American Daily Digest

House belonging to Alfred Loewenstein goes on the market for £1m 

Own the home of the man who fell from the sky: House belonging to 1920s ‘Belgian Robert Maxwell’ tycoon Alfred Loewenstein who mysteriously plunged to his death when he fell out of his own plane over the English Channel goes on the market for £1m

The mansion situated in the civil parish of Thorpe Satchville in Leicestershire, features seven bedroomsProperty also comes with a reception hall, dining room with an original stone fireplace and rear gardenWas once the home of Belgian financier Alfred Loewenstein who was third richest man in world when he died

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A sprawling mansion once owned by a 1920’s tycoon who suffered a mysterious death when he plunged from his own aircraft and drowned, has gone on the market for £1million. 

The Pinfold, situated in the civil parish of Thorpe Satchville in Leicestershire, was the family seat of the financier Alfred Loewenstein, dubbed the ‘Belgian Robert Maxwell’ of his generation, who at the time of his death in 1928 was the third richest person in the world. 

The Brussels-born tycoon made his fortune providing electrical power facilities for developing countries through his company, Société Internationale d’Énergie Hydro-Électrique (SIDRO).

But disaster struck on July 4, 1928, while the 51-year-old was flying in his private aircraft over the English Channel, from Croydon to Belgium. 

As the plane headed out over the Channel, the businessman went to the toilet compartment at the rear. 

Some ten minutes later, concerned crew members sent Loewenstein’s valet to check on him but he had ‘vanished into thin air’ in what became one of strangest fatalities in the history of commercial aviation.

Over the years a number of theories have emerged over the cause of the businessman’s untimely end, with some speculating he was thrown out by his valet at the behest of his wife, who wanted to get her hands on his fortune.

Others say he took his own life, because his corrupt business practices were about to be exposed and his empire was on the verge of collapse.

Theorists also suggest the multi-millionaire was pushed by an assassin hired by his business partners, who ultimately benefitted from his death.  

Historians have said if it was murder, then all six people on board would most probably have planned it in advance. But no one was ever arrested over the death. 

His death has drawn parallels to that of media tycoon Robert Maxwell, who in 1991 was found floating in the sea near the Canary Islands after he allegedly fell overboard from his yacht. 

The sprawling mansion situated in the civil parish of Thorpe Satchville in Leicestershire, features seven bedrooms and  a reception hall

The property was once the homes of the Belgian financier Alfred Loewenstein who at the time of his mysterious death in 1928 was the third richest person in the world

In 1987, author William Norris investigated the case and published them in a book called ‘The Man Who Fell From the Sky’ 

The three-storey property, which is currently on the market for £1million, features a lavish dining room with an original stone fireplace

A step inside the grand home reveals a spacious bedroom that comes with wooden flooring and windows that allow plenty of daylight to flood through

The grand property which has gone up for sale was once the home of the Loewenstein, who died on his way to finalise the biggest deal of his life in Argentina in 1928.

Loewenstein’s wealth also came from his investments in artificial silk businesses when those industries were still in their infancy.

At his peak in the 1920s, the multi-millionaire was worth around £12 million in the currency of the time (equivalent to £728.34 million in 2019), making him the third richest person in the world at the time

Alongside his ownership of a successful stable of thoroughbred steeplechase race horses, he also partnered with the investment house of Canadian-born Sir James Dunn in several business ventures which saw the duo make more than £1,000,000 in profit from their first investment alone.   

The tycoon was flying from Croydon Airport to Brussels on his private aircraft, a Fokker F.VIIa/3m trimotor, along with six other people when he went to the rear of the aircraft to use the lavatory as the aircraft crossed the English Channel. 

In Loewenstein’s aircraft, a door at the rear of the main passenger cabin opened onto a short passage with two doors – the one on the right led to the lavatory, while the one on the left was the aircraft’s entrance door.

When Loewenstein had not reappeared after some time, his secretary went in search of him and discovered that the lavatory was empty, while the aircraft’s entrance door was open and flapping in the slipstream.

The pilot, Donald Drew, was alerted right away and made an emergency landing on a beach near Dunkirk.   

Loewenstein’s body was discovered near Boulogne on 19 July 1928 and an autopsy was conducted at the behest of his family, even though they claimed they did not suspect foul play.

The autopsy revealed a partial fracture of Loewenstein’s skull and several broken bones and it was concluded that he had been alive when he struck the water.

An employee onboard the aircraft later asserted his belief that Loewenstein had fallen through the aircraft’s rear door and plunged several thousand feet to his death in the English Channel. 

The crew on the plane were later questioned by officers but no one was arrested. 

A step inside the home reveals a family bathroom that is fitted with tiled walls, a bath with shower attachment and a radiator

The property has a unique blend of period integrity and character and has retained its original high ceilings and features

One of the living rooms inside the large property comes with a stone fireplace, wooden flooring and large windows

The house, which is located close to the National Space Centre, comes come wooden furnishings and boasts seven bedrooms

The property comes with reception rooms complete with high ceilings and still has many of the original features it had during the 1920s

A step inside the property, situated in the civil parish of Thorpe Satchville in Leicestershire, reveals wooden bannisters and a spacious landing

The property also boasts a study, a galleried landing and a rear garden which features a sprawling lawn and an impressive display of plants, shrubs, trees and exotic ferns

After questioning the pilot Inspector Bonnot admitted:  ‘A most unusual and mysterious case. We have not yet made up our minds to any definite theory, but anything is possible.’ 

