I am currently at work on a sequel to my Curious Guide to London book, and have come across some fascinating stuff which I will be posting some extracts over the next few weeks..
Brook House, in Upper Brook street in Mayfair was the location of London`s first penthouse and belonged to Lord and Lady Mountbatten. It has thirty rooms including eighteen bedrooms. The Earl however, had very modest sleeping quarters. They were modelled upon a ships cabin aboard a warship – a small bunk bed, a ships brass clock, screw down furniture and portholes for windows. His personal bathroom was decorated with rocks, seaweed and pictures of fish.
The strangest accessory was the lift, which was able to go from the ground floor to the seventh floor in four seconds exactly. Using a stopwatch Earl Mountbatten calculated the exact time a caller would need from the moment at which the lift would deposit him opposite the entrance to the penthouse. He even trained his footmen to fling open the door at the precise moment the caller was about to knock on it !