School’s out in £35m twin mansion sale in South Kensington

Jonathan Prynn
Knight Frank

Luxury housing developers are lining up to bid for one of London’s most exclusive private schools after it was put up for sale for £35 million.

The sale of St Nicholas Prep School in South Kensington has generated huge interest because of its prime location in a pair of stucco-fronted mansions with sweeping views of Hyde Park.

The school, where fees are up to £21,495 a year and which occupies most of the pair of grade II listed buildings, is moving to a new location close to Imperial College next year.

Emma Cleugh, a partner at agents Knight Frank, which is handling the sale, said there had been a “constant stream of viewings” since it was put on the market earlier this month, with interest both from private school operators and residential developers.

In demand: There has been a 'constant stream' of viewings (Knight Frank)

The 21,585 sq ft property on Princes Gate does not yet have planning permission for conversion to houses or flats. However, local agents estimated that if a new owner secured approval to turn the buildings back into homes they could be worth £100 million. Ms Cleugh added: “The unique selling point is that there is access to the gardens at the rear but also at the front you have got Hyde Park so you get this amazing green aspect on both sides.”

The two former houses were built in the 1840s by construction firm John Elger — the company responsible for the Albert Memorial — to a design by architect Harvey Lonsdale Elmes. St Nicholas occupies five of the houses’ six storeys and there are three flats on the floor above.

The sale brochure reveals that the school pays £304,919 a year in rent and the occupants of the three flats pay a total of £70,392 in rent.