Search

New Athlone House owner: ‘I want to restore it to its former glory’

PUBLISHED: 11:21 30 June 2016 | UPDATED: 11:31 30 June 2016

Mikhail Fridman, international businessman and new owner of Athlone House

Mikhail Fridman, international businessman and new owner of Athlone House

Archant

Mikhail Fridman, a Ukranian-born oligarch and the chairman of investment business Letter One, exclusively describes his vision for Athlone House

Athlone House designs by SHH architectsAthlone House designs by SHH architects

Why did you decide to buy Athlone House?

I liked the Highgate area very much and had been looking for a family home. Someone persuaded me to look and the rest is now history. I liked that the property has historical relevance combined with its setting in beautiful grounds; representing a true British property. It intrigued me that the building had originally been designed as a family home about 130 years ago for a wealthy industrialist working in London. It felt like fate that I, as a businessman, would be similarly drawn years later to the same property and grounds. I knew that earlier plans for the property had been turned down and so I made it clear that I would only buy Athlone House, and restore it to its former glory, if planning permission was approved.

The West Garden view by SHH architectsThe West Garden view by SHH architects

What is your vision for the House?

An historical family home for a 21st century family! My former wife (a professional designer) has been advising me on its interior and the garden. My daughter Laura has been involved and came to the meeting at The Highgate Society to see the plans. My other daughter Katia and my son Alex visited the property and were both charmed by the prospective beauty of images presented by the designers SHH. We are all enjoying being involved in this project to convert the property and its gardens back into a family home (it was an NHS hospital for years and is currently derelict). I travel internationally on business a great deal and so spend about half my time in London at the moment. We have researched original drawings and historical photographs of the house to understand where to re-instate those details such as the Dutch gables, castellation’s on the tower and heraldic beasts.

What issues do you care most passionately about in Hampstead and Highgate? Are there campaigns you want to get involved in?

None at the moment but I look forward to being involved with the community once we have settled in. I enjoyed meeting members of the Athlone House Working Group last week. I know the house is not listed but is important to the local community and lies within the Highgate Conservation Area.

What do you think is special about Hampstead and Highgate? Have you spent much time here before?

I have started to get to know the area. I like the area because of its views and its proximity to central London. It takes me less than 30 minutes to get to the office.

Will you be dividing your time between Highgate and Russia?

Athlone House will be my primary residence, but I travel a lot internationally on business the whole time and so spend about half my time in London at the moment. My family will be here longer of course – and my son already goes to school here in the UK. We all enjoy living in London. It’s a wonderful cultured capital city. I am good at making money but not at spending it so I don’t have cars, houses, boats and other things. We often rent a house in the summer in Tuscany. My perfect summer is spending time with my family. It’s a nice place; great food, and fascinating culturally. We love opera and history. We go to the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, and to Verona. We also make a point of going to the Palio in Siena. We love all the pageant, ritual and rivalry of the race and medieval costumes and parades.

You’ve been quoted as saying that you plan to leave all your money to charity in your will. Is this true?

I have for some time been saying that I will leave my money to charity. I want my children to follow in my footsteps and create something on their own. I am one of the founders of the Russian Jewish Congress and contribute to the European Jewish Fund, a non-profit organisation promoting tolerance and reconciliation. I am the founder of the Genesis Philanthropy Group, which helps develop and enhance Jewish identity among the Diaspora worldwide.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

23 minutes ago

With Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe expecting to spend her third Christmas in Evin prison, the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt used a visit to Iran to slam the middle-eastern nation’s imprisonment of UK dual nationals including the West Hampstead mum.

40 minutes ago

Police want the public’s help to identify a man wanted over two Golders Green burglaries.

12:08

Dawn Barnes will be looking to upset the odds as she has been reselected as Lib Dem candidate for the Hornsey and Wood Green seat.

10:23

Eastenders actor and Celebrity Masterchef winner John Partridge will be switching on the Archway Christmas lights.

09:29

Hampstead’s Lisa Deaner, 54, has been shortlisted for an Anthony Nolan Supporters award by the blood cancer charity.

07:00

Save Swiss Cottage is crowdfunding for a judicial review into Camden Council’s decision to approve the Construction Management Plan (CMP) for 100 Avenue Road last week.

Yesterday, 16:55

A workshop owner who engraves benches on Hampstead Heath was forced to break in to his own business to retrieve machinery after the landlord changed the locks and evicted him over unpaid rent.

Yesterday, 14:00

Champagne corks were popped on Saturday as the well-known former Blustons clothes store in Kentish Town has been re-opened as a vintage charity shop.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now