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Encyclopedia > 10 Downing Street
Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney stand in front of the famous main door to Number 10. Hundreds of pictures like this one have been taken of Prime Ministers greeting other world leaders.
Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney stand in front of the famous main door to Number 10. Hundreds of pictures like this one have been taken of Prime Ministers greeting other world leaders.

10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA is the residence and office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, situated on Downing Street in the City of Westminster in London, England. It is actually the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, but in modern times this post has always been held simultaneously with the office of Prime Minister. Prime Minister Tony Blair and Vice President Dick Cheney in front of 10 Downing Street on March 11, 2002. ... Prime Minister Tony Blair and Vice President Dick Cheney in front of 10 Downing Street on March 11, 2002. ... For other people of the same name, see Tony Blair (disambiguation) Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born May 6, 1953)[1] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Leader of the Labour Party, and Member of Parliament for the constituency... Dick Cheney 46th and current Vice President (2001- ) The Vice President of the United States is the second-highest executive official of the United States government, the person who is a heartbeat from the presidency. ... Richard Bruce Dick Cheney (born January 30, 1941), is the 46th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President George W. Bush. ... The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is, in practice, the political leader of the United Kingdom. ... Downing Street For a wider coverage of London, visit the London Portal. ... The City of Westminster is a London borough with city status, situated to the west of the City of London and north of the River Thames. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, usually but not always the Prime Minister. ...

Contents

Overview

Number 10, as it is often known, is perhaps the most famous address in London and one of the most widely recognised houses in the world.


Situated in the City of Westminster in London, Number 10 is the centre of the British government, physically and politically. Not only is Number 10 the Prime Minister's home, it is also his place of work. It has offices for him, his secretaries, assistants and advisors, and numerous conference rooms and dining rooms where he meets with and entertains other British leaders and foreign dignitaries. The building is near the Palace of Westminster, the home of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace, the residence of the Queen. The City of Westminster is a London borough with city status, situated to the west of the City of London and north of the River Thames. ... “Houses of Parliament” redirects here. ... The Houses of Parliament, as seen over Westminster Bridge The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories. ... Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial. ... Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of sixteen sovereign states, holding each crown and title equally. ...


The building now known as Number Ten was originally three houses: the "house at the back", Number 9 itself, and a small house next to it. The "house at the back" was a mansion built sometime around 1530; the original Number 10 was a modest townhouse built in 1685.

George II presented the "house at the back" and the two Downing Street houses to Sir Robert Walpole as an official residence for the First Lord of the Treasury
George II presented the "house at the back" and the two Downing Street houses to Sir Robert Walpole as an official residence for the First Lord of the Treasury

In 1732 King George II offered 9 Downing Street and the "house at the back" to Robert Walpole (often called the first Prime Minister) in gratitude for his services to the nation. Walpole accepted only on the condition that they would be a gift to the office of First Lord of the Treasury rather than to himself personally. The King agreed and "ownership" has passed ever since to each incoming First Lord. Between 1732 and 1735, Walpole commissioned William Kent to join the houses together. It is this larger house that is known today as Number 10 Downing Street. king george ii, painted by t. ... George II (George Augustus; 10 November 1683 – 25 October 1760) was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death. ... The Right Honourable Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745), usually known as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. ... George II King of Great Britain and Ireland George II (George Augustus) (10 November 1683–25 October 1760) was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death. ... The Right Honourable Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745), usually known as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. ... William Kent William Kent (born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, c. ...


As generous as the gift may seem in hindsight, the arrangement was not an immediate success. Despite its impressive size and convenient location, Number 10 was not an attractive place to live. Partly, this was due to its poor construction on boggy soil and to chronic neglect in maintaining it. More importantly, Walpole set an example not a rule and the position of Prime Minister did not become an established part of the British constitution until early in the nineteenth century; it was not invariably linked to the office of First Lord of the Treasury until the twentieth. Some Prime Ministers lived there, many did not. Costly to maintain, neglected, and run-down, the house was close to being razed several times.


