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Tag: History

February 8, 2019

A £75k MayBeNOT

by Matthew Steeples

Would anyone be insane enough to pay £75,000 for an evening with Theresa May or £175,000 for a set of posters signed by her?   If you want to hear someone repeat the words “my deal” as many times as possible in a minute, the perfect way would be to buy a night with Theresa … Continue reading “A £75k MayBeNOT”

January 23, 2019

Falling Down Flass

by Matthew Steeples

Grade II* listed Cumbrian mansion built by opium dealer and once marketed for £1.5 million for sale for just £460,000; it was also the scene of the UK’s biggest ever cannabis raid in 2012   A 23,000 square foot, 52 room, mid-19th century Palladian mansion in the Westmorland Dales National Park is to be sold … Continue reading “Falling Down Flass”

December 18, 2018

A Fire Sale

by Matthew Steeples

Repossessed Grade I listed Dorset mansion once worth circa £15 million for sale for £3 million; the catch? It’s burnt to the ground   An “exceptionally important,” Grade I listed, 38,000 square foot, 16th century country house in Dorset with 131.6 acres for just £3 million is certainly something that sounds like a bargain. Sadly, … Continue reading “A Fire Sale”

November 28, 2018

A Castle With A Catch

by Matthew Steeples

Romantic island in Ireland complete with its own castle for sale for just £80,000; there is, of course, a catch   A 0.54 acre island at the southeastern end of Lough Key, near Boyle in County Roscommon is to be sold this December. A castle was built there first in the 12th century and though … Continue reading “A Castle With A Catch”

October 19, 2018

Hit the Road Marilyn

by Matthew Steeples

Marilyn Monroe’s 1956 Ford Thunderbird to be auctioned   A 1956 Ford Thunderbird gifted as a Christmas present to Marilyn Monroe in 1955 by her business partner, the photographer Milton Greene, is to be auctioned in November.   The raven black roadster bodied automatic – dubbed a “personal luxury car” by Ford – comes with … Continue reading “Hit the Road Marilyn”

October 14, 2018

Fabulous Felicity

by Matthew Steeples

Felicity Kendal is quite right to criticise the stupidity of the #MeToo movement   A regular at the sadly now closed La Brasserie in South Kensington and a campaigner against the dreadful family wishing to evict the Chelsea houseboat residents, Felicity Kendal has also spoken sense in criticising the #MeToo movement.   In comments to … Continue reading “Fabulous Felicity”

September 13, 2018

Brexit Blues

by Matthew Steeples

Iain Duncan Smith, Peter Bone, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg captured looking exasperated; an exact reflection on their beloved Brexit   Summing up the mood of the nation in relation to the blessed mess that is Brexit, this photograph features the most unlikely foursome.   Looking worn out and exasperated and pictured with a ridiculously … Continue reading “Brexit Blues”

September 7, 2018

Beastly Boris

by Matthew Steeples

Boris Johnson’s timing of divorce announcement simply confirms that all he cares about is power; he is however the Michael Heseltine of our generation   In 2014, Boris Johnson claimed that “the public don’t care about his extra-marital affairs.” Well, plainly though that may or may not have been case, this devious chameleon-like politician’s wife, … Continue reading “Beastly Boris”

August 24, 2018

The King of Caravans

by Matthew Steeples

One-of-a-kind “big caravan-house” with patio on the roof for sale for £30,000; the current owner bought it for just £1 and spent £70,000 restoring it   Believed to be the last remaining example of 99 originally made, a “revolutionary” hammer finished aluminium caravan named a Berkeley Statesman has gone on sale.   Costing £1,065 when … Continue reading “The King of Caravans”

August 14, 2018

A Perfect Estate

by Matthew Steeples

Diverse 2,000 acre Suffolk riverside estate for sale for £31.5 million; it has been owned by the same family since the 19th century and produces an income of some £500,000 per year   A vast Suffolk estate – just 120 miles from London – has gone on sale for £31.5 million ($40.1 million, €35.3 million … Continue reading “A Perfect Estate”

