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Online House Hunter: Living with history

Alan Cleaver
finsburyrd 224x300 Online House Hunter: Living with history

A former school converted into flats at Finsbury Road, Brighton

THE appeal of living in a converted historic home is obvious and, as property writer Graham Norwood points out, the government seems determined to sell off even more of them in the near future.

Ironically this sell-off includes the former Land Registry building in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. But the chance to live in a palatial home – albeit just a part of it – shouldn’t blind you to some of the possible pitfalls. At the very least, you need to ask some searching questions before putting down a deposit.

Mr Norwood warns that even converted large rooms could prove costly to heat; there may be expensive service charges for maintaining the building and grounds, and listed building status might restrict any plans you have to ‘improve’ your home.

But there are also many advantages: some historic buildings are set in glorious countryside but many more are set in the heart of town centres making a ‘nip to the shops’ nice and easy. And the conversion should have seen some high-tech features installed.

A number of splendid examples are included in Mr Norwood’s Homes & Design feature but here’s a few more to whet your appetite…

  • A two-bedroom apartment for sale in Finsbury Road, Brighton. The building was originally Finsbury Road School and dates from 1881. There’s easy access to the railway station, city centre and, of course, the sea front.
  • Nothing says historic more than the cathedral city of Winchester in Hampshire. This once military town has seen its former barracks converted into luxury flats with the added bonus that it’s just a short walk down the hill to the city centre shops and cathedral. And while the city centre might get a bit noisy at weekends, the barrack homes themselves are tucked away in a very quiet square.
  • And London has seen the huge old wharfs in east London converted into flats. This property at Butler’s Wharf, originally built in the 1900s, retains exposed brickwork, wood beams but also has all the modern facilities you would expect in such a luxury development. Step from your living room onto the balcony and enjoy the views down to Canary Wharf.

Finally, for more conversions, take a look at those which won in that new conversion category in the London Evening Standard awards.

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