Property: The high price of a literary lodging

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The Independent Online
IF YOU have little but the house to leave to your grandchildren, it is worth giving some thought to boosting its value. You could, for example, take in a budding writer as a lodger.

Literary figures live on in their lodgings as well as in their art, particularly when agents are looking for that extra something to catch a buyer's eyes. An otherwise anonymous Georgian house in the middle of Highgate, north London, for instance, bears a blue plaque saying: 'Charles Dickens stayed here in 1832.' He probably stayed in a lot of places during his prolific and peripatetic life; nevertheless, this is a 'rare opportunity', according to the agents, Stimpsons, for a purchaser to acquire a piece of literary history. The asking price is pounds 295,000.

At least Algernon Charles Swinburne spent 30 years in The Pines, playing host to such artists as Rossetti and William Morris in this huge Victorian home on Putney Hill, where he lived with his companion and fellow poet, Theodore Watts-Dunton, until his death in 1909. Extra years fetch an extra premium, so John D Wood is seeking pounds 395,000.

If a classic tale can be connected with such a property, the price goes even higher. Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired to write The Pavilion on the Links while staying at Marine Villa, near Edinburgh. And the view over the Firth of Forth to the isle of Fidra is 'believed' to have provided the idea for Treasure Island. A good word, 'believed' - good enough to justify Hamptons asking pounds 800,000 for this well-connected property.

(Photographs omitted)

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