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£1m home designed by real-life 'Bond villain' on the market

Whitley Piece is not packed with bullion or bristling with lasers but is instead a six-bedroom home in Henley-in-Arden.

House in Henley-in-Arden designed by Erno Goldfinger - the inspiration behind the Bond character
House in Henley-in-Arden designed by Erno Goldfinger - the inspiration behind the Bond character

It may not look like an arch-villain’s bunker – but this luxury £1 million home was designed by the real-life Goldfinger.

Whitley Piece is not packed with bullion or bristling with lasers but is instead a six-bedroom home in Henley-in-Arden.

It was designed by Hungrian-born architect Ernö Goldfinger, who went down in literary history when Ian Fleming gave his surname to one of James Bond’s best-known foes.

Goldfinger was said to have enraged Fleming when he knocked down an old terraced house in London’s posh Hampstead, to make way for his own home.

The dispute turned nasty when the architect called in his lawyers. The case was settled when Fleming’s publishers agreed to pay Goldfinger’s costs and give him six copies of the book.

But he reportedly suffered more misery when the book was turned into a film, with callers ringing in the middle of the night to perform bad Sean Connery impressions down the phone.

Erno Goldfinger
Erno Goldfinger
 

Whitley Piece’s owners, Frank and Judy Mackay, were unaware of its Bond link when they bought it 40 years ago. “Some years after we bought it we were visited, out of the blue, by a Colonel Fletcher who commissioned Goldfinger to design it in 1947,” they said.

“He asked to have a look round and told us of the connection.

“We haven’t had any visits from fans of James Bond but we have from architectural historians.

“For us this has just been a fantastic family home.”

Goldfinger was notorious for his uncompromising, modernist architecture. He operated mainly in London but he also worked on a rough concrete office building for Carr & Co in Shirley.

David Savigar, branch manager of the John Shepherd office, in Hockley Heath, welcomed the property’s unique association.

“The connection is fantastic,” he said. “It is nice to have a story that goes with it that gives an insight into the architect. We don’t mind if a few Bond aficionados turn up. Flow is always a good thing.”

Though the house is very private – as all good lairs should be – its location on Blackford Hill gives it a commanding view.

“That’s the next takeover plot,” joked Mr Savigar. “First Henley-in-Arden, tomorrow the world.”

 

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