Fight to save studio where Pavlova danced

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One of London's most famous homes is being put up for sale by a university.

Middlesex University hopes to get 1.6m from the sale of a house once owned by the ballerina Anna Pavlova.

The house in Golders Green, north london has been the home of the University's drama department since 1975. Set in listed gardens, designed by Percy Lane, the estate includes two purpose built theatres.

The house itself includes Pavlova's original dance studio and mirror. Middlesex University claims the sale is so it can centralise its drama department at Trent Park in Cockfosters. But campaigners claim the sale is designed to bring in much needed cash. The Save London's Theatre campaign said a sell-off would be a great public loss and called on the university raise money by hiring out the house and its grounds.

The estate is likely to attract a huge amount of interest. Nijinsky and Charlie Chaplin are among performers who stayed there.

Anna Pavlova, who died in The Hague in 1931, is regarded by many as the greatest ballerina the world has known. Her remains were buried in Golders Green cemetery in north west London, though she reportedly made a dying wish to be returned to her "beloved Russia" upon the fall of Communism.

Born in 1881, the Russian quickly emerged as the most celebrated dancer of her time.

Among her many claims to lasting fame was giving her name to pavlova, a marshmallow and meringue confection topped with whipped cream.