I felt 'adult' there, free from my parents, although, of course, to them it seemed relatively 'safe' to let me stay in a no-men environment (which was hopping with lez beans, had I been inclined to sexual 'sin, in that department...) I think the old ladies who ran the place were a couple, actually, very tweedy, old school dyke types, and ever so genteel. One of them was rather scary looking, with a Lurch-like face, and she usually wore one of those Cairngorm brooches with a pheasant claw.
The building had obviously once been an extremely posh mansion. There were still plenty of marble mantlepieces, parquet floors and wrought iron railings to be seen, but by the mid-60's it was very run down and gloomy. It was always dark.
I was obsessed with the strangeness of the place. There seemed to be no end to the warrens of tiny rooms it had been chopped up into. A lot of them were vacant, and the doors were just left hanging open, with old bedding and stuff stored in them.
The shower room was huge, always cold, with harsh black and white tiles. I remember having a nosebleed in there, one night after a boyfriend had dumped me while I was stoned. I was sooo sure I was dying, and it seemed all the more cruel to croak in such horrible surroundings.
The kitchen and dining area was extremely strange, too, although I can't really visualise it, now. There were two black maids who were a bit non compos. One of them was called Eerie (!) and when someone came into the dining room in the morning, she'd scream hoarsely down the dumbwaiter 'One Beak'fuss!' She had a voice like a politically incorrect cartoon mammy. I can also remember a giant samovar-tank thing that you could use to make hot drinks when no one was on duty, but I was too afraid ever to use it.
This place has often appeared in my dreams and fantasies over many decades, now. I have tried to find out the history of the building with no result, but here, at last are a few photos. As I expected (I mean this is really a prime location-) it's now a rich folks' place again. I remember the bannister, though!
I'm glad it's been restored to glory, but I wish I had photos of what it was like back then...