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A week of work experience at Davis Brown by Jamie

Jamie spent a week at Davis Brown estate agents and chartered surveyors in W1 to learn all about the different areas of our industry.  Read his diary to find out what a week in the life of Davis Brown was like.


I arrived at Davis Brown estate agents and chartered surveyor’s offices in Fitzrovia bright and early on Monday morning.  I was introduced to all of the staff, including the office dog Bertie and then spent the morning with David Green and Tony How – registered valuers at Davis Brown.  We went to a Brownfield site to take some photos and I listened to them discuss development ideas which was fascinating.  We then took a look at dropped curbs and developments that would facilitate the local residents and community.  As Chartered Surveyors in W1, Davis Brown has many interesting projects and clients across the city.


I spent Tuesday with the property management department at Davis Brown, W1.  I accompanied Graham King, the Residential and Commercial Property Management manager, on inspections of water meters which was a great way to see all of the different properties Davis Brown estate agents manage in Fitzrovia and W1.  This was so interesting to me as I had the opportunity to see different ages and styles of buildings and draw comparisons between modern day property and older property – for example one property on Great Portland Street still had an old fashioned fuse box!


Wednesday morning I spent with Anthony Thompson, a chartered surveyor at the Fitzrovia based Davis Brown.  He took me to a derelict but beautiful house in W1 which was built in 1775 by Robert Adam.  Major refurbishment works were being done and Anthony was there to discuss how to best water proof a large section of the site.  This was insightful as the trip encompassed both looking at the works done, and the health and safety rules and regulations that have to be abided by.

In the early afternoon on Wednesday, Tony Guergis gave me a talk on Party Wall Matters.  He is one of the building surveyors at Davis Brown chartered surveyors in W1 and I learnt a lot from him.  David Moon, the building surveyor at Davis Brown Chartered Surveyors in W1, then took me to a wonderful Georgian property on Fitzroy Square.  He was there to take a look at a party wall matter with another surveyor as there are works being done on the next door building.  Party Wall’s is not something I knew about before I was introduced to the subject by David Moon and it was a really good learning experience.


On Thursday, I spent the day with the Residential team at Davis Brown estate agents in Fitzrovia and was lucky enough to accompany Sarah-Jane, the residential negotiator, to some viewings at a selection of flats they have to rent in W1. It was a busy day but also a wonderful opportunity to learn about residential sales and lettings.  The most interesting part of the day was discussing the differing price of property, and the factors on which they depend such as size, location etc.


To end a brilliant week at Davis Brown estate agents and chartered surveyors in Fitzrovia, Emma How the residential manager asked me to draw up a floorplan of the whole of the office.  This is no easy task, as Davis Brown’s office in Fitzrovia is a town house, split over 6 floors!

After several hours and a large amount of determination, I came up with a 5 page floorplan and felt that this was a wonderfully constructive way to wrap up the week.

For more information about properties in W1 and Fitzrovia, contact Davis Brown. 


Another of the areas covered by Davis Brown Commercial Agents and Estate Agents W1 is Marylebone. Yes it’s a bit of a mouthful and it’s been pronounced in many different ways (we personally use 3 syllables). The name “Marylebone” is actually an abbreviation of its 14th century name of “St Mary by the Bourne”, relating to St Mary’s Parish Church which was built on the banks of a small stream – or “bourne”.

In 1965 Marylebone amalgamated with Paddington & Westminster to create a new, large City of Westminster. The area is home to numerous spacious late Georgian town houses which have always been attractive qualities for many people including us at Davis Brown Marylbone estate agents. Famous names such as Lord Byron lived in Holles Street, Charles Dickens was a resident of Devonshire Terrace until his tenancy expired in the Autumn of 1851 which is when he took up residence in Tavistock House.

CXharles D

The most famous resident of Marylebone however– albeit fictional – must surely be Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes! The street he lived in with his side kick Dr Watson was of course Baker Street which must be one of London’s most famous streets, even being immortalised in song!

Like most areas in London Marylebone has a colourful past, Nightingale Street (now Gateforth Street), was one of the most notorious in the area; it appeared on one of the Booth Poverty maps from 1889 where the streets were colour coded to indicate their status; Nightingale Street was “awarded” the colour black, denoting the lowest grade and that “semi-criminals” lived here. I wouldn’t have imagined that Davis Brown estate agents would have had many dealings in this street!

Marylebone also has many diverse institutions such as Lord’s cricket ground, Madame Tussaud’s, the London Planetarium and has also been home to an abundance of animals from all over the world since 1828, as this is where you will find world renowned London Zoo!

Elephant London Zoo


How convenient!

