Debenham House

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Debenham House
Debenham House, January 2015 05.jpg
Debenham House, 2015
Location Holland Park, West London, England
Coordinates 51°30′8.94″N 0°12′31.82″W / 51.5024833°N 0.2088389°W / 51.5024833; -0.2088389Coordinates: 51°30′8.94″N 0°12′31.82″W / 51.5024833°N 0.2088389°W / 51.5024833; -0.2088389
Built 1905–07
Architect Halsey Ricardo
Architectural style(s) Arts and Crafts
Governing body Privately owned
Listed Building – Grade I
Official name: Debenham House
Designated 15 April 1969[1]
Reference no. 1080783
Debenham House is located in Greater London
Debenham House
Location of Debenham House in Greater London

Debenham House (or Peacock House) at 8 Addison Road is a large detached house in the Holland Park district of Kensington and Chelsea, W14. Built in the Arts and Crafts style by the architect Halsey Ricardo, it is a Grade I listed building.[1]


The house was designed in 1905 for department store owner Ernest Ridley Debenham.[2] Debenham had previously lived in another house designed by Ricardo, at 57 Melbury Road in Holland Park.[2] The house only became known as Debenham House after it was sold on Sir Ernest's death.

The building is currently owned by Ford Motor Company through Blue Oval Holdings Limited.[citation needed]


The exterior of Debenham House is Italianate, while the interior style is Arts and Crafts. It is richly coloured everywhere. The main parts of exterior are clad in variegated Royal Doulton Carrara ware with inset panels faced with green and blue Burmantofts bricks. Ricardo was an advocate of ‘structural polychromy’. The glazed materials were also intended to resist the aging effects of the polluted London air. Critic Jonathan Meades has described the house as "structurally stodgy – an alderman dressed as a hippy."[3]

The interior contains tiles designed by William De Morgan, a mosaic dome painted by Gaetano Meo and ceilings painted by Ernest Gimson.[4]

The domed hall, the central interior feature, has a first-floor gallery connecting the upstairs rooms. Decoration throughout the house is extraordinarily lavish. Mosaics depict members of the Debenham family as well as subjects from classical mythology. There are marble and tile fireplaces, stained glass designed by E. S. Prior and mahogany bookcases with Art Nouveau inlays in wood and mother of pearl. The light switches were specially designed and made by the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft.[3]

Filming location[edit]

The interior were featured prominently in Iain Softley's The Wings of the Dove (1997 film).

The exterior of the house was used in the film Secret Ceremony, directed by Joseph Losey. Elizabeth Taylor's character Leonora resided at the house in the film.[5] Debenham House has also featured in the television series What the Butler Saw and Spooks.[4]

The house was also used as the filming location of Agatha Christie's Poirot Lord Edgeware Dies and Cards on the Table.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b Historic England. "Debenham House (1080783)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Survey of London: volume 37: Northern Kensington". British History Online. Retrieved 2012-06-28. 
  3. ^ a b "Debenham House – Hidden London". Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Phillippa Bennett (1 September 2010). William Morris in the Twenty-First Century. Peter Lang. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-3-0343-0106-0. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Derek Pykett (20 July 2008). British Horror Film Locations. McFarland. pp. 105–. ISBN 978-0-7864-3329-2. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Poirot Locations – Lord Edgware Dies". Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Eirik. "Investigating Agatha Christie's Poirot: Episode-by-episode: Lord Edgware Dies". Retrieved 1 February 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Debenham House at Wikimedia Commons


  • Stourton, James (2012). Great Houses of London (Hardback). London: Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-3366-9.