An estate agent writes: 25 years ago, Rosamond Rose of Rosamond Rose Properties returned from South Africa to live in Holland Park and currently lives in her garden flat with her office in her conservatory. Here she tells her story.
I was born in Yorkshire and came to London in 1964 and worked for the BBC. In 19671 went to South Africa - even at that point I lived in Holland Park and came back to live here on my return so that I could get to work at TV Centre on time, and take my young children to school at St James and St Clements.
I fell into the property business when a friend in South Africa had bought a flat in Campden Hill, and asked if I would manage it. I used to dash down on the Central Line from TV Centre to W8 during my lunch hour to check the cleaner had done her stuff. I had lived the great life in South Africa with house servants and all, so I knew what was expected.
Soon I began to see the gap in the market for business lets and holiday lets in the fashionable areas of London. In 1985,1 left BBC TV and set up Rosamond Rose Properties. Many thought it an interesting leap, quite surprising - but I have always liked people, and making them happy during their stay in London is paramount: the budget traveller, the upmarket language student, the top notch businessman and the American families, whoever. My first experience of somebody not paying the rent was a bank manager from the Channel Islands, all due to a teaspoon in the waste disposal unit.
I have learnt a lot since then, purely by practical experience. In fact I now have a diary of memoirs, good and bad, some very amusing. Why is a US Professor called OJ? A charming Frenchman was asked to vacate a flat, but left behind a wardrobe of pornographic material. A very polite and respected owner once wanted me to view a property and give some advice. He was horrified when we viewed and a high class brothel was occupying his smart apartment.
My list of clients is diverse from around the world and today everyone has very specific priorities. Kingsize beds, power showers, a lift, wooden floors, an English fireplace, a no smoking zone, a high tech kitchen, a real coffee maker. Must be quiet, but near the buzz. The list is endless. My flats and houses are spread across central London and now my website has taken over the annual brochure - and this means a multitude of photos can entice you to stay in one of my properties. My very first flat in Hornton Street is about to be back in my portfolio, having had a fabulous kitchen and bathroom installed. It's so essential to keep up to date with changing tastes.
I have some special properties in South Africa and Portugal too, and an Italian client has just invited me to vet their family home in Rome, their country house in Conca, visit Gaeta and their home town Naples, so take your pick.
Sometimes, one has to persuade tenants to stay in the wilds of Holland Park, but once tried, never forgotten. Holland Park Avenue and its shops and all the wonderful restaurants and, of course, the park, are all attractions, as are the Central Line, the many buses and proximity to Notting Hill (somebody once asked "do they have riots there?") and of course the High Street with its shops.
I have three children and a grandchild, and my daughter Nicola works with me. My cats have always been a great source of chat for visiting tenants but sadly my last cat was bid farewell earlier in the year. Having a garden flat means they are given a proper send off.
Rosamond Rose Properties
Reproduced from 'Property Comment' courtesy of
The Hill & Village Magazine, July 2005