Our next coffee shop certainly didn’t start life as a coffee shop.  Oh no –far from it!  The Attendant in Foley Street, W1 is a tiny, coffee bar close to Davis Brown Estate Agents in W1 and situated within an old Victorian loo no less!  Now it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (pun very much intended) but it certainlyadds to the character of the area with a great story to tell – attracting tourists and locals alike.  It was originally built around 1890 and has kept some of its important features.  Two years of planning and restoration has turned this space into a cosy underground area where you can enjoy your macchiato and cookie dough brownie while your surroundings take you back in time, with the original Victorian floor tiles and urinals lovingly restored.


The trend for turning old public conveniences into bars or cafes are becoming quite popular around London – one in Clapham Common aswell as Shepherd’s Bush and Kentish Town to name but three.  It’s a resourceful idea and being commercial agents in Fitzrovia we are keen to keep our eye out for all manner of unusual and quirky establishments – they all add to the charm of our oh so fabulous city!

Get a load of Getty Images Gallery!

London has a plethora of weird and wonderful things to fill your spare time with and as estate agents in W1 we often find ourselves exploring when we have a few minutes in between appointments.  One of those wonderful things being art galleries; we’ve all heard of the likes of the Tate Modern, National  Portrait Gallery and Saatchi Galleries, but, if you look a little closer you will find  plenty more smaller but just as fascinating galleries tucked away in the back streets. The sheer abundance of world class artworks on display in London will inspire even the most discerning art lovers!

One such gallery, just around the corner from Davis Brown estate agents is the Getty Images Gallery in Eastcastle Street.  Housed in a modern, light, white space this gallery offers iconic imagery in the form of beautiful photographs, including faces that have defined our times and landscapes and interiors to inspire.  The gallery showcases exhibitions on a regular basis so there will always be something new and exciting to have a nose at here.  It’s a minute’s walk away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, plus has the bonus of no admission fee!  So why not grab yourself a dose of culture?


Marylebone: A Guide To The Area


Marylebone is one of the most famous areas of London and has an exhaustive amount to offer residents.  Whether you are looking to spend the day viewing tourist sites like Madame Tussauds, or have a stroll around one of its many parks, Marylebone has got it all. As all estate agents in Fitzrovia know, property in Marylebone is extremely varied and with large residential areas there is something for everyone.

Where is it?

As all estate agents know, Marylebone is situated in the heart of the W1 and comes under the City of Westminster.  It is bordered by Oxford Street to the South, Marylebone Road to the North, Edgware road to the West and Great Portland Street to the East. However, some estate agents consider Marylebone as a broader area, encompassing Regent’s Park to Dorset Square and even as far as Lisson Grove in St Johns Wood.

Did you know?

Marylebone was named after the St Marylebone Parish Church which was dedicated to Saint Mary.  The church was located on the banks of a stream called the Tybourne which ran along what is now known as Marylebone Lane.  Over time, St Mary at the Bourne was shortened and shortened until it became ‘Marylebone’ – the term that we know and use today.

Getting about:

Residents of Marylebone have easy access to excellent transport links with 8 tube stations, plenty of bus routes and Marylebone or Paddington mainline stations.  You can hop on a tube in Marylebone and have access to the Bakerloo Line, Jubilee Line, District Line, Circle Line and the Hammersmith & City line which for us estate agents based in W1, it’s very useful!

Things to do:

There is never a boring moment in Marylebone. At the heart of this area is Marylebone High Street, full of cafes, restaurants and boutique shops.  It’s a wonderful place to take a stroll down and whilst only a short walk from Oxford Street, it is far quieter.

For the tourist in you, there is Madame Tussauds, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, London Zoo…to name a few!

Finally for those of you into your art, there is the famous independent A and D gallery on Chiltern Street – a great place to spend the afternoon before heading out locally for some dinner.


Dating back to 1914, fish and chip shop Golden Hind is a Marylebone must – this quintessentially British dish is served here to perfection – we thinks its best eaten on the grass in Regents park on a nice evening.  Marylebone also has a wealth of food shops such as La Fromagerie, which was hailed as ‘one of the best’ cheese shops in England by Tatler Magazine. If you are planning a dinner party or just want to treat yourself to a dinner in, the award winning Ginger Pig butcher has won several awards for its meat including an accolade in the Observer Food Monthly awards.

What the area has to offer:

For families there is a selection of schools within close proximity such as Wetherby Preparatory School for boys and Queen’s College for girls, along with lots of activates and outside open space with parks such as Regents Park close by.  For professionals, the extensive transport links in Marylebone serve most of London so you’ll be sure to have an easy journey, wherever you are commuting to.

If you would like to find out more about property in Marylebone and W1, please contact Davis Brown estate agents.


The Cream of the (coffee bean) Crop!

