CAN WE HELP?
Our occasional column in which we find the time-pressed celebrity the home of their dreams. This week: Robert Plant’s pad in Hampstead
One of the little-known facts about Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, is that he once worked in a tarmac gang for George Wimpey, the housebuilder. With a comeback album and a concert at The O2, the former Millennium Dome, on November 26, Robert Plant could now afford to buy the pick of the company’s homes, including Sovereign Chase in Enfield, where two-bedroom apartments are available from £282,500. Or one of an exciting range of four-bedroom houses which is due to be released this autumn. It does seem, however, as if Plant will be shunning the chance to buy into this up-and-coming part of the capital. It was reported last week that he is looking for a new home in moreestablished Hampstead.
At the age of 59, Plant, who is best-known for his energetic stage antics and his incomprehensible lyrics, will no doubt be looking towards his retirement. In fact, he would be well advised to plan for the day he needs to swap his Stairway to Heaven for a stairlift. Savills would appear to have the perfect property: an eightbedroom stucco house on Rosslyn Hill, described by the agents as having a “voluminous hall and landing’’. In fact, there might even be room to park a Zeppelin in the 130 ft garden.
If Plant wishes to maintain Led Zeppelin’s reputation for excess, he will of course be drawn to Witanhurst, the 1920s mansion, said to be the second largest house in London after Buckingham Palace. Sold in June for £32 million, it has suddenly reappeared on the market, in exactly the same state, for £75 million. Quite why anyone should want to pay more than double the price they could have picked up the property for three months ago, especially given that the global economy is looking a great deal more wobbly now, is anyone’s guess. But hey, rock stars are rock stars. Having been in the habit, in his early 1970s prime, of renting entire hotels, Plant presumably will not baulk at the invitation displayed on Primelocation’s website: “Arrange a mortgage for £75 million”. If Plant’s finances don’t quite stretch that far, there are plenty of slightly smaller piles for sale in Hampstead. If he wants to stand out, he will be drawn to Schreiber House on West Heath Road. A “modern masterpiece”, in the words of the selling agents Savills, it was built for furniture designer Chaim Schreiber by Scottish architect James Gowan. At £7.95 million, the five-bedroom property is a snip – providing you don’t mind endless visits from bookworms who have mistaken the building, faced with Staffordshire engineering bricks, for the municipal library.
The shame is that Bromwich House, a 1990s split-level concrete and glass property in Highgate, which was famous for having its asking price slashed from £13 million to £7 million after 9/11, is not currently for sale. It would have reminded Plant of his native West Bromwich.
Ross Clark Where Plant could take root Rosslyn Hill, Belsize Park, £7.5 million through Savills (020 7472 5000). Eight bedrooms, plus a threebedroom flat. Witanhurst, £75 million through Knight Frank (020 7431 8686) and Glentree Estates (020 8458 7311). Ninety rooms, including a 70 ft ballroom, set in five-acre grounds, which were once used for a national tennis championship. The disadvantage is that it is on English Heritage’s “at risk” register.
Schreiber House, £7.95 million through Savills (020 7472 5000). Individual, 1960s five-bedroom house with updated interior on West Heath Road.
High society: (clockwise, from left) Plant could consider the grand hallway and exterior of Witanhurst or a more modest stucco house on Rosslyn Hill, with elegant staircase