Music Mania!

Anyone who knows anything about popular culture will know that Adele cleaned up at the BRIT awards on Wednesday night.  Other winners included James Bay, Justin Bieber and of course the BRITs couldn’t pass by without a tribute to the late David Bowie, and this was taken on by the talented singer Lorde whose rendition of Life on Mars was performed with Bowie’s touring band from 2004.

There are plenty of areas around London that are synonymous with music – Abbey Road of course would spring to mind, made famous by the Beatles album cover with the four of them walking across the zebra crossing there.  We have a plethora of musical theatre in and around central London and one notable new production is Motown which is at the Shaftsbury Theatre now!  Perhaps less well known to the general public but very well known if you’re in the industry is Denmark Street, WC2.  Denmark Street was originally residential but became used for commercial purposes in the 19th century.  It was first popular for the metalwork trade, and then became increasingly music-oriented, housing numerous music publishers and offices.  In the swinging 60s music shops and independent recording studios moved in and over the years many popular bands have recorded here including the Rolling Stones and The Kinks.  Of course every musician needs a place to go for their coffee fix and they did this at Giaconda Café at number 9 Denmark Street; famous patrons included The Small Faces, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie.  A blue plaque fittingly now hangs above the café.

I bet you’re wondering how we here at Davis Brown know so much about the music industry, well apart from the fact that amongst us we have collected a diverse array of historical knowledge of the area; we also have a fantastic 1,485 square foot office suite to let just around the corner in Lupus House, Macklin Street.  So if you fancy viewing the property and getting a guided tour of the area at the same time please feel free to call or pop in to us at Davis Brown Estate Agents in Margaret Street, Fitzrovia.




TV Talent in Fitzrovia

It seems to be at this time of year when the best films are released, and that’s not a coincidence, unless you’ve been hiding under a stone the last few weeks you’ll have noticed that we’re in the midst of Bafta and (soon to be) Oscar fever. Each year, the film industry’s top talent gather to recognise and award the stars who have lit up the silver screen.  People may not be too sure what the difference is between the two awards so let me enlighten you..The Baftas are the biggest film and television awards in Britain; the academy was created in 1947 by a group of British film producers and it aims to celebrate film, television and games.  The Oscars are, some might say the most prestigious and coveted film awards in the world, oh yes every actor wants to get their mitts on those attractive little gold statues!  It was set up in 1927 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with 36 members, now there are more than 6000 members.  Why “Oscar”?  Well no-one really knows for sure, but rumour has it that one member thought the statue looked like her Uncle Oscar – and so it stuck.

Did you know that Walt Disney has won more Oscars than anyone else? He was nominated for 64 and won 26!  The youngest ever is Tatum O’Neal who was ten when she won best supporting actress for the film Paper Moon which was directed by Peter Bogdanovich.

We at Davis Brown estate agents often rub shoulders with some of those talented folk who have helped to create some of the best British television and film in. We have a few local talents who are tenants of ours, in Goodge Street we have Pozzitive Television who specialize in comedy and entertainment, whose credits include comedy greats such as French & Saunders, Spitting Image, The Young Ones.  Our neighbours in Margaret Street include Green Room Entertainment which is run by Nick Hamm and Isabel Freer. Currently in post-production on the feature film The Journey which is directed by Hamm and starring top Brit actors Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney and John Hurt.  In Great Portland Street we have Sneezing Tree Films, around the corner in Eastcastle Street we have Genie Pictures who create jaw-dropping documentaries, and last but not least we have DAA Management – a talent agency in Wells Street.  Date for your diary, The Oscars are being held on 28th February this year.




Dilapidations – A helpful Guide to Tenants

Don’t delay, contact your Landlord’s representative in good time

Instruct a Surveyor to assist you

Look at your Lease in detail to ensure you are aware of your repairing, redecoration and reinstatement liabilities

Ask your Landlord’s representative for approved contractors to carry out the works

Promptly contact your Landlord’s surveyor should you have any queries on the Schedule that has been served

Inform your cleaning contractors that a “deep clean” to the premises will be required once all works have been completed

Don’t forget to instruct gas, electric and asbestos surveyors to supply you with relevant certifications

Allow plenty of time for the works to be carried out before your Lease expires

Talk to your Surveyor if you are unsure of your Lease obligations

Inform all relevant utility companies of your final day

Open dialog between all parties will maximise the chances of a hassle free process

Note the improvements you have made and discuss with your Landlord’s representative

Surveyors are there to help. Ask for their guidance. They will be happy to help


Davis Brown is a chartered surveyors and commercial agents in London for letting, buying and selling properties. We also offer a full search service and property acquisition service for private buyers, charities and many other organisations including limited companies. Dealing with the whole process from the initial search to the completion of the purchase or sale, we are the professionals you can depend upon. With extensive experience in the regional property market, at Davis Brown we have many contacts with both sellers and buyers and can often find a property that has yet to reach the open market. This gives you the advantage if you are after a particular set of premises.

