. Pugin and P.F. Robinson throughout the 1800’s.
A century later in 1937, architect T.P. Bennett designed Marsham Court. Like Hadfield’s Bennett was also an admirer of exterior decoration on buildings, though in the case of Marsham Court Bennett recognised the commercial constraints of domestic architecture and instead created an elegant, plain brick exterior.
Bennett’s love of decoration and sculpture can however be seen on many of London’s iconic buildings including the neo-classical-cum-art-deco-via-Egypt Selfridges department store which features the magnificent Sculpture ‘Queen of Time Riding her Ship of Commerce’ by well-renowned sculptor Gilbert Bayes.
Bennett also was responsible for the Royal Doulton Building in nearby Vauxhall. The Royal Doulton building being a fabulously colourful art deco meets gothic revival building in the heart of London’s new Nine Elm’s District.
It would be wonderfully neat if Hadfield’s of Sheffield and Bennett’s London practice had collaborated at some point, though we cannot find any evidence of this at the time of writing. But it does seem very likely as such stonework would have been made outside of London and transported via the Canals and Waterways, of which Sheffield had many. Might it then be too much to ask that Charles Hadfield, one of the founders of the David & Charles publishing company, to be related to Matthew Ellis Hadfield? Charles Hadfield was passionate about canals, and D&C published many books on the subject.
Living & Investing In Marsham Court
Originally Marsham Court was marketed as fully furnished, serviced flats appealing to affluent Londoners and would have attracted Members of Parliament, Senior Civil Servants and others from all parts of the British Empire. There would have been a full complement of staff from butlers and maids to waiters and chefs to service the apartments as well as an in-house restaurant and cocktail lounge.
While that service does not exist today, there are many period features that remind us of the sort of lifestyles that residents would have lived and the services they expected. Examples include the letterboxes on each floor and the butlers cupboards at every front door where residents would leave their clothes and shoes to be cleaned, pressed and polished by the staff.
A 24 hour concierge service is part of the present development however and this dedicated team reflect the loyalty that Marsham Court engenders in its occupiers, with many of the staff being there for a number of years.
Likewise an active residents association ensures the building has a welcoming atmosphere and a connected community, going so far as to have an annual, residents xmas party, using money raised from ticket and raffle sales to support local charities.
The residents also enforced their right to purchase the freehold and so now every flat also benefits from having a share of freehold.
Marsham Court & Beyond
Up until 2013 Marsham Street housed the iconic Shepherd’s restaurant originally owned by the famous ‘hell-raising’ trio; Peter Langan, Richard Shepherd and Sir Michael Caine though in its later years Shepherd’s was bought out and subsequently closed down. But perhaps this is for the best, allowing Marsham Court to evolve into the next stage of its life and for occupiers to go beyond the doorstep and explore the vast range of restaurants that London has to offer. A great start would of course be Langan’s brasserie in nearby Mayfair, originally the sister restaurant to Shepherd’s.
If living in an Art Deco building fulfils a personal love of the Art Deco style then London has many other wonderful examples of this. The Selfridges building being one of the most obvious examples but also the impressive former Daily Telegraph offices on Fleet Street as well as the positively gleaming, yet enigmatic Daily Express building which has a fantastically ornate Art Deco interior.
Travelling to anywhere in London is made easy from Marsham Court. Almost equidistant from Pimlico, Victoria, Westminster and St James’s Park Underground Station’s, Marsham Court is exceptionally well connected to the City and Canary Wharf.
Incidentally, on top of St James’s Park Station sits a stunning Art Deco building, 55 Broadway. Originally the offices for the Underground Group, this building is currently undergoing redevelopment. While it was generally admired at the time of its conception there was one small part that caused public outrage. The building boasts a number of impressive sculptural reliefs, in particular two sculptures entitled ‘Night and Day’ by Jacob Epstein. ‘Day’ features a male nude whose member was considered indecent at the time and so one and half inches had to be ‘chopped off’ to placate the furore it gave rise to!
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