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Property of the Week

24.08.20

Surrounded by eight acres of landscaped grounds, bordered by St George’s Hill Golf Club, Hamstone House is a magnificent Grade II listed country house, originally built in 1937, with a striking Neo-Georgian concave façade providing 20,414 sqft of living space complete with Art Deco interior features and a 3,132 sqft Grade II listed gate house; the curved design of the main house inspired by the contours of a 1931 Art Deco Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso wristwatch: Offered for sale via sole agents Beauchamp Estates.

Built in 1937-8 by Ian Forbes for construction tycoon Herman “Peter” Tygesen Lind (1890-1956) and his wife Alba (1888-1981), and refurbished in 1984 and 2006, the Hamstone House estate has a total of 10 bedrooms, magnificent reception rooms and leisure facilities set in landscaped grounds with a tennis court. The main house, three storeys at its apex, provides five bedrooms, grand entrance hall, double reception room, dining room, library, study, family kitchen and breakfast room and catering kitchen.

The main house is complete with a large terrace, three balconies and on the lower ground floor a private health spa with an 18 metre long swimming pool, plunge pool, gymnasium, billiard room, sauna, steam room, massage room and changing rooms and showers. The Art Deco style gate house provides five bedrooms, reception room, kitchen, security room, utility room and garaging for three cars.

The only country house in Britain whose design was inspired by a luxury wristwatch, Hamstone Househas an illustrious history. Copenhagen born and educated Peter Lind came to England in 1913 and in 1915 founded construction firm Peter Lind & Co, one of the UK’s first contractors to specialise in reinforced concrete construction. The company won important contracts including the building of Waterloo Bridge, the HQ of the Michelin Tyre Company, Beckton Gas Works and Blackwall Point Power Station.

In 1916 Peter married socialite Alba Kastel in a glittering ceremony held in Marlborough House Chapel. Their daughter Betty married Thomas Jaeger whose father Martin was a member of the famous watch making Jaeger dynasty of Jaeger-LeCoultre fame. Relative Edmond Jaeger was the head of world-renowned watchmaking firm Jaeger-LeCoultre, founded in 1833 and led during the 1930s by Edmond Jaeger and Jacques-David LeCoultre.

Supplying beautiful Art Deco inspired watches, and partnering with brands Cartier and Bentley, clients of Jaeger-LeCoultre included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Charlie Chaplin and Queen Elizabeth II, who wore a Jaeger-LeCoultre wristwatch for her coronation.

In 1937 Peter and Alba decided they wanted a country house close to Central London and acquired arguably the best plot on St George’s Hill in Surrey, located on a spur directly overlooking the golf course. Lind commissioned renowned Surrey mansion builder Ian Forbes to build the Lind-Jaeger family a house on the site.

Designed in a Neo-Georgian style, influenced by the 1930s Art Deco era, Hamstone House has a remarkable concave segmented front façade with casement windows with feature keystones, oval windows and Deco Gargoyles bearing the initials of Peter and Alba. The curved south facing garden façade overlooks St George’s Hill Golf Course and has arched full height windows across the ground floor, opening onto the gardens.

The main house and gate house are faced with honey coloured hamstone (a form of limestone) – hence the name of the house; with the circular paved forecourt in front of the property holding a fountain in its centre. Seen from above, the curved and segmented façade of Hamstone House recalls the contours of the 1931 Art Deco Reverso wristwatch.

Inside the main house polished Elm wood timbers from the Old Waterloo Bridge (that Lind’s company replaced) were used to line the reception room floors and on the lower ground floor Ian Forbes (mindful of gathering war clouds) installed a reinforced bomb shelter.

Sir Nikolaus Pevsner rated Hamstone House as ‘the best country house on St George’s Hill’ and it was said to be Art Deco lover the Duchess of Windsor’s favourite English country house. Indeed visiting journalist Christopher Matthew wrote: “Hamstone House stands out like the Duchess of Windsor’s flamingo brooch in a local jeweller’s window providing unrivalled quasi-rural grandeur”. On 16th September 1939 Hamstone House was featured in Country Life Magazine, the last edition published before the real onset of WWII.

During WWII Peter Lind devised the construction of the concrete Mulberry Harbour Phoenix Caissons, used in the D-Day landings. In 1943 Lind held a meeting at Hamstone House with PM Winston Churchill, Sir Percy Grigg, Secretary of State for War, and Mulberry Harbour Project Chairman Colin R White to discuss the Phoenix harbours (two survive today in Dorset’s Portland Harbour). Afterwards Lind gave Churchill a tour of the bomb shelter.

After WWII Peter Lind was awarded an Honorary Danish Knighthood, the order of Knight Commander of Dannebrog, for services to the war effort. Following Alba’s death in 1981 the Lind-Jaeger family put Hamstone House up for sale and in 1984 it was acquired by a Saudi Prince who was reported in the media to have spent over £2 million on renovations including restoring the Art Deco interior installing features included an 8ft drop Venetian glass chandelier and Lalique light fittings specially commissioned for the house, with the bomb shelter converted into a billiards/games room.

In 2006 Hamstone House was completely refurbished and modernished throughout. English Oak flooring was laid in the reception rooms, air conditioning and comfort cooling/heating was installed throughout, wiring/WiFi for home working/office and exceptional custom-design family and catering kitchens were installed.

Between 2006-2008 the swimming pool complex was constructed with bespoke French limestone and in 2012 an extensive landscaping and planting scheme was carried out with the tennis court refurbished and new shrubs, trees and flower displays installed.

Gary Hersham, Founding Director of Beauchamp Estates says: “Hamstone House is one of the most important architectural centrepieces of St George’s Hill, an iconic Art Deco masterpiece, built for the Lind-Jaeger family and coveted by the Duchess of Windsor, whose remarkable curved design was said to have been inspired by an Art Deco wristwatch. Surely the only country house in England where the art of luxury horology has helped to shape the layout of a luxury property.”

Paul Finch, Director at Beauchamp Estates says: “Hamstone House is located on arguably the finest plot on St George’s Hill in Surrey. Providing easy access to Central London, St George’s Hill is an internationally renowned 964 acre private estate masterplanned to provide important country houses and landscaping complete with an 18 hole golf course, private tennis and squash club, health spa and security personnel who restrict access and control security at all times.”

Hamstone House is for sale for £16,000,000. For further information contact sole agents Beauchamp Estates on Tel: +44 (0)20 7499 7722 or visit www.beauchamp.com

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