Literary Connections

The house where Herman Melville was inspired to write Moby Dick is now available to rent

A six-storey house in Westminster, formerly the residence of renowned novelist Herman Melville, is now available to rent with Dexters for £19,500 a month.

In 1849, two years before he published his most famous novel, Melville came to London and moved into a Georgian townhouse on Craven Street (a road by Embankment that also counts Benjamin Franklin among its past residents). It was in this property, between the Strand and the then unembanked Thames, that he began to write Moby Dick. Today, a blue plaque on the outside of the property commemorates this fact.

Journal entries show that Melville spent much of his time in London visiting sites such as the British Museum, National Gallery and London Zoo. It is also believed that he thought up Moby Dick while living at Craven Street. There are mentions in his diary of ‘turning flukes’ down Oxford Street as though being chased by a great whale as well as descriptions of imaginary ‘blubber rooms’ in the butcheries of Fleet Market. It was also in London that the author saw J M W Turner's whaling pictures for the first time which provided visual inspiration for his new book.

Today, Craven Street is a Grade II Listed building, with five bedrooms and five bathrooms covering 4,400 sq. ft. Recently renovated, entry is through a grand hallway that leads into a double reception room with panelled walls, period fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows. Two kitchens provide ample room for cooking and entertaining whilst the first-floor reception room has 3.5m high ceilings and an original fireplace from 1792.

The property’s most impressive feature is an immense square roof terrace that provides unobstructed views of the London Eye and the river. On New Year's Eve, the road is closed off to the public, but residents are provided unlimited tickets for guests to see the firework display from one of the best vantage points in London.



Opposite the Corinthia, and with the Raffles hotel opening nearby soon, Craven Street is located right in the heart of Westminster. Less than a ten-minute walk from Picadilly, Covent Garden and Leicester Square, there are excellent transport links with Charing Cross, Embankment and Leicester Square tube station close by.

Lazarus Demetriou, Director of Dexters Fitzrovia says ‘This beautiful Georgian townhouse in Westminster has it all: heritage, character and incredible views of London’s landmarks. Newly renovated with high ceilings and light on three aspects, it offers the perfect contemporary family home in one of London’s most exclusive locations.’