London

Introducing: The Library Apartments & Twain House

With work on the Library Apartments and Twain House now complete and the Library space handed over to the Friends of Kensal Rise Library's team it seems like time to show you the results of our hard work.

We're very proud of our work, restoring the building, creating unique new homes and ensuring it continues to have a life as a library and hub for the community. 

 

We are happy to say all bar one apartment are now sold  but if you'd like to see what properties we have available do have a look here and if you'd like to stay up to date with what we are up to email sales@upliftproperty.co.uk or sign up to our mailing list below.

In Celebration of World Book Day; A History Of Our Favourite Library

Happy World Book Day the perfect chance to celebrate two of our favourite things, Kensal Rise Library and History. What better time to share with you the story of how this unique part of London's literary history came to be.

Kensal Rise Library

Kensal Rise Library was built in 1900 as a Public Reading Room, as part of an effort to improve a predominantly poor area. Following the building boom in London at the end of the previous century, the housing and population in Kensal Green had become much denser. The land was donated to Willesden Council by All Souls College, Oxford, under a restricted covenant stating that it could only be used as a free public reading room and library. Cricklewood architects Done, Hunter & Co. designed the building and it was built by a firm from Exeter.

 

Mark Twain, who was staying at nearby Dollis Hill House that summer, and had educated himself in public libraries, was invited to openthe public reading room and donated five of his own books. The building would have been gas lit, with open coal fires, and it made newspapers available for everyone in the local area to read.

 

In 1903, Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated £3,000 to extend the building, and the following year the public reading room became a library. In 1922, it became the first library in Willesden to allow people to choose their own books from the shelves. In 1934, a Children’s Library and study room were created upstairs. 


During the war, the library suffered some minor bomb damage, and firewatchers spent nights in the attic, making use of its views across London. With the arrival of TV in the 1960s, the reading room became less popular and was closed, and major structural changes were made to update the building. The library passed from the Borough of Willesden to the new Borough of Brent.    


Threatened with closure more than once over the years, the library was closed by Brent Council in 2010. The local community, led by The Friends of Kensal Rise Library, mounted a campaign to save the library, which was supported by high-profile writers such as Alan Bennett and Phillip Pullman, and received a lot of national press coverage. Resisting council plans and rejecting proposals from developers, they took their case to the high court and won. And they created a pop-up library outside the building in the meantime. 


As the result of a dedicated five-year campaign, the library will re open this year. Uplift Property has worked with The Friends of Kensal Rise Library to agree a restoration of the building that is sensitive and sympathetic. The ground floor will be a public library once again, while the upstairs is converted into new housing. On 6th June 2015, members of the community celebrated reclaiming their public space at an open day, along with team Uplift and The Friends of Kensal Rise Library. 

If you would like to find out more about The Friends of Kensal Rise Library, take a look at their website here. And if this story has got you intrigued about the beautiful apartments, The Reading Rooms, above the library, great news they are now available to buy off plan. Just email team@upliftproperty.co.uk to find out more.

Pure Design

We had a great day on Sunday wandering around the Pure Design exhibition at the Truman Brewery. Tickets were free and for a double bonus we got to see two exhibitions in one go - Super Brands and Tent London.

There was so much to see and too much to want. But we think these were our two new favourite brands:

&New powder-coated steel furniture that looks (and feels) super cool. Created by British-Finnish design duo Jo Wilton and Mirka Grohn &New has been tipped by the The Architectural Digest as one of 'five UK based brands and design studios worth keeping an eye on' and we definitely agree. See their website: http://www.andnew.co.uk/

Feathr produces a range of wallpaper designed by independent artist types. Beautiful bold patterns and colours, a good sense of humour, easy to hang and just about affordable at £150 a roll (and only paper a small section of your room. Check them out here: https://www.feathr.com/shop/






A Brief History of The Red House

We are super excited to have acquired this beautiful Arts and Crafts style property on Elers Road in Ealing. Built in 1898, it’s a pretty special looking building, so whilst work begins on the renovation, we decided to do a bit of research into it’s history. Thanks to Carole Langley who lives at Number 16 Elers Road who got in touch with some fond memories of the building and also Ealing Local History department for helping us dig through the archives.

The Red House as it is today.

We discovered that originally the building was named after the famous Arts and Crafts home of Sir William Morris in Bexleyheath; The Red House and was one of only two houses on the street at that time. Newly opened Lammas Park provided beautiful, leafy views from the elegant house - unchanged to this day. Although at the time the property would have boasted a larger garden, direct access to the park and a coach house for horses.

The 1901 census tells us the first owner of the property was Andre Aron, a shipping merchant’s clerk. He moved in with his wife Madeline from their native France with two servants. The improved public transport links from the ‘green and leafy’ suburb of Ealing to The City of London where Andre worked would have made it the perfect home for the young couple. Until they moved to New York in 1905.

In 1911 Thomas William Cole bought The Red House and moved in with his wife, two children and five servants. As an Artist and head of Ealing School of Art he presumably appreciated its contemporary Arts & Crafts style. His young family would have enjoyed many a sunny afternoon in Lammas Park with its new bandstand and bowling green. 

Thanks to Ealing Council for this image from WW2. See more in their online archive here

As this map shows, the road has remaining largely unchanged since 1914

In the 1930’s the owners of the house change again and another wealthy family move in. Harry Ross, a surgeon from colonial India, returns to his ancestral country with his wife, daughter Teresa Mary Ross, and several servants. Sadly, his time in the house is brief and in 1938 he passes away aged 69.

10 years pass before the next electoral roll shows Teresa Mary Ross now living as Mrs Mary Mohammed with her husband Ahmed Mohammed at the address having met him on her travels to India. It was quite revolutionary in 1948 for a British woman to marry a Muslim man and probably caused some twitching curtains. But we’re pleased to say the couple spent many happy years in the home, during which time they have two sons who go on to inherit the house.

It looks as though the house was divided into flats during the 60s and for the next 20 years becomes home to multiple families occupying the property on short term contracts and living in what look like bedsits until the 1990s when The Red House is sold again and converted into Lammas Park Nursing Home. 

We are carefully restoring the building, reusing part of the original brickwork.

Empty since 2007, when Uplift acquired the building in 2015 it was in need of a lot of love and attention. So we are carefully restoring it to its former glory and giving The Red House a new lease of life and a range of light, contemporary apartments. 

If all this history has got you intrigued about The Red House, drop our team a line on sales@upliftproperty.co.uk.