Perspective: A Very Des Res for the Blairs; Connaught Square, the Location of the Prime Minister's New House, Is Rich in Wealth, Celebrity, History and Even Community Spirit, Discovers Alun Thorne

The Birmingham Post (England), October 2, 2004 | Go to article overview

Perspective: A Very Des Res for the Blairs; Connaught Square, the Location of the Prime Minister's New House, Is Rich in Wealth, Celebrity, History and Even Community Spirit, Discovers Alun Thorne


Byline: Alun Thorne

When Tony Blair and family finally leave Downing Street they will be moving to one of the most exclusive garden squares in the capital.

Although not the most expensive address in London, Connaught Square is a suitably austere location for a retired Prime Minister, his QC wife and their four offspring.

Mr Blair and his wife Cherie are believed to have paid around pounds 3.5 million for a five-storey house on the fashionable west side of the square, which is just off Edgware Road close to Hyde Park.

Although reportedly built on the site of the old Tyburn gallows, the square's quintessential Englishness makes it one of the most popular locations for the hard working and the landed.

One of Mr Blair's new neighbours, Eric Mouilleron, 41, an entrepreneur from Paris, claimed that the house next door to the one bought by the Prime Minister was owned by the superstar DJ, Paul Oakenfold.

And another Connor O'Brien, 52, revealed that a house just a few doors down had been used as a location for the filming of the Alan Clarke diaries earlier this year.

'It was used because it has an almost exact replica of the staircase in No 10 Downing Street,' he said.

Mr O'Brien, who has lived in the square since 1966 said the houses on the west side were built in the 1830s and were the most fashionable and sought after.

'It is always preferred because it gets the sun and there is not as much traffic,' he said. 'Traffic is the only problem but hopefully Mr Blair can do something about that.'

He said the square was dominated by mainly English, US and Australian residents but said the area also had a large Arab population.

One former resident of the Square is disgraced former Tory minister Jonathan Aitken.

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said there was a small primary school and doctor's surgery in the square and that residents held a midsummer's party in the central garden every year.

'All the local residents contribute,' she said. 'Food is supplied by a local restaurant, we all bring a bottle of wine, we have some music, jazz. It does not cost anything because it comes out of the money for the upkeep of the garden.'

The neighbour also revealed that many local residents used the garden for a work-out in the morning - something which is sure to appeal to Mr Blair, a selfconfessed fitness fanatic. …

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