ORWELL'S 1984 LANGFORD FLAT
Extraordinary prestige attached to radio in those days.
Broadcasters received the same attention as television performers receive today,
and the greatly improved financal status of anyone entering that world
affected Orwell as it did others.
Orwell had moved to an expensive mansion block,
Langford Court, in St John's Wood,
then one of the most desirable areas of London.
To Orwell Today,
Thank you so much for your interesting breakdown of the ties between Langford Court, "1984" and George Orwell's day to day living there.
I don't have any internal photos yet, as I don't have a digital camera but have borrowed the attached photos and map to illustrate the block as a whole:
The flat is a lovely south-facing studio (ie living room and bedroom are one and the same). It's perfect for one but a bit of a squeeze for two, hence having to sell!
It has an open-plan kitchen with breakfast bar and a decent sized separate bathroom.
It is number 111 and on the top (7th) floor and so apparently is the one in which Orwell lived - though I have conflicting views on that because I had understood that he had a separate bedroom and may have been near the top of the building rather than at the top.
The position of the flat in the building is fantastic - top corner with big windows on two walls - giving a light and spacious area. As it is south facing the sun floods in in the afternoons and it's wonderful! The views are spectacular and no doubt those which inspired Orwell.
The flat was purpose built but the main interior wall has been soundproofed anyway. The walls have a light coloured wood covering and there is plenty of built-in and added storage space. It was refurbished 3 years ago and so is in excellent condition and ready to live in.
The flat has a lease of about 72 years and a service charge of about £2,000 per annum (which includes amongst other benefits: heating, garbage collection and a day Porter - who is a very good guy).
The block is in a fantastic position - on the corner of Langford Place and the world famous Abbey Road. The flat is 5 mins walk from the Abbey Road Studios and Lords Cricket Ground and ten mins from Regents Park!
Langford Place is safe and quiet with a security guard who walks up and down at night (paid for by the million-pound homes on that little road - not me!).
The flat almost is next to the American School and 4 mins from St John's Wood tube station.
The next stop on the tube is zone 1 (the most central part of London), so zone one is 10 mins by foot and tube, or 25 mins by foot - across gorgeous Regents Park!
The area is incredibly cosy and village-like considering it is in central London - hence the neighbourhood is pretty pricey. Many musicians and other celebrities have homes there - including apparently Paul McCartney who often stops traffic in St John's Wood High street!
It would be a fantastic Pied a terre, London holiday pad or investment (other similar studios in the block are currently renting out at £220/week).
I hope that's helpful, but if you have any further ideas of useful information to provide please let me know! Thanks so much for all your help and advice!
Number 111 Langford Court does sound like a beautiful flat in a beautiful building in a beautiful area.
It has appeal not only because it was Orwell's home, but also because it connects to Abbey Road where John Lennon famously walked (my favourite Beatle).
Your description of "million-pound homes" in the area near Langford Court and "the security guard who walks up and down at night" sounds very Orwellian.
In "1984" you may recall that Winston and Julia go to visit O'Brien (a member of the Inner Party) at his home. It is conjectured that Orwell had the houses and flats that border nearby Regents Park in mind when he wrote:
"...It was only on very rare occasions that one saw inside the dwelling-places of the Inner Party, or even penetrated into the quarter of the town where they lived. The whole atmosphere of the huge block of flats, the richness and spaciousness of everything, the unfamiliar smells of good food and good tobacco, the silent and incredibly rapid lifts sliding up and down, the white-jacketed servants hurrying to and fro—everything was intimidating. Although he had a good pretext for coming here, he was haunted at every step by the fear that a black-uniformed guard would suddenly appear from round the corner, demand his papers, and order him to get out. O’Brien’s servant, however, had admitted the two of them without demur... The passage down which he led them was softly carpeted, with cream-papered walls and white wainscoting, all exquisitely clean..."
I suggest, as an added selling feature for your flat, you buy a copy of "1984" and place it prominently on a bookshelf where people coming to view the flat can see it. And also have an aspidistra plant near the window because that was the inspiration for another great book by George Orwell, ie "Keep the Aspidistra Flying".
All the best,
Jackie Jura, 2005
PS - In subsequent reading in the book GEORGE ORWELL: THE LOST WRITINGS, by W J West, I found a description of Orwell's time in Langford Court (photo scanned at top of page):
...Extraordinary prestige attached to radio in those days. Broadcasters received the same attention as television performers receive today, and the greatly improved financal status of anyone entering that world affected Orwell as it did others. By the time of his first talk for Bokhari, 'The Frontiers of Art and Propaganda', Orwell had moved to an expensive mansion block, Langford Court, in St John's Wood, then one of the most desirable areas of London. The move probably reflected concern for his wife's health and safty and the need for a normal family life. Eileen gave up her job [at the Ministry of Information cum Ministry of Truth in 1984] when they moved, and it was well known that the new mansion blocks were relatively safer than ordinary houses. Orwell's famous remark, when a bomb blast had blown out the windows of a flat he and Eileen were visiting, that if they had been in a working man's house at street level they would all have been as dead as mutton, was that of a realist who had fought in a war. Orwell's situation had now stabilised, and his work at the BBC had given him much-needed reassurance....
...ORWELL 1984 FLAT FOR SALE
Reader Amber is writing a university paper and wants to cite sources for info on Orwell's Langford Court flat in London
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