Nevertheless, Number 10 Downing Street survived and became linked with many of the great statesmen and events of recent British history, and the people came to appreciate its historic value. As Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said in 1985, Number Ten had become "one of the most precious jewels in the national heritage". Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC (born October 13, 1925), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in office from 1979 to 1990. ...


History of the building

The "house at the back" before 1733

The Palace of Whitehall by Hendrick Danckerts c. 1660-1679. The view is from the west with King Charles II in the foreground riding through St James's Park. The "house at the back" is on the far right; the octagonal building next to it is the Cockpit.
The Palace of Whitehall by Hendrick Danckerts c. 1660-1679. The view is from the west with King Charles II in the foreground riding through St James's Park. The "house at the back" is on the far right; the octagonal building next to it is the Cockpit.

The "house at the back" was built around 1530 next to Whitehall Palace, the primary residence of monarchs at the time. It was one of several buildings that made up the "Cockpit Lodgings", so-called because they were attached to a cock-fighting ring, housed inside an unusual octagonal structure. Early in seventeenth century, it was converted to a concert hall and theatre but retained its old name. After the Restoration, some of the first Cabinet meetings were secretly held in the Cockpit. Image File history File links The_Old_Palace_of_Whitehall_by_Hendrik_Danckerts. ... Image File history File links The_Old_Palace_of_Whitehall_by_Hendrik_Danckerts. ... Hendrick Danckerts (c. ... The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698 when all except Inigo Jones 1622 Banqueting House was destroyed by fire. ... The Cock Fight by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1847) A cockfight is a contest, held in a cockpit between two fighting cocks (roosters) trained to severely injure and/or kill one another. ... in art, returning something to a better state, see art conservation and restoration In criminal justice, restoration is another term for restorative justice. ... A cabinet is a body of high-ranking members of government, typically representing the executive branch. ...


During Tudor times, the “house at the back” was the home of the Keeper of Whitehall Palace, responsible for maintaining the palace including the Cockpit. For many years, it was occupied by Thomas Knevett (or Knyvet), famous for capturing Guy Fawkes in 1605 and foiling his plot to assassinate James I. The previous year, Knevett vacated the house at the back and occupied a house next door, standing where Number Ten is today. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... James Stuart (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scots as James VI, and King of England and King of Ireland as James I. He ruled in Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567, when he was only one year old. ...


From this time, members of the royal family and government officials lived in the house at the back. In 1604, James I’s four-year-old son Prince Charles (the future Charles I) lived there briefly. After the property was extended to include the Little Close Tennis Court where Henry VIII played his favourite game, and a kitchen and rooms for domestic staff were built, eight-year-old Princess Elizabeth moved in. Elizabeth lived in the house at the back until 1613 when she married the Elector Palatine and moved to Hanover. There she became the grandmother of George, the Elector of Hanover, who became King of England in 1714, and the great-grandmother of King George II, who offered the house to Walpole in 1732. Thus over a period of one hundred years the house at the back symbolically links the English Houses of Stuart and Hanover. Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. ... Henry VIII (28 June 1491 - 28 January 1547) was King of England and Lord of Ireland, later King of Ireland, from 22 April 1509 until his death. ... A palatinate is an area administered by a count palatine, originally the direct representative of the sovereign but later the hereditary ruler of the territory subject to the crowns overlordship. ... Hanover (German: , IPA: ), on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany. ... George I (George Louis; 28 May 1660 – 11 June 1727) was the first Hanoverian King of Great Britain and King of Ireland, from 1 August 1714 until his death. ... Hanover (German Hannover) is a historical territory in todays Germany. ... George II (George Augustus; 10 November 1683 – 25 October 1760) was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The House of Hanover (the Hanoverians) were a German royal dynasty which succeeded the House of Stuart as monarchs of Great Britain in 1714. ...


