Asking $7.3 million, a storied terraced house in London’s cosmopolitan Bayswater neighborhood has been listed by the family of its late owner, English comedy icon Eric Sykes. (A terraced house is one of several similar houses joined together by their side walls, much like an American townhouse.)
Starting in 1962, Sykes and colleagues, including the legendary Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, wrote many TV classics from the circa 1900 house, and the building eventually became the home of Associated London Scripts (ALS), a cooperative for comedy writers. Such classic English comedies as “The Goon Show,” “Hancock’s Half-House,” and “Steptoe and Son” were written here, along with scripts for “Thunderbirds,” a 1960s sci-fi TV show filmed with marionettes. Most notably, Welsh writer Terry Nation penned the 1963 BBC script for “Dr Who and The Daleks” at ALS, and in 1975 he created the recurring bad-guy character of Davros at the ALS headquarters.
Just 100 yards away from Kensington Gardens and utilized by Sykes and Milligan as a both a pied-à-terre as well as a creative office space, the almost 5,700-square-foot building features a striking Arts and Crafts-inspired red brick façade, which includes prestigious blue plaques commemorating the comedy duo. There are handsome Dutch gables, stone-dressed chamfered bays, an ornate balcony and elegant entrance canopy. Inside, are spacious public rooms with high ceilings and huge mullioned windows.
Some work would need to be done to convert the building into a single-family residence again, but the possibilities are many and the results would be well worth it. Given that it once was a six-bedroom home, it could likely be converted back into a six-bedroom house, complete with elevator. An entrance hall, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room and separate utility room might be housed on the ground floor, while Sykes’s and Milligan’s former offices on the second floor could be turned into living and sitting rooms and the upper floors turned into bedrooms. As is the custom in London mansions nowadays, the basement could be refurbished to include luxuries like a home theater, a gym, a spa/wellness suite, and/or accommodations for staff.
In 1967, some of the group sold their shares in ALS to entertainment impresario Robert Stigwood. Nonetheless, Sykes and Milligan remained at this house writing on their own. The pair later jointly acquired the house and in the early 1970s, Milligan sold his interest in the house to Sykes, who leased some offices to other professionals, but kept his office and his London base for himself. He later did voiceovers for “Teletubbies” and did small movie parts, including “Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.” He died in 2012 and the house is now being sold by his relatives.
“This famous property would make an outstanding London townhouse on the doorstep of Kensington Gardens, perfect for comedy and ‘Doctor Who’ fans alike,” stated listing agent Gary Hersham, founding director of Beauchamp Estates. The property is also available via Tim Macpherson at Carter Jonas.