Plans go in for 33,000 square foot Regent’s Park mega-mansion

Plans have been submitted to Westminster Council for the conversion of three properties on Cornwall Terrace into one 33,000 square foot uber-pile.1 Cornwall Terrace

The proposals involve numbers 1, 2 and 3 Cornwall Terrace, which form a significant part of Decimus Burton’s iconic Grade I-listed stucco row and date back to the 1820s.

According to the Sunday Times, one of three wives of the former emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, shelled out around £120m for all three last year and is keen on turning them into a vast single residence.

If it all goes ahead, the project would create one of the capital’s finest trophy homes, complete with an enormous sunken Italian garden, indoor pool, a couple of lifts, an array of epic reception rooms, and oodles of Carrara marble.

The Schedule of Works (which you can see here) has been prepared by super-prime design specialists March & White and includes ‘internal alterations throughout to all floors’, which is a pretty serious undertaking in anyone’s book.1 Cornwall Terrace

Here’s a run through of the fascinating back story…

Cornwall Terrace is named after King George IV, one of whose subsidiary titles was Duke of Cornwall. The grand houses of Cornwall Terrace served as private residences for some 150 years, previously home to members of the nobility, admirals, generals, Ambassadors and other leading figures.

One Cornwall Terrace is a handsome pavilion at the western end of the palatial terrace. Due to its prominent position overlooking Regents Park, the main façade of the mansion is extremely elegant and ornate with a neo-classical stucco elevation with Corinthian pilasters and a grand two-storey bay embellished with distinctive caryatid (sculpted female) columns of the beautiful Greek goddess Artemis. The design of the columns was inspired by statues of Artemis in the Erechtheion Temple on the Acropolis in Athens.

The first recorded occupant of One Cornwall Terrace in 1828 was Reverend Henry North, Chaplain to HRH The Duke of Kent (the father of Her Majesty Queen Victoria) and Master of an affiliate school of Kings College London. Later residents included Thomas Durrans, a successful architect, who lived there with his family between 1893-1937.

However, the mansion is most famous for serving as the official London residence of the New Zealand High Commissioner from 1955 until the late 1970s. During this period, the house was used for grand receptions and parties involving Royalty, celebrities, senior government officials and Ambassadors.

Official government events held at One Cornwall Terrace include the 1956 reception for the Prime Minister of New Zealand and a grand 1966 reception for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. It is understood that the Queen Mother was very taken by the mansion, which is one of the most beautiful properties in the capital.

And here’s more on the extraordinary gardens…

Set in grounds of 0.452 of an acre, the extensive 40 metre long landscaped gardens are laid out over two levels, each providing an elegant setting for the main house.

The upper garden combines terraces with formal and informal landscaped areas. The landscaped garden provides a place for relaxation and leisure, with a pathway leading to a classic Greek style pagoda with panoramic views of the garden and main house. There is also a loggia, promenade terrace and parterre garden.

From the promenade terrace, two grand stone staircases lead down to the large sunken private garden terrace, which provides complete privacy and security. Landscaping, planting, water features and reflection pools border the sunken garden terrace and the Greek pagoda draws the eye and provides a classical architectural feature within the garden. There is extensive lighting throughout the landscaping giving the gardens with a striking ambience in the evening.

1 Cornwall TerraceCornwall TerraceCheck out the related documents on Westminster’s planning portal here
First three images by Ed Hill
Fourth image by Ell Brown (CC-BY-2.0)
Fifth image by Steve Cadman (CC-BY-SA-2.0)