Homes gossip

Pete Townshend's ex-wife has sold Tennyson House, the Twickenham mansion with studio cottage where most of The Who's hits were composed, and the Stings have decided to head to New York for a couple of years

Pete’s house goes to another generation

Pete Townshend
© MJ Kim
Karen Townshend has sold Tennyson House, the stunning Twickenham mansion where she and her ex-husband, rock legend Pete Townshend, raised their three children, Joseph, Aminta and Emma. The three-storey Georgian brick house, which went for £5.5 million, has two spectacular staircases, but the main attraction for the grizzled Chiswick-born guitar-smasher was its studio cottage, where he composed many of The Who’s hits. He moved out of the property, once occupied by Victorian poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, in 1994 and now shares his Richmond and Suffolk homes with singer-songwriter Rachel Fuller, 36 years his junior.

Lenny Henry and Dawn French
© Dave M Benett
For comediennes Lenny Henry and Dawn French it’s no laughing matter. Two years ago they put Hyde End Farm, their six-bedroom Grade II-listed Georgian home near Newbury, on the market at £3 million through Strutt & Parker. But they have now lowered their price to £2.25 million. The couple moved in 20 years ago, adding a swimming pool and tennis court. But they also have a 40-roomed cliff-top Cornish mansion in Fowey close to where Plymouth-raised Dawn’s widowed mother, Roma, lives.

Ash Atalla
© Tony Buckingham
Ash Atalla, the producer behind Ricky Gervais’s award-winning series The Office, has moved into the swish St Pancras Chambers development above the Eurostar terminal, where two-bedroom flats cost up to £1.75 million. The wheelchair-using, Egyptian doctor’s son, who also produced The IT Crowd and Man Stroke Woman, has just launched Trinity, an ITV2 comedy-thriller set in a sex-crazed "Moxbridge" college. He recently played a DVD of The Office to his new French girlfriend. "She’d never seen it before and thought it was absolutely rotten," laughs Atalla. "But she does like The IT Crowd."

For a mere £500-£550 a week you can rent West Range, one of Prince Charles’s two new holiday-lets in Carmarthenshire. The two-bedroom cottage has been furnished in Sloaney style by Annabel Elliot, the Duchess of Cornwall’s younger sister. And if you’re lucky you may even see Charles and Camilla who have renovated an adjoining slate-roofed farmhouse for their personal use. But beware, the canny Prince charges an extra £30 a week if tenants bring a dog "which must be well-behaved."

Trudie Styler and Sting
© Stephen Chernin
Pop star Sting and his rainforest-tree-hugging wife Trudie Styler collect homes like Sir Philip Green collects shops. So it’s a relief to hear that they have decided to put down roots, for a short period at least. "Next year we’re heading to New York for a couple of years because our youngest son Giacomo is going to school there," declares the Tyneside milkman’s son. The Stings also flit between properties in Highgate, the Lake District, Wiltshire, Tuscany and Malibu.

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