October 16, 2017

A Sloane Home

by Matthew Steeples

Belgravia apartment for sale for £27.5 million in spite of being a 1980s timewarp; the Sloaney home forms part of a building at one-time home the residence of one half of Gilbert and Sullivan   A penthouse on the “favoured northern side” of Belgravia’s Eaton Square is on sale for £27.5 million ($36.6 million, €31 … Continue reading “A Sloane Home”

September 30, 2017

Gabriel and Sarah A. Chrisman

by General

Port Townsend, Washington State residents Gabriel and Sarah A. Chrisman live as if they are Victorians. A bike shop employee and a writer respectively, the couple have never owned mobile phones and live in a house built in 1888 with a “period appropriate icebox” instead of a fridge and oil lamps instead of modern light … Continue reading “Gabriel and Sarah A. Chrisman”

September 11, 2017

A Cheap Mansion

by Matthew Steeples

Part refurbished Irish Georgian stately home for sale for just £136,000; it was originally built by the Fry family   What could be one of the cheapest Georgian stately homes ever has been placed on the market for just £136,000 ($179,000, €150,000 or درهم658,000).   Three storey, five bay, mid-18th century Frybrook House in the … Continue reading “A Cheap Mansion”

September 9, 2017

Gone with the Joseffs

by Matthew Steeples

Vivien Leigh’s necklace and Clark Gable’s cigarette case from ‘Gone with the Wind’ to be sold at auction in Los Angeles   Gone with the Wind is undoubtedly one of the all-time classic films. It took in excess of $390 million at the box office, won an astonishing eight Academy Awards in 1940 and propelled … Continue reading “Gone with the Joseffs”

July 30, 2017

Done With Diana

by Matthew Steeples

Enough is finally enough with press coverage about the late Diana, Princess of Wales   Diana, Princess of Wales has been dead twenty years. It is thus ludicrous that her family continue to have to put up with an endless barrage of articles raking over outdated nonsense about her and though it most definitely suits … Continue reading “Done With Diana”

July 16, 2017

Five of the Best – ‘Star Cars’ at Silverstone

by Matthew Steeples

A selection of five cars owned and previously owned by ‘personalities’ to be auctioned at the Silverstone Classic Sale in July   On the 29th and 30th July, Silverstone Auctions will sell both classic and contemporary cars at their Silverstone Classic Sale in Northamptonshire. Amongst them are five cars owned or previously owned by the … Continue reading “Five of the Best – ‘Star Cars’ at Silverstone”

June 9, 2017

Theresa’s Trumped

by Matthew Steeples

Blundering bin bag Theresa May will form a minority government today, but it won’t last; the nation want her and her nasty party gone   From the moment Theresa May awkwardly held Donald Trump’s hand in Washington back in January, it was all but over. Cursed by appearing a poodle to the worst POTUS in … Continue reading “Theresa’s Trumped”

June 6, 2017

A House of Hide

by Matthew Steeples

Grade II* listed Kent townhouse for sale for just £166 per square foot; a similarly sized property in Knightsbridge would set you back £2,000 per square foot   A freehold 2,500 square foot detached 15th century timber framed house just 23 miles south of London has gone on sale for the lowly sum of £166 … Continue reading “A House of Hide”

May 29, 2017

Best in Britain

by Matthew Steeples

EXCLUSIVE – “Nationally important” Grade II* listed Berkshire mansion in 130 acres for sale for £26 million; its interior is yet to be renovated   A Grade II* listed building capable of being reinstated as one of Britain’s finest country houses has just been placed on the market for £26 million.   Benham Park – … Continue reading “Best in Britain”

May 27, 2017

Robert Adam

by General

With such a name, this suave gent just had to design landmarks. University of Westminster educated and Hampshire based Robert Adam (born 1948) followed his more famous namesake (1728 – 1792) and became a designer of “progressive neo-classical style buildings” in 1975. He won “the richest prize in architecture” in January 2017 and counts the … Continue reading “Robert Adam”

