Harry Potter fans with plenty of Galleons stashed away at Gringotts are now able to buy a chunk of Hogwarts and may even make their home in Professor Dumbledore’s office
Royal Connaught Park in Bushey, Hertfordshire, formerly the Royal Masonic School for Boys, doubled as Hogwarts in three of the Harry Potter films — but has since been converted into apartments and houses with enough period features to make even Draco Malfoy jealous.
Its 1,400sq ft dining hall was used as the Great Hall at in the first three Potter films and the tower was the headmaster’s famous round office in the fifth movie, The Order Of The Phoenix.
The Victorian Gothic stone and turreted Grade II-listed building, set in 100 acres of parkland, was constructed in 1903 and is just 20 minutes by train to central London.
Thanks to its convenient proximity to both Elstree and Pinewood studios, Royal Connaught Park has been used consistently as a film location after it stopped being used as a school in 1977.
It has been the setting for 397 productions including Monty Python's Meaning Of Life, Hot Fuzz and and TV shows such as EastEnders, Spooks and Midsomer Murders.
Homes have been created in school buildings, with new flats in the grounds. The scheme has a gym, swimming pool, and a shuttle bus to Bushey station, 20 minutes to Euston. From £525,500, with townhouses at £1.75 million. Call 01923 222292.
Sadly, the Great Hall remains largely unused although residents can request hire for weddings and other events.
GROUNDS FOR CHANGE
It isn’t just Hogwarts that is making magic for homeowners as more and more former mansions, convents, universities or other grand listed buildings are taken on by developers.
Conversions of this kind will, of course, always offer good looks. But a bonus is often the setting, in landscaped grounds reached via tree-lined avenues, ensuring a show-off sense of arrival.
Tim Sergeant, boss of heritage conversion housebuilder City & Country, says: “These conversions tend to be more expensive than building from scratch as they take expert craftsmen and specialist builders to make them work.”
His latest project is King Edward VII Estate, a listed Arts & Crafts masterpiece near Midhurst in West Sussex, in the South Downs National Park.
Built in 1901 as a TB hospital, it now has 162 new homes, many with spectacular double-height spaces, ornate plasterwork, oak-panelled walls and stained-glass windows.
The original galleried dining hall is now a residents’ lounge, listed gardens have been upgraded, and four miles of new pathways wind through 165 acres of woodland. Prices from £350,000 to £1.15 million. Call 01730 606830.
Kidderpore Hall in Hampstead, the white stucco mansion built by Victorian leather merchant John Teil, was part of a wider estate later bought by King’s College London. Now Mount Anvil is creating 156 homes in 13 listed buildings, with flats from £755,000 to £3 million-plus. Teil’s mansion is for sale at £16 million. Call 020 3582 5461.
In Wimbledon, Wellington Row, the Duke of Wellington’s ancestral home, became a Victorian hospital in 19 acres of grounds.
It is now 27 flats with large terraces overlooking the landscaped gardens. Prices start at £1.15 million. Call Berkeley Homes on 020 8003 6139.
Civil servant Scott Harris, 40, bought one of eight two-bedroom flats in converted Belgrave House, a listed Georgian mansion in two secluded Bromley acres that had also seen life as a private school and an army field hospital.
“It’s got genuine wow factor and gives me the best of both worlds: a new home with lots of architectural character,” he says.
“There’s greenery as far as you can see and the commute to central London is only 40 minutes.” Prices from £525,000. Call 0333 666 2636.
CONVENT IS A CLASSIC
Hampton Grange, on the edge of Bromley town centre, is a redevelopment of a listed convent in 10 acres of parkland bordering a golf course.
New detached houses and flats are in the gated grounds, with larger flats in the refurbished mansion. From £395,000. Call Bellway (0845 257 6062).
Knowle Hill Park in Surrey is a scheme of grand flats in a new building with a classical façade. The homes of up to 3,600sq ft are spread across two or three floors.
Prices from £1,825,000. Seven big houses priced from £1.9 million are being built on a private estate of ancient woodland. Call Millgate Homes (01483 564660).