11 Portland Place

I wrote in a column nearly one year ago to this day just how rare it is to find a whole Regency townhouse for sale in Kemp Town. The piece was on 2 Portland Place. No. 11, on the St George’s Road corner, is now for sale with Bonett’s.

I’ve been intrigued by 11 Portland Place for some time due to its distinctive tiled north side facing St George’s Road. As the street is missing numbers 12, 13 and 14, I assumed that at least one building to the north of No. 11 had been removed, perhaps due to a Second World War bomb or for road-widening. I thought that the tiles had been added to make good exposed brickwork.

Although I can’t explain the tiles, I can certainly explain the missing numbers. They once belonged to three grand houses that faced down the street which were combined and later acquired by St Dunstan’s Institute for the Blind as a convalescent home. In its current rebuilt unrecognisable form, it is now owned by the NHS and the old door numbers have been dropped.

Portland Place, which is Grade II listed, was built from 1824 to the designs of Charles Augustin Busby. All of the houses have five storeys except No. 11, the first to be occupied, which has four. Some have Corinthian pilasters. Yellow brickwork is common on the street and is no doubt buried under paint on the front of No. 11. The facades of all of the houses have three bays yet No. 11’s northernmost bay has been dramatically set back from the other two.

Ron and Joan Bodenham kindly showed me around their lovely home which has been in the family for over 60 years. Joan’s parents actually bought the house for £1,000 in 1950 after her father returned from the war. Her grandparents later moved into the basement. It wasn’t until 1989 that Ron and Joan arrived. In total, five generations of the family have now enjoyed the property.

The interior features incredibly high ceilings, marble fireplaces and views towards the sea and St George’s Church (by Busby and Amon Wilds). Although the house has been divided up a bit, it certainly has not been mangled. Everything is still there. The rooms are the right shapes and the staircase is intact. Thankfully, the banisters are still in place which Joan remembers sliding down as a child.

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