May 13, 2017

A Fashionable Bargain

by Matthew Steeples

£39 million summer house on Lake Geneva that was designed by one of the architects of the Eiffel Tower to be sold at auction without reserve   Built in the Belle Époque style on the north shore of Lake Geneva, Château de Promenthoux is a 13,988 square foot house on a plot of 9 acres. … Continue reading “A Fashionable Bargain”

May 7, 2017

I Capture the Castle

by Matthew Steeples

12th century castle and romantic ruin in Herefordshire for sale for £1.495 million; a title to go with it is available also   A part restored castle on the English-Welsh border is back on the market after its buyer pulled out at the end of last year. Wilton Castle-on-the-Wye at at Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire’s story … Continue reading “I Capture the Castle”

April 28, 2017

Gilded Glory

by Matthew Steeples

New York’s “last intact Gilded Age mansion” for sale for £38.75 million; it comes with a room that cannot be wiretapped   An Upper East Side “Beaux Arts palace on a small scale” described as “Manhattan’s last intact Gilded Age mansion” has gone on sale for £38.75 million ($50 million, €45.96 million or درهم183.65 million) … Continue reading “Gilded Glory”

April 5, 2017

Trumping Livingstone

by Matthew Steeples

Has Ken Livingstone become Britain’s answer to Donald Trump?   Father of five Ken Livingstone would no doubt hate the comparison but, putting him in perspective, he’s rather like a British version of the American father of five Donald Trump.   When Ken Livingstone doesn’t like what is said about him, he terms it “incredible … Continue reading “Trumping Livingstone”

March 14, 2017

Nelson & Nintendo

by Matthew Steeples

Georgian mansion, where Admiral Lord Nelson lived with his lover and her husband, for sale for £4.25 million; it was renovated by a former Nintendo executive   One would expect a senior executive of a tech company to live in a slick, modern home in Silicon Valley, but since 2004, Matthew Hill, for many years … Continue reading “Nelson & Nintendo”

December 7, 2016

Exciting a Royal

by Matthew Steeples

Jaguar E-Type originally owned by Prince Michael of Kent for sale   A 1965 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 4.2-litre FHC originally owned by His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent is for sale with an Essex vintage car specialist.   Described as having “matching numbers, in impeccable order throughout and being close to conours”, Prince … Continue reading “Exciting a Royal”

December 3, 2016

A £10m Doer-Upper

by Matthew Steeples

Oxfordshire country house that has appeared in many films for sale for £10 million in spite of needing some renovation   Launched to the market in June for £10 million ($12.7 million or €11.9 million or درهم46.7‎‎ million) in June 2016 as a while or £7.75 million ($9.9 million or €9.2 million or درهم‎‎36.2 million) … Continue reading “A £10m Doer-Upper”

May 21, 2016

One family from new

by Matthew Steeples

Grade I listed house in Northern Ireland offered for sale for the first time since it was built in 1620

July 10, 2015

A Spitfire soars

by Matthew Steeples

Spitfire smashes £1.5 million pre-sale estimate and soars to sell for £3.1 million for charity in London

June 29, 2015

Kevin Wheatcroft

by General

The owner of Donington Park Racetrack, Kevin Wheatcroft is estranged from his six siblings and is bizarrely also the world’s leading collector of Nazi memorabilia.

May 30, 2015

Lord Mostyn

by General

The 7th Baron Mostyn was born in 1984 and was said to be worth some £50 million ($85 million) by The Sunday Times in 2014.

March 29, 2015

Mount Vernon: The real Southfork

by Matthew Steeples

Dallas mansion with a prayer room and the largest private bowling centre in America that was previously owned by a billionaire oil baron remains for sale despite a price cut of £7 million

March 23, 2015

Doing Justice

by Matthew Steeples

An 18th century former court house in Chelsea is for sale for £14.5 million or available to rent at £10,000 per week

March 7, 2015

Houses of the Holy

by Matthew Steeples

Jimmy Page wins planning dispute with neighbour Robbie Williams

January 15, 2015

Cairness House – A Masonic mansion

by Matthew Steeples

Cairness House, “Scotland’s most important Greek Revival house”, heads into its fourth year on the market

October 20, 2014

The Monica Factor: Monica Lewinsky joins Twitter

by Matthew Steeples

Monica Lewinsky takes to Twitter (but don’t expect any mention of Bill Clinton)   On Monday, Monica Lewinsky joined Twitter and within a couple of hours despite her having tweeted just twice, she had gained over 34,000 followers.

