I've just been researching a house in Bayswater built in 1830 which had several interesting residents.  In 1959 it became the home of Shirley Bassey.  It was the first house she had ever bought and was clearly a big step forward for her, as she explained to a Daily Mail reporter she invited over.  After the journalist had been told the cost of the house - £12,000 - and the ornate door knocker - £50 - Bassey showed her the feature she was most proud of, a pale-pink sunken bath, and explained that as a child she had never even had a bathroom.

Hers was a proper rags-to-riches story.  She was born in 1937 in the boondocks of Tiger Bay in Cardiff.  While in her teens she started to perform in local pubs and clubs; and on leaving school (and finding herself pregnant at the age of sixteen) she took a job in a local factory while continuing to perform whenever opportunity arose.  By 1959 - when she was photographed in her new kitchen - she had acquired a music company, owned two houses (one she bought for her parents), had a £4,000 red and cream Chevrolet sports car, a mink, diamonds and a white poodle with a jewelled collar called 'Beaujolais'.  Bassey's manager Mike Sullivan recalled his first visit to the house: 'A bing-bong version of her hit song As I Love You chimed out as I pressed the front door button to the narrow terraced house just a few yards from Hyde Park.  Gerda, the German housekeeper, opened the door and I forced my feet through the deep pile of red carpeting which covered the hallway and stairs until I reached the first landing.  Shirley stood at the door of the first-floor sitting room wearing an ankle-length brown robe and a haughty man-eating expression.'