Is this Bristol’s poshest house share?

is this bristols poshest house share - Is this Bristol's poshest house share?

From the grubby 1980s student digs of The Young Ones, to the slightly glitzier Britpop-era young London lawyers of This Life, shared living has never exactly screamed glamour.

But in north Bristol, that has all changed, in what just might be Britain’s poshest house share.

Kings Weston House, designed by Blenheim Palace architect Sir John Vanbrugh, is one of Bristol’s grandest buildings.

And now it is home to 19 people who enjoy communal living on a spectacular scale.

The house was completed in 1719 as the luxury abode of the Secretary of State for Ireland Edward Southwell.

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(Image: WesternDailyPress)

It ceased being a family home in the 1930s and was later used as a wartime hospital, Avon and Somerset Constabulary offices and a conference venue.

When Norman Routledge snapped it up in 2012 for a bargain basement £350,000 it required substantial work to restore it to its former glory.

He had always dreamed and talked about ‘buying a castle that all of his friends can live in’.

“It was a fight; two or three times I gave up,” he told an episode of BBC Inside Out West airing tonight.

“No banks would lend me any money and it was only the guys here who said go on, you’ve got this far, keep going.”

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(Image: WesternDailyPress)

Norman has always owned and lived in house shares but needed something to suit him and his friends as they began to have fewer parties and more children.

“It’s the ultimate never grow old house,” Norman said. “You hear so many people living on their own are lonely: here, that’s not going to happen.

“When we took it on we had never thought about the size of the project and it could have been cold and scary and like a National Trust place but it’s not turned out that way.

“The house wants to have a party and it likes a bit of love and it’s suited us down to the ground.”

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(Image: WesternDailyPress)

Now 19 people, including three children, live in the Grade I listed building. Rent starts at £500 per month and Norman makes extra cash by renting the bottom floor out for weddings, parties and film crews, including BBC One’s Poldark.

The house boasts huge grounds, a living room with ceilings topping 10 metres and regal oil paintings of former owners the size of snooker tables.

Karoline and Neil Davidson live in the house with their five-year-old son Kaelan. When Karoline heard about the idea she thought: “Norm’s had a bit too much red wine.”

Neil added: “Ever since I’ve known him has talked about buying a castle that all of his friends can live in. This place came on the market so he could live his dream.”

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(Image: WesternDailyPress)

But as his mates get older, Norman has set his sights on even grander plans – the mammoth Ashton Court.

“It’s 80 per cent derelict,” he told the BBC.

“It needs some TLC as this place did but could be our final resting place. It’s not a done deal – we need to persuade Bristol City Council – but that’s our next target.”

Back to: Home Bristol NewsSource: Bristol Post

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