Cavendish Mansions

Cavendish Mansions brochure, West Hampstead
Cavendish Mansions, West Hampstead
Cavendish Mansions, West Hampstead

We know Cavendish Mansions

Cavendish Mansions was built in 1903 - 1904 when the estate called ‘The Cedars’ (which had become a school), was demolished at the east end of Mill Lane. The block of flats was erected by the great mansion block builder, Edward Jarvis Cave, Managing Director of The Middlesex Building Co.

Cavendish Mansions was probably designed by Boehmer and Gibbs as they were architects long associated with Edward Cave’s enterprises.

Edward Cave began business in 1865 with about £100 capital and in the following 35 years he was engaged in large-scale building operations in Hampstead and Maida Vale. Even today, Cave’s buildings, especially those in West Hampstead, have a reputation for durability and solidity of construction and his blocks of flats are regarded as striking and distinctive landmarks. Another quirky fact linking Cave to the block is that his second wife, A Bretzfelder, owned Cavendish Mansions until just before the First World War.

Edward Boehmer and Percy Gibbs were speculating architects and had built up a considerable reputation since the early 1890s as designers of fashionable and grandiose shops and mansion blocks on the continental model. Their trademarks were projecting corner turrets, big-boned bay windows, and artificial stone as decoration on deep-red brick. Cavendish Mansions’ residents were first mentioned in the West Hampstead Electoral Registers in 1904/5 and the 1905 Street Directory for Hampstead.

In 1907 The Times newspaper reported a very early case of speeding involving a resident of Cavendish Mansions. The article was headed ‘Speed of Motor-cars’ and concerned Oliver Stanton, ‘an American gentleman’ then living at Cavendish Mansions. Oliver Stanton claimed to have taught the King, Edward VII, the Prince of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family ‘in the art of motoring’, and said that he was ‘considered by the Press to be an expert on motor matters’; he had one of the earliest driving licences, no. 120.

Oliver Stanton came before Marylebone Magistrates on two summonses, one for driving his car in Avenue Road, St Johns Wood, at a speed over 25 miles per hour, and the other for failing to produce his driving licence. When stopped, Oliver Stanton pointed out that he was a friend of the Chief Commissioner, and he refused to show his licence to anyone of lower rank than inspector. He said that his licence had not up to then been endorsed and when the policemen asked for it he refused to produce it as it was a ‘virgin’ one. He offered instead to drive them all to the police station.

In 1939, Henry Kates, a rent collector of Cavendish Mansions, was sent down by Marylebone Magistrates, for 6 months’ prison plus hard labour for embezzlement. Henry Kates’ average collections from 600-800 tenants were £600 - £700 a week. His wages were £4.50 (£4, 10 shillings) a week plus car allowance and Christmas bonus. His crime came to light when he was arrested for drink-driving. His books were examined and showed a deficiency of £1,056 over 10 months – about 4½ times his yearly salary.

The Property Ombudsman