Archaeologist Abode


Archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s former home for sale for £1.35 million in the heart of London’s West End

Located on Whitcomb Street, in the heart of London’s buzzing West End theatre district and adjacent to the cultural offerings of the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square is a 971 sq ft. maisonette comprising two ensuite double bedrooms arranged over the upper floors of a blue plaque period building - previously lived in by famed British archaeologist, Sir Mortimer Wheeler (1890-1976) - available to buy for £1,350,000 via DEXTERS.

Situated above a row of quaint independent shops, the Whitcomb Street property benefits from its own private street entrance and is primarily arranged over three floors. The ground floor serves as an entry hall with a staircase that leads to the first floor which is occupied by a modern and well-thought-out open-plan kitchen and reception room with adequate space to dine. The entirety of the floor benefits from natural light that enters the property through sash windows. The second floor hosts a double bedroom and bathroom and the principal ensuite bedroom occupies the third floor.

Scottish-born, Sir Mortimer Wheeler is recognised as one of the most important British archaeologists of the 20th century, responsible for successfully encouraging British public interest in the discipline and advancing methodologies of excavation and recording. Furthermore, he is widely acclaimed as a major figure in the establishment of South Asian archaeology.

After passing the entrance exam on his second attempt, in 1907 Wheeler was awarded a scholarship to read classical studies at University College London (UCL), where he was taught by prominent classicist A. E. Housman. He graduated and undertook military service in World War I, after which he directed excavations of Roman remains in Essex in 1919–20.

Having received his Ph.D. from the University of London in 1920 he went on to conduct excavations in Wales (1921–27) and in Hertfordshire (1930–33), where he unearthed a pre-Roman settlement near St. Albans.

Excavating at Maiden Castle in Dorset (1934–37), he found evidence of a settlement dating from the Neolithic Period, prior to 2000 BCE. He conducted further excavations in Brittany and Normandy (1938-39).

After serving in World War II, Wheeler was made director general of archaeology for the government of India (1944–47), where his research focused on the origins and development of the Indus civilization. From 1948 to 1955 he held the chair of archaeology of the Roman Provinces at the University of London’s Institute of Archaeology.

Wheeler was knighted in 1952 and made a Companion of Honour in 1967. His other distinctions included being chairman of the Ancient Monuments Board for England, a trustee of the British Museum, president of the Society of Antiquaries, and a fellow of the Royal Society. His numerous writings include an extensive number of technical works as well as the popular books Archaeology from the Earth (1954) and Still Digging (1955), an autobiography.

Perhaps the most important of Wheeler’s accomplishments were a focus on problem-oriented excavation and the creation of meticulous techniques for excavating sites and recording the materials therein. Among other innovations, he developed the use of a Cartesian coordinate system, or three-dimensional grid, with which to record the location of materials found in archaeological excavations. Highly unusual at the time—archaeologists of his era were generally intent on acquiring beautiful objects rather than resolving questions about the past—his techniques have become de rigueur in the field.

Just a short stroll from Leicester Square and Covent Garden’s Theatreland, Whitcomb Street presents an opportunity for a discerning buyer to enjoy the abundance of culture that London has to offer.

The first theatres in Covent Garden were Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, and the Royal Opera on Bow Street, each theatre had letters patent, granted by King Charles II, allowing them to be the only London theatres able to perform spoken drama. This made Covent Garden London’s theatrical centre, attracting droves of theatregoers who packed the streets. Covent Garden is known today as London’s cultural hub of the theatre district, with a choice of over 20 theatres.

James Staite, Director at DEXTERS Fitzrovia says: “This Whitcomb Street property is a perfect pied-á-terre for international buyers who wish to purchase a credible and prestigious piece of history in the heart of the cosmopolitan capital. Whitcomb Street presents two generously sized double ensuite bedrooms and is within walking distance of the bright lights of London’s renowned West End. The area is synonymous with the Royal Opera House and an abundance of famous theatres and there is a diverse range of restaurants, including The Ivy Market Grill and the contemporary Peruvian fare at LIMA Floral. Covent Garden is a true foodie destination.”

Whitcomb Street is extremely well connected being just a short walk away from a selection of underground stations including Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Charing Cross.

Whitcomb Street is available to buy for £1,350,000.


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