Standing in the sky, 300ft above sea level and looking across the London skyline from the same height as the NatWest Tower is about as close to God as you’ll get from a house in London. Apt, then, that you should be on the roof terrace of a converted church tower.
Perched on Gispy Hill in South London’s highest neighbourhood, Crystal Palace, and designed in the 19th century by the architect Sir John Giles – he of Langham Hotel fame – the original Christ Church burnt down in the 1980s, with just the tower surviving. Dormant for almost 20 years, it was eventually resurrected by our current owner, who, through much rigour, toil and indeed hardship, transformed the structure into today’s divine dwelling, and re-christened it Highland Tower. Finding a carved-up church split into countless apartments is hardly a biblical quest, but discovering one that’s been converted into a single house could leave you wandering for a whole lot more than 40 days and 40 nights.
Let us enter.
The original spiral stone steps wind their way up through 6 storeys of accommodation, but if you’re worried about climbing this particular stairway to heaven, you can relax – and take the lift. Cleverly built onto the side of the building, but hidden within an extension that kept the faith of the chaps at English Heritage, it removes the worry of pulling a muscle during your own personal ascension.
On the ground floor, alongside the dining kitchen and small outside area, is a galleried music area. The first floor hosts three bedrooms and two bathrooms; one family, one en-suite. Up to the second and you’ll find the master bedroom, dressing room, and master bathroom. Carrying on up, the third floor brings us to the living room, a second dining area and a library. And on the fourth we go out onto the roof terrace with those awesome views, and the belfry. Down below, a basement utility area stops you airing your dirty laundry in public, and outside are 2 parking spaces behind electric – but not pearly – gates.
Among the haul of this religious conversion’s in-spire-ing altar-ations, are two shining stars: a glass roof lantern in the master bathroom allows you to gaze up at the tower while soaking in the tub, while the belfry doubles as a sin-ema in the sky and holy mother of all party-with-a-view spaces, dutifully blessed with 36ft high windows.
While the subject of a beautiful and high quality contemporary reincarnation, the whole place is of course smothered in original and reclaimed glory, with chunky wood beams, fat stonework, arched and circular church windows, heavy double entrance doors and a considerable feeling of permanence.
If God is eternal, Highland Tower ain’t far behind.
(Click on this link for the full property details) HIGHLAND TOWER SE19 @ £1,575,000