Marlborough Mansions

Marlborough Mansions brochure, West Hampstead
Marlborough Mansions, West Hampstead
Marlborough Mansions, West Hampstead

We know Marlborough Mansions

Marlborough Mansions was built in 1898 by the great mansion block builder, Edward Jarvis Cave, Managing Director of The Middlesex Building Co. It was designed by Boehmer and Gibbs as part of Edward Cave’s ‘Cannon Hill Estate’ in the triangle formed by Cannon Hill, Finchley Road and West End Lane.

Marlborough Mansions completely fills both sides of Cannon Hill and consists of four buildings on the east side and six buildings on the west side.

In 1900 Edward Cave himself lived at 38 Marlborough Mansions. He 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. In 1900 he went bankrupt owing £504,787 – a huge amount in those days – with assets of only £28,253!

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.

It does appear though that the then London County Council had some initial quibbles about the original design of Marlborough Mansions, especially its porches. Edward Cave’s buildings, particularly 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.

The individual blocks of Marlborough Mansions have had different owners. Early on, 58 - 75 Marlborough Mansions was owned by Herbrand Russell, the 11th Duke of Bedford. Marlborough Mansions residents are first mentioned in the 1901 Electoral Register for West Hampstead, appearing under the heading of ‘Cannon Hill, Finchley Road’.

From the start, Marlborough Mansions has had a high class of resident. Famous occupants include the conductor, Sir Adrian Boult; the novelist, Nigel Balchin, who died at Marlborough Mansions in 1970; and the painter and teacher of art, Sir William Coldstream, who lived at 87 Marlborough Mansions in the 1940s.

Other residents at Marlborough Mansions have included titled people such as Lady Thornycroft (at 47 Marlborough Mansions) and Lord and Lady Delacourt-Smith (at 62 Marlborough Mansions); professional people including doctors, surgeons and clergymen such as the Rev. J R Fleming, Doctor of Divinity and Secretary of the Presbyterian Alliance (at 61 Marlborough Mansions); a holder of the Military Cross and an OBE holder (Mr S H Woolrych at 73 Marlborough Mansions); a merchant; a ‘Printers Engineering Inventor’; and a wholesale food distributor, linguist, florist, and ‘nursery governess’.

The economic depression of the 1930s did not seem to have much impact on Marlborough Mansions as The Times newspaper showed advertisements from flats there for maids, mother’s helps, ‘cooks-general’ and ‘house parlour maids’, who were to have help from other domestic staff already employed by the advertisers, themselves usually small families of just two or three members! One family at 3 Marlborough Mansions advertised over a period of four years for a maid, a mother’s help (for two schoolgirls), a cook-general, and a house parlour maid!

High explosive bombs and incendiaries fell on Marlborough Mansions during the Second World War (1939 - 1945) but despite this, residents continued to live there.

Positioned between West End Lane and Finchley Road, Marlborough Mansions benefits from an abundance of nearby bars, cafes, parks, transport links and schools.

The Property Ombudsman