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Royal holiday home set to become luxury seafront flats

PUBLISHED: 13:08 26 April 2020

South Beach Mansion will be six two-bed flats once conversion and restoration work is finished Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

South Beach Mansion will be six two-bed flats once conversion and restoration work is finished Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

Archant

Work is under way to convert a clifftop mansion with royal connections into luxury apartments.

South Beach Mansion above the Pram Walk at Felixstowe Picture: CHRIS RAWLINGSSouth Beach Mansion above the Pram Walk at Felixstowe Picture: CHRIS RAWLINGS

South Beach Mansion – which was bought by developers two years ago after having been on market with a price tag of £1.375million – is credited with playing a key role in the development of Felixstowe as a fashionable seaside resort for the Victorians and Edwardians.

Back in 1891, the Empress of Germany stayed at the distinctive white-painted Italianate property with five of her sons for a summer holiday.

The visit by Empress Augusta, the wife of the German Kaiser Wilhelm, a grandson of Queen Victoria, attracted attention to the Suffolk seaside resort, leading to visits by other royalty, cabinet ministers and millionaires and the construction of large hotels and houses around the town.

Back in 2018, Parmar Holdings was granted permission to convert South Beach Mansion, which enjoys superb seaviews from its position at the top of Bent Hill, into six two-bed flats with six parking places.

One of the reception rooms in South Beach Mansion, Felixstowe, before conversion work began Picture: CHRIS RAWLINGSOne of the reception rooms in South Beach Mansion, Felixstowe, before conversion work began Picture: CHRIS RAWLINGS

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Now work is taking place on the project at the mansion, which before conversion boasted up to a dozen bedrooms and four reception rooms among its features, and a third of an acre garden.

Elliston Steady Hawes is carrying out the work.

The house was originally built in the 1860s by Charles Eley, who with his brother William, was a wealthy businessman well known for manufacturing cartridges. In the sea opposite South Beach Mansion – nicknamed ‘Eley Cathedral’ by the locals – stood a large lump of stone called Pulpit Rock where the Eleys were said to test their cartridges by using it for target practice.

Marking the stay of the Empress of Germany - the plaque on South Beach Mansion Picture: ARCHANTMarking the stay of the Empress of Germany - the plaque on South Beach Mansion Picture: ARCHANT

The visit by the Empress in 1891 is commemorated by a plaque on the building. She had visited Queen Victoria and arrived at Felixstowe by special train, her sons by the royal yacht.

The empress, herself descended from a half-sister of Queen Victoria, is said to have bathed modestly in the sea from a bathing machine while her children played on the beach. She attended the church of St John the Baptist, then a corrugated iron building, during her stay.

Over the decades South Beach Mansion has been a hotel, DHSS offices, and home to charities. In 1992, owner Suffolk Coastal council was persuaded by community leaders against demolishing it and in 1997 it was converted into a home and sold.


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