The Place Where Lovers Meet


The Blue Plaque London residence of Hollywood legend Richard Burton (1953-1984), a semi-detached 5,132 square foot 6/7 bedroom house with a separate self-contained two bedroom garden flat on Lyndhurst Road in Hampstead Village, is for sale via joint sole selling agents Aston Chase and Knight Frank.

The Lyndhurst Road house was the London home of Richard Burton and his first wife actress Sybil Burton née Williams (1929-2013) between 1949 and 1956, where the couple lived between Richard doing various famous films and where they entertained friends including noted actors and actresses.

Whilst living at Lyndhurst Road Richard Burton undertook some of his most famous movies including The Desert Rats (1953), The Robe (1953) and Alexander the Great (1956) and also met for the first time in 1953 Elizabeth Taylor which eventually led to his divorce from Sybil and Elizabeth becoming his second wife.

Celebrated as one of the greatest Shakespearean and Hollywood actors of all time, Richard Burton was born in Pontrhydyfen, Wales. In 1948 Richard Burton moved to London, was employed by the Moss Empires Theatre Chain and rented a studio flat in Pelham Crescent in South Kensington. He starred in his first movie, The Last Days of Dolwyn (1949) and it was on the sets of this film that he met his first wife fellow Welsh actress Sybil Williams, the couple marrying on 5th February 1949.

Following their wedding the couple purchased what was initially a large one bedroom apartment occupying the ground floor of the house on Lyndhurst Road in Hampstead Village. The flat comprised a spacious reception room to the front and a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom to the rear overlooking the garden. The flat had access to a terrace and 60 foot long rear garden providing a wonderful place to entertain.

At Lyndhurst Road the couple entertained guests who included film director Alexander Korda (who co-produced The Last Days of Dolwyn); actress Honor Blackman, who Richard starred alongside in 1951 movie Green Grow the Rushes; actor John Gielgud, who Burton worked with in the 1949 Globe Theatre play The Lady’s Not for Burning and – when they visited London - Hollywood star James Mason and his wife Pamela, who became good friends with the Burtons following Richard and James working together on 1953 war movie, The Desert Rats.

Richard Burton made the transition to Hollywood movie actor when he was given the lead role in movie My Cousin Rachel (1952). The commercial success of My Cousin Rachel led to Richard Burton starring in war film The Desert Rats (1953) alongside James Mason and Roman epic The Robe (1953) alongside Victor Mature. The success of The Robe enabled Richard Burton to agree a seven-year contract from 20th Century Fox of $1 million for seven movies (equivalent to $11 million currently), making him one of the highest earning actors.

At a 1953 party held at co-star Jean Simmons residence in Bel Air to celebrate the success of The Robe Richard Burton met Elizabeth Taylor for the first time. Taylor found Burton “rather full of himself, he never stopped talking”. Burton later quipped “I introduced Liz to beer, she introduced me to Bulgari.” Bel Air was the start of an infatuation that would lead them both to divorce, and marry each other twice.

Eventually, Richard also purchased the remaining floors of Lyndhurst Road enabling himself and Sybil to live in a large Hampstead house befitting a famous and successful actor.

Whilst Richard Burton’s acting career continued to grow from strength to strength, Sybil’s acting career stalled, causing tensions in their relationship with Sybil living in the house on Lyndhurst Road and Richard spending more and more time in Hollywood enjoying the showbiz lifestyle. From 1956 onwards Richard also started meeting Elizabeth Taylor more frequently.

By the mid 1950s Richard Burton’s huge earnings made him subject to 90% income tax and so at the end of 1956 Richard and Sybil sold the house on Lyndhurst Road and relocated to Switzerland in 1957 where Richard became a tax exile. In Switzerland Richard purchased a villa in Céligny which he owned until his death.

The couple had two daughters, born in 1957 and 1959, but Richard Burton’s growing affair with Elizabeth Taylor led to divorce from Sybil in 1963 and Burton’s two marriages to Taylor which lasted from 1964 to 1974 and 1975 to 1976.

Now the house on Lyndhurst Road where Richard and Sybil Burton lived is for sale.

The Victorian house, originally built in 1862-1864 by Henry Davidson, has a Richard Burton Blue Plaque on the facade, unveiled by actor Michael Sheen in 2011.

With gardens to the front and rear the house offers substantial accommodation over lower ground, raised ground and three upper floors, with features including principal rooms with large dimensions, tall windows and high ceilings with elegant coving. The rear façade opens onto a large terrace and 60 ft long rear garden.

On the lower ground floor is a self-contained two bedroom flat with a reception room, kitchen, principal bedroom with ensuite shower, second bedroom, opening onto a patio, and a bathroom.

On the raised ground floor there is an entrance hall, inner hall with cantilevered staircase and a spacious drawing room with marble fireplace and ceiling coving. To the rear is the family kitchen with central island and bay window overlooking the gardens. Folding doors give access to the adjoining dining room which has French doors leading onto the terrace and gardens.

On the first floor is the principal bedroom suite, with walk-in dressing room and main bathroom, and a further bedroom with ensuite bathroom. On the second floor – which offers panoramic views of the Shard and City of London – there are three further bedrooms and a bathroom.

On the top third floor is a spacious penthouse studio with vaulted ceilings and skylight windows. There is an open plan kitchen located off the main space and a separate ensuite shower room. This penthouse studio could be used as a large entertaining space, or a self-contained annex for student offspring, relatives or guests.

Mark Pollack, Co-Founding Director of Aston Chase says: “This Blue Plaque house is not only notable due to the provenance of its former famous resident, but it also represents a rare opportunity to purchase a magnificent family home situated in the heart of Hampstead and within easy walking distance of Hampstead Heath. The house features high ceilings, wonderful natural light, large entertaining rooms, well-planned bedroom accommodation and a remarkable penthouse studio with a terrace to the rear and outstanding south-facing views towards the central London skyline.”

Katy Brookes, Head of Sales in Knight Frank’s Hampstead office says: “Formerly the Hampstead home of a Hollywood legend, this beautifully presented property is perfect for a large family. It offers a huge volume of accommodation, plus the separate penthouse studio and garden apartment that present scope for a variety of uses. It’s a rare find on one of Hampstead’s most sought after tree-lined streets.”


Photo Credit: Grant Frazer



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