The Tower House
The Tower House is a late-Victorian town house, built between 1876 and 1878 in the 13th century French gothic style, by the Victorian art-architect William Burges for himself. It is located at 29 Melbury Road (formerly number 9) in Kensington, London and is a Grade I listed building as of the 29th July 1949. The part of Kensington in which the house is located, Holland Park, had, by the 1870s, become a bohemian enclave of artists and architects, led by the artist Lord Leighton, whose Leighton House, begun in 1866, combined medieval and Moorish elements in a style with similarities to Burges' own. Burges purchased the plot of land in 1875, the house was substantially built by 1878, and the decoration of the interior, together with the designing of innumerable items of furniture and metalwork continued until Burges' early death in 1881. Burges designed his home in the style of a substantial 13th century French townhouse, "a model residence of the 13th century." From 1875, although he continued to work on the completion of projects already begun, notably those undertaken for John Crichton-Stuart 3rd Marquess of Bute, Burges received no further major commissions, and the construction, decoration and furnishing of the Tower House filled much of the last six years of his life. Both the exterior and the interior echo again and again the highlights of Burges' earlier career, revised and re-worked as appropriate. A frontage from the McConnochie House, a cylindrical tower and conical roof from Castell Coch, fireplaces from Cardiff Castle, Burges designed with "the experience of twenty years learning, travelling and building . The house was to be the "synthesis of his career and a glittering tribute to his achievement" . Upon completion, the Tower House was sensationally received and its influence endured. In the 1893 survey of architecture of the last half century, it "was the only private town house to be included . The fireplaces Burges constructed, which, unlike many of the fittings, remain, were a particular tour-de-force, "veritable altars of art..some of the most amazing pieces of decoration Burges ever designed" . The Tower House stands as "the most complete example of a medieval secular interior produced by the Gothic Revival and the last, (representing) the ne plus ultra of domestic Gothic" , described by William Lethaby as "massive, learned, glittering, amazing" . The house is owned by Jimmy Page, ex-guitarist of Led Zeppelin and avid Burges enthusiast. It is not open to the public. Page bought Burges' London residence in the mid-seventies, later commenting in an interview, "I was still finding things 20 years after being there - a little beetle on the wall or something like that, it's Burges' attention to detail that is so fascinating." The house had previously been owned by the Irish actor, Richard Harris.


2 photos

Building Activity

  • David Martin
    David Martin commented
    Built in 2025?
    about 6 years ago via Mobile