Fathers set free from their families are now more likely to be found at the RVPB than fatherless children. After serving as a hospital in the First World War, a detention centre in the Second, and a comprehensive school well into the Eighties, the grade-two listed building was converted into 29 luxury flats plus workshops and a drama school. It gained a reputation for its swinging bachelor parties as an assortment of divorced middle- aged men began to colonise the flats and monopolise the building's restaurant and bar, Le Gothique. But now they are starting to make way for City boys and girls, if only for the sake of their health.
Who's in your house?
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34, management consultant
Resident for five years
Adam is about to move out of his one-bed flat in the north courtyard. "You get drawn in," he says. "I'd be going to bed at six and getting up at seven, three days a week. It's great for a bit but you don't end up making much money." He has kept mosaics and murals which were there when he moved in. Also breaking up the otherwise stark white of the walls is a large photograph of a woman in fishnets, taken in the flat next door by a fetish photographer who used to live at the RVPB.
26, works in the City Resident for four months
Cian bought his 1,600sq ft two-bed flat in the north courtyard from the photographer grandson of the ex-king of Egypt. He counts himself one of the RVPB's "new breed": "I spend a lot of time travelling and I'm rarely in the bar." The photographs are of his Irish ancestors. "I wanted to optimise the Gothic feel. I painted this room red and the hall purple, but I want to keep the mezzanine neutral, or it's overkill. I bought the chandelier in France - isn't it just right? But my girlfriend refuses to come here."
Worked in this studio for two years
Alan designed many of the original RVPB flats and studios. He lives in Esher and works from this corner studio, which boasts a 4.5m-high ceiling, in what was a classroom in the north courtyard. Square-legged tables came courtesy of John Elbert, a designer who used to have a studio here. One of the pictures by the fan is of the RVPB penthouse Alan designed in 1985 for Andy Taylor of Duran Duran. "I love this building," he says. "I feel at home working here."
50s, game show producer
Resident for three years
Philip's daughter is happy to visit his one-bed flat overlooking the car park in the rear courtyard. "Adam's daughter won't come here, but Charlotte feels she cancels out the ghost of her namesake," he says. Philip goes for Timney Fowler and Designer's Guild - "honestly, don't ask me why" - and has fruit bowls, bought on trips to South Africa, that are made of old pilchard tins. "I came to some wild parties when the Thompson Twins lived in the building, but I never thought I could be living here myself."Reuse content