Underfell is a notable Lancaster residence steeped in history. Built in 1880, it was the home of Joseph Storey, the youngest son of Sir Thomas Storey (former High Sheriff of Lancashire and founder of the Storey Institute), until 1905. It has rarely changed hands. The current owner has lived here since 1986 which itself speaks volumes for the quality of the home and area. The "Painter Laureate" Samuel John 'Lamorna' Birch, a protege of Joseph Storey, used the attic rooms as a studio and during his stay in Underfell wrote over 2,000 letters detailing his time in the north of England. It became a home where artists, writers and notable friends gathered.
Today it is a beautiful family home, full of exquisite period features. It has been sympathetically updated and professionally decorated. Set over three floors with spacious formal reception rooms, it has very generous bedrooms and to the outside, private mature gardens.
Where is Westbourne Drive?
Underfell is on Westbourne Drive, located just off Cannon Hill. Cannon Hill is a much sought-after area of Lancaster and is just a short stroll from the historic city centre and Lancaster Castle. Underfell is a unique, spacious family residence set within the conservation area of Lancaster, a part of the city noted for its greenery and open spaces.
The city centre itself has a growing cultural and music scene with its two theatres, regular hosted events and bars playing live music. There is also a wide range of independent shops and boutiques. Lancaster is home to two universities, one of which ranks in the Top 10 in the UK and is highly regarded worldwide for its business school.
The education opportunities are excellent. This home is in the catchment area for Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Lancaster Girls' Grammar School, Ripley St. Thomas secondary school and Dallas Road Primary school.
Commuters enjoy the fact that Lancaster train station is just a few minutes walk. London can be reached in just over two hours, thirty minutes and Manchester is just under one hour away.
What we love - The Perfect Family Home
Underfell is an incredible home. It is in such an idyllic location, due to its proximity to the city together with its mature greenery and the privacy that surrounds it. It is a home full of character and original features. The rooms are spacious, light and bright with large windows, all sitting in full height panelled surrounds. Underfell is truly a special home.
A grand reception hall
You will enter Underfell through an outer and inner porch with magnificent original stained glass windows. The inner porch leads into the stunning main reception hall with intricate cornices, solid wood doors, marble tiled floor, and an incredibly sweeping wide marble staircase with pitch pine balustrade and with the original brass stair rods. Doors lead from the hall to all the ground floor rooms.
The formal reception rooms
If you are seeking a home with spacious, impressive reception rooms, then this is it. The elegant formal drawing room with a large bay window and a second picture window flooded with morning sun, is elegant and light. The windows look out over the private front garden. The drawing room features an original solid oak parquet floor, an elaborate cornice and a Minster stone fireplace (with Baxi grate).
The reception room to the rear, (originally, the formal dining room) is a light, bright family room. It boasts the original Victorian serving hatch, an opaque glazed sash window hidden behind a full sized false door. French windows open onto a terrace, a perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea, looking out onto the well established south-westerly facing garden. This room is truly impressive. It retains the original ornate ceiling and cornice, dado and hand painted Lincrusta frieze and grand mahogany open fireplace.
The dining room is impressive with a large bay and a picture window looking out over the front and side garden. It has stylish decor, a stunning fireplace and the original frieze to the cornice. It is a room with a pleasing dual aspect with a door giving access to an enclosed front dining/entertainment area, a perfect spot to enjoy an alfresco morning coffee and breakfast.
The kitchen and utility room
The bespoke solid oak kitchen with deep reclaimed pine timber work surfaces looks out over the rear garden. It is well equipped with ample storage, double butler style sink, a large breakfast bar styled table, ideal for more casual dining, which gives the kitchen a relaxed and sociable atmosphere. Integrated appliances include a Bosch electric double oven and five ring gas hob and extractor with space for a dishwasher, fridge, freezer and microwave. It has the original cupboards, a stripped pine ornate fire surround and a serving hatch to the adjacent rear reception room. Three stripped pine sash windows flood the room with afternoon light. A further door leads out to the rear hall.
