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Vandon Court, 64 Petty France, St James Park, London, SW1H
City of Westminster
Number Of Apartments
Approx 100 studio and one-bedroom apartments
Vandon Court is just minutes from St James’s Park Underground Station, with Victoria Mainline & Underground Station also within close by providing convenient access to the City, West End, Gatwick & Heathrow International Airports.
Vandon Court, an Overview
Originally built as apartments to appeal directly to Civil Servants and MP’s who required convenient access to the nearby Houses of Parliament and surrounding Government Buildings, Vandon Court has always been a quiet, discreet, functional apartment block.
Made up of 97, studio flats and one bedroom apartments, the developments configuration implies that Vandon Court would make an ideal Monday – Friday dwelling or Buy-to-let investment. With prices rising consistently yet perhaps, being comparatively cheap to other developments Vandon Court offers a no-frills investment opportunity in Central London.
A History of Vandon Court
The building is most likely named after Cornelius Van Dun, A Dutchman and yeoman of the guard to Henry VIII. Van Dun, a philanthropist provided a the capital to build a series of almshouses for the benefit of ‘deprived womenfolk’ on a piece of land that is now demarcated by Vandon Passage and Vandon Street.
Centuries before Buckingham Gate and Victoria Street became the grand thoroughfares they are today, Vandon Street and Petty France were mere dust tracks but nonetheless provided vital links with civilisation and Van Dun’s almshouses were possibly some of the first ‘substantial’ buildings in the area.
While Vandon Court’s exterior may be rather unremarkable, an insight into some of its former residents gives rise to the cliché ‘it’s always the quiet ones…’ Indeed, the discreet façade of Vandon Court has been host to a number of intriguing occupiers and visitors.
James Leslie Tuck was one such resident. Tuck was a Manchurian physicist, awarded the OBE by King George VI, due to his work as a scientific advisor during the Second World War. Working alongside his good friend R.V. Jones, Tuck and Jones contributed to some of the most significant technological, military breakthroughs. This included the top secret ‘Manhattan Project’ which perhaps more devastatingly than any of the scientists involved imagined developed into the atomic bomb.
Reminiscences of Vandon Court’s darker past were also once reported by a more recent occupant of the block. The guest of a resident seeing a man dressed in American Air force uniform went over to greet the gentleman. The guest was startled to say the least when the airman suddenly vanished leaving the guest groping thin air! However such mysterious sightings have not been reported since.
Livelier anecdotes involve the renowned writers, Charles Higham and Kenneth Tynan. In his biography; ‘In and out of Hollywood’, Higham briefly recounts a visit from Tynan and his then wife, Elaine Dundy, to Higham’s apartment at 68 Vandon Court. Both Higham and Tynan behind the discreet façade of Vandon Court and respectable married life then went on to live, some may say ‘perverse’ other s may say ‘bohemian’ lives.
Charles Higham wrote a number of no-holds-barred though somewhat unsubstantiated biographies of Hollywood stars, most notably claiming that Errol Flynn was a bisexual, fascist, Nazis spy! Higham himself kept a number of skeletons in his own closet continuing to live with his wife long after his acknowledgement that he was a homosexual. Eventually, in perhaps more socially progressive times, Higham and his wife did divorce, but remained great friends. His wife chose to adopt a lesbian lifestyle and Higham lived out his remaining years with his male lover in L.A.
Tynan, despite his numerous works will oft be remembered for being the first person to say ‘fuck’ on television. (Though this has been questioned since) At the time, his faux pas caused outrage and famed moral critic, Mary Whitehouse felt moved to write to the Queen suggesting that Tynan should have ‘his bottom spanked’. In retrospect this now seems somewhat ironic as in his private life Tynan was a fervent sado-masochist who frequently hired prostitutes to act out his flagellant and flagrant fantasies.
One suspects, that today’s Vandon Court residents lead much less salacious and more respectable lives. But one cannot help but smile inwardly when looking up at the windows of this humble mansion block and recall some its previous inhabitants secret lives.
Living & Investing In Vandon Court
Built in the 1930’s Vandon Court has a solidity and simplicity about it that makes it perfect for people seeking minimal commuting times and a it’s central location makes the block very desirable to Landlords and investors.
Being exclusively studio and one-bedroom apartments, it is obvious to state that Vandon Court would suit single occupiers and couples. As such, it appeals primarily to those looking for a simple pied-a-terre, or landlords wanting a basic, easy-to-let addition to their property portfolio.
What Vandon Court lacks in amenities it makes up for in convenience to key commercial districts in London. Anybody working in Victoria would find walking to work a pleasure, while Square Mile and Canary Wharf bound commuters will appreciate the short and easy commuting times.
Typical sizes of a studio flat are around 330sqft / 30.6 sqm’s, while one-bedroom apartments start are approx 440 sqft+ (40 sqm)
Each apartment although compact, is well designed in terms of balancing the needs for storage and living space. Many also benefit from being a blank canvas or needing some modernizations meaning that value for money gems can occasionally be found and profited from or allow owner occupiers the opportunity to create a truly individual residence.
Vandon Court & Beyond
Located on Petty France, Vandon Court is in the very centre of an area that is seeing fantastic changes and development. Including, the multi-million pound development of Victoria Rail/Underground and Bus Stations.
With numerous theatres on ones doorstep, shops and some of London’s most desirable restaurants and eateries, Victoria is seeing a swift rise in its kudos. Victoria as an area lacks any distinct boundaries as such but is considered to take in the peripheries of Belgravia, Pimlico and St James.
However, Victoria ‘proper’ is generally regarded as the streets, such as Petty France, that run north of Victoria street and then down Buckingham Palace Road to Ebury Bridge.
It is certainly the streets around Victoria Station that are seeing a fantastic rise in development, and value, as new buildings are a mix of residential and commercial meaning that thearea is increasingly fashionable both as a place to work and live.
Certainly, any young-at-heart professional living in Vandon court will enjoy the ‘hipster’s play-ground’ that Victoria is fast becoming.
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