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STAIRWAY (AND OTHER LIVING ACCOMODATION) TO HEAVEN

Estate Agents details can often build the reader’s anticipation up, just to be let down when you arrive at the property, with descriptions such as “Charming” – does not have stairs, “Quaint” – does not have windows and “Popular” – on a main road etc.

Not on this occasion, this was no ordinary property survey I had turned up to. At the end of a narrow road running along the meandering River Thames, with rolling lawns and a quaint foot bridge awaits The Old Mill House. An eighteenth century three storey grand house, brick parapet with stone coping, hipped old tile roof and the attached Old Coach House which was equally as attractive to the “Period House Junkie”. Elegant Georgian proportions and the original clock tower, recently restored by the current owner to the pleasure of the neighbours, with its periodic quintessential English chimes. However, it was a different kind of music that made this house famous. As I turned up to survey this property, I was greeted by the owner proudly declaring from the top window Jimmy Page used to live here. With that I rang the wife to say “put my dinner in the oven, I am going to be late home” there has got be a few stories here, and I am all ears, even though it was only 9am.

The usual exchanges were offered and then the owner explained the history of the property. Jimmy Page purchased The Old Mill House from Michael Caine for £900,000. He moved into it in August 1980 following Led Zeppelin’s Over Europe tour. It was initially offered for sale in Summer 1986 but was not sold, so Tower House in Kensington became his primary residence which made the news recently for his dispute with his neighbour Robbie Williams over renovations works. It was eventually sold around 2006 when remarrying but then he bought it back soon after. He sold Old Mill House for a second time in 2008 and moved out into his current primary residence.

Wow, pretty cool right! but after further research it became apparent it was not only his home but sadly the place of the demise of John Bonham, Led Zeppelin’s infamous drummer, which ultimately lead to the end of the band. An extract from The Guardian explains: 

“John Bonham, the drummer with Led Zeppelin rock group, was found dead yesterday in bed at the house of the group’s lead guitarist, Jimmy Page, in Windsor, Berkshire. Police said there was no suspicious circumstances. A post-mortem examination will be held today. The drummer was found in the early afternoon by another member of the group. Jimmy Page, who bought the house, The Old Mill House in Mill Lane, beside the Thames, from the film star Michael Caine, earlier this year for £900,000”.

“The house whilst intrinsically attractive, only showed part of its value. The owner appropriately adorned the walls with period posters of the band, and whilst keener than usual to inspect the loft, alas no lost forgotten double headed Gibson guitar ready to be discovered, but neither any damp issues to the roof timbers, which will probably make the purchaser equally as happy”.

“Just to show what a great architectural and cultural heritage Britain has, not just in London’s tourist spots but also down a residential road in Berkshire”.

By Vere Osborne.

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