Businessman buys former Yorkshire home of Bombay shipping magnet

ONE of Yorkshire’s most historic private homes, the former residence of wealthy, internationally-known benefactors the Bomanji family, has been acquired in a multi-million pound private sale to a local businessman.

The 12-bedroom Pineheath on Cornwall Road in Harrogate was the home of Bombay shipping magnate Sir Dhunjibhoy, who was knighted in 1922 for his services to Britain, and his wife, Lady Frainy Bomanji, friends of the Royal Family and well-known benefactors and supporters of local charities.

Pineheath, which still has the original gold-plated taps, ornate carved ceilings, decorated with gold leaf; upstairs ballroom and balcony, observation tower and garages with central heating for Rolls Royces, was sold following the death of the occupier, Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji’s daughter Mehroo Jehangir in 2012.

The 17,000 sq ft, 40-room, three-storey Pineheath, which became the Bomanji family home in 1927, has additional three-bedroom chauffeurs’ accommodation and gardeners’ cottages. The house has been acquired by local businessman Jason Shaw in a deal handled by two firms within the Newtons Solicitors Group.

The property also housed a Steinway grand piano which once belonged to a German Kaiser and will be offered by London auctioneers Christies later this year. Other features include gold leaf monogrammed wall paper and numerous paintings and China featuring the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

Mrs Jehangir, who took over Lady Bomanji’s works after her death in 1986, left Pineheath little changed from its heyday in British pre-World War II high society including a 1920s internal telephone system with a number still listed for the room of Sir Dhunjiboy, who died in 1937.

After continuing Sir Dhunjibhoy’s good works, Lady Bomanji was given an Honorary Freemanshjip of The Borough by Harrogate Council in 1984.

Mr Shaw, who plans to upgrade the site as a luxury family home, said: “My parents taught me the value of working hard to achieve your dreams. Owning property is most people’s dream and my aspirations have hit a high in buying Pineheath. It is hard to imagine anyone could build a home like this today. I’ve never been handed two suitcases filled with door keys on acquiring a property before.

“Sadly, it is in a poor state of repair and we will not be able to achieve the opulence of Sir Dhunjibhoy’s time. He was a billionaire in today’s terms. The family divided their time between homes in Windsor, Poona, near Mumbai and Harrogate all of which had full-time staff.

“What is fascinating is that so little has been done to update the property which is like an mid 20th century time-capsule with items such as magazines and programmes for the Harrogate International Festival which date back 60 years still on the shelves.”

Newtons solicitors managing director, Chris Newton, said: “There was a lot of interest and a race to exchange contracts. Pineheath is very special and, to achieve our clients’ aims, two of our firms, Hodgsons & Mortimer, Darlington and Newtons, Knaresborough, exchanged contracts in a single working day.”