Oliver Cromwell lived in the house at the back between 1650 and 1654; his widow, for a year in 1659. George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle, the general who made possible the Restoration of the monarchy, lived there from 1660 until his death in 1671. Albemarle was First Commissioner of the Great Treasury Commission of 1667-1672 that transformed royal accounting and allowed the Sovereign greater control over expenses. These measures also laid the foundations for the legal authority of the office of First Lord of the Treasury. The man thought to be most responsible for developing these measures was Albemarle's Secretary, Sir George Downing. Albemarle is the first person associated with the Treasury to live in what would eventually become the modern home of the First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister. Oliver Cromwell (April 25, 1599–September 3, 1658) was an English military and political leader best known for making England a republic and leading the Commonwealth of England. ... George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle by Sir Peter Lely, painted 1665–1666. ... Sir George Downing, 1st Baronet (c. ...


After Albemarle's death, the Prince of Orange, later William III of England, probably lived in the house at the back for a short time while visiting his uncle, Charles II. In the spring of 1671, George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, took possession when he became a leading member of the Cabal Ministry. Buckingham rebuilt most of it at considerable government expense. The result was a spectacular, spacious mansion, lying parallel to Whitehall Palace. From its secluded ornamental garden there was a full view of St. James's Park where deer grazed and noble men and women strolled on paths adorned with sculpture. Prince of Orange is a title of nobility, originally associated with the principality of Orange in southern France. ... William III of England (The Hague, 14 November 1650 – Kensington Palace, 8 March 1702; also known as William II of Scotland and William III of Orange) was a Dutch aristocrat and a Protestant Prince of Orange from his birth, Stadtholder of the main provinces of the Dutch Republic from 28... Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was the King of England, King of Scots, and King of Ireland from 30 January 1649 (de jure) or 29 May 1660 (de facto) until his death. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


After Buckingham retired in 1676, Lady Charlotte Fitzroy, Charles II's illegitimate twelve-year-old daughter, moved in when she married the Earl of Lichfield, Master of the Horse. In preparation for the new tenant, the Crown authorized extensive rebuilding once again. This work included widening the garden and adding a storey, giving the house three main floors, plus an attic and basement. The resulting mansion, which became known as Litchfield House, can still be seen today as the rear section of Number Ten. Charlotte Fitzroy (September 5, 1664 _ February 17, 1718) was the daughter of Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine and Charles II. Charlotte was married to Sir Edward Lee at the age of 9. ... The Earl of Lichfield is a title originally created in the peerage of England that has twice become extinct and was recreated in the peerage of the United Kingdom. ... The Master of the Horse was (and in some cases, is) a historical position of varying importance in several European nations. ...


Why such extensive rebuilding was necessary is a puzzle. Possibly there was a fire, but the most likely explanation is that the house had settled, causing structural damage. Westminster was once a swamp and buildings in the area require deep foundation pilings to avoid structural damage from settling. At this time, the house at the back rested on a shallow foundation, a design error that would cause problems until 1960 when the modern Ten Downing Street was rebuilt on a foundation set on deep pilings.


Charlotte and her family followed James II into exile after the Glorious Revolution. In 1690, the new King and Queen offered the house to Hendrik Van Nassau-Ouwerkerk, a Dutch aristocrat who had assisted William of Orange in securing the Crown jointly for himself and his wife, Mary Stuart. Also a Master of the Horse, Nassau anglicized his name to Overkirk, and lived in the house at the back until his death in 1708. The Revolution of 1688, commonly known as the Glorious Revolution, was the overthrow of James II of England in 1688 by a union of Parliamentarians and the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange). ... Hendrik van Nassau-Ouwerkerk (The Hague, 16 December 1640 – Roeselare, 18 October 1708), lord of Ouwerkerk and Woudenberg was a Dutch military. ... William III of England (The Hague, 14 November 1650 – Kensington Palace, 8 March 1702; also known as William II of Scotland and William III of Orange) was a Dutch aristocrat and a Protestant Prince of Orange from his birth, Stadtholder of the main provinces of the Dutch Republic from 28... Mary Stuart may refer to: Mary I of Scotland Mary Stuart (actress), an American actress, most known for her 35-year role on Search for Tomorrow Mary Stuart (singer), a singer Mary Stuart (infant), a daughter of James I who died in 1607 aged 2 Mary II of England and...