September 22, 2014

Kate Williams

by General

Oxford educated Kate Williams is an expert on royal history. A television presenter and author, Williams has over 10,000 followers on Twitter and has been described as “an outstanding talent” by Matthew D’Ancona. She is based in London and her works include The Pleasures of Men, Becoming Queen and England’s Mistress.  

September 7, 2014

Churchill’s ride

by Matthew Steeples

Daimler used by Churchill to star at RM Auctions Battersea sale   Between 1940 and 1950, the Daimler Motor Company loaned a 1939 Daimler DB18 drophead coupé bodied by the Carlton Carriage Company for special occasions. Its most notable loan was to Winston Churchill in 1944 and 1949 and it heads to auction on Monday … Continue reading “Churchill’s ride”

July 11, 2014

Drugs and Dents

by Matthew Steeples

A Cumbrian mansion built by opium traders and more recently used by cannabis growers comes to the market for just £1.5 million   Built by the well-known Dent family, who made their fortune trading both tea and opium, Flass is a vast 23,000 square foot Palladian mansion on the outskirts of the village of Maulds … Continue reading “Drugs and Dents”

April 11, 2014

Footing the castle

by Matthew Steeples

Own a castle (for just twenty years) for £850,000   Trematon Castle near Saltash in Cornwall is a house that I stayed in about ten years ago when it belonged to a friend of mine’s family. It was sold subsequently and now it is on the market once again.

December 30, 2013

Naff off

by Matthew Steeples

Central London is losing its character   A house in Pelham Street for £105 million, Tamara Ecclestone spends £1 million on a bathtub and Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews racks up a bar bill of £450,000. These are all headlines we’ve featured recently that illustrate the nonsensical world that has become The Royal Borough of … Continue reading “Naff off”

December 17, 2013

Bears and postmen

by Matthew Steeples

Charles Mitford Cust tells the tale of a Steiff bear with a fascinating past   I was routing around in the family safe one rainy day recently when I spotted an unusual object hidden behind a pile of ancient documents right at the back, it turned out to be a near mint condition 1908 Steiff … Continue reading “Bears and postmen”

September 14, 2013

Being Liberace with the facts

by Matthew Steeples

A Cadillac that may or may not have belonged to Liberace comes to auction without much evidence of its provenance   In The Talented Mr Ripley, the detective appointed to discover what happened to Dickie Greenleaf states: “In America we’re taught to check a fact before it becomes a fact”. In the case of a … Continue reading “Being Liberace with the facts”

September 10, 2013

Skedding off the rails

by Matthew Steeples

Professor Alan Sked forms new party   In 1991, Alan Sked, a professor of International History at the London School of Economics, formed the Anti-Federalist League. In 1993, the organisation became what is now known as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) but after leaving what he came to see as a factionalised organisation in … Continue reading “Skedding off the rails”

August 21, 2013

Matthew Winthrop Barzun

by Matthew Steeples

The United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom was appointed in August 2013 and is a descendant of John Winthrop, an early 17th century governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Married to the heiress to the Jack Daniels whiskey empire, Barzun was a fundraiser for Obama’s 2008 campaign and head of strategic planning for Halsey … Continue reading “Matthew Winthrop Barzun”

July 15, 2013

A Fyne accord

by Matthew Steeples

A review of Covent Garden’s Loch Fyne Restaurant   In May 2004, the car park of the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar at Clachan in Argyll, Scotland became famous after Gordon Brown and John Prescott met there to discuss and agree who would be Tony Blair’s successor.