As the leading commercial property agents in London, the staff at Davis Brown have the expertise, experience and knowledge to ensure that you get the property that you want and the one that is right for your needs. We deal with all sizes of commercial properties and can provide valuations, surveys and property management services as well as acting as estate agents. All properties need to have an energy performance certificate before they can be offered for sale and we are able to provide this resource in addition to the many other commercial services we have available. Ring us on 0207 637 1066 for more details about the leading commercial property agents in London.




Matters of the Heart

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us – whether we love it or loathe it, think it’s romantic or cheesy, at this time of the year we are bombarded with heart shaped chocolates, red roses, and a general overload of “love”. However, the origins of Valentine’s Day were not quite so rosy.   In 207AD Roman Emperor Claudius II had made marriage illegal, he thought that men falling in love and consequently getting hitched stopped them from joining his army.  St Valentine was a Roman bishop from Terni not too far from Rome, he believed in marriage and love so strongly he continued to marry people illegally.  Because of his breaking the law he was beheaded on February 14th 207 AD, and has been celebrated each year since in the name of that all-encompassing emotion of love!

You might be of the opinion that Estate Agents are not the romantic sort, but believe me the gushings here at Davis Brown estate agents have really turned that notion on its head! We have been discussing our favourite romantic thing to do, including taking a walk on Hampstead Heath followed by pint at a cosy pub, wandering around the Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly and admiring the wonderful paintings, staying at home and cooking a slap up meal for a loved one (or being cooked for). The winner of the most romantic of gestures however goes to one of our Commercial agents, he proposed to his girlfriend at the London Aquarium by getting someone to dive into the tank surrounded by sharks and stingrays, holding up a sign saying “Will you marry me?”!  She said yes.  Nothing says romance quite like that folks!



HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Chinese – that is.)

Chinese NY

So it seems it’s time to monkey around! Not simply because the weekend is just about upon us, but because Monday 8th February marks the Chinese New Year, and this year it’s the Year of the Monkey!  The date varies from year to year according to the lunisolar Chinese calendar, and each New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals meaning that each animal makes an appearance every 12 years.  The celebrations in London are said to be the largest outside Asia and there is plenty going on.  China Town in Soho will be heaving this weekend and all of next week, with parades and celebrations abound.  Opposite our office in Margaret Street we have the pleasure of the London Guang Shan Temple also known as the International Buddhist Progress Society; it’s housed in the stunning building at 84 Margaret Street and they have their decorations up in preparation!


A tip for a favourite restaurant of mine in Greek Street, Soho is Y Ming, it’s small, friendly and serves authentic northern Chinese food, rather than the Cantonese food one usually finds in London. However, if you fancy some Peking Duck you will need to give them 4 hours’ notice as this is apparently the time authentic Peking Duck takes to prepare!

If you happen to be born in the year of the monkey you might well have some of the following characteristics: sociable, enthusiastic, cunning, self-assured, witty. Lucky signs for the Monkey include the colours blue, gold and white, the numbers 1, 7 & 8, the chrysanthemum flower and alliums.  You also share your sign with Tom Hanks, Leonardo da Vinci, Halle Berry, Miley Cyrus, and Daniel Craig!

I have been having a little look at the signs under which employees of Davis Brown estate agents were born under, and unbelievably they all seem to create the personality of the perfect Estate/Commercial Agent – who’d have guessed?!

Part II – From Rags to Riches – Our Rag Trade Tenants

As you will remember from last week’s blog, I mentioned that Davis Brown Estate Agents are based in Fitzrovia – the heart of what used to be the Rag Trade. It’s most definitely not a thing of the past though and this trade is still very much alive and kicking.   We at Davis Brown Estate agents W1 are proud to manage several buildings in the area, all of which uphold the Rag Trade’s tradition.  In Great Portland Street we have three tenants who occupy a clothes showroom and shops.  In Wells Street we have a wholesalers and another retail unit, and just a few doors down from us in Margaret Street we have a made-to-measure seamstress.    Just opposite us on Margaret Street there is the famous Hand and Lock, the world’s finest hand embroidery since 1767.  They are embroiderers to the Royal Family no less, and Cheryl Cole has worn garments created by their talented hands!

