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Britain’s ‘unluckiest’ building goes up for auction

A property in Swansea ‘beset with bad’ luck from the start is going under the hammer in London at the end of this month.

Dunbar House, situated in Swansea’s Morfydd Street, was originally built in 1880 for a tinplate magnet named Daniel Edwards. The businessman, a pioneer of his times, planned and designed the house as a dream home, but the Victorian builder commissioned to construct the extravagant mansion house then went bankrupt. As a result, the building was never completed or lived in by Edwards.

By the 1980s it was being used as an Employment Exchange, with the grade II listed building famous for its oak panelling, stonework, gothic gables and ornate interiors.

The building, however, soon fell out of use and into disrepair. In 2015, the then Australia-based owners of the property were made subject to a compulsory purchase order by the council, with the property later sold at auction for £100,000. The council claimed around £20,000 of the proceeds to recover the costs of safety and emergency works that were conducted.

A pre-planning application to convert the 9,000 sq. ft. building into 15 apartments was submitted by the new owners, with Swansea Council stating that this move ‘would be supported subject to wider discussions’. However, no further talks took place and no work was started.

Now, three years down the line, the property - one of Swansea’s most ‘at risk’ listed properties - is up for auction for the fourth time this year. It has a knockdown guide price of just £65,000.

Unsurprisingly, locals are eager to see Dunbar House returned to its former glory.

“It’s sad to say, but the place looks better now the trees and plants have grown over it,” a neighbour who overlooks the property said. “I wish someone would take it on to make it what it once was – it really was beautiful.”

In addition, the council are keen to see the building restored to sustainable use. Previously, it indicated in its pre-planning guidance that grants may be available for some works.

“The building has major potential to become a landmark property once again,” Toby Limbrick, director of Network Auctions, the auction house selling the property, said.

“It will require an experienced or brave investor to take this project on, but the end result could be stunning.”

Dunbar House, Morriston, Swansea, SA6 8BG will be sold at auction on the 25th October at Network Auctions’ London sale.

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