This semi-detached house located in the heart of Central Shepperton (a suburb in the county of Surrey, England) was once home to J.G. Ballard, the English novelist best known for his books on war and post-apocalyptic dystopian societies including Crash (1973), Empire of the Sun (1984), and High-Rise (1975), about societal breakdown occurring in a modern skyscraper (and now a major motion picture directed by Ben Wheatley).
Considering the bleak futures Ballard often wrote about, the residence’s charm—and the fact that it’s quite ordinary—may come as a surprise. In other ways, however, the setting is appropriate. As Sam Leith wrote in The Guardian when it was last up for sale in 2011 for £320,000: “Shepperton held a vital place in Ballard's imagination: he was drawn to its commercial nullity, its suburban Englishness crossed by shabby concrete carriageways, its proximity to those in-between places, such as airports and orbital roads, in which he thrived.”
The three-bedroom, in which Ballard wrote and lived from 1960 until his death in 2009, and which features a formal dining room, lounge, garden, multiple fireplaces and driveway, retains all of its original details but also boasts updates like a complete rewiring, central heating, and solid oak parquet floors on the ground level. Ballard received many visitors here, and it has been suggested th at the property be turned into a museum of sorts. Located on Old Charlton Road and convenient to local schools and a train station with direct access to London (only 50 minutes away), it’s available for £475,000, or about $594,000. Not a bad price for a piece of literary history.