Rail union sells listed headquarters for £8m

A listed building in a plush district of London which has been the headquarters of the train drivers' union for more than 80 years has been sold for £8 million, it was learned today.

Aslef bought 9 Arkwright Road in Hampstead, north west London, in 1921 but the building, complete with mahogany-panelled walls, brass fittings, an oak staircase and stained glass skylight, became too expensive for the union to maintain.

The building has been the setting of many late-night talks to launch, or end, strikes on the railways and London Underground, while its large rear garden was the scene of an infamous "barbecue brawl" involving former leader Shaun Brady.

Built by Sir Charles Beecham, the building housed a grand ballroom, with an ornate plaster ceiling, where the Halle orchestra used to rehearse.

Edward VII was entertained at 9 Arkwright Road on several occasions.

Aslef, which has yet to find a new headquarters, said it was costing too much money to maintain the building, which has been sold to a property developer.