£9.25m Paper Tycoon’s Mansion For Sale In Westminster
An elegant, recently refurbished and restored Arts & Crafts townhouse at 20 Old Queen Street in Westminster, which was originally the London home of business tycoon Henry G. Spicer, the director of Spicer Paper Merchants, once the world’s largest paper manufacturer, has come to market with leading estate agency Dexters for £9.25 million.
Located moments from Parliament Square, 20 Old Queen Street was originally built in 1909 as the family home of paper mill tycoon Henry Gage Spicer (1835-1939), of the family-run Spicer Paper Merchants, which at its height was the world’s largest paper manufacturing company.
Built to the designs of Scottish architect Francis William Troup (1859-1951) a specialist in Arts & Craft architecture, who also designed the Spicer Brothers office headquarters; the Grade II Listed property showcases Arts & Crafts period features and original craftmanship, a magnificent example of the architectural style. Troup’s other projects including country house Sandhouse for Joseph King, Thistlegate House in Dorset, and Blackfriars House in New Bridge Street, where the Spicer Brothers headquarters was once based.
Having undergone extensive renovation led by heritage specialists to preserve the townhouse’s character, the property offers 4,764 sq. ft. of elegant living space over six floors, presented in immaculate condition, with exceptional views over St James’s Park. Providing accommodation over lower ground, ground and four upper floors the townhouse has a dark red glazed brick façade to the front and rear with stone dressings, two bay windows at first floor level, and a gated entrance, with a large multi-storey bay window to the rear façade, overlooking the garden terrace and communal garden. Throughout the centre of the home is an impressive lightwell with white glazed bricks, typical of the era, which brings natural light to every level of the home.
20 Old Queen Street has a rich history, bearing the initials of Henry Gage Spicer throughout the property including an original bespoke weathervane, with the H G S monogram carved in the original fireplace mantels and above the portico entrance in stone.
At its height the largest paper manufacturer in the world, the Spicer Paper Merchants (now Spicers) was founded in 1796 by John Edward Spicer as a large paper mill in Alton, Hampshire, producing paper, envelopes and stationery. In 1835 the business expanded into London providing stationery for financial and law firms in the City of London.
During the late nineteenth century, following a family disagreement, the company was divided into two sister firms, James Spicer and Sons and Spicer Brothers, the latter which Henry Spicer helped to direct. In 1909 the family closed the Alton Mill and transferred paper manufacturing to a new complex in Eynsford in Kent. In this same year Henry Spicer and his wife Sarah decided that they needed a large London home in order to entertain clients, business associates and friends so Henry commissioned Francis William Troup to build him the townhouse at 20 Old Queen Street.
In 1922 the two sister companies remerged and the Spicers brand continues to this day as a thriving wholesale retailer. Henry gaining himself political goodwill in 1923 when he funded the landscaping of the Victoria Park Gardens in Westminster, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament, so that MPs had somewhere to sit during breaks in parliamentary business. In 1933 Henry was presented to King George V who made him Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, the Spicers by this time also owning a country estate ‘Holmwood’ near Sawton in Cambridge.
After Henry’s death in 1939 the five-bedroom property was used as a family home for decades, before briefly becoming offices. The property was then converted back into a single residence by architect Thomas Croft, and has been a family home for the current owners for the past 12 years.
Throughout 20 Old Queen Street, original details and craftmanship has been beautifully preserved such as the grand staircase, wooden panelling, leaded windows and coving; all the fireplaces are original and working gas-fired. The townhouse’s ground floor provides two bright reception halls, one which features decorative cast stone roundels believed to be by sculptor Conrad Dressler, who worked closely with Troup at Artworker’s Guild exhibitions. There is a large formal dining room, with a grand black marble fireplace, and double doors opening onto the rear terrace.
The lower-ground floor provides a large open-plan kitchen, family dining area and relaxed TV room filled with natural light, ideal for family living. The kitchen is by Mowlem & Co of King’s Road, with bespoke solid oak cabinets, black granite worktops, three oven Aga and module electric oven with gas hobs. There is also a dumb waiter leading to the dining room above, allowing discrete catering for any formal event or entertaining family and friends.
The lower-ground floor also provides separate living accommodation, which could be used for a nanny or au pair; there is a bedroom with en suite bathroom, and a separate entrance to street level, allowing independent access.
On the first floor there is a stately drawing room with original panelling and a sweeping bay window looking out towards St James’s Park, with an adjoining ‘snug’ for quiet reading space. There is also a formal study, with charming ceiling beams and windows looking onto the quiet street. Dexters highlight that if a purchaser wanted to use the property for home consultancy or meeting work clients, the two reception halls would allow a client to enter the home, wait and be brought up to the study directly without intruding on the family home.
The property’s second floor has the Principal bedroom suite, with an adjoining fitted dressing room finished in cherry wood. There is another bedroom on this floor, with en suite bathroom and a fitted wardrobe. The Principal bathroom provides a green marble steam shower and matching marble-clad bathtub, with cherry wood finishes. There are a further two bedrooms, one of which has a balcony, as well as a spacious playroom. There is air-conditioning to all the bedrooms as well as to the top floor living area.
20 Old Queen Street provides substantial outside space, an enviable asset given the central location. There is a large 481 sq. ft. roof terrace providing extensive views of St James’s Park and across Westminster, a large space ideal for al fresco dining, relaxing or meditating. On the ground floor, there is a private terrace leading to the secure communal garden, which is shared by three properties and on license from the Royal Parks Authority. From the communal garden there is access to Birdcage Walk and St James’s Park beyond.