Broadhurst Mansions

Broadhurst Mansions brochure, West Hampstead
Broadhurst Mansions, West Hampstead
Broadhurst Mansions, West Hampstead

We know Broadhurst Mansions

Think mansion block and you’ll most likely conjure up an image of a grand façade, a broad sweep of red brick and contrasting stone, an imposing architectural legacy of the Victorian era. Broadhurst Mansions is all of that – just in miniature!

Built in 1891 as 97 Broadhurst Gardens, it was at the time described as a block of five luxury flats, complete with three bedrooms and two reception rooms, bath, and two WCs. But even on this much-reduced scale, it still had all the hallmarks of its bigger block brethren. The date of construction over the imposing doorway; the angular bay at the corner with tower; the relatively modern specification including the latest in domestic drainage and a tradesman’s lift; even the diverse nature of its residents. The 1901 census provides us with a useful insight into the lives and status of a disparate group of people bound by a common address.

Flat 1 – Catherine M Thompson, a widow, who had a private income and two servants. By 1906 she had moved to 2 Broadhurst Mansions, with The Times newspaper of 26th October 1906 recording her death on 24th October 1906.

Flat 2 – Emily Pope, another widow, lived with her granddaughter and one servant. The Times newspaper of 11th February 1893 had announced the sad news that Emily’s only child had died on 2nd February 1893.

Flat 3 – Colonel Harry Howlett Young, an officer in the Indian army, who had two servants. The 1902 street directory shows Col. Harry Howlett Young, ISC (standing for the ‘Indian Sub-Continent’). F

lat 4 – Edmund A Rawles, with his wife, daughter and two servants, was a ‘varnish and colour traveller’, presumably a salesman of paints and varnishes.

Flat 5 – Martha L Samson, another widow, who also had private means, lived with her son, a bank clerk, and two daughters, one of whom also had private means; they had one servant. Interesting to note the prevalence of widowhood and the readiness to live as an extended family, with grandchildren or grown up children in residence – it just goes to show that whatever we do today, it’s all been done before!

It’s perhaps no surprise to learn that Broadhurst Mansions was not the creation of one of the great mansion block builders.

It is believed that local builder Edward Michael was behind the construction of this block as well as three houses in Frognal Road, and ownership of the property’s leasehold passed to his one son, Harold Redvers Michael, in 1933. But the name itself goes way back for its inspiration and tells us a little more about the area in which it is located.

Broadhurst Mansions took its cue from Broadhurst Gardens which in turn were named after Broadhurst, a small hamlet on the Piltdown estates of the Maryon-Wilson family in East Sussex. The Maryon-Wilsons also owned Hampstead Manor, on the estate of which lay the original site of Broadhurst Gardens, hence the connection. Records show that in the late 19th century the family, who held the freehold, received a total annual rent from the flats of £575.80 – about £40,000 in today’s money.

The Property Ombudsman