June 25, 2013

Heroes and villains

by Matthew Steeples

Two auctions featuring Princess Diana, Monica Lewinsky, President Kennedy, Wallis Simpson and Adolf Hitler   This Thursday, the Chelsea Arts Club in London is holding an event to conclude their silent auction of images and paintings by members of heroes and villains. In Los Angeles, on the same day, Nate D. Sanders, a specialist in … Continue reading “Heroes and villains”

June 13, 2013

Return of a King

by Matthew Steeples

William Dalrymple suggests the past should guide anyone considering invading Afghanistan   Last night I attended a reception hosted by Sir Tom Stoppard and the Founders’ Circle of the London Library at the East India Club with my great friend Barbara Minto. At it, the writer and historian William Dalrymple gave a brief but fascinating … Continue reading “Return of a King”

May 23, 2013

Jean-Christophe, His Imperial Highness the Prince Napoléon

by Matthew Steeples

An heir of the legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte, this investment banker is based in New York and works for Morgan Stanley. He succeeded his grandfather Louis, Prince Napoléon as Head of the Imperial House of France in 1997 due to a dynastic dispute due to his father “embracing republican principles” and remarrying “without his father’s … Continue reading “Jean-Christophe, His Imperial Highness the Prince Napoléon”

March 27, 2013

Taking a view

by Matthew Steeples

The sale of a historic £22 million residence on London’s Cheyne Walk   Cheyne Walk in Chelsea is amongst the addresses that an estate agent would describe as “the most sought after in London”. Up there in the company of the Bishops Avenue, Grosvenor Square and Cadogan Square, it has moved from having been home … Continue reading “Taking a view”

March 14, 2013

Bankrupt in Barton Street

by Matthew Steeples

The story of “fallen tycoon” Brian O’Donnell, the differences between bankruptcy in the UK and Ireland and an £11 million mansion   In these straightened times, the media in general and the Daily Mail in particular quickly latch on to stories about benefit scroungers living in luxury homes. They’re less quick, however, with the exception … Continue reading “Bankrupt in Barton Street”

March 1, 2013

My Heart Won’t Go On

by Matthew Steeples

An Australian tycoon announces a bizarre plan to launch a replica of the doomed passenger liner RMS Titanic   This week, a “brash” 58-year old Australian mining tycoon named Clive Palmer announced that he will launch a full-scale replica of the RMS Titanic in 2016.     On hearing of this, I wondered if April … Continue reading “My Heart Won’t Go On”

February 18, 2013

A Smart move

by Matthew Steeples

The sale of the home of a circus heir and the revival of Billy Smart’s Circus   Billy Smart, Sr. (1894 – 1966), a travelling showman and father of 10 children (he was himself one of 23), bought a circus in 1946 and quickly became known as an extraordinary entertainer. One of his son’s, Billy … Continue reading “A Smart move”

November 29, 2012

A Gipsy flies

by Matthew Steeples

The story of a 1929 bi-plane with a truly fascinating pedigree   Britain’s best-known wartime Prime Minister piloted a Gipsy Moth aeroplane that will be sold by auctioneers Bonhams in February 2013 at a guide of £120,000. The same craft was also featured in an iconic 1980s film and was also supposedly flown by a … Continue reading “A Gipsy flies”

November 15, 2012

The badgers of Albany

by Matthew Steeples

Matthew Steeples delves into the history of Albany, Piccadilly and discovers an affordable way of living there   Albany, off Piccadilly in Mayfair, was most probably London’s first apartment block and it’s certainly the city’s most exclusive. It may be next to the Royal Academy and opposite Fortnum & Mason but surprisingly few have even … Continue reading “The badgers of Albany”

November 5, 2012

Boujis in the basement?

by Matthew Steeples

Matthew Steeples explores the story of an empty Kensington mansion   A multi-million pound 8-bedroomed house in Kensington isn’t anything unusual. In fact, rather, they’re ten a penny. In this, one of the wealthiest boroughs in the land, large, expensive homes are just the norm.   No. 1 Campden Hill, which is being marketed for … Continue reading “Boujis in the basement?”