Interviews with the late author JG Ballard often took place at his humble semi in unglamorous Shepperton, west of London. This example from 1994 noted “Perhaps the best thing about visiting J G Ballard is getting a chance to marvel at his house, a peeling semi-detached in Shepperton [which]… makes no concessions to celebrity, fashion, cleanliness, the money he made… or, indeed, anything else.” Another vistor of 2008 noted that the experience was like “stepping through the looking glass… Ballard’s electrical fixtures would interest the curator of the Design Museum. On a cold day, the rooms are warmed by small heaters positioned in the middle of the floor. The sleek stylist of western consumerism never got round to installing central heating.”
Earlier today reports circulated that it was for sale through estate agent Haart (ripped off from Ballard’s local rag) with fans having a whip-round to stump up the cash in order to “keep it in the family”. The Independent called it “rather drab” so in order to judge for myself I bookmarked the further particulars to have a look later. Now it seems they’ve all vanished. Does this mean the famously luddite lair where tales of futurism were spun has been snapped up/ is off the market? Will see if I can find out more but to give you a flavour:
From other people’s cached blogs it looks like it was advertised as
3 bedrooms, Freehold spacious three bedroom semi detached house situated just moments from Shepperton High Street and train station. This property is in need of refurbishment however it offers great potential to be transformed into the perfect family home.
– A snip at £319,950, making it less than half the asking price of other houses in the same street.
Ballard was of course the ultimate suburban chronicler whose work was often described as “dystopian”. His last novel “Kingdom Come” was set in the M25 edge city hinterlands of Surrey he revelled in. The suburban inflected Ballardian worldview towards the metropolis as stated on P101 “People in London can’t grasp that this is the real England. Parliament, the West End, Bloomsbury, Notting Hill, Hampstead – they’re heritage London, held together by a dinner party culture. Here, around the M25 is where it’s really happening.” Hear hear.
UPDATE Tuesday 19th: Ok, rang up Harrt in Shepperton and enquired about the 3 bed semi in Old Charlton Road to be told “It’s been taken off the market for a couple of weeks”. I wondered why that was. “There was publicity around the house that the vendors didn’t want”. I asked if that meant it’d be coming back to be told “Maybe”. So now you know.
PPS: Marketing gubbins had included the enticing “Shepperton close to many reputable schools and Shepperton train station that offers a direct link to London Waterloo. This house offers a fantastic and rare investment opportunity or a fighting chance to achieve your dream home with the added benefit of no onward chain.”