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Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021

Own Richard Branson’s childhood home – for a cool US$5.2 million

Own Richard Branson’s childhood home – for a cool US$5.2 million

The daredevil and insatiable entrepreneur, now living in the British Virgin Islands, started out here and now, more than 400 companies later, is worth US$4.5 billion

The 70-year-old Virgin Group tycoon planted Christmas trees in the backyard of his red-brick home in the English countryside when he was just a teenager. He planned to sell them at a profit, but rabbits ate the saplings, decimating his merchandise.

The home where Richard Branson grew up has an electric gate and a long drive. Photo: United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty

His next venture? Selling mail-order records. In 1971, at age 21, Branson was arrested for a tax evasion scheme involving the way he was selling the records. His mother posted the US$45,000 bail.

These failures only made Branson think bigger.

In 1972, Branson used his mail-order business as a springboard to found Virgin Records – a name which came from the conceit that he and his cohorts were “virgins” in business. They had their first major hit with Mike Oldfield’s album Tubular Bells in 1973. The company went on to sign the Sex Pistols, Phil Collins and The Rolling Stones.

Today, the Virgin empire also includes an airline, hotels, a space tourism company and much more. Forbes estimates Branson’s net worth to be US$4.5 billion.

Now, the red-brick home that played such an essential role in the making of this billionaire is for sale.

An aerial shot of Tanyards Farm, where Richard Branson grew up.

Known as Tanyards Farm, 0.5-hectare (1.4-acre) property is 48km (30 miles) southwest of London in the quiet Sussex village of Shamley Green. Jason Corbett of UK Sotheby’s International Realty holds the listing.

The backyard of Tanyards Farm, where Richard Branson grew up.

Branson’s parents acquired the home in 1963 from a viscountess, according to Mansion Global.

While Branson now lives on his private island, Necker, in the Caribbean’s British Virgin Islands, the home played an important role early in his career.

Tanyards Farm features a garden conservatory.

He and future Virgin Group co-founder Nik Powell spent £5 (about US$6.50 today) to buy enough seeds to plant roughly 400 Christmas trees in the land around the home. They planned to sell each tree for £2 (US$2.60).

He describes Tanyards Farm as the setting for his first entrepreneurial failures, including the Christmas tree plot, in his 1998 autobiography Losing My Virginity.

Tanyards Farm’s ample acreage, where Richard Branson presumably planted Christmas trees in his first business venture.

In the book, he called the property a “rambling building with many barns and sheds and some land.”

The Branson family later sold Tanyards Farm, and a different owner has just put the property on the market for US$5.2 million.

A reception room with a spiral staircase at Tanyards Farm, Richard Branson’s childhood home.

The listing agent, Jason Corbett of UK Sotheby‘s International Realty, said in a statement that the house is “full of history, character, warmth and charm”.

One of four bedrooms at Tanyards Farm, where Richard Branson grew up.

Tanyards Farm has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, according to the listing. Besides serving as a window into the making of a billionaire, the property also offers a quintessential British country experience being located near a cricket green and two local pubs – perfect for toasting a successful career, or the beginning of a new one.


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