Property of the week UK: Walk in the footsteps of Dickens in this £6m London townhouse

Situated in the heart of Bloomsbury, the Georgian building has been restored with energy efficiency in mind

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From its bustling metropolises to quaint villages, the UK offers diverse locations for luxury living. Spectacular residential properties range from historic country castles to cutting-edge city apartments. In this new series, The National showcases the best and most luxurious the UK has to offer.

Featured property...

John Street, Bloomsbury, WC1N, £3,750/$4,619pw (approximate sales market value: £6m/US$7.8m)

Cultural nirvana...

The six-bedroom 1820s Georgian townhouse may lack the grandiosity of its series predecessors – Ilchester Place and Cherry Hill – but with regard to location, it is a colossus.

John Street, Bloomsbury segues into Doughty Street where the great English novelist Charles Dickens resided. But it's not only Dickens' blue plaque with which residents share a postcode; also on the road is the Charles Dickens Museum.

Dickens wasn't the only the member of England's cultural firmament to live in the locale; the area is forever linked to the Bloomsbury Set – a cohort of English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists who numbered such luminaries as To the Lighthouse author Virginia Woolf, and the architect of Keynesian economics, John Maynard Keynes.

KMJN97 Angelica Garnett, Vanessa Bell, Clive Bell, Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes and Lydia Lopokova at Monk's house

If this weren't enough, the property is also a mere hop, skip and jump from the British Museum and University College London (UCL). International families with children nearing university age, take note.

For the horticulturally minded, the house is surrounded by some of the most renowned garden squares in London, Bloomsbury Square first and foremost.

19th February 1970:  Bloomsbury Square in London.  (Photo by Peter Trulock/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

From office to home...

Built in 1820, the Georgian townhouse was first used as offices before being purchased by the current private owners.

Their vision was to to convert the building into a family home which respected its origins but also offered an exemplary level of energy efficiency.

Georgian townhouses are typically vast and draughty so aren't famed for their ecological credentials. However, with the help of interior designer Emily Bizley, the building has been almost hermetically sealed to the Passivhaus EnerPHit Standard.

For those not au fait with international construction standards, the aim of Passivhaus is to reduce the need for internal heating and cooling while also optimising indoor comfort levels.

Sit inside a Passivhaus-standard house, and you will be none the wiser as to whether you are in the midst of a scorching UAE summer or an icy Siberian winter.

The proof is in the pudding, and the house has succeeded in reducing heating by 95 per cent. There's no need for tumble dryers either; washing dries, quite literally, in minutes.


The property comprises six double bedrooms, a large open plan dining area, two reception rooms and four bathrooms, all finished to the highest possible specifications.

The rooms can be treated as separate spaces or opened up via carefully placed doorways, some reinstated and some new.

The property features four bathrooms while the kitchen is among the downstairs rooms to benefit from a new light well. Courtesy of CBRE

A new light well floods the house in natural light, and a new roof terrace at the rear provides a private outdoor space for dining and relaxing.

What the brokers say

How does it compare to other houses on the street...

There is no comparison. Georgian townhouses simply do not come with this high level of finish and energy efficient credentials.

Who might rent the property...

International families and those who wish to immerse themselves in London's smorgasbord of cultural delights.

One of the standout features is the giant play area, replete with drawstring bridge which lowers a large table of Meccano trainsets. Perfect for children and young-at-heart adults alike.

The lower basement floor is also completely self-contained so would be ideal for a live-in nanny.

Your favourite feature...

Hard to choose but the newly renovated private roof terrace and bar take some beating. Sequestered from prying eyes and with a view across the rooftops of London, the terrace provides the sort of escapism that these uncertain times demand.

The six-bedroom eco-house boasts a private roof terrace affording views across Bloomsbury. Courtesy CBRE

John Street, Bloomsbury is on the rental market with CBRE


Here you can read how London is in high demand from Middle East buyers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Or why not take a journey back in time courtesy of this gallery which depicts historical shots of Bloomsbury.