Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is currently fighting to save the artwork and incredible heritage at his Grade-I listed Tower House home in Holland Park, something that could be in very real jeopardy if neighbor Robbie Williams wins his battle to build a massive basement in the 47-room home that he bought next door in 2013 for £17.5 million.
Page is particularly concerned that the immense vibrations that would come as a result of the digging plans next door at Robbie Williams’ home could cause irreparable harm to his historic house, a building that architect William Burges designed between 1875 and 1881, according to the Daily Mail.
Jimmy Page bought the house in 1972 from actor Richard Harris after he was able to successfully outbid David Bowie and snatched up the house for £350,000.
“I came to view it in the evening. It was dark. I’d heard about the house and was so interested in Gothic revival and Pre-Raphaelites.When I walked in I thought, ‘Oh my goodness gracious. This is unbelievable.’ Then I started seeing all the details and thought, ‘This is absolutely magical.’ It was like walking into an architectural Aladdin’s cave. It had such an effect on me when I came out of the house that I was heady from the experience.”
Despite Page’s past reputation, he explained that the architectural marvel of Tower House is not one that lends itself to parties, explaining that he would never allow anything to harm his beautiful and historic home.
“This isn’t a place for a party and it isn’t a place for a p**s up. Judge for yourself. I’ve never had parties here. I’ve been very well-behaved, as you can see.”
With regard to the plans of Robbie Williams to build a large basement at his house, Jimmy Page has spoken with Kensington and Chelsea councillors to voice his strong objections to the plan and has admitted that Williams hasn’t personally spoken with him about his objections, having not even introduced himself when he first moved in five years ago.
“I haven’t seen Robbie Williams since he bought the house. He hasn’t even popped in a letter to say, ‘I’m your neighbour. How about a cup of tea?'”
Page’s Tower House was once part of a vast artistic community known as the Holland Park Circle, with Lord Leighton living at Leighton House just down the road in a home that is now a popular museum. Jimmy Page, it will be noted, is also a devoted lover of art and has an extensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, once telling GQ that he felt strongly connected to this particular style of art when he was just a teenager.
“I connected with pre-Raphaelite art in my early teens, when I released that there was a movement and a brotherhood. The more that I learnt the more exciting it became, especially to find out about their ethos was and that there was an aesthetic behind it.”
When Jimmy Page sought to address the situation with councilors over Robbie Williams’ proposed construction plans, Page explained that vibrations could cause serious damage to his home, with councilors merely suggesting in reply that perhaps padding would help, something the Led Zeppelin guitarist found to be a little unhelpful and silly.
“We had a detailed survey and some of the tiles have gaps behind them because the walls are uneven so they’re holding themselves up, which is fine, but if you start to get vibrations. The person from the council said we could put some padding over it if the permission went ahead, which is a bit cheeky, isn’t it? I don’t see myself as the owner of this house and didn’t buy it to speculate or sell it on. I am just a custodian. I will keep defending until people take notice. The council has a duty to protect listed buildings like this.”
Page also pointed to the fact that Robbie Williams is rarely even present at his house and wonders why he would go to such great lengths to build a mega-basement, especially when he is well aware that the historic home of Tower House could be significantly damaged, along with the precious artwork inside.
“This isn’t about one rock god fighting another rock god. I just see Robbie as a resident who, up to this point, hasn’t even lived here and is trying to maximize every square inch he’s got without even considering the heritage value of this house. How can you do that?”
Whether Robbie Williams will succeed with his plans to build his basement next door is anybody’s guess, but it is hoped by Jimmy Page and history and art lovers everywhere that constructions plans are stopped so that no harm will come to the legacy that is Tower House.