But the police quickly accepted the explanation given to them by the pilot and the mechanic that Loewenstein likely fell out of the plane when he went to open the exit door.

Loewenstein’s mysterious death has been the subject of many conspiracy theories over the years, the most popular being that he had been thrown from the aircraft by the pilot, Donald Drew, at the behest of his wife Madeleine Loewenstein, the motive being to gain control of his fortune.

The conspiracy was aided by the fact that Loewenstein’s wife did not attend his funeral, even though he was buried in a cemetery outside Evere, in a tomb belonging to his wife’s family, the Misonnes.

However, his name was never carved on the slab covering his casket, so he was in effect buried in an unmarked grave. 

Others speculated that the tycoon took his own life because his corrupt business practices were about to be exposed.

But others have dismissed such claims and said the businessman had shown no suicidal thoughts before his death.

And others have pointed out that the exit door on the plane would not have been easy to open by accident.       

In 1987, author William Norris investigated the case and published them in a book called ‘The Man Who Fell From the Sky.’

He found that the tycoon’s business partners, Albert Pam and Frederick Szarvasy, benefited from his death and their company, International Holdings, soared in the stock market after the tragedy.

The writer speculated that Pam and Szarvasy hired at least two people to kill tycoon. 

Over the years, some have also drawn comparisons between press baron Robert Maxwell’s death and that of Loewenstein’s. 

Maxwell’s body was found floating in the sea near the Canary Islands after he allegedly fell overboard from his yacht. 

An inquest into his death failed to answer any of the key questions and the three pathologists who performed post-mortem examinations failed to agree about the circumstances of his death. 

One concluded he died of a heart attack, another said he suffered a heart attack and drowned while a third dismissed the heart condition as a cause of death and said Maxwell had fallen into the sea and drowned. 

The £1million home enjoys hilltop views of the picturesque village and can be entered via a gravel driveway 

A step inside the lavish home reveals a spacious living room that is fitted with a fireplace and comes with large windows that allow plenty of daylight to flood through.

There is also a large kitchen that is fitted with a range of cream fronted units and a reception hall fitted with herringbone pattern oak block flooring. 

Elsewhere, the family bathroom is fitted with chrome period style fittings and a bath with shower attachment. 

The house also comes with a patio and provides views of the rolling Leicestershire countryside towards Charnwood Forest. 

The listing states: ‘The Pinfold offers a scale of accommodation therefore only normally associated with much more expensive country properties.

‘The house has a unique blend of period integrity and character, blended with more modern kitchen and bathroom fittings. The atmosphere of the house is also unique, and viewing is highly recommended to appreciate both the size and quality of the accommodation, together with the outstanding views and position of the property.’

The Pinfold is currently on the market with Bentons for £1,000,000. 

Murder, suicide or accident? The mysterious case of Alfred Loewenstein who plunged from his own aircraft and drowned 

Alfred Loewenstein was born in Brussels, Belgium,

Alfred Loewenstein was born in Brussels, Belgium and rose to fame by making an enormous fortune providing electrical power power facilities for developing countries through his company Société Internationale d’Énergie Hydro-Électrique (SIDRO).

At his peak in the 1920s, the multi-millionaire was worth around £12 million in the currency of the time.

Alongside his ownership of a successful stable of thoroughbred steeplechase race horses, he also partnered with the investment house of Canadian-born Sir James Dunn in several business ventures.

However on July 4, 1928, disaster struck when Loewenstein drowned.

The tycoon was flying from Croydon Airport to Brussels on his private aircraft, a Fokker F.VIIa/3m trimotor, along with six other people when he went to the rear of the aircraft to use the lavatory as the aircraft crossed the English Channel.  

When Loewenstein had not reappeared after some time, his secretary went in search of him and discovered that the lavatory was empty, while the aircraft’s entrance door was open and flapping in the slipstream.

Loewenstein’s body was discovered near Boulogne on 19 July 1928.

The autopsy revealed a partial fracture of Loewenstein’s skull and several broken bones and it was concluded that he had been alive when he struck the water. 

Newspaper article reporting the businessman’s death

In 1987, author William Norris investigated the case and published them in a book called ‘The Man Who Fell From the Sky’ 

The crew on the plane were later questioned by officers but no one was arrested. 

However Loewenstein’s mysterious death has been the subject of many conspiracy theories over the years, the most popular being that he had been thrown from the aircraft by the pilot, Donald Drew, at the behest of his wife Madeleine Loewenstein, the motive being to gain control of his fortune. 

Others speculated that the tycoon took his own life because his corrupt business practices were about to be exposed.

But others have dismissed such claims and said the businessman had shown no suicidal thoughts before his death.

And others have pointed out that the exit door on the plane would not have been easy to open by accident.      

In 1987, author William Norris investigated the case and published them in a book called ‘The Man Who Fell From the Sky.’

He found that the tycoon’s business partners, Albert Pam and Frederick Szarvasy, benefited from his death and their company, International Holdings, soared in the stock market after the tragedy.  

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