The house reverted to the Crown upon Nassau's widow's death in 1720, and the Treasury issued an order "for repairing and fitting it up in the best and most substantial manner" at a cost of £2,522, a very large sum at the time. The work included: "The Back passage into Downing street to be repaired and a new door; a New Necessary House to be made; To take down the Useless passage formerly made for the Maids of Honour to go into Downing Street, when the Queen lived at the Cockpit; To New Cast a great Lead Cistern & pipes and to lay the Water into the house & a new frame for ye Cistern."


These repairs completed, Johann Caspar von Bothmar, Count Bothmar, envoy from Hanover and advisor to George I and II, took up residency. Although Count Bothmar complained bitterly about "the ruinous Condition of the Premises", he lived there until his death in 1732.


For more information on 10 Downing Street before 1730 please visit the official website.


The First Lord's house: 1733-1735

King George II wanted to give Ten Downing Street and "the house at the back" to Sir Robert Walpole (considered to be the first Prime Minister) as a personal gift for his services to the Crown. Walpole accepted only on the condition that the gift be to the office of First Lord of the Treasury rather than to himself personally.

When Count Bothmar died, ownership of the house at the back reverted to the Crown. George II took this opportunity to offer it to Sir Robert Walpole as a gift for his extraordinary services over the previous years. Coincidentally, the King had also obtained the leases on stables and two properties on Downing Street, one of which was Number Ten, and added these to his proposed gift. Download high resolution version (434x601, 26 KB)Robert Walpole This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (434x601, 26 KB)Robert Walpole This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ...


Walpole did not want to accept the gift for himself. Shrewd and wealthy, he, perhaps, did not want to burden himself by adding to his extensive holdings. Or, perhaps, he knew the houses were built on soft soil and would be expensive to maintain. At the same time, he probably did not want to offend the King by refusing the gift outright. Whatever his motivations, Walpole proposed - and the King agreed - that the Crown give the properties to the Office of First Lord of the Treasury. Walpole would live there as the incumbent First Lord, but would vacate it for the next one.


The arrangement made, Walpole set about uniting the properties. Wanting to extend the new house as far as the passage to the east, Walpole persuaded Mr Chicken, the tenant of the small house next door, to move to another house in Downing Street. Mr Chicken's former residence, the stables and the house at the back were then incorporated into Number 10.


Walpole commissioned William Kent to join the structures. Kent's plan was a masterpiece. He joined the two larger houses by building a two-story structure on part of the space between them, consisting of a long room on the ground floor and several rooms above. The remaining space was converted into a courtyard. He then connected the Downing Street houses with a corridor, now called the Treasury Passage. William Kent William Kent (born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, c. ...


Having joined the houses, Kent then gutted them: tearing down walls, ripping up floors, removing staircases, and dismantling fireplaces. Craftsmen created a handsome stone triple staircase in the main section of the original Number Ten. With an iron balustrade embellished with a scroll design and mahogany handrail, it rose from the garden floor to the first floor. For over two hundred years, Kent's staircase was the first architectural feature visitors saw as they entered 10 Downing Street. Portraits of all the Prime Ministers from Sir Robert Walpole decorated the wall going up its side. In the 1960 restoration, Kent's staircase was moved to the back of the house and a new one with no visible supports was installed. The Prime Ministers' portraits still decorate the wall going up.


Kent left the house at the back with three floors of living space but surmounted its central section with a pediment. To allow Walpole quicker access to the House of Commons, he walled up its north side entrance from St. James's Park, and made the door on Downing Street the entrance to the new enlarged house.


The redesign and rebuilding took two years. On September 23, 1735, the London Daily Post announced that Walpole had moved into Number Ten: “Yesterday, the Right Hon. Sir Robert Walpole, with his Lady and Family moved from their House in St James’s Square, to his new House adjoining to the Treasury in St James’s Park.” September 23 is the 266th day of the year (267th in leap years). ... Events April 16 - The London premiere of Alcina by George Frideric Handel, his first the first Italian opera for the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. ...


