Tuesday, February 27


Psst fancy a rare bargain hey OK it is uninhabitable, painted purple and in the middle of nowhere, but Rigg Beck, a dilapidated property set in a priceless acre of the Lake District national park, is expected to set records as the most expensive wreck sold in the park when it comes up for auction in April with a guide price of £250,000 bet hey do the maths you can't go wrong.
The landmark property in the Newlands Valley, 3½ miles from Keswick, is for sale with rare outline planning consent to be either restored or — more likely — to be knocked down and rebuilt. The wooden house was built in 1881 by a Canadian who lived locally. Once run as a hotel, it has also provided lodgings for actors performing at the then Century Theatre — now replaced by the Theatre by the Lake — in Keswick, a list that includes Tom Courtenay, Bob Hoskins and Victoria Wood. It was also a favoured haunt of Ted Hughes, the late poet laureate, who was a frequent visitor; the owner, Varya Vergauwen, has kept copies of letters and poems that he sent her. It was Vergauwen, a sculptor who enjoyed a bohemian lifestyle and is now in her eighties, who painted the house purple after buying it in 1956. Since falling into disrepair 18 months ago, the boarded-up property has attracted only vandals and ghost-hunters — there are local rumours that the house is haunted The property is divided into two flats, but Wright believes that planners would consider granting permission to build one large six- or seven-bedroom house. “It is a complete mess,” he says. “Nobody has lived upstairs for over 10 years, and it will be cheaper to demolish the property and rebuild it than to renovate it.” “The market is very strong,” says Wright. “It is driven by scarcity. A six-bed country house will sell for £800,000 to £1m. Houses in good spots will always fetch a premium.”


Peggy said...

You can tell that it was designed by somebody in North America. It resembles the house where I grew up in Iowa. I sure would like to be a part of its renovation. I bet that if they decided to fix it rather than bulldoze it and start over, the painters could do with a woman telling them that they missed a bit.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise to stumble on the pic and story of Varya's house. I was there when the first moon landing came over the radio, summer 1969. The rooms had been wildly / boldly decorated by some art students --- I recall prancing horses. Varya was wonderful, ensconced on her great cushions in her lounge, playing Brahms and waxing lyrical over the beefy bronzed road workers in the vicinity! Yes, Ted H. had been staying there, though not with his wife ----. I met a nice young couple holidaying via their big BSA 650 m'bike.