Property Secrets: Popular actor and St Albans resident Vincent Franklin

PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:38 15 March 2017

Vincent Franklin as Andy Shepherd in Happy Valley

Vincent Franklin as Andy Shepherd in Happy Valley

Archant

Actor Vincent Franklin has starred in numberous Mike Leigh films, blockbuster The Bourne Identity and countless hit TV shows, including Cucumber and Happy Valley, A resident of St Albans for 16 years, he shares his property secrets...

Picture perfect: The view from Vincent's home in St Albans Picture perfect: The view from Vincent's home in St Albans

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Haworth - home of Brontes and very long winters, but lived in Bradford from the age of 11.

What was it like growing up there?

Vincent as Henry Best in Cucumber Vincent as Henry Best in Cucumber

Haworth is surrounded by moors, hills and reservoirs. It’s picture postcard bleak! My dad had the Bronte Cafe Restaurant, so between April and October he worked like crazy every hour that God sent and a few that really belonged to the devil. This meant we were left to our own devices a lot of the time - hey it was the 70s. So, I remember spending whole days on the moors with my mates, building dens, plotting plots and eating bilberries.

When did you buy your first property?

1997.

Where was it? What was it like?

Vincent is a big fan of Buongiorno Italia on Lattimore Road Vincent is a big fan of Buongiorno Italia on Lattimore Road

It was a railway cottage in Willesden Junction near Harlesden. There were about 300 of these little Victorian terrace cottages all huddled together. Two up (nearly three) and two down with a yard out the back and a brick privy.

What did you like and dislike about it?

They were really practical and fantastically well built - by railway workers for railway workers. And because it wasn’t trendy (no organic coffee shop for miles!) we could afford it. But our front door was opposite the entrance to the Eurofreight terminal, so there was a lot of noise and fumes too. But, a bit like Haworth, there was a sense of community. People knew each other - partly because the cottages were surrounded on all sides by railway, so it was like a little island. You’d only visit if you lived there. We used to rent the side-streets out for filming and then spend the money on Christmas parties for the local children, trips to the seaside for the old folks, and window boxes for everyone.

How long did you live there?

About four years.

Why did you decide to move?

We moved because we had an 11-month-old baby and the nearest park was a drive away. That park was also home to a used needle and noisy drunk exhibition, so maybe not the best place to learn to ride a scooter. My wife and I are both from the north, and our parents were very keen visitors once they had a grandchild, so we knew we had to move north, not south. We couldn’t afford swanky north London prices and so we looked at St Albans. It wasn’t as eye-wateringly expensive 16 years ago.

Which other areas have you lived in?

We’re still in the same house that we moved to in November 2001. But we did move out for six months while they took off the roof and the back wall to make space for a third bedroom.

Who do you live with?

There are five of us here - my wife Hilary, our two children and a rescue cat that runs away if you do anything scary, like cough or stand up.

How would you describe your home in three words?

Quirky, old, riverside.

What do you like and dislike about the area?

I like the good schools and all the other cliches that people like about St Albans, I dislike the terrible train service and the fact that St Albans feels a big smug.

What are your favourite local shops and why?

My favourite shop is Beelex Electrical on Verulam Road - because they always have the stuff you need and they know about it, and Buongiorno, the Italian deli, for the same reason.

Have you changed much about your house since you’ve lived there?

When we had our second child, we had to move out of our house and have the top half of it rebuilt. We’ve basically turned it into a tardis. There’s lots more room inside than there should be.

If you carried out any major renovation work, what did you do, how long did it take, and was it worth the effort?

We did the work rather than move because it was cheaper and because we love having the river at the bottom of our garden. There’s a kingfisher sometimes, which is worth more than a resident parking permit. A few years ago we put a summerhouse down by the river. It’s the best money we’ve ever spent. I now feel properly old.

Is there anything you’d still like to change about your property?

We don’t want more room, but I wish each one was 2ft bigger in every dimension - teenagers just take up a lot of room.

What have been your best interiors buys?

We like old things that have been knocked about by someone else first, so we feel less guilty when we ruin them. I hate ‘lifestyle’ shops, of which St Albans has a profusion. You can’t buy a lifestyle. You don’t need an ironic moose head made of plywood, a distressed rack for magazines or a wire cage in the shape of a pineapple for storing eggs. Walk away!

What’s the best thing about your home? And the worst?

The best thing about my home is the people in it. The worst thing is the tiling in the shower! Surely grouting should last more than six months.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’d live in the Lake District during the day and Manhattan at night.

Do you have a ‘dream road’ locally? Where is it if so?

No one has a ‘dream road’ locally - although a few of them are nightmares.