The Walpole family did not enter through the door that is now so famous. That would be installed forty years later. However, Kent's door was also modest, belying the spacious elegance beyond. The Walpole family's new, albeit temporary, home had sixty substantial rooms, decorated with hardwood and marble floors, crown moulding, elegant pillars and marble mantelpieces. Kent's sketches show seven main rooms on the ground floor and the first floor, all with beautiful views of either the garden or St. James's Park. The largest was made into a study for Walpole, measuring forty feet by twenty with enormous windows. The room was and still is magnificent; its impressive size is easily seen in many paintings and photographs. "My Lord's Study" (as Kent labelled it in his drawings) would later be famous as the Cabinet room where Prime Ministers meet with their subordinate ministers. A portrait of Walpole hangs over the fireplace behind the Prime Minister’s chair; it is the only picture in the room.[1]


After moving in, Walpole ordered that a portion of the land outside his study to be converted into a garden. Letters patent issued in April 1736 state that: "... a piece of garden ground situated in his Majesty's park of St. James's, & belonging & adjoining to the house now inhabited by the Right Honorable the Chancellor of His Majesty's Exchequer, hath been lately made & fitted up at the Charge … of the Crown". The same document confirmed that Number Ten Downing Street was: "meant to be annexed & united to the Office of his Majesty's Treasury & to be & to remain for the Use & Habitation of the first Commissioner of his Majesty's Treasury for the time being." Thus it was stated in writing that the First Lord of the Treasury had an official home.


For more information on 10 Downing Street, 1730-1742 please visit the official website.


"My vast, awkward house": 1735-1805

William Pitt the Younger lived in 10 Downing Street for nineteen years, longer than any other Prime Minister before or since. In a letter to his mother, Pitt called No 10 his "vast, awkward house".
William Pitt the Younger lived in 10 Downing Street for nineteen years, longer than any other Prime Minister before or since. In a letter to his mother, Pitt called No 10 his "vast, awkward house".

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, 10 Downing Street was generally seen as a small, unimpressive, mediocre building that was far below the quality and standard possessed by leader peers. William Pitt lived in Number Ten Downing Street for more than nineteen years, longer than any other minister of the Crown, either before or after him. He lived there for three months as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1783, and then a total of nineteen years as Prime Minister from 1783 to 1802 and 1804 to 1806. Download high resolution version (421x721, 84 KB)William Pitt the Younger (May 28, 1759 - January 23, 1806) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (421x721, 84 KB)William Pitt the Younger (May 28, 1759 - January 23, 1806) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... William Pitt the Younger (28 May 1759 – 23 January 1806) was a British politician of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. ... William Pitt could refer to: William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham; Prime Minister of Great Britain 1766-1768; often known as William Pitt the Elder William Pitt the Younger; his son; Prime Minister of Great Britain (1783-1801) and (1804-1806) William Pitt, Comptroller of the Household to King James...


By the time Pitt moved into Downing Street, the exterior of the house looked much like it does today, due to extensive work done on it over a period of years beginning in 1766. At that time, Pitt's father was Prime Minister, but the house was occupied by Charles Townsend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Before moving in, Townsend pointed out that the house was in a dreadfully dilapidated condition and needed a great deal of repair. On his instructions, architects conducted a survey of Downing Street and the results were forwarded in a letter to the Treasury:


"... we have caused the House in Downing Street belonging to the Treasury to be surveyed, & find the Walls of the old part of the said House next the street to be much decayed, the Floors & Chimneys much sunk from the level & no party Wall between the House adjoining on the Westside ... We have therefore made a plan & Estimate for taking down the Front next the street & also the East Flank Wall of the Hall, to build a party Wall on the Westside to prevent danger of Fire, to repair the remaining part of the Old Building & to Erect an additional Building adjoining thereto. All which Works ... will Amount to the sum of Nine hundred & Fifty pounds."


It is surprising that such extensive repairs and rebuilding were necessary since it had only been thirty years since the three houses forming Number Ten had been completely reconstructed by Kent for Walpole. The letter suggests that the damage was caused by the ever-present, shallow foundations, especially the one under the house at the front built by Downing, which was by this time over eighty years old.