So if you’re look for a commercial property to rent –whether that be in the rag trade or any other trade, come and speak to us at Davis Brown commercial agents who will be able to help you with your search

Rags to Riches Pat ii

The Rag (s to riches) Trade

Just a stone’s throw from Oxford Street – one of the busiest streets in the world, is the home of what once was the hub of the rag trade – Fitzrovia. Davis Brown estate agents are also based in Fitzrovia so we’re pretty au fait with its fascinating history.

Once upon a time the rattle of metal clothes rails wheeling along the concrete pavements would ring out through the area where clothes would be transported from show room to lorry, to up and down the country, where they would be supplied to high street stores. They were also taken to docks where hundreds and thousands of garments were shipped abroad to Spain, Japan and even the Caribbean.

As every Londonite knows Fitzrovia is an area quickly growing in popularity, coffee shops and galleries are moving in at a rapid rate, but remnants of its historical roots are still very much here to see. Charlotte Street hotel gives a nod to the rag trade by displaying tailors’ dummies in each room, and if you wander around the likes of Eastcastle Street, Great Titchfield Street and Margaret Street you will see that they are still peppered with a number of small independent tailors.  The atmosphere must have rubbed off on some of our employees as I must say that there are a few snappy dressers here at Davis Brown Estate Agents W1 !

‘Look up London’ – Davis Brown 2015 Crane Survey

As Chartered Surveyors in London it has been essential for Davis Brown to keep track of development throughout 2015, in order to monitor the strength of the property market and help predict the level of activity over the upcoming year.


Over the last year London has seen an astonishing level of development with major schemes throughout the capital, whether it be in Earls Court, Battersea, Docklands or core Central London. The larger developments schemes such as Edgware Green or Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms have often triggered major regeneration in the local area with plots of land and vacant derelict buildings being rapidly turned into new development sites as a result. Our professional commercial agents in London are aware that any land with the potential for development is highly sought after, even if on a brown field site and has limited access or lacks planning. One of the major reasons for a large amount of development in recent years is the significant lack of residential accommodation, which fails to satisfy the housing demand and as a result properties are achieving high sales / letting prices. As a result a number of the major development projects have been conversion from commercial to residential such as Centre Point below.


Centre Point, WC1

centre point

Despite this there was reportedly a slowdown in units entering planning permission in the second half of 2015. Surveyors in London believe that was largely due to the build up to the election and lack of economic and political certainty; however since then the Government’s changes to stamp duty have seriously impacted on the top end of London’s residential sales market. On top of this, due to the concern over increased mortgage regulation and rising taxes estate agents in Fitzrovia and the rest of Central London are expecting a slightly subdued sales market during 2016.


Battersea Power Station

 Battersea Power Station

The potential for a subdued residential market in 2016 could see a slight fall in the number of new residential development projects, but may in return see developers focusing more on commercial space such as the mixed-use development at Rathbone Square, Fitzrovia (see below) including 216,000 sqft of office space and 39,000 sq ft of retail space.


Rathbone Square, W1

Rathbone Square

Despite these concerns made by some agents in the market, Davis Brown has little change. Recent development sites that have been put on the market, such as Old Ford Row in Bow, have received a huge number of offers which significantly exceeded the original asking price.


Surveyors at Davis Brown and in the rest of London still sense that developers are eager to build, and when development land becomes available in London, high prices can still be achieved, whether planning permission has been granted or not. Commercial agents in London are expecting certain areas to boom with further development, especially in Battersea and Vauxhall, due to the current development at Embassy Gardens and Battersea Power Station that are significantly regenerating the area, and Southbank which has evolved to become a major part of prime central London. As demand for housing within commuting distance of Central London will continue to remain high, any land with development potential is expected to continue to achieve high sales prices, even if there is a slightly reduced sales market in 2016.






Burns Night in Fitzrovia!

I know it’s only been 4 weeks since Christmas but if you’re already missing the festivities and finding January a drag, then fear not, dust off your party shoes as it’s time for another celebration!  It’s Burns Night on Monday 25th January, and for those of you not aware of what that is, let me fill you in..  Burns Night is held in celebration of Scotland’s most famous poet – Robert Burns. This celebration has been tradition each year since his death in 1796.  Remembering Rabbie Burns (as he’s often affectionately referred to), involves eating haggis, drinking whiskey and reciting his poetry.  If you’re still none the wiser about his existence as a poet he wrote that famous song Auld Lang Syne which everyone knows, Scottish or otherwise, and is often sung on NYE or as the Scot’s like to call it “Hogmanay”.

