Besides Jane Austen herself, we have one individual to thank for the fact that her still-fresh satires on social mores of her time exist in ubiquity: and it’s not Joe Wright, Kiera Knightly or Colin Firth. Jane’s favourite brother Henry, a militia officer, clergyman and banker, is thought to have championed her literary efforts to the point where it’s doubtful they’d ever have come to fruition without his input.
A front room in Henry’s former residence is where she conducted much of her writing: and, now called Jane Austen’s Reading Room, it’s the perfect place to sip your welcoming glass of champagne in what is the latest jewel in London’s hospitality crown, Henry’s Townhouse, a collaboration between owners Jane and Steven Collins and Russell Sage Studio (along with Feix&Merlin Architects), found within the now Grade II listed building at No.24 Upper Berkeley Street.
Henry’s Townhouse is a thoughtfully executed recreation of what the property’s aesthetics would have been back when Henry and wife Eliza resided there – and the perfect bolthole for business travellers visiting London, especially should they require somewhere more private and secluded than a large hotel (particularly conducive to group business bookings, Henry’s can turn rooms into offices and has the conferencing facilities to host meetings too).
Made up of seven period-design (and, often, ergonomically miraculous) bedrooms, each blessed with mod cons such as Dyson hairdryers and L:A Bruket organic bathroom products from Sweden), the property features the kind of lavish colour palettes and luxurious fabrics and furnishings we’ve come to expect of the team behind the renowned Temple Guiting Manor, Barns & Pantry in the heart of the Cotswolds.
Communal areas, meanwhile, include a Pantry Kitchen with sharing table for breakfast, private dining and parties (the space also converts neatly into a fully equipped meeting room) as well as a carriage-like cocktail ‘snug’, outside terrace for evening aperitifs and the aforementioned Jane Austen’s Reading Room.
“Henry’s Townhouse will have a sense of occasion and will be sophisticated, yet fun, appealing to those looking for a lovely base to stay in the heart of the West End, as well as those wanting to hire the house exclusively for family and friends for a special occasion,” says Steven Collins, Owner of Henry’s, who has delved into his personal art collection in order to help realise the project’s aesthetic vision.
Russell Sage, Principal Director of Russell Sage Studio, adds: “It was my great pleasure to focus our design experience on restoring the magnificent Henry’s Townhouse. I worked alongside owners Steven and Jane in selecting and complimenting from their personal antique collection, to create spaces which were evocative of the members of Jane Austin’s family and circle of friends. Whilst not being a museum to the history of the building, the pieces chosen create a historic ambience which combine to bring great comfort and humour to a stay at Henry’s Townhouse.”
See below for more pictures of Henry’s Townhouse