The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

A river­side home that’s fit for a king

A strik­ing six-bed­room Vic­to­rian villa on a river­front lo­ca­tion in Wor­mit once played host to the King of Nor­way. ex­plores its past and present


It’s not ev­ery home that can boast a royal visi­tor but 25 River­side Road in Wor­mit is just such a prop­erty. The hand­some villa, which oc­cu­pies three lev­els on a ter­raced site lead­ing down to the River Tay, was used by the Nor­we­gian Army dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

King Haakon VII of Nor­way, who spent five years of ex­ile in Lon­don fol­low­ing his coun­try’s oc­cu­pa­tion by Nazi Ger­many, vis­ited his troops at their Wor­mit base.

In­deed, an up­stairs en suite bed­room still bears the dec­o­ra­tions put in by the Nor­we­gian of­fi­cers ahead of their monarch’s ar­rival.

For the last 25 years the house has been owned by Linda and Jeremy Martin­dale.

“Wor­mit had a Nor­we­gian Army base dur­ing the Sec­ond World War,” Linda ex­plains. “And our house was used as the of­fi­cers’ ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“We haven’t been able to as­cer­tain for cer­tain whether he stayed there when he vis­ited but it seems likely he did be­cause they dec­o­rated one of the bed­rooms for him.

“We’ve left those dec­o­ra­tions as they were be­cause it’s a nice piece of history.”

The house was built in 1896 and spans three floors. The ground level en­trance takes you into an open plan liv­ing room with fea­ture arch­ways and pil­lars.

The din­ing room is lo­cated to the rear of the prop­erty and has a fea­ture semi-cir­cu­lar win­dow of­fer­ing views to the River Tay. There is dec­o­ra­tive cov­ing and a door lead­ing to a rear porch which takes you out into the gar­den.

Next to the din­ing room is the im­pres­sive sit­ting room, which has a large bay win­dow look­ing out to­wards the river. New own­ers may want to con­sider cut­ting back or re­mov­ing the trees im­me­di­ately in front of this win­dow, which would open up an out­stand­ing view across to Dundee.

The spa­cious din­ing kitchen was re­fit­ted in 2012 and ac­cesses a rear hall­way with cloak­room, toi­let and util­ity room with a sink and boiler for the gas cen­tral heat­ing.

The house has a sto­ried past and this part of it is thought to have once been used as a doc­tor’s surgery. “It was long be­fore our time but quite a few of Wor­mit’s more long-stand­ing res­i­dents have told us they re­mem­ber this be­ing a doc­tor’s house at some point in the past,” Linda con­tin­ues.

Since mov­ing in 25 years ago, Linda and Jeremy have car­ried out a lot of changes to the house. In ad­di­tion to re­new­ing the kitchen and main bath­room and in­stalling mod­ern dou­ble glaz­ing, they re­fit­ted the at­tic level.

“The orig­i­nal maids’ stair wouldn’t have passed any mod­ern safety stan­dard so we re­moved it, made a cup­board out of the space and put in a mod­ern stair­case,” Linda ex­plains.

The first floor land­ing gives ac­cess to four dou­ble bed­rooms and a large, lux­ury fam­ily bath­room. The master bed­room has an enor­mous bay win­dow with un­in­ter­rupted views across the Tay. A glazed door opens on to a decked bal­cony that also takes full ad­van­tage of the views.

The sec­ond bed­room con­tains the pe­riod en suite from the 1930s that has been left un­changed since the Nor­we­gian of­fi­cers dec­o­rated it for their king. It even fea­tures some­thing of an odd­ity – a wooden cis­tern above the toi­let.

A fur­ther stair leads to the at­tic level where there is a nurs­ery, WC and two/ three fur­ther bed­rooms, with one long room sep­a­rated in two by a lou­vre par­ti­tion.

The ter­raced gar­dens have two routes down var­i­ous lev­els un­til you reach a sun­trap pa­tio and bar­be­cue area with fur­ther stairs that con­tinue down to the beach and wa­ter’s edge. A bridge once crossed a small gully in the gar­den but has fallen into dis­re­pair and only the cast iron tracks now re­main.

At the house level there is a drive­way, a va­ri­ety of stone out­build­ings, a pond and dry­ing area. The lower lev­els con­tain ma­ture trees and flower beds.

With their chil­dren all grown up, Linda and Jeremy are now down-siz­ing. “It was a lovely fam­ily home and a great place to bring up our kids,” she says. “But it’s far too big for just the two of us – we would rat­tle around in there.

“Leav­ing the house will be a pretty big wrench though.”

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