Newspaper article International New York Times

Tranquil Living in Central London ; Quiet Streets Provide a Backdrop for Historic Homes in Westminster

Newspaper article International New York Times

Tranquil Living in Central London ; Quiet Streets Provide a Backdrop for Historic Homes in Westminster

Article excerpt

A historic home near Parliament was once two separate properties.

Behind the busy roads around the Houses of Parliament here is a warren of quieter leafy streets. These roads, in central London and mostly free of traffic, are lined with some of the most historic and conveniently located homes in the capital, yet they are largely overlooked by international investors, who prefer the more glitzy areas of Mayfair and Knightsbridge.

Lord North Street was built in 1725 to provide access to what was then the newly constructed Smith's Square. It still is lined with attractive terraces of Georgian townhouses, and at one end is the large and elaborate Baroque facade of St. John the Evangelist church.

The proximity to Parliament has attracted many well-known residents over the years, including two former prime ministers: Anthony Eden, who lived at No. 2 in the 1920s, and Harold Wilson, at No. 5 in the mid-1970s. At one time, real estate agents say, members of Parliament living along the street could hear the division bell, which was rung to call them to Parliament when they were needed to vote. Today, residents still can hear the chimes of Big Ben, just around the corner.

Kirsty Sugden, sales director with the local property agency Hathaways, said the area was now too expensive for most politicians.

"We have interest mainly from financiers, entrepreneurs and business owners," she said. "Most are British or international with British connections, but Chinese buyers also like Westminster because of its historic links."

One home on Lord North Street is for sale at Pounds 5.9 million, or $9.44 million, through Hathaways. Having brought up five children in the double-fronted, five-story house, Adam Wethered, founder of a financial management company, and his wife, Diana, have decided to downsize. …

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