Being hard working Estate Agents in the heart of W1 – the need for caffeine in our office is above average!    Hence we are well versed in the area’s growing number of coffee shops and of course have our favourites.  But unassumingly nestled in the heart of Soho there is a coffee shop which opened it’s doors no less than 128 years ago and has evolved to become one of the world’s best known suppliers of coffee (and tea!).  As Chartered Surveyors we love all sorts of buildings – modern and old, and this one piqued our interest as it still retains some of its original features such as the wooden shelving along the walls, as well as the original wooden counter and display case, all dating back to 1887 – this is not your generic coffee shop!  Come and visit us – your friendly Estate Agents  in Fitzrovia, then go grab yourself a coffee at the easy-on-the-wallet  Algerian Coffee  Store – a spot of history for locals and tourists alike.


Bloomsbury – Snippets of history from the world’s greatest capital city!

Bloomsbury – an area the estate agents at Davis Brown know only too well – is a rectangular area bound by Tottenham Court Road to the West and Gray’s Inn Road to the East.   It was developed from the late seventeenth century and has long been associated with the Bloomsbury Group – a bohemian set of twentieth century artists, writers and intellectuals.   With this in mind those little blue plaques were always going to be aplenty around these parts!  In Denmark Street – AKA Tin Pan Alley for its association with the music industry – lived Augustus Siebe and he resided at number 5 from 1828 til 1872.  Unless you have the knowledge of someone from University Challenge you will be unlikely to know that Augustus was the pioneer of the diving helmet – random I know, but extremely important for those divers none the less!

In Great Russell Street lived Thomas Henry Wyatt; he was a designer of country houses, notably the church at Wilton in Wiltshire which was built in the Romanesque Basilica style (and of great interest to our Chartered Surveyors).  It was the largest Anglican church to be built for one hundred years.   He lived here from the 1840s until his death around 30 years later.

There are 8 plaques in Bedford Square; Henry Cavendish lived at number 11 (aswell as another residence in Clapham Common) from 1784 until his death.  He was a natural philosopher and the most experimental physicist of his time.  He lived here with three servants and usually only communicated by written notes!

Charles Darwin (who needs no introduction) has his plaque at the site of number 110 Gower Street which is now the modern Biological Sciences Building of University College London.  Some of the workings of this great man’s mind I hope are being passed on to the students who now study in the spot where he once studied.  He moved here in 1838 until he became ill and moved in with his family elsewhere in Kent in 1842.


Plenty more writers, painters, philosophers, artists and the like lived here.   Feel free to pop in to us at Davis Brown for a coffee and a chat about an area we know so well.



Monday morning pick-me-up – Fabulous flatties!

Flat lining at work on a Monday morning?  Then drag those tired bones of yours to Flat White coffee shop on Berwick Street, Soho – a hop and a skip from Davis Brown Estate Agents – for a “flattie” (this is an Antipodean establishmentso let’s join in with the lingo here).  FYI, the Flat White was apparently invented in Auckland, New Zealand in 1984 and is prepared by pouring a velvety microfoam (google it) over a single or double espresso.Berwick Street

Flat White was established in 2005; it’s a cosy little place situated at the cobbled end of Berwick Street.  Nothing too exciting about its interior (except for the magic that happens at the hands of the barista), and there is no wi-fi, so close your laptop and park yourself – coffee in hand, on one of their benches placed outside the front and  watch the world go by on this great historical road in Soho and imagine what once was. The southern end of the street was bombed in the blitz during WW2, but several of the remaining buildings date from the 1730s.   The antique lighting shop W Stitch & Co is indeed the oldest shop in Soho, and the Green Man pub occupies a site that has been a tavern since 1738.  For commercial agents like us, our fascination for the area can leave us wide-eyed and in awe, so it’s not unusual after a viewing to find one of our estate agents pounding the cobbled pavements, flattie in hand, soaking up the history. We strongly suggest you do the same!

Soho – Snippets of history from the world’s greatest capital city!

The name Soho is believed to have originated from the hunting cry of the huntsmen who went out with the King from Whitehall to St James Park to hunt deer.  When a deer was spotted, up went the cry of “Soho!”

Being Estate Agents who have served the area of Soho since 1901 we have seen many changes, but Soho had been through many changes way before our time.  First developed in the late seventeenth century it became a desirable place for successful residents, including Sir Isaac Newton and William Hogarth – both of whose houses have sadly since been demolished.   However by the mid-1700s these people had moved to grander houses in other areas, and many more people flooded in from the continent and by the mid-19th century Soho had become one of the most overcrowded areas in the capital.   Now Soho is dominated by commercial premises and Davis Brown commercial agents know this only too well!

Let’s start with Dean Street –it was once home to Communist Karl Marx who lived at number 28 from 1851 until 1856.  He moved to London from his homeland of Prussia where he was expelled, shortly before the publication of his Communist Manifesto in 1848. He lived here in relative poverty and two of his young children died here, but his daughter Eleanor who was born here later became an important socialist campaigner.