Townsend's reconstruction was begun almost immediately, and continued while he and his family occupied the house. But, inexplicably, it appears to have taken many years to complete. A note from Lord North to the Office of Works, dated September 1774, asks that the work on the front of the house, "which was begun by a Warrant from the Treasury dated August 9, 1766", should be finished. The Ministry of Works was a department of the UK Government formed in 1943 to organise the requisitioning of property for wartime use. ...


The entrance from Downing Street was rebuilt during this period. Executed in the elegant Georgian style by the architect Kenton Couse, it was probably completed by 1772. Knowing the momentous discussions which had already taken place within the walls of the house, its facade was a masterpiece of English understatement. Unassuming and narrow, it consists of a single step made of white stone leading to a modest brick frontage. The small, six-panelled door, made of black oak, is surrounded by cream-coloured casing and adorned above with an attractive semicircular fanlight window. Painted in white in the centre of the door, between the top and middle sets of panels, is the number "10"; between the two middle panels is a black iron knocker in the shape of a lion's head; and just below the knocker is a brass letter box with the inscription "First Lord of the Treasury". A black ironwork fence with spiked newel posts runs along the front of the house and up each side of the step to the door. The fence rises above the step into a double-swirled archway, supporting an iron gas lamp surmounted by a crown. Beyond the door, Couse installed in the entrance hall black and white marble tiles, still in use. At the same time, he also added the large bow front to the small house on the Whitehall side, incorporated in Walpole's time. Kenton Couse (1721 – 10 October 1790) was an English architect and Secretary to the Board of Works from 1775 to 1782. ...


Only seventeen years had elapsed since the very substantial alterations had been begun for the Townsends, but it had been left incomplete. At the end of August 1783, the Duke of Portland moved out of Downing Street because it was in need of repair. This new need for attention became apparent in 1781. In March of the following year a committee consisting of North and others after inspecting the condition of the house, found that the money spent so far was insufficient and considered a statement from the Board of Works, declaring that "the Repairs, Alterations & Additions at the Chancellor of the Exchequer's House will amount to the sum of £5,580, exclusive of the sum for which they already have His Majesty's Warrant. And praying a Warrant for the said sum of £5,580 - and also praying an Imprest of that sum to enable them to pay the Workmen."


This was just before Pitt moved into Downing Street as Chancellor of the Exchequer. The work was apparently still in progress when Pitt took up residence, which may explain his choice of words in a letter to his mother that he had, "settled ... in part of my vast, awkward house." It seems not to have been satisfactorily completed by the time Portland moved in, for on April 15th, 1783, a very few weeks before his first big dinner, it is recorded: "Mr Couse reported that having been directed to go over the House in Downing Street he had caused an Estimate to be made for sundry Works desired to be done by the Duchess of Portland."


But it was not until August that the repairs were begun. On August 8, "Sir William Chambers Recd a Letter from Mr Beirne, private secretary to the Duke of Portland, relative to Painting, &c, the House in Downing Street.". Later that month, it was announced in the press that, "The Duke of Portland is removed to Burlington House, where his Grace will reside while his house in Downing Street is repairing."


In addition to the repairs required, elaborate alterations were undertaken. The Cabinet Room, for example, was extended, giving it its modern appearance. This was achieved by removing the east wall and rebuilding it several feet inside the adjoining secretaries' room. The secretary's room became smaller with its fireplace out of centre. At the entrance to the Cabinet room a screen of coupled Corinthian columns (four in all) was erected. They supported a moulded entablature, which is continued round the room. Similarly, the large drawing room on the floor above - the corner room adjoining Kent's Treasury building, and looking out on to the Horse Guards Parade - was enlarged by replacing the south wall with a screen of two ionic columns. At the same time, the pediment on the Horse Guards front was removed and a plain parapet erected. Robert Taylor was the architect to whom this work was entrusted; he was knighted on its completion.


