What’s louder: The sound of an $8 million, four-story town house clattering into the abyss? Or that of the thousand gleeful “I told you so!”s that follow? It doesn’t really matter—two weeks ago in Chelsea they had the full cacophony: rubble and rumors before breakfast.
When the vacant property at 2 and 3 Durham Place, on SW3’s oofy Burton Court, collapsed late on a Monday evening earlier this month, some neighbors thought they’d heard a thunderclap. Others suspected a bomb. One chap told me he imagined a tank had collided into his mansion block. Around 40 nearby residents were evacuated onto the street, bewildered in nightshirts and Uggs. (Fortunately, no one was hurt.) Fire crews worked to secure the adjoining properties as a drone hovered in the half-light to survey the wreckage. When Prime Minister Boris Johnson invoked the spirit of the Blitz in the face of England’s national coronavirus lockdown, he could scarcely have had this in mind.