Samuel Morse – the American painter and the inventor of the Morse Code lived at 141 Cleveland St from 1812 to 1815.  Massachusetts born, he came to London in 1811 studied at the Royal Academy and became friends with many other creative types including Wordsworth, Turner and Coleridge.  We later lost this great who returned to America where he became the renowned as the scientist who founded the Morse Code.

John Hunter the influential Scottish surgeon resided at 31 Golden Square from 1765 to 1768. Whilst living here he began the anatomical research and lecturing which earned him election as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1767.   Following Hunter’s death, his natural history collection was presented to what was soon to become the Royal College of Surgeons and in 1813 the Hunterian Museum was opened at the college where it can still be found today.

Other famous folk who graced Soho with their presence include William Hazlitt the essayist, Arthur Onslow – Speaker of the House of Commons, Thomas Sheraton the furniture designer.  So as you can see – steeped in history Soho is definitely a fascinating place to visit and if you ever need a guide to point you in the right direction feel free to pop in to Davis Brown Estate Agents at Margaret Street.



Investing in Commercial Property – The Davis Brown Guide

Considering investing in a property?  Davis Brown – a firm of Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents in W1 are here to help you with the process.  We are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors so you can take full advantage of our professional expertise.  Here are a few criteria that you should consider first of all:

  • Property Price
  • Lease Length
  • Tenant Covenants
  • Yield
  • Re-Letting Opportunities

Investor’s Considerations:

As all commercial agents know, one of the first things you need to look into are the terms of the current tenant’s leases.  Make sure you have been sent full documentation of all of the leases including “side letters” or “Schedules of Condition” which may be attached to the leases as this could diminish their liability on keeping the premises in good repair and condition or may limit their responsibility in contributing financially in any future works that are undertaken.

When checking any leases, check the expiry dates and any break options (whether landlord or tenant), ensure these dates and terms have been adhered to.

Ask to see the current tenant’s company accounts and check if there are any outstanding rent demands etc, are all the tenants up to date on rent?  The agents acting on behalf of the vendor should be able to supply you with this information.

Find out when the last works to the property were undertaken; are they overdue, do all works that have been undertaken meet current Health and Safety Regulations as well as Building Regulations.

Submitting your Offer:

Commercial Investment Property in London can be marketed in various ways.  Some properties will be put to the “open market” and have no time scale for submitting an offer.  Others will have a “deadline date” where all offers must be made by a certain time/date and will be either by “Informal Tender” or “Sealed Bids”, Davis Brown will be happy to help.

Offers must be made in writing.  Advise the estate agent if there are any conditions to your offer (i.e. your offer is unconditional, subject to any lease renewals or submitted subject to survey).  Supply proof of funding to the vendor together with your solicitor details and a realistic time scale when you can exchange and complete on the purchase.  On some purchases, the vendor may have set the exchange and completion dates, check with your solicitor that you can meet with this time scale.  Try to supply as much information as possible to the vendor supporting your offer.  As commercial agents based in W1, Davis Brown can guide you through this process.


Accepted Offer:

Once your offer has been accepted, the vendor or their agent will send Heads of Terms out to all relevant parties, including your solicitor.  Once these have been agreed and solicitors instructed, make sure the property is then put “Under Offer” and ask for the property to be taken off the market and no further viewings will take place.  The vendor’s solicitors will then send a “legal pack” to your solicitor, which will include a draft contract and Report on Title.  This will then allow your solicitor to apply for local searches and raise any enquiries with the vendor’s solicitor.

Exchange of Contracts:

An exchange of contracts happen when both parties have agreed and signed the contract and the deposit monies have been transferred to the vendor’s solicitors (this is normally 10% of the purchase price).  As a general guide, allow 4 weeks from receipt of all legal documentation to your solicitor and exchange of contracts.  Check with your solicitor with regard to any insurance that may be required on the property between the exchange and completion date.  This is also a good time to look into the management of the tenanted property.  At our office in W1, we have a commercial property management team who will be happy to offer their expertise.


Completion happens when all remaining monies have been transferred to the vendor’s solicitors.  As a general guide, from exchange to completion allow 2 to 6 weeks.  Your solicitor will inform you when completion has taken place as it is at this time that the vendor will release the keys to you.

Once completed – make sure that you have adequate insurance in place, pay any outstanding Stamp Duty Land Tax (if applicable), and register your ownership with Land Registry. Finally, ensure that any meter readings that you’re responsible for are taken when the keys are handed over to you.

You also need to ensure that your tenants are aware of the new ownership and give them your full company and bank details so that the next payment date is a smooth transition for both landlord and tenant.


For more information, please contact Davis Brown – your Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors based in W1 – who will be happy to help you every step of the way.