As quoted in Cleland's Memoirs of Pitt, "... the expense of repairing the house in Downing Street, in which he had the honour to be lodged for a few months . . . had but a year or two before he came into office, cost the public £10,000 and upwards; and for the seven years preceding that repair, the annual expenses had been little less than £500. The alterations that had cost £10,000 he stated to consist of a new kitchen and offices, extremely convenient, with several comfortable lodging rooms; and he observed, that a great part of the cost, he had understood, was occasioned by the foundations of the house proving bad."


Four days later, on June 21st, the Morning Herald commented: "£500 pounds p.a. preceding the Great Repair, and £11,000 the Great Repair itself! So much has this extraordinary edifice cost the country – for one moiety of the sum a much better dwelling might have been purchased."


For more information on 10 Downing Street, 1742-1806 please visit the official website.


"My Lone, Rambling House": 1806 - 1902

At this time a number of prominent Prime Ministers, notably the Duke of Wellington, chose to live in their rather more spacious and grand personal London residences, giving Number 10 over to be used by some more junior official. Between 1742 and 1780, only two Prime Ministers (Lord Grenville and Lord North) actually lived in Ten Downing Street. After 1834, no Prime Minister lived there until Benjamin Disraeli moved into it in 1877. Indeed, for thirty years, between 1847 and 1877, the residential area was vacant. Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (c. ... Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (December 21, 1804 - April 24, British Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and author. ...

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Prime Minister (1828-1830), for 7 months, refused to live in Number 10 because it was too small
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Prime Minister (1828-1830), for 7 months, refused to live in Number 10 because it was too small

It was Disraeli who renewed the association of Ten Downing Street with the First Lord of the Treasury. When he became Prime Minister, he at first saw no need to move into Number Ten. However, two years later during the Middle East crisis, Disraeli, seventy-two years old and crippled with gout, found it impossible any longer to walk even the short distance from Whitehall Gardens to Downing Street for the heated Cabinet discussions. He wrote to a friend that "I have been very ill and continue very ill, and am quite incapable of walking upstairs; gout and bronchitis have ended in asthma ... Sometimes I am obliged to sit up all night, and want of sleep at last breaks me down ... I have managed to attend every Cabinet, but I can't walk at present from Whitehall to Downing Street, but am obliged to brougham even that step, which I once could have repeated fifty times a day." Image File history File links 1st duke of Wellington unofficial photo of part of a painting on display in the Duke of Wellingtons Regimental Headquarters. ... Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (c. ... The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is, in practice, the political leader of the United Kingdom. ... A handicap may refer to several different things, depending on context: Handicapped is an adjective meaning disabled. ...


In November 1877, Disraeli took up his residence at Number 10, the first time it had been used as a Prime Minister's residence since Peel left it thirty years before. In anticipation that Disraeli might decide to move in, the upper rooms had been opened and aired, and the decorators had been called in several months before to prepare estimates. Their estimate for doing just the large drawing room, described as "The Reception Room for Lord Beaconsfield", alarmed the Treasury. The cost of painting the ceiling in a plain colour, for decorating the walls and inserting handsome paper in the panels, and picking out the cornice in tints and gold came in all to £782 for the one room. The cost of a new gate and tiles alone was £40. An immediate letter from the Treasury, dated November 21, 1876, stated:

My Lords trust that every effort will be made to confine the expenditure within narrow limits, as they should regret to see any greater outlay incurred than is absolutely essential for placing the room in a condition appropriate to the uses for which it is designed. Beyond this they could not consent to go, as it would injudicious to spend any large amount upon so old a house and one in which the approaches and other arrangements are so decidedly defective. They should hope that the Estimate now submitted might yet be found susceptible for reduction.

