Welbeck Mansions

Welbeck Mansions brochure, West Hampstead
Welbeck Mansions, West Hampstead
Welbeck Mansions, West Hampstead

We know Welbeck Mansions

Welbeck Mansions was built on the north side of Inglewood Road in 1897, another classic example of this very distinctive architectural style with its red and glazed brick, bay windows and towering chimneys.

Historical records provide a fascinating peek into century old London life that seems somehow familiar today. Has the letting notice really changed that much?

But it also has its own special hallmark, the rather fine and fancy ironwork balconies that adorn the façade. It can only be a coincidence that this particular mansion block was built on the site of Potters’ Foundry, who specialised in iron and brass work for the likes of the Duke of Portland. Or perhaps it was a knowing nod to its metal forging past…either way, the ironwork looks as good today as when it was first cast and gives the building another gorgeous aesthetic dimension.

From historical records we can tell that Welbeck Mansions did particularly well in pushing the ‘diverse resident’ envelope. Most mansion blocks were characterised by the broad social and status spectrum of those who lived there but those on Inglewood Road really did extend that spectrum to new lengths. For in amongst the surgeons and barristers and clerks, we had a female professor, a wholesale grocer, a mineral water salesman and a police officer.

Much of the historic advertising for the flats goes along familiar lines, but the archives have also left us with a rather unique approach to selling property from 1906. While obviously very dated, it does have a charm all of its own. If prose isn’t getting in the tenants, why not try them with a bit of poetry instead? ‘No stairs to climb, no rates to pay; No dust or snow to clear away; Where the voice of the tramp is not heard; Where the burglar never comes; Where concrete floors defy the fire and science lays the drains; Where the domestic dreams away her days in a “dolce far niente” and her notice to leave is deprived of half its terrors!’

History also records a little bit of scandal from 1937, with The Times of 5th March reporting: ‘“The prosecution is withdrawing very handsomely and I discharge you without a stain on your character”, said the magistrate to Douglas Hugh Bruce Cameron, 35, a salesman, who was charged with serious assault on a young woman at Welbeck Mansions while posing as a doctor. The acquittal was because the woman was not quite sure that Douglas Cameron was the man although he was very like him.’ Mr Cameron must have given thanks for the principle of reasonable doubt!

Welbeck Mansions found itself back in the media spotlight when The Hampstead and Highgate Express focused in on a dispute between the then landlord and tenants.

The landlord, Bastille Properties, blamed the tenants for the block’s deteriorating condition and the fact that it looked like a pigsty, an accusation that the tenants vehemently defended, countering that the outside of the building was like that due to its neglect by the previous owners. It was an unedifying tit for tat dispute and yet, rather ironically, since the 1960s Welbeck Mansions has had one of the most sustained programmes of conversions and improvements of all such blocks, culminating in the development of a roof terrace on the main building in 2000.

The Property Ombudsman