Could 100 Park Lane become the property that achieves the accolade of being Britain’s highest priced private residence?
Occupied by property giants Hammerson since 1969 as their corporate headquarters, the 44,000 square foot Grade II* listed Dudley House is one of Park Lane’s finest landmark properties. It is supposedly about to come to the market as a single-family residence and a price of up to £250,000,000 could be achieved.
Dudley House, the only remaining example of an early Park Lane mansion, is named after the Dudley Ward family and built on the site of an earlier house with stabling. The site was acquired by John, 6th Baron Ward, in 1742 but it wasn’t until 1759 that the 3rd Viscount Dudley and Ward began “judicious alterations” to the house. Having paid £6,510 at auction for his late half-brother’s interests in Dudley House, he added an entrance portico and stained glass windows whilst his successor, an ”eccentric intellectual and politician,” set about turning the building into “the most pleasing object in the vicinity.”
Works by the architect William Atkinson, carried out between 1827 and 1829, included a screen of Ionic columns, fine ceilings and gilded plasterwork. They remain to this day but it is the 1855 alterations of Samuel Whitfield Daukes that are truly impressive. Carried out on the instructions of the 1st Earl of Dudley, these included a magnificent 80ft picture gallery designed to showcase a collection of Italian and Flemish paintings and a vast 50ft ballroom.
In 1895, Dudley House, which is situated at 100 Park Lane, briefly passed out of the Dudley Ward family and into the ownership of a “hard-headed South African mining magnate” named Sir Joseph Benjamin Robinson. Sir John Hubert Ward bought the building back in 1912 for £10,000 and remained there until his death in 1938.
Wartime bombing caused significant damage and this was not repaired until Hammerson took over Dudley House. Having hired Sir Robert McAlpine and Sons as contractors, designs by Sir Basil Spence and Anthony Blee were executed to restore the building. Hammerson remained there until 2006 when they jointly sold the leasehold interest on the house with freeholders Grosvenor for £37.4 million to Bristol Isles Ltd., a private investment company controlled by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thana, the emir of Qatar.
The ensuing renovation, directed by the designer Alberto Pinto, has been described as “tasteful” and is said to have cost some £75 million. The resulting air-conditioned home features some 17 bedrooms and 14 reception rooms.
It’ll be fascinating to see who “Doesn’t pass go!” and purchases this mammoth mansion (if indeed His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani decides not to move in himself).
For more details on Alberto Pinto, go to: http://www.albertopinto.com
For more information about His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani: http://www.qatarembassy.net/emir.asp