If you wander around Mayfair, you might come across an old Tudor building that’s now flats, except it’s not at all old.
This is 6-10 Mount Row, and it was built in 1929-31 to a design by the architect, Frederick Etchells in a deliberate Tudor style. This was a dramatic change as he was better known as a modernist at the time, but flipped to the conservation side, and later was to be church architect as well as a long-standing member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).
He also had close associations with John Betjeman, who not only lived in one of the flats he designed but also wrote his obituary.
This block of flats though on Mount Street is exceptional.
It was built on the site of a 19th-century coach house, and although it’s not a faithful reproduction of a Tudor building, as there are just a few too many “not quite rights” about it, it’s enough of a representation to fool many a passer-by.
The bow windows with dark wood surrounds have richly decorated overhangs, both in the white plasterwork and the wood itself, which has been carved with images of plants, fruits and the Green Man representing the bounty of nature.
Above the entrance corridor, a grand set of windows with wooden brackets and carved into the centre are two Elizabethan style figures.
A corridor runs down the centre giving access to the flats, and the Tudor style decoration continues uninterrupted, with plasterwork on the ceiling depicting a faux coat of arms and the Tudor rose as bosses.
The lead cisterns may be copies, but as they have older dates on them, I suspect they are originals bought for the location. Further down the corridor, look up, and there’s a hidden gem here, an ornamental plaster wall decorated with a tree that can only be seen from this spot.
Beyond the portcullis is another property — nicknamed Berkeley Castle, with its own roof garden which was put on the market in 2004 for around £4 million, and was still on the market in 2005. It’s as richly decorated inside as the outside would lead you to expect, and it’s had a history as curious as the decoration.
Once owned by Sir Dinshaw “Faly” Petit it reputed had a direct link with the casino behind the building.
In the late 1970s, it was bought by Maureen Starkey, the former wife of Ringo Starr, and later rented out to a range of celebrities to use when in London, and name dropping includes Cher, Melanie Griffiths, Antonio Banderas and Paula Yates.
You can’t go inside, alas, but it’s worth seeking out as it’s pretty unique to see from the outside.