Witanhurst House

A major project including substantive large-scale building works and restoration components. Extensive masonry works to the house and gardens including balustrading, terracing, walling and ornamental statues and temples, flooring and cladding.

Project Cost - £250m

Workforce – 400+

End Value – £450m

Duration – 9 years

Status - Delivered

Witanhurst House, Highgate - London

  • Witanhurst House is a large Grade II listed Georgian Revival mansion located on 5 acres in Highgate, north London. The house has had several prominent owners since being rebuilt by the soap magnate Sir Arthur Crosfield, and after several decades of increasing dilapidation, it underwent substantial refurbishment which lasted nearly a decade. The original estate, dating from 1774, was known as Parkfield, situated at the junction of Highgate West Hill and The Grove.

    The current house, built between 1913 and 1920, was designed by architect George Hubbard for soap magnate Sir Arthur Crosfield on an 11-acre site. The mansion is Grade-II listed, meaning it has been judged to be of national historic or architectural interest. English Heritage has in the late twentieth-century and early twenty-first century placed the property on its Buildings at Risk Register.

    The redevelopment of Witanhurst has received widespread attention in the media over the last decade, with much focus given to the large basement extension to the main house that extends for two storeys below the entire footprint of the building. With a footprint of over 90,000 square feet, Witanhurst is the second largest private residence in London, after Buckingham Palace. It is said to be worth £450 million.
  • A major project including substantive large-scale building works and restoration or refurbishment components. Extensive masonry works to the house and gardens including balustrading, terracing, walling and ornamental statues and temples, flooring and cladding.

    Installation of aluminium diffusion plates to most of the ground floor. The construction of Europe’s largest privately owned basement which is heated with a screeded underfloor heating system. Full refurbishment of the properties 25 bedrooms, two cinemas, a 70ft indoor swimming pool and every other conceivable luxury a building of such stature required.

    The project was conducted in multiple phases, spanning a number of years to limit disruption to the transient residents and the surrounding environment. Planning consents were both complicated and, in many instances, protracted due to the history of the property and its Grade Listed status.
  • The project timescale from commencement to completion took a whopping 9 years. This was mainly due to both the scale of works undertaken and the planning consent sensitivity. At times during the project the trades and managerial workforce on-site reached above 400 individuals, yet across the full 9 years, it was quantified that thousands of trades had worked on the property. For a private dwelling construction, this is believed to be one of the largest deployments of human capital in British modern history.

    The project cost spiralled well above the initial scope of £50m and actually completed at a cost of 5 times the original cost. This was due to a major increase in works desired throughout the 9-year period.

    Recently, a number of years after the completion of works undertaken, the value of the property is said to have reached an eye-watering £450m. Not surprising when we consider the only other residence in the UK’s capital with a larger built footprint, is Buckingham Palace. That property, owned by the sovereign of course, puts Witanhurst House in the shade when it comes to valuation and is currently estimated to be a mind boggling £5bn.

Development Partners

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