Last week, I was walking down Whitehall on my way to Westminster Abbey. I walk this street almost daily month after month. But this time, I asked myself what I knew about 10 DOWNING STREET. Sadly, all I could say was that it is on a cul-du-sac which is sealed off with large, impressive gates. So, I went on the search.
10 Downing Street was built for Sir George Downing between 1682-1684 upon a design by Sir Christopher Wren. I have to conclude that Sir Christopher was a very busy man–for sure ! In 1732, George II gave the residence to Sir Robert Walpole who refurbished the house and included the 3 neighboring properties into the Prime Minister’s new residence. The house was little used for many years and almost fell into decay. But during the the 20th century, the Prime Minister made the residence their home and headquarters. Many of the great Victorian prime Ministers worked from their great London homes like Apsley House.
Margaret Thatcher said that 10 DOWNING STREET is “one of the most precious jewels in the national heritage..” There are 100 rooms over three flours in the residence. It is the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Government. The Prime Minister’s residence itself is on the 3rd Floor.
Next you walk past 10 Downing Street, I hope you have a flashback about the building’s history. Like so much in London, these buildings have such great history..