We have been delightfully poring over the news that Garden Lodge, the home of the legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is going on the market with Thomas van Straubenzee at Knight Frank for £30million+.

Having been lovingly taken care of by his former fianceé and close friend Mary Austin for 30 years, the property has remained untouched from the time that Freddie lived there. He originally paid £50,000 for the Neo-Georgian mansion in 1980 and stayed there until his passing in 1991.

The area in which it sits – a quiet enclave of Kensington is a very familiar one to us at Harwood. A mere 10 minutes walk away is the house in Holland Park recently sold by Freddie’s lead guitarist, Brian May. And just around the corner is the Phillimore Estate – where the Queen drummer Roger Taylor owned a home for many years.

It is also the area once frequented by Willie Robertson, Sami’s father. A legendary insurance executive for the entertainment industry, he virtually single-handedly created insurance cover for entertainers in the 1970s, when he introduced non-appearance and equipment cover for rock’n’roll bands. Queen were a long-standing client of his international insurance company Robertson Taylor (now acquired by Tysers).

He was a firm believer in doing business over lunch – and one of his favourite local restaurants was the glorious Maggie Jones, where he spent many a long hour.

Clients loved Willie because he was always there for them. When Rod Stewart dislocated a toe and cancelled a series of American dates, he flew out on Concorde and persuaded the insurance company to pay up. When Pink Floyd floated a huge helium-filled pink pig over Battersea Power Station to shoot the cover of their 1977 album Animals, fortunately they had insured the session. The pig broke loose and was finally shot down by a farmer in Kent, but not before a pilot coming in to land had reported seeing a flying pig.

Trusted by most of the biggest rock bands of all time, Willie also provided insurance cover for The Who, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Roxy Music, T-Rex, Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson……and even Pope John Paul II.

Many of the values that Harwood are built on are inherited from Willie Robertson. From his obituary in 2011:

“Willie rarely got stressed by his work. He was never off-duty. He was a loyal and close friend to his immediate circle, most of them dating back to schooldays. And like many busy people, he always took on more.”

Onwards and upwards.

Harwood Advisory is delighted to share that Ollie Blakelock, the respected prime property professional, has joined Harwood as a Senior Consultant.

Ollie joins Harwood as it celebrates achieving £300million of transactions in 4 years, a testament to the approach of Sami Robertson and the commitment of the Harwood team.

Harwood’s ability to flourish during the market’s overall downward cycle reflects Harwood’s success in winning the trust of clients, domestic and international, harnessing the power of other selected market participants, and relentless focus on quality. Sami’s passion for quality covers the whole transaction life cycle; no details is too small. It is this passion which led to Ollie joining Harwood. His well-deserved reputation in the market, his knowledge and contacts make him the perfect fit.

Sami stated: “Ollie embodies the attributes that make Harwood stand out in this market. He is the consummate professional, he is widely respected by both buying and selling agents, recognised for his market acumen, and held in high esteem for being diligent, straightforward and incredibly likeable. Ollie’s arrival will ensure Harwood remains in the fast lane”.

Now that Ollie has joined Sami, Anna, and Susannah at Harwood, its Onwards and Upwards trajectory will continue to accelerate.

Absolutely delighted to be featured in PrimeResi as we complete the sale of the most incredible penthouse apartment in Academy Gardens.

Thanks to PrimeResi Journal for a fantastic feature – which really does showcase this remarkable 3,125 sq.ft property that sprawls across the fourth and fifth floors of the converted Grade II listed building on the Phillimore Estate.

This sale now means that Sami has sold 22 of the 67 apartments in Academy Gardens, having been consulted on most of the others.

The client added “We instructed Sami to sell our London apartment which had been on the market without success. Sami revitalised the process with fresh vigour, a fresh approach and great energy. He achieved a sale in a short period and at a great price.”

Read more here

Singapore has been a big part of our professional journey.

Building friendships and connections that have endured for decades (in some cases).

Some unbelievably successful people. Each with their fingers very firmly on the pulse of the international property market.

So to be recognised in Asia Tatler this month is a proud moment.

This article showcases not only the Harwood team, but also two of the landmark properties that we have been introducing our Singapore clients to in our most recent visit. Namely the most exquisite, 9 bedroom villa in the heart of Holland Park. Which is hands down, one of the most significant sales we’ve ever been involved with. And a number of luxury apartments in Academy Gardens, Kensington.

To be able to present such remarkable properties to these discerning individuals is something we never take for granted. But to match these properties to the right people – allowing each to begin their next chapters – especially when the starting point is 7,000 miles away, is an absolute privilege.

Thank you to everyone at Tatler Asia for featuring us this month. It really is an honour.