Here at Davis Brown Estate Agents in Fitzrovia we like to keep our fingers on the pulse of what’s going on in our local area, and being the cosmopolitan city that London is you won’t find it difficult to find a spot where you can don your kilt and show off your Highland Fling!  Fitzrovia hangout Bourne and Hollingsworth are putting on a 5 course Scottish banquet on the day starting at 6.30pm, and the Jones Family Project in East London are offering a Scottish-themed menu and whiskey cocktails served in a traditional Quaich, starting on 23rd.  Otherwise you could try your hand at some home-made Scottish cooking, now I know you can’t pretty up a haggis not even with a tartan ribbon, but apparently it tastes good! Or why not try a cock-a-leekie soup, neeps and tatties (with your haggis of course) and a delicious Cranachan for pud!  Burns Night

Islington: A Guide To The Area

It’s all about Islington at the moment! This dynamic and diverse area has so much to offer its residents.  Davis Brown estate agents are delighted to have not one, but two beautiful town houses available to rent in the area, and we thought we would celebrate by telling you a little more about Islington.

Where is it?

Islington is situated in the north of London, and covers the area from Clerkenwell all the way up to Archway.  It is a hugely diverse and exciting area, encompassing areas like Highbury, Essex Road, Finsbury Park, Kings Cross and Holloway Road.

Did you know?

  1. The King’s Head Theatre and Pub in Islington is the first pub theatre founded in England. It has been in existence since the days of Shakespeare.
  2. In 1613, Islington was the first borough in London to receive fresh water which was transported to a reservoir in Clerkenwell from Hertford, via. a forty mile newly constructed canal, known as The New River.
  3. Islington is home to two famous prisons – Pentonville Prison for men and Holloway Prison for women.  Holloway prison is perhaps most well-known for incarcerating many suffragettes, including Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Davison.
  4. Holloway Road derives from the ‘Hollow Way’ which was recorded in 1307 and was a medieval route leading from North Islington to Highgate Hill.
  5. Whilst Islington is one of the oldest parts of London, the London Borough of Islington was not established until 1965, when the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Islington and Finsbury joined under London’s large scale re-organisation.

Getting about:

Residents of Islington benefit from having a large range of transportation on offer.  Highbury and Islington station services most over-ground lines out to the northern suburbs of London, whilst also taking commuters into Moorgate and the heart of the financial district.  As estate agents in W1, we often travel to Islington on the Victoria Line and from Oxford Circus the journey is only seven minutes in duration.  Angel underground station is another route for City workers – it is situated on the Bank brand of the Northern Line and takes only five minutes to travel to Bank station.  Holloway Road underground services the Piccadilly Line, providing easy access for residents to South London.

Islington also has nearly 20 bus routes to offer to take residents all across the city, from Waterloo to Victoria.

Things to do:

There is something for everyone in Islington. This diverse area is rich in the arts, being home to some of Banksy’s most famous pieces, as well as Sadler’s Wells theatre. If this is your kind of thing, then the Pangolin London gallery is a must – contemporary art features in all forms and best of all – it’s free!  If art isn’t your thing, there are museums such as the Marx Memorial Library – home to Lenin during his years of exile, the museum hold a vast archive from books to pamphlets along with the famous fresco entitled ‘The worker of the future upsetting the economic chaos of the present’.  For the football fans, of course Islington is home to the world famous Arsenal Football Club and for those of you that are keen, not only can you visit the stadium in Highbury, but also the museum.  Finally, Islington is home to some of the capital’s best markets – selling everything from fresh flowers to car boot gems.  Our favourite is Whitecross Street market, which dates back to the 17th Century.  As estate agents in W1, when on viewings in Islington we take advantage of the market and always try and sneak over to Gwilym Davies coffee – this world champion barista winner makes a good flat white!


For the adventurous eaters out there, Moro in Exmouth Market is an absolute go to.  Serving Spanish and North African fusion food, the menu is short and sweet but packed with regional specialities and exciting flavours.  The Fish Shop is another of our favourites.  This restaurant always has its special fish and chips on the menu, but also serves fresh fish delivered daily.  You never know what’s going to be on offer, but that’s part of the fun!

Meet up hotspot:

The Swimmer at the Grafton Arms is the place to meet up.  A juke box, quizzes, music, food and good beer are the perfect mix for a great evening.

Upper Street is another great place for a wander and a catch up with friends.  From boutiques to cafés and unique restaurants, this stylish street is the hub of the area’s residents – the Oxford Street of Islington if you like!


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