London House

The Knowledge

My London House: Curzon Street

November 21st 2022

This month we visit the home of Frank Sawkins, founder of Czech & Speake, one of the last great independent fine fragrance and gentlemen's grooming brands, founded in the heart of London on historic Jermyn Street.

Frank and his family own a Georgian townhouse in London's Mayfair which was the former home to prolific writer Nancy Mitford and used as her billet during a stint with the Auxiliary Fire Service in the Second World War.

As a writer with an affluent background and one of the celebrated Mitford sisters, Nancy was a natural fit with the 'Bright Young Things' - the name given to the group of young aristocrats and socialites in 1920s, including Evelyn Waugh, who raised eyebrows with their partying.

The five-storey property has also been home to the physician who cared for Queen Victoria's uncle and the nephew of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger. It has been re-built and fully restored with modern features including a catering kitchen and top-notch fittings made by luxury bathroom firm, Czech & Speake, whose founder, Frank Sawkins, is the property owner and seller.

Nancy - whose younger sister, Diana, married the Fascist leader Oswald Mosley - served in the Auxiliary Fire Service and stayed at 45 Curzon Street while keeping the night watch for V1 flying bombs and fires during World War Two. The sisters became writers - the most successful being Nancy who wrote entertaining stories with outlandish characters based on her own family. The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate were her most popular novels and their appeal endures today.

She was once said to have run into the street, exhorting her companions to 'come and look at the V1s', saying: 'They are so pretty'. A blue plaque on the front of nearby Number 10 Curzon Street commemorates her time working in the Heywood Hill bookstore there.

The house has been restored and extended in homage to the celebrated Maison de Verre, or glass house, in Paris. Mr Sawkins, said he had created the home 'to provide the best quality of life and environment for my family' and had found the area an 'oasis of calm and quiet'.

He said: 'Security was an important factor and the design and internal layout have been arranged to maximise integration of usable space with the south facing terraces and flood the interior with light. The property's Georgian section has been fully restored with plaster cornice, dado rails, skirting, sash windows and raised hardwood double doors.

Click the link below to view the property that is currently for sale with London House.