Dennis Wheatley's Homes
1913 - 1922: Clinton House, 1 Palace Road, Streatham
On his return from his stint in Germany learning the wine trade, DW once again returned to a new home. This time it was Clinton, which occupied a piece of ground in a fork formed by the junction of Christchurch and Palace Roads.
It was in a then very select neighbourhood. Palace Road itself was a private road with its own uniformed keeper and barriers at each end, and most of the houses in the area stood in their own grounds of two acres or more and were large enough to later be turned into nursing homes, boarding houses and schools – although nothing but an echo of these now remain.
Clinton itself was one of the smaller houses in the road, but nevertheless it had a good, square central hall, three reception and six bedrooms, and its principal rooms were all large with big semi-circular windows at their western ends. It was also one of the most modern, built probably about 1900, with only two floors above stairs and no basement; so it was easy to run. DW was given two rooms on the top floor, overlooking the garden for his bedroom and private sitting-room.
He never felt for it the love he had for Wootton, because although it had a detached garage with a flat over for a chauffeur, it had no other outbuilding, potting sheds, lofts etc, and its garden, a triangle between the two roads, had neither the size, privacy nor attractiveness that had made Wootton's garden such a joy to him in his schooldays.
Nevertheless, it was a great improvement on Becmead Avenue, and made a very comfortable home which had the advantage of being within in a few hundred yards of the back entrance of his grandfather's four-acre garden.
Sadly, in the early 2000s, Clinton was allowed to fall into a state of severe disrepair, and for a period was occupied by squatters. Various applications were made to turn the plot into a large block of flats, and one of these was eventually approved by Lambeth Council, despite representations from members of the DW community across the world. The building was gutted by fire on 21st May 2013, and what remained was completely demolished later in the year. A sad end to one of DW's homes.
References : 'The Young Man Said' pages 233-4. 'Officer & Temporary Gentleman' page 74.