Kingston property of the week: 3-bedroom flat in former library and old council chambers
By Ellie Brown - Local Democracy Reporter
25th Oct 2021 | Property of the Week
HISTORY lovers take note: a rare chance to live inside a Grade II listed building in Kingston upon Thames has just become available.
The old council chambers and former library on Hampton Wick High Street is private housing today but it was once the centre-point of the town, records show.
And a three-bedroom flat on the building's lower floors, now on the market with Cocoon, shows how sympathetic conversions can result in an interesting living space.
Today as part of our regular property of the week section we take a look inside this hidden gem of Hampton Wick, just over the bridge from Kingston town centre.
REWIND: the story of the building
The old council chambers on Hampton Wick high street was designed in an "exuberant" Jacobean revival style and has an intriguing history.
Built in 1884, it originally housed the local board of the town and later the Urban District Council - and was grandiose for its time with its three storey height and imposing gable, towering above the smaller houses that made up the village.
Inside, its "remarkably complete" council chamber caught the eye of Historic England and the building is now Grade II listed in recognition of its rarity.
Also noted by the organisation is the building's gable which depicts a stag and crown, the symbol of Hampton Wick, and is believed to have been designed by Sir Thomas James Nelson - a former resident of the town.
Thirty years after becoming the town's first small lending library its upper floors were turned into flats and the library later moved to bigger premises on Bennet Close.
But its council chamber remained and following a passionate local campaign the building was finally recognised by Historic England in 2013, giving it extra protection from redevelopment.
NOW: a three-bedroom flat with period features
A sympathetic conversion of the building's lower floors has seen the former chambers turned into housing - but the features which make the building historically valuable have been kept.
Described as a "unique conversion" by its agents Cocoon, the flat's ground floor living room and kitchen are housed in the twin bays of the old council chamber and have its stained-glass windows, panelled ceilings and feature fireplaces.
The rare classical design includes original white columns which now line the grey-painted walls, plus Victorian brass mounted wall-lamps.
The rooms' upper lights have armorial glass panels, those to the rear inscribed: 'The Urban District Council Hampton Wick MDCCCLXIII' and 'County of Middlesex East Saxons'.
Downstairs, in the building's basement, are more conventional rooms although the windows also date back to the 1880s.
The building is entered through giant mahogany doors, adding to the sense of grandeur.
Unsurprisingly for its location and history the flat is extremely pricey, with a guide price of £725,000 and above.
Love looking at property? Here are some more stories about buildings in Kingston
Take an exclusive look inside another historic Kingston building, which dates back an amazing 400 years.
Read about Kingston Town House, now officially the UK's best new building.
Check out our property page to look through our archives - we often try and pick the more unusual or interesting listings on the market, but sometimes we just profile the ones we like the most!