Property of the Week: the Chelsea home that inspired Mary Poppins
- By Bertie Russell
- 20 November 2019
Located just off the famous King’s Road in Chelsea, 29 Shawfield Street was once home to P.L. Travers, creator of Mary Poppins, and now it’s for sale
On the market for a cool £4.85 million, the spruced up Grade II family home is a far cry from the dilapidated house occupied by the Banks family on nearby Cherry Tree Lane in Mary Poppins.
Recently refurbished, the four-storey home – one of a collection of terraced mews houses on Shawfield Street – is in immaculate condition, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, including an en suite master bedroom with Juliet balcony, as well as a study, cinema room, wine cellar and utility room.
The 2,195 sq ft also has three terraces (two of which belong to the second-floor bedrooms), five entertaining spaces and a well sized garden.
P.L. Travers, who lived at number 29, was born in Australia. Her early life was marred with tragedy, losing both her mother and father at a young age – childhood experiences that went on to inspire characters and events in the Mary Poppins series.
Her abilities as a writer were evident from an early age, with several poems being published throughout her teenage years. She also toured Australia as a Shakespearean actress.
Pamela Lydon Travers emigrating to England in 1924, aged 25, when she adopted the pen name P.L. Travers, further honing her talents around other exceptional writers of the time, such as W. B. Yeats.
A decade after arriving and working as an actress and journalist, the author published Mary Poppins. The book was her first success, with the magical nanny and mythologically inspired stories capturing the imagination of children, whilst the subtle social commentary appealed to an older audience.
P.L. Travers bought 29 Shawfield Street in 1962, following the release of the fifth book, Mary Poppins From A to Z. She would go on to write three further books in the house, and lived there for the rest of her life until she passed away in 1996.
‘It’s a real pleasure to market a home previously owned by one of the most influential authors of the 20th century,’ said Hugo Cordle, Sales Negotiator at specialist Chelsea estate agents Russell Simpson. ‘It’s hard to not imagine Mary Poppins and her famous umbrella swooping in to arrive on the roof terrace.
‘This is an exceptional family home with an abundance of lateral living space spread across two floors. With all of the action of the King’s Road at the end of the street, the house is in an exceptionally sought-after area of Chelsea.’
The house recently featured in Saving Mr Banks, the 2013 movie that covers the 14-year period that Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) petitioned the reluctant P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) for the rights to transform the Mary Poppins books into a movie.
Disney regularly visited number 29 to negotiate the original Mary Poppins deal, as did Thompson as she prepared for her role in Saving Mr Banks.
Mary Poppins the movie, released in 1964, went on to garner both critical and commercial fame, winning five Oscars and launching Julie Andrews’ career.
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