Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, first published in 1889, is a classic Victorian novel originally intended to be a Thames travel guide. The author found his comic voice while he was writing, however, and the book evolved into a funny tale of three friends and their dog, Montmorency, on a journey up the river from London to Oxford. One day – having already passed through Henley and Reading, before going for drinks in Wallingford – the hapless characters in the book attempt to wash their clothes in the Thames, but succeed only in making them dirtier still. So, they find a laundry in Streatley and pay a washer woman to do it for them. This laundry, forever immortalised in literature, now forms part of White Hart House, a beautiful family home on the market with Warmingham estate agency.
At the end of White Hart Yard, off Streatley High Street, this 18th century brick and flint cottage is situated in a quiet and secluded spot at the end of a small row of period terraced houses. The cottage has been refurbished throughout but many of its original character features are still intact, including log burning stoves, stripped pine doors, sash windows, open fireplaces and exposed timber beams. On the ground floor there is a sitting room, a dining room, a kitchen and a drawing room – all of which have windows at the front and the back of the house. The stylish kitchen has hand-built Shaker style units and granite work surfaces, and there is a magnificent glass orangery off the drawing room that opens on to the garden.
Upstairs, the part of the house that was once the loft of the laundry in Three Men in a Boat has been converted into the master bedroom suite, complete with its original lantern roof. There are two further bedrooms and a family bathroom on the first floor. There are two separate front doors and two staircases in this house, and the dining room incorporates a kitchenette and a cloakroom, so there may be scope to divide the property into a main house on one side with separate guest or family accommodation on the other.
The private back garden is enclosed by fences and a brick and flint wall, with views over the countryside beyond. It has been professionally landscaped and has some lovely mature trees and shrubs, two terraces, a lawn, a vegetable patch and a hot tub that could be included in the sale under separate negotiation. There is also a detached garage outside, a timber storage shed, a greenhouse and a brick store.
This house has a fantastic claim to fame, being a scene in one of the greatest novels of all time. The Guardian included Jerome K Jerome’s book in its 100 Best Novels Fiction Series: “Three Men in a Boat is about the camaraderie of youth, the absurdity of existence, camping holidays, playing truant, comic songs, and the sweet memories of lost time. In short, like all the finest comic writing, it’s about everything and nothing.”
White Hart House has a guide price of £850,000. For more information or to arrange a viewing, call Warmingham on (01491) 874414.
Article published in the Henley Standard Newspaper