PROPERTY: Iconic Bourne End home for sale with Knight Frank in Beaconsfield



This flagship Bourne End house for sale with an indicative price of £ 4.495million was built on the site of an iconic house owned for ten years by the first man to fly the Channel across the Channel.

If Louis Blériot were alive today and flying over the Thames at Bourne End, the French aviation pioneer could look through his glasses and recognize the boathouse that belonged to the riverside mansion he once owned.

He bought the house in the Buckinghamshire village between Marlow and Beaconsfield in 1916, seven years after making the epic journey in his Type XI monoplane.

Not only did he enjoy living in his English house on the banks of the Thames, he found a site nearby where he set out to build planes and cars, but that chapter of his life came to an end when the house of Bourne End was destroyed by fire in 1926. Only the boathouse escaped the flames.

Almost a century later, this glass-fronted 21st-century residence incorporating the boathouse rises from its ashes to take the place of the property that housed one of the most remarkable men in the history of the ‘aviation.

The owner who sold the mansion to Blériot was American millionaire George A Kessler, a wine merchant known as The Champagne King. The year before, he had been one of 761 survivors out of nearly 2,000 passengers and crew aboard the ocean liner Cunard Lusitania when it was torpedoed by a German submarine and sank in 18 minutes.

His house in Bourne End had been built in 1897 for a wealthy Nottingham buyer George Adcock. In 1895 Adcock purchased three plots on the Riversdale Private Estate to ensure that the lavish property he planned to build would not be overlooked by his close neighbors.

Ten years later, in 1907, Kessler arrived and the Adcock house named after the Riversdale estate has never been the same again. The millionaire businessman who had other homes in London, Paris and Madison Avenue in New York changed the exterior architectural style of Art & Crafts to Elizabethan and enlarged and altered the layout inside to make it large enough to receive friends on a large scale.

He also changed the name from Riversdale to New York Lodge. Four hundred guests attended a banquet at his home when the Olympics were held in London in 1908. A sepia photograph from that time shows his electric speedboat named after his wife Caroline moored near the boathouse.

After his escape from Lusitania, he dedicated his life to helping the victims of war. His days of throwing lavish parties at home were over.

There has been a common thread for those who have chosen this location for their home over the past 120 years. Adjustment. It is one of the most beautiful stretches of the river.

American comic book genius Bud Flannigan lived in the Riversdale boathouse in the 1950s, the same that became the two-story freestanding annex attached to the recently built contemporary waterfront home called Riverside .

The owners chose the plot for the position. They say, “It offers sensational views upstream and downstream. It is also completely private which was attractive to us. The stretch between Cookham and Marlow Locks allows you to hop on and off all day long, finding beautiful spots to moor without needing to go through a lock.

“The final design of the house was obtained after very lengthy negotiations with the Wycombe District Council by GMTW, the Marlow-based conservation architects.

“The mandate was to take full advantage of the incredible views that have not changed since the boathouse was built 120 years ago.

“The house is built on an elevated platform according to the Environment Agency’s calculations for flood prevention purposes.”

The newly built part of the house has five bedrooms and five bathrooms. Four suites are spread over the two upper floors. The fifth bedroom and the powder room are on the ground floor as well as the main open concept living room.

The boathouse has an open-plan living room with kitchenette on the lower level opening onto a sun terrace. On the first floor is a powder room and the 23 foot bedroom with sliding glass doors leading to a balcony.

In all its aspects, Riverside might be a dream come true for those for whom a riverside location would be sublime.

This magnificent new house which replaced the Victorian mansion owned by Louis Blériot which won the £ 1,000 prize for being the first man to cross the English Channel is on the market via Knight Frank in Beaconsfield.


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