The rear hall provides access to the downstairs cloakroom, cellars and utility room with plumbing for washing machine and venting for tumble dryer. Originally the kitchen for the house, it has access to a useful storage room (the old pantry) with stripped pine shelving. An outer door from the utility room opens to a covered rear porch, the rear courtyard, double garage, outbuildings and rear garden.
The first floor
The beautiful, spacious landing area sits in the middle of the first floor. Later in the day, the sunshine pours in from the West, lighting the original stained glass window on the staircase. Doors from the landing lead off to all five principal bedrooms, two of which are en-suites. There is a large built-in linen cupboard on the landing, and just off the half landing, there is a WC, separate boiler room housing the Worcester Bosch gas boiler and a further access to the guest bedroom en-suite.
The master bedroom
The twenty-one-foot master bedroom is a beautiful relaxing haven, which looks out over the mature front garden. Large panelled windows flood the room with light. A beautiful marble fireplace with coal effect gas fire creates a pleasing focal point to the room. The decor is soft in a palette of pale greys. The luxurious en-suite has his and hers wash basins inset into a three-doored storage cupboard. There is also an original roll-top cast iron Victorian bath in panelled surround with vintage tiles.
This floor has four further double bedrooms:
Guest Suite: Overlooking the rear garden, this room has the original marble fireplace and access via a quaint and unusual doorway into its en-suite with traditional style three piece suite in white and original green marble effect tiles.
There is a further double bedroom to the front of the property, with corniced ceiling and mahogany fireplace and to the rear, two further adjoining bedrooms, the larger being a brightly lit room with double windows overlooking the rear garden, under stairs storage and a mahogany open fireplace, presently used as a study with a connecting door to an adjacent double bedroom.
The second floor
At the end of the first-floor landing is a door, concealing a staircase to the rooms on the second floor in the eaves of the house. The main room is a large bright, open space which was once used by the Painter Laureate, Samuel 'Lamorna' Birch as his studio and more recently by the owner's daughter during her art and fashion studies. It has the original Victorian dormer window to the front and a skylight to the rear. This room has access to two further bedrooms, presently used as storage, two under eaves storage areas, covering the full width of the house front and rear and a useful large walk-in cupboard. There are views towards Lancaster castle.
The cellar rooms
The cellar rooms at Underfell are accessed via wide solid stone steps from the rear hall. The size of the cellar rooms almost match that of the house itself and as such are split into five separate rooms, (two with original stone slabs) and a fuel store with cast iron grill for delivering fuel without having to enter the house. There is excellent head height. The electric and gas meters are situated in the cellar. There are windows to four of the rooms, allowing light through the cast iron grills, above, to bring in some natural light.
The grounds, garage and parking
The gardens at Underfell are both beautiful and private. Thought and consideration have gone into the planting scheme, providing year round colour. The rear garden faces south-west, has sandstone walls and deep borders. It also boasts a spectacular high screen of mature shrubs including Japanese Maple, Silver Birch, Privet, Laurels and Orange Blossom, that give the garden a feeling of peace and serenity. The garden is also secure, making it ideal for children and pets. There is a terraced area, raised lawn and access to the side of the house and the open courtyard area, outbuildings and garage.
The house is set back from the road, on a raised plot, sitting above the private main driveway of Westbourne Drive. It is screened from the road by large trees and mature shrubs, affording privacy and a sense of peace and quiet. Two Copper Beech trees stand at either side of the entrance gates. There are Cherry, Holly and Lime trees screening its borders. At the top of the sweeping drive there is ample parking for several cars, together with a double garage at the side. In addition, there are two further outbuildings/garden store rooms and an enclosed courtyard. Possibly occupying the largest plot of land on Westbourne Drive, Underfell is a family home of magnificent splendour, fabulous promise for the coming years, a beautifully proportioned layout and the perfect balance of a quiet country residence only a short stroll from city life.