So Long London: Taylor Swift's 'house by the Heath' gets a mournful mention in lyrics of new album

 


What a difference a year makes.

This time a year ago, north London estate agents were all aflutter with rumours that Taylor Swift was house hunting for a love nest with British boyfriend Joe Alwyn.

Twelve months later, a break-up and a return to the US later, Taylor Swift has dedicated a song on her new album, The Tortured Poets Department, to grieving the relationship she had both with Alwyn and the city they shared.

“I left all I knew, you left me at the house by the Heath,” she sings in So Long, London.

Where exactly this house was remains a mystery, but it seems the former couple settled on somewhere right next to Hampstead Heath, the sprawling public park of ancient woodlands and meadows in north London.

“Taylor has been looking for a period house with a garden, and crucially looking at roads and addresses that will provide her with privacy, security and discretion,” Rosy Khalastchy, head of Beauchamp Estates’ St John’s Wood office, told Homes & Property at the time.


“[It’s] the big gossip all over the central London super-prime market.”

The billionaire singer-songwriter relocated to London after she began dating Alwyn, an actor, in 2016. The couple are understood to have stayed with his parents in Crouch End, before renting a £7 million home in Primrose Hill. There were reports they were looking for a more permanent residence in Hampstead or St Johns Wood, but nothing was confirmed.

As one would expect from a Taylor Swift lyric, the line about the house on the Heath has multiple interpretations for her Easter egg-loving fans to decode.

Taylor left her American homeland behind for London, but did she literally get dumped in a house next to Hampstead Heath? Was it where he left her more metaphorically slash emotionally? Or was he actually leaving her home alone for long periods?

Bust out your GCSE knowledge on poetry analysis and bring on the speculation.


As well as taking a shot at Alwyn’s (mis)treatment of her, Taylor also has some sly double entendre for the famously fickle London sunshine.

“I’m just mad as hell cause I loved this place for / So long London / Had a good run / A moment of warm sun / But I’m not the one”.It’s a far cry from north London’s other shoutout in a Swift track. In London Boy on Lover (2019) she sang about how Alwyn “Took me back to Highgate, met all of his best mates,” while she was “Like a Tennessee Stella McCartney on the Heath.”

The singer has form for tying an address to a relationship paean. Cornelia Street, where Taylor Swift had a house in Lower Manhattan, has become a pilgrimage site for Swifties after she immortalised it in an eponymous song on Lover.

Swift officially became a billionaire this month, as determined by Forbes, and a sizeable part of her personal wealth is in property.

She bought her first apartment for $1.99 million (£1.6m) in 2009, aged 19, in Nashville, Tennesse. She then bought another one-bedroom unit in the same building, which cost $387,000 (£311,000).

Swift reportedly bought High Watch, in the exclusive enclave of Westerly on Rhode Island, for $17.75 million (£14.3m) in cash in 2013, following the release of Red. The waterfront, seven-bedroom mansion was previously owned by socialite Rebekah Harkness, whose colouful life was a reference for Swift’s song, The Last Great American Dynasty on Folklore (2020).

In 2014, Swift bought two penthouse units at the Sugar Loaf building in Tribeca, New York, for $19.95 million (£16m), from Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. She combined the homes to create an 8,000 sq ft mega-apartment.

The next year she reportedly spent $25 million (£20m) on a mansion in Beverly Hills. Built for Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1934, Swift has been restoring the house and had her application to have it designated as a historic landmark in 2017.

Back in New York, she bought a three-storey townhouse next to the Sugar Loaf building in 2017 for $18 million (£14.5m) and a $9.75 (£7.8m)million unit, with plans to create a private parking garage.


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