An Englishman’s home is his courthouse: one of Chelsea’s most historic homes comes on the market

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  • Allegedly a former courthouse, jail, Wesleyan Chapel, soup kitchen, wine warehouse and artist studio, this richly historic slice of Chelsea (almost) seems cheap at the asking price

    Football aside, the London borough of Chelsea is most likely to be considered home and hunting ground of the Sloane Rangers and host to a swinging time in the 1960s, when the Kings Road was the hippest street in the world.

    But take a jaunt down Justice Walk and you’ll find not only an enclave rich in more ancient history, but the opportunity, for a cool £14.5 million, to call a fairly substantial chunk of it home.

    Lofty aspirations: Evidence of the building's former use as courthouse is seen in this 30ft high recpetion room  Russell Simpson

    Tucked down a secluded alleyway, the Courthouse was built in the early 18th century and its exterior, including classical pediment,
    remains largely untouched.

    The building’s interior is entirely modern and its design references the building’s claimed use as a haven for writers and artists in the 19th century when Chelsea was a hub of Bohemianism. Less authentic, but so much more comfortable for guests than the cells its initial incarnation as court and jail would have offered.

    Rough justice: legend has it that prisoners were led from the Court house through a tunnel to convict ships on the Thames.

    Although the area abounds in famous former residents, the most notable denizens were brothers Sir John and Henry Fielding, both magistrates and founders of the Bow Street Runners and likely origins of the street’s name.

    The visually impaired John rejoiced in the epithet of the Blind Beak of Bow Street and Henry found even greater fame (or infamy) as the satirical author of novel Tom Jones.

    Going undergound: The property has no parking attached but legend has it there's an underground tunnel leading to the Thames - handy for accessing ones private yacht  Russell Simpson

    Even with seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a cottage and courtyard thrown in, the property’s £14.5 million price tag may seem punitive, but it’s safe to declare it a pretty solid investment. Last on the market in 2006 the asking price was then
    £10.6 million.

    It had been bought by the vendors back in 1998 for a comparatively mere £2.8 million, with a further £2 million splashed out on restoration. Thus proving the old adage true: you need to spend (big) money to make (big) money. The property is on sale through agents Russell Simpson.

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