Special Delivery: Galliard bags grand Clapham scheme

Galliard Homes has acquired the grandiose 24,757 sq ft former HQ of the Union of Post Office Workers in Clapham with plans to turn it into 29 luxury apartments.

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The developer spent over £14m on Crescent House on Crescent Lane – off the Common and High Street – in Clapham, and plans to convert the 0.9 acre site into a £30m gated residential development delivering 29 one and two bedroom apartments and penthouses.

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Crescent House is currently a crescent-shaped brick and stone three storey building, built in 1937, complete with grand manor-house style entrance, oriel windows with stone casements, friezes, feature brickwork and mansard roof with dormer windows.

The Doomsday Book records that the site was originally a hunting lodge for the de Mandeville family, the Earls of Essex, who used it to entertain Royalty. In 1616 it was sold to Dr Henry Atkins, the Royal physician to King James I and Charles I. By the 1650s it was owned by William Hewer, a friend of Samuel Pepys.

By the 1740s the estate was owned by Thornton family, wealthy wine merchants originally from Hull, with a manor house and extensive gardens occupying the site. The Thornton family fell into debt so that by 1809 the estate passed to Edward Polhill, a City of London banker. In 1824 Polhill sold the house and gardens to local property developer Francis Child, a relative of the Child & Co banking dynasty.

On the gardens of the property Francis Child built Crescent Grove, a prestigious scheme of grand townhouses which is still one of the most sought after addresses in Clapham. On the site of the current Crescent House Francis Child built himself a large Tudor style manor house with main façade and side wings, called Grove Lodge, which was accessed by a sweeping carriage driveway.

In 1936 Grove Lodge was demolished and replaced in 1937 by the current building, which was built for and occupied by the Union of Post Office workers. Most recently the building served as offices for the Metropolitan Housing Trust before becoming vacant in 2012.

The Crescent House building was designed to incorporate various features from the history of the site. The building retained the footprint and carriage drive of Grove Lodge; with pairs of peasants (from the coat-of-arms of the Earls of Essex) incorporated into the stone friezes on the building, and the oriel windows recalling the architecture of both Grove Lodge and the original Tudor hunting lodge.

Prices have not been set but Stephen Conway, Chief Executive of Galliard Homes said Crescent House: “will be one of the most sought after addresses in Clapham. The elegant manor-house style building will contain outstanding luxury apartments which will appeal to end user buyers wanting to live close to Clapham Common and High Street.”

David Galman, Sales Director at Galliard Homes: “This historic site was once a Royal hunting lodge and manor house, and we will now return the property to its residential origins and deliver one of the best addresses by Clapham Common.  A property of this quality will be in high demand by people who want a prestigious parkside address, security and lateral living space.”