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A storied history

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

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FEW people can claim that their house is truly unique, but if you are looking for a one-off, 55 Beechwood Road fits the bill.

It is believed to have been individually designed and built for Swansea millionairess Keila Matthison, who lived there until her death in 1990.

For a house that is only around 50 years old, it has already built up quite a list of illustrious owners.

Miss Matthison, who made her money from a family paint firm, left her fortune to charity, including a bequest to the Gower Society, of which she was an active member.

Following her death, the house was bought by a family who ran it as a lodging house for Swans players and some famous names stayed here.

Current owners Nancy and Frank Harding and their daughter Jayne bought the house from well-known Swansea businesswoman Sarla Langdon.

"We didn't intend to buy it, but Sarla moved away and asked me to move in for a year in a sort of caretaker role," said Jayne.

"But I fell in love with it and so did my parents, so we decided to buy it."

"I liked it because it was quirky, it was different to anything else I'd seen," said Nancy.

"It was the location for me," said Frank. "You've got everything you could want all within a couple of minutes — the parks, the shops, the beach."

The impressive six-bedroomed house on three storeys is now in a leafy residential area between Sketty and Uplands. But when it was first built it had its own stables and open views over green fields and allotments.

"The views must have been amazing before they built houses on the allotments," said Jayne.

Nancy, a member of the Baywood Belles charity dance group, is also a keen artist and designed the beautiful Mondrian-style stained glass in the front door and landing window.

It makes a stunning first impression when you enter the house and the lovely old polished parquet wood floors seem to glow with its reflection.

The lounge has a parquet floor too, along with a fireplace and a wide floor-to-ceiling bay window overlooking the gardens and bird table.

"We get lots of birds including an escaped parakeet that has been coming to feed for four winters. We call him Pringles because he likes Pringles and pomegranate!" said Jayne.

The rest of the house is spacious and well-laid out. On the ground floor there is a dining room also with a parquet floor, another large room which is currently being used as a study, a kitchen with solid beechwood units, pantry, a utility room and WC, plus a conservatory.

On the first floor are four big bedrooms and a bathroom.

The largest bedroom is currently being used as an upstairs lounge.

One bedroom also has a pretty en-suite shower room.

Stairs go up to the second floor where there are another two double bedrooms, both with good views, and a WC with wash basin.

There is driveway parking for two to three cars and a garage.

There are three separate garden areas, all cleverly designed and neatly kept with two patio areas to sit out and lots of interesting shrubs and plants.

All in all, a very impressive property.

The Hardings have lived in the house for 11 years but are now looking to downsize.

"The place really is too big for us but it has been such a happy home," said Nancy.

"It's a very sociable house, perfect for parties. We have all the neighbours round at Christmas and the tree fits perfectly in the bay window. We will be very sad to say goodbye."

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