Greenwich home of late 'Queen of Crooms Hill', who spent seven decades decorating, up for sale for £5 million

The Queen Anne-style house faces Greenwich Park (Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward)
The Queen Anne-style house faces Greenwich Park (Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward)

A spectacular Queen Anne house owned by a Greenwich local legend has come on the market for the first time in seven decades, in a "once in a generation" opportunity.

Simon and Ann Broadbent bought 14 Crooms Hill in 1956 and spent the next seven decades turning the eight-bedroom house into a remarkable family home, filled with découpaged furniture, intricate wallpapers and an extensive collection of Delft pottery.

Every inch of its almost 7,000 square feet has been reimagined in Ann's irrepressible style, from the double-height pink entrance hall to the formal living room wrapped in green damask.

"I've been doing this for 20 years, and I've been fortunate enough to see some pretty impressive places over that period. This is up there with the very, very best," says Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward sales director Matthew Stanway, who has listed the house for £5 million.

"The interiors are unique, and its location, next to the Fan Museum at the bottom of Greenwich Park, is tremendous. It's a really exciting one."

At almost half an acre the garden is one of the largest in Greenwich, and a mark on the wall above the triple garage could provide sufficient precedent to win planning for a coach house, suggests Stanway.

The layout of the existing house, which faces Greenwich Park, is arranged with eight bedrooms, four bathrooms, four receptions and the same number of kitchens.

Among its most theatrical moments are a dining room lined with burnt orange damask wallpaper and a bathroom ceiling clad in gold paper.

The dining room is wrapped in orange-and-gold damask wallpaper (Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward)
The dining room is wrapped in orange-and-gold damask wallpaper (Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward)

Ann kept diligent scrapbooks documenting her home's media appearances over the years, from features in The Times to soft porn shoots. She was known to beckon in a doorstep photographer for a nose around, and in recent years recorded a video tour for House of Hackney.

Though the richly layered interiors suggest an illusion of opulence, the Grade II-listed house is no fastidious ode to bygone style.

Painted cardboard animals and samplers cut from catalogues have their place in the archive-like home, which was furnished with otherwise unwanted finds from auction houses, junk shops and skips.

Half of the names carefully scribed on the historic portraits are made up – they are no grand ancestors at all, but invented relatives.

One bathroom features a gold ceiling (Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward)
One bathroom features a gold ceiling (Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward)

"It's a lot of pure rubbish,' Ann told The Observer in an interview twenty years ago. "But if you have a lot of rubbish it turns into less rubbish."

"People throw away far too much and a lot of the country is used as a tip. I never throw anything away. And when people do, I take it."

The house is already capturing attention, says Stanway. "We've got one couple who own several homes and are now looking for a landmark home in London, with more viewings booked in. So far it's all been cash buyers.

"I should imagine that there will be some interest in sympathetically extending, once you've untangled the planning – because much of it is listed – and gone to an architect to make sense of what's there.

One kitchen has a rare collection of Delft tiles and pottery (Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward)
One kitchen has a rare collection of Delft tiles and pottery (Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward)

"If this was in north or central London, we'd be talking multiples of what's being asked and people wouldn't bat an eyelid. Something like this only comes up every five years or so and you need to be in the right place at the right time to be able to strike".

The Greenwich Historical Society held a celebration for Ann in September, with a note on its website from V&A curator and broadcaster Olivia Horsfall Turner and historian Horatio Blood describing her as "the Queen of Crooms Hill".

It reads: "The death of Ann Broadbent in February was a hugely significant moment in the history of our town, and her departure marks the end of an era: the passing of old Bohemian Greenwich.

"Ann arrived at 14 Crooms Hill in 1956. For the next seven decades her generosity and creativity were the vital spark in the cultural and social landscape of Greenwich."

Though many of the grand houses on this historic street have been carved up into flats, several of its significant homes have changed hands in recent years.

A five-bedroom house sold for £3.837 million three years ago, while number 16, a smart three-bedroom semi next door, commanded £1.791 million in 2017.

The average house price in SE10 over the last year was £624,276.