- By Bertie Russell
- 05 December 2019
Situated directly off the King’s Road, is Bywater Street, a peaceful cul-de-sac characterised by an eclectic row of colourful cottages, considered Chelsea’s most ‘Instagrammable’ street. For those not au fait with social influencer hotspots, the street is also better known as the home of fictional character George Smiley, of the John Le Carré spy novels (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley’s People).
Providing a rare opportunity to own a home on the popular street – where a local community has built among a number of owners that have occupied their properties for decades – Chelsea stalwarts Russell Simpson are selling a three-bedroom cottage at number 24 for £2.975 million.
Recognisable with its pale pink façade, number 24 occupies a prominent position towards the rear corner of Bywater Street. Complete with railed steps, sash windows and bay window, the home is a traditional Chelsea cottage in the heart of the Royal Borough.
Upon entering the 1,604 sq. ft. property is a large reception room with double aspects onto the front and back, with a guest WC to the rear. On the lower ground floor is a private study, as well as open-plan kitchen/dining room, which opens onto a patio.
The upper floors provide the main sleeping quarters, with two well-sized bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor. The master bedroom suite occupies the second floor, with direct access onto a patio terrace overlooking Bywater Street.
Jake Russell, Director at Russell Simpson, commented: “Bywater Street is one of Chelsea’s true hidden gems. The colourful homes and peaceful ambience created by the cul-de-sac make it an incredibly popular place for its residents, as well as those looking for a unique backdrop.
“One of the biggest selling points here is the fact that location-wise you are in the throng of the action, with all of the boutique shops, restaurants and galleries of the King’s Road at the end of the street. However, there are not many areas in Chelsea that feel like a quaint village community than Bywater Street, it’s a real plus for those that want to live in a quiet enclave of one of the world’s busiest cities.”
Popular with tourists and social media influencers, Bywater Street provides the perfect location for those looking for a unique photo opportunity. Featuring in over 10,000 Instagram posts, the street is Chelsea’s most popular destination for tagged posts on the social platform, whilst the hashtag #BywaterStreet is another popular choice.
Not limited as a popular Instagrammer hotspot, Bywater Street is also famously recognised as the home of fictional John Le Carré spy character George Smiley, who occupies number 9. The character is held in high esteem in England, where he has become a pop-culture icon on par with James Bond. First appearing in Le Carré’s 1961 novel Call for the Dead George Smiley has featured in a number of novels by the famous spy author, including one of his most recent books A Legacy of Spies (2017).
The street was also a filming location for the 2011 film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley. The picturesque road was also a regular feature in the 1979 BBC drama series Smiley’s People, with Alec Guinness playing the role of the eminent spy.
Addressing the reasons behind is choice of address for prominent character George Smiley, John Le Carré said: “I chose Bywater Street for Smiley because it’s a cul-de-sac, which is always a headache for watchers. I reckoned Smiley would give himself that sort of advantage over life. The intimacy of the street made it doubly difficult for a surveillance team to escape notice.”
A small tight-knit community, the residents of Bywater Street hold an annual summer street party, with the road closed by the local authority for residents to enjoy each other’s company.
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