A concrete high-rise with a difference

Victorian vertical living could be a nice little earner

The extraordinary tower

It's vertical living with a vengeance for the new owner of this unique home in Lymington, Hampshire.

The Tower was built between 1879 and 1885 by Andrew Thomas Petersen who had previously served as a renowned High Court judge in India - and who was determined to prove the versatility of concrete as a sustainable building component.

It's built of rough-cast Portland cement with local sand and gravel, much of which was sourced from a local beach and from Silver Street Farm nearby. And, astonishingly, it's still the tallest unreinforced concrete structure in the world, say agents John D Wood & Co.

A lovely fireplace in one of the reception rooms

The Tower forms the centrepiece of Petersen's Arnewood Estate - now Drum Duan - which also includes a manor house and a number of lodges and farms and is, as you'd expect, Grade II listed.

You can see the Indian influence on the design, with tall arched doorways and high plaster ceilings, and much of the current furnishing is in keeping too.

The base of the tower

See also: The UK's most spectacular sea views

See also: The donkey-powered water tower that's now a three-bedroom home

The ground floor consists of a good-sized drawing room in the base of the tower, with a sitting room leading off one side and a dining room, kitchen and conservatory the other.

To one side, a spectacular octagonal tower features a twisting stairwell that goes up a total of 14 floors to reach a distinctive cupola - for anyone with the strength to make it that far.

The high-ceilinged living room.

There's no lift - and so it's hardly surprising that only the first four of these upper floors are habitable, each consisting of a bedroom with en suite.

Above that, it's no-man's-land until you get to the top three floors, which are currently let to phone companies for transmitters. It's a nice little earner, bringing in around £34,000 a year.

But the views from the top of the tower are spectacular, looking across rolling wooded countryside to the sea.

Outside, the walled garden is mostly lawned, and there's an enclosed heated swimming pool, a tennis court, a home office and plenty of garaging.

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