Forbes Family Selling 300-Year-Old London Mansion

The Forbes family has decided to unload their historic London home, Old Battersea House, which Malcolm Forbes purchased in the early 1970s. (See our photo gallery of the Old Battersea House.)

Situated along the Thames river, just on the other side of Chelsea, the 10-bedroom mansion with five reception rooms is listed by Savills for 12,000,000 sterling pounds, which is about $19.4 million. Yes, this is how the wealthy live (and for more on that topic, see "Forbes Richest People: Where and How They Live")

The listing for Old Battersea House says this is a "unique opportunity to buy a piece of English history," and so it is. Since it was built in 1699, the property, set behind electric gates and a partially walled garden, has been graced by kings, princes and presidents. Elizabeth Taylor spent her honeymoon with seventh husband Larry Fortensky here.

Built on Tudor foundations in the late 17th Century, Old Battersea House has reasonably had many owners over the years. In the early 20th Century it was saved from demolition by Colonel Search Homes for Sale See photos of homes for sale in your area and across the country on AOL Real Estate Charles G. Stirling and his wife, Wilhelmina, who rented the house. Mrs. Stirling remained living at Old Battersea House until her death in 1965 just shy of her 100th birthday. For the next five years the home sat empty and neglected, with a collapsing roof, until it was acquired by Malcolm Forbes, who hung numerous pieces of original art on its walls.

Son Christopher Forbes stated in an essay in a 2003 Christie's auction catalog that his father saw the home, and, in spite of its "sorry state," could see the possibilities of its "handsome proportions and its unique riverside location" and took it on a 99-year lease.

To repair it cost $750,000 -- quite a bit of money for the 1970s. The family typically would spend about 12 nights a year there. However, Malcolm Forbes once said in New York magazine's "The Most Happy Millionaire" article, "Our London office keeps the house pretty busy."

Off a galleried landing on the first floor are five grand double bedrooms all of which either have an en suite bathroom, or share one. The second floor has another five double bedrooms and three bathrooms, one of which has a jacuzzi bath and a sauna. Over the years various changes have been made to the house, including the installation of a modern kitchen.

According to the New York Times obituary on Malcolm Forbes, the media mogul and founder of Forbes, died in 1990 at the age of 70 of a heart attack while asleep in his Far Hills, N.J., home just a day after returning from Old Battersea on his private jet.

The home with baroque hallways, paneled drawing rooms, sweeping stairs, oak doors and floorboards, has housed his massive collection of Victorian art for decades. Although not publicly available, over the years the sons, Steve, Kip and Chris have sold some of the paintings, "The walls do not look naked but happily congested," said Kip Forbes.

Although none of the Forbes family members appear on its own list of "Richest People in America" or "World's Billionaires," the family still does pretty well for itself. However, for a taste of million dollar deals gone wrong, check out our Foreclosed Mansions gallery.

See photo gallery for more images of the Forbes' family Old Battersea House.

Sheree R. Curry
, who has owned three homes, is a three-time award-winning journalist who has covered real estate for six years. During her 20-year career, her articles have appeared regularly in the
Wall Street Journal, TV Week, and Fortune. She's been writing for AOL Real Estate since 2009 from a Minneapolis-area rental. She seeks a book publisher -- or at least a lender who'll give a reasonable mortgage rate to a self-employed mom.

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I will get used to living in this home!!!!!!

March 15 2011 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's not a mansion, it's an apartment building of flats. There are over 500,000 empty homes in America.
I suggest, when Jimmy Carter builds another Habitat for Humanity house, to step in just as they break ground, uproot one of those empty houses, and plug it right onto the Habitat for Humanity lot. Would save a lot of time and labor. Wait a minute. How about we eliminate Jimmy Carter and just put those Helpless Pathetic Habitat people right into one of those empty homes ? Nah, it would never work. Lets build more Habitat homes ..Al-

March 15 2011 at 7:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

it said "for sale", not sold

March 15 2011 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jody Berman

Check out Long Island's Newsday this Friday: The complete article can be viewed at:
Rich Cribs: Whitney's Old Westbury home sells, and more

March 15 2011 at 7:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Chris & Kathy

Does it come furnished??????

March 15 2011 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Awwwww poor poor poohbee4 ....... jealous cause you cant use your brain and make yourself into something other than the cheetoh eating, unemployed video gamer that you probably are. You sound like one of those mentally ill loser libs who want socialism. Learn ya some math losers ......... socialism has never and will never work. FACT. To be something, you actually have to get off your butt and WORK for it. There's NO SHAME in THAT GAME. I'm tired of paying 22% of every dollar I work for to losers who want freebies.

March 15 2011 at 6:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This was probably bought and payed for on the backs of his under paid work force!!,... how much is enough Mr rich man??

March 15 2011 at 5:58 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply


March 15 2011 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about $50.00 Down, and $50.00 a Month??

March 15 2011 at 5:11 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wadisplace's comment

try Nevada

March 15 2011 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well there's the next bonus for a Wall St. executive! All paid for by our tax dollars! Well, perhaps this one went to Goldman-Sachs instead?

March 15 2011 at 5:05 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply