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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
17th March 1969 Fashion designer Alexander McQueen was born in Lewisham, London.
17th March 1954 Born today: Lesley-Anne Down, London, actress (A Little Night Music, Moonraker)
17th March 1954 Born today: Wally Stocker, London, rock vocalist/guitarist (Babys-Missing You)
17th March 1931 Born today: Eunice Gayson, London England, actress (Dr No, From Russia With Love)
17th March 1928 The first James Bond girl, from Dr No, actress Eunice Gayson was born in Croydon.
17th March 1921 Dr Marie Stopes opens Britain's 1st birth control clinic (London)
17th March 1904 The Daily Mirror's Handcuff challenge to Harry Houdini at the Alhambra Theatre.
17th March 1845 Rubber band patented by Stephen Perry of London
17th March 1789 Born today: Edmund Kean, London England, tragic actor (Shylock)
The 2nd largest private home in London after Buckingham Palace.
Location: Highgate West Hill, Highgate
Description: Witanhurst House is an extraordinary Georgian-style mansion located on a 5 acre estate in the village of Highgate. It is London's 2nd largest private residence after Buckingham Palace.
Designed by architect George Hubbard for soap magnate Sir Arthur Crosfield on a site dating from 1774 which included a house called Parkfield built in the 19th century, the mansion is currently Grade-II* listed. The current mansion was built between 1913 and 1920.
Sir Arthur is reported to have spent 1 million on building his dream home, a mammoth amount for the 1920 - equivalent to more than 20 million today.
It currently has 65 rooms spread across three floors, including 25 bedrooms, Dining Room, Chinese Room, and Billiard Room. One of the largest is the Grand Ballroom, measuring 70 feet long with a height of 20 feet.
On 16 July 2008 it was reported that Yelena Baturina, wife of Yury Luzhkov, the former Mayor of Moscow (Russia), and a billionaire in her own right, purchased the property for an estimated 50m. Plans for an incredible renovation are now under way with an estimated cost of 40 million.
Queen Elizabeth II has danced in the ornate ballroom, Yehudi Menuhin has played when he was a house guest.
It is the former home of the pre-Wimbledon tennis tournaments and more recently the setting for TV series The Lost Prince, Tipping the Velvet, and the Fame Academy series.