Do you see yourself moving on in the near future?

Unlikely.

Where would you like to live next?

On a narrow boat.

What would your dream home be like?

I don’t have a dream home. But I do love places with big kitchens, real fires and a wing for servants.

Vincent will be playing Pendergast in Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall on BBC1 this spring,

Latest South Hertfordshire Property News

Yesterday, 14:48

A homely village with a little bit of everything, Woolmer Green merges the bliss of rural life with all the practicalities of the city.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:26

Think you know all there is to know about Harpenden? Now’s your chance to find out with our 12-question quiz!

Read more
Thu, 15:05

After a period characterised by little retail availability within the city centre commercial sector we now have new availability with some deals completed and others put in place.

Read more
Thu, 11:35

Dellcourt House is a superb example of a modern family residence, built around nine years ago in a traditional style.

Read more
Wed, 18:00

A Stevenage woman is making the most of her new development’s refer a friend scheme – by spending the £3,000 it’s made her on a trip to the North Pole.

Read more
Wed, 08:22

With the General Election coming up on June 8, we take a look at what the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP parties have planned for the housing market

Read more

Smart homes are the eagerly anticipated sequel to smart phones, so what’s good, what’s bad and what’s ugly about the Internet of Things?

Read more
Tue, 09:57

Buying at auction may seem like an easier, speedier means of purchasing property, but this method is not without its pitfalls. Julia Gray found five things you should think about before you bid...

Read more
Mon, 13:26

The villages of Little Wymondley and Great Wymondley are tucked away in a rural hideout, while remaining close to public transport links and main roads. Rachel Love found out more about them…

Read more
Mon, 11:05

After 12 years, Rachel’s mum is selling their house - much to her daughter’s dismay.

Read more
Friday, May 19, 2017

Local lifestyle management expert Tracy Ross explains how you can make your bedroom more relaxing, functional and instagrammable!

Read more
Friday, May 19, 2017

All the publicity surrounding St Albans’ new Gabriel Square development got me thinking about just how many current residents arrived in Herts via London – and how few native Hertfordshire folk I know locally.

Read more
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Alastair Woodgate, director of St Albans and Watford based Rumball Sedgwick, chartered surveyors and property specialists, offers some expert insight.

Read more
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Are you a fan of bold, retro prints or do you prefer more minimalist decor? Whatever interiors you’re into, there’ll be something to suit your taste somewhere in Herts - and these two very different properties cover each extreme...

Read more
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The name of Eversheds, once ubiquitous with a massive printworks in the centre of St Albans, is finally laid to rest this week with the launch of the new Gabriel Square development.

Read more
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fancy yourself as a bit of an interiors guru? Find out if your home décor is really all that by entering a picture of it into a competition - it might prove to be a nice little earner.

Read more
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

More London property investors are buying outside the capital than ever, a new study has revealed.

Read more
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Consider yourself a Bricket Wood know-it-all?

Read more
Monday, May 15, 2017

In uncertain times when tensions are high and we feel the occasional need to escape, it’s natural to want to seek the comfort and calm of a bolthole away from it all. And that usually means by the sea.

Read more
Monday, May 15, 2017

A delightful presence on North Hertfordshire’s south eastern border, Knebworth is one of the most popular historic hotspots in England.

Read more
Friday, May 12, 2017

Buying a property for the first time is bad for your health and your relationship, new research has revealed.

Read more
Friday, May 12, 2017

Gabriel Square – arguably St Albans’ most anticipated new development ever – is launching this week.

Read more
Thursday, May 11, 2017

The most prestigious city centre development St Albans has seen in generations has finally opened its doors to the public - and the Herts Ad was first inside for a sneak peek.

Read more
Thursday, May 11, 2017

This unique, modernist development is conveniently located between the City station and the town centre.

Read more
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Making your home sale-ready on a tight budget can be a challenging – but achievable – task.

Read more
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bramfield is a small civil parish in East Hertfordshire which lies in between Hertford, Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage.

Read more
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Think you know the cathedral city like the back of your hand?

Read more
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A few years ago a friend sold his two-bed house in St Albans for just shy of half a million. We were all amazed. Three years on, and similar character cottages in the town centre are for sale for £650,000. £500k suddenly seems like a bargain!

Read more
Monday, May 8, 2017

St Albans has been compared to London hipster hotspots Shoreditch and Peckham by the Sunday Times.

Read more
Monday, May 8, 2017

We know a short lease is bad news, but why? And what can be done to extend it?

Read more

HERTS AD PROPERTY E-EDITION

Image
Read the Herts Ad Property e-edition E-edition

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

Get the latest St Albans and Harpenden property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

MOST READ

search


e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Local business directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder