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.”