By Ruth Doherty
We all cherish the magic of Mary Poppins, so we were excited to see that the Chelsea home where P.L. Travers, the author who created the character, once lived has gone on the market.
Travers lived at the Grade II-listed home, nestled at 29 Shawfield Street, a fashionable area with a collection of terraced mews houses, which is located just off the bustling King's Road.
It was in this home that Travers was visited a number of times by Walt Disney, before selling the rights of the Mary Poppins story to him for €100,000, plus 5% of the profits from the movie.
This story was adapted into a feature length film Saving Mr Banks (2013) starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. Thompsons was reportedly a regular visitor to the home at Shawfield Street, as she wanted to take in the surroundings to best get into the role of Travers. The home itself features in a number of scenes during the film.
The charming house has had a thoroughly modern makeover, and is spread over 2,195 sqft, comprising of four bedrooms, three bathrooms, three terraces, five entertaining spaces and garden.
On the market for £4.85 million, the home is a far cry from the dilapidated house occupied by the Banks family on nearby Cherry Tree Lane. Recently refurbished, the four-storey home is in immaculate condition, boasting a master bedroom with ensuite, study, cinema room, wine cellar and utility room.
Upon entering the front door, the reception room is located directly on the right, leading onto the sitting room and study, with views over the garden.
The lower ground floor is also dedicated to living space, featuring an elegant kitchen/dining room, leading onto a cinema room, providing access to a secluded high walled garden.
To the front of the lower ground floor, there's a utility room and additional bathroom that can be accessed via a separate entrance, which also provides access to the contemporary kitchen.
The first floor comprises of the master bedroom with Juliet balcony and ensuite bathroom. The floor is completed by an additional bedroom and second bathroom. The second-floor features two bedrooms, both have individual terraces and share a bathroom.
P.L. Travers was born in Australia, spending her formative years at boarding school in Sydney. Her early life was marred with tragedy, losing both her mother and father at a young age,and these childhood experiences went on to inspire characters and events in the Mary Poppins series. Her abilities as a writer were evident from an early age, with several poems being published throughout her teenage years, and touring Australia as a Shakespearean actress.
Upon emigrating to England aged 25 in 1924, Pamela Lydon Travers adopted the pen name P.L. Travers, further honing her talents around other exceptional writers of the time, such as W. B. Yeats.
A decade after arriving and working as an actress and journalist, P.L. Travers published Mary Poppins (1934). The book was Travers’ first success with the magical nanny stories capturing the imagination of children, whilst the subtle social commentary appealed to an older audience.
The house at 29 Shawfield Street was purchased by P.L. Travers in 1962, following the release of the fifth book, Mary Poppins From A to Z (1962), she would go on to write three further in the house, living there the rest of her life until passing in 1996.
The Saving Mr Banks movie covers the 14-year period in which Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) petitioned the reluctant P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) for the rights to transform the Mary Poppins books into a movie following a promise Disney made to his daughters to turn their favourite book into a film.
Mary Poppins (1964) went on to garner both critical and commercial fame, winning five Oscars and launching the career of Hollywood royalty, Julie Andrews. Famously, P.L. flew into a rage upon discovering that Disney had broken a promise not to include animation.
Hugo Cordle, Sales Negotiator at specialist Chelsea estate agents Russell Simpson, commented: 'It’s a real pleasure to market a home previously owned by one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. It’s hard to not imagine Mary Poppins and her famous umbrella swooping in to arrive on the roof terrace.
'This is an exceptional family home with an abundance of lateral living space spread across two floors. With all of the action of the King’s Road at the end of the street the house is in an exceptionally sought-after area of Chelsea.'
29 Shawfield street is on the market with Russell Simpson for £4,850,000, visit www.russellsimpson.co.uk for more information.
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