L ANDMARK Granville House in Ramsgate has a new owner, millionaire Eliasz Englander who has reportedly picked up the building's freehold at auction.
The £156,000 deal was struck on December 18 and Mr Englander, who has featured on the Sunday Times Rich List, set up Granville House (Ramsgate) Limited on January 8.
One report in the Evening Standard: records that Mr Englander, an Orthodox Jew, once "sold" a Holborn site to his foreman for a day to allow a crane to be erected on a Saturday — a day his religion forbids work.
In 2008, accounts for one of his companies, Holborn Links, show he received rents of £8.8 million on properties bought for £35 million and are now worth £145 million.
According to the Estates Gazette Mr Englander is worth £160 million.
Granville House is one of Ramsgate's great property masterpieces sitting high on the East Cliff.
It was designed by Edward Welby Pugin, son of Augustus who designed Ramsgate's Grange, St Augustine's church and the House of Lords.
It was formed from a terrace of eight Gothic houses and officially opened as a hotel in 1869 offering 25 kinds of baths.
The Thanet Advertiser on November 27, 1869 described: "The floor of the ball-room is very beautiful, being laid with New Zealand satin-wood, and does not contain a single knot end to end. It is said to be first floor of the kind laid in Europe for any public purpose. The fire-place is very elaborate, and has cost over £250."
Following Edward Pugin's bankcruptcy and death, the hotel was bought, in 1877, by Victorian business tycoon Edmund Francis Davis who also once owned the Westgate estate.
In his first year he accomplished several construction projects including the access road to the beach in front of the Granville (Marina Road), the Granville Marina and the development of Victoria Gardens in front of the hotel – with its unpopular fee-collecting kiosk. A marble skating rink was laid next to the Granville with a private staircase down to the sands; here the beach was enclosed for the privacy of the guests.
He also inaugurated the Granville Express – an unique train service that connected London with Westgate and Ramsgate.
Sadly many original features in parts of the building are now damaged or missing. Its history and decline is recorded in a book by Granville House resident Benedict Kelly which is available from Michael's Bookshop in Ramsgate.