The final cost was discounted £200 off the original estimate. But then there was the question of furniture for the room. Disraeli insisted that the Treasury should purchase all the furniture required. He pointed out that this had been the practice next door at No. 11, the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for a quarter of a century. Indeed, a quarrel between Disraeli and Gladstone more than twenty years before had brought about this change at No. 11. Previously, each new Chancellor of the Exchequer had been required to purchase the furniture from the outgoing tenant. Gladstone, on taking over from Disraeli in 1853, declined to do this, and asked the Board of Works to buy it instead - at least the furniture used for official business. Although Disraeli agreed in principle, he insisted that the old agreement "as between gentlemen" be observed for the present; the new arrangement would take affect with the next transfer. An acrimonious correspondence followed. On that occasion, Gladstone prevailed, and the furniture was purchased by the state. To prevent future disputes, a Treasury memo clearly defined the degree of responsibility of the outgoing and incoming tenant.

Disraeli and Queen Victoria.
Disraeli and Queen Victoria.

Now the tables were turned, and it was Disraeli who prevailed. A practice similar to the one used for the tenant of No. 11 was now developed for the tenant of No. 10, the Prime Minister. A Treasury memo (dated May 30, 1878) defined as public places the entrance hall, staircase and first floor rooms (including the Cabinet room), and specified that these should be furnished at the state's expense. All other areas of the house were defined as private, and the furnishings in them purchased by the new Prime Minister through a process of debiting and crediting. When a new Prime Minister moved in, an inventory would be taken of the furniture already there, together with an estimate of its value. To this list would be added first the cost of any additional furniture requested by the new occupant; and, second the cost of repairs made to furniture during his occupancy. On leaving, the outgoing Prime Minister would then pay for wear and tear, determined by subtracting the value of the furniture at that time from the initial total. Queen Victoria and Benjamin Disraeli File links The following pages link to this file: Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield British Empire New Imperialism Theories of New Imperialism User:Mackensen/Benjamin Disraeli Categories: Public domain images ... Queen Victoria and Benjamin Disraeli File links The following pages link to this file: Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield British Empire New Imperialism Theories of New Imperialism User:Mackensen/Benjamin Disraeli Categories: Public domain images ... Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837, and the first Empress of India from 1 May 1876, until her death on 22 January 1901. ...


This procedure was adhered to for almost twenty years, until November 1897. Since then, the state has maintained and renewed all furniture in No. 10, even in the residential rooms. Prime Ministers bring only their own personal items.


Having won the argument over who should pay to furnish the newly decorated main reception room, Disraeli spent the state's money lavishly on it. He selected an eighteen-piece silk upholstered suite of furniture - two sofas, four easy chairs, four high-backed chairs and eight small chairs - at a cost of £286 10s, together with matching silk curtains with cornices and valances for £145, three tables for £122, and two fine Axminster Persian carpets, a large one for the room itself and another for the hallway for £178. He also had carpenters install a partial three-foot parquet floor as decoration around the room for £50. Once again, the house became the Prime Minister's residence, and to commemorate the event, the Queen sent Disraeli bowls of primroses, his favourite flower, from her spring garden at Windsor.


But after thirty years of use as an office, Downing Street was in a sad state of disrepair. Some rooms were dilapidated, and Disraeli's private apartment was inadequate and in need of modernization. Disraeli quickly found that much more would need to be done to make the old place a home again, as it had been for the Younger Pitt and Peel. In August 1878, the Office of Works made a completed a new estimate and forwarded it to the Treasury requesting the expenditure of an additional £2,350 for installing hot and cold running water in Disraeli's dressing room, creating and furnishing a new drawing room, repairing the staircase and the Prime Minister's official room, bedroom and ante-room, and "painting, cleansing, (and) whitewashing" various offices. For another £30, Disraeli also purchased from Mr Richard Evens a brass candle chandelier for the drawing room to match the one already there.


During his last period in office, in 1881, William Gladstone, who was both Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister at the same time, claimed residence in all of numbers 10, 11 and 12 for himself and his family. William Ewart Gladstone (December 29, 1809 - May 19, 1898) was a British Liberal politician and Prime Minister (1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886 and 1892-1894). ...


Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister at the very beginning of the twentieth century, was the last Prime Minister not to be the First Lord of the Treasury. Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (February 3, 1830–August 22, 1903). ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s The 20th century lasted from 1901 to 2000 in the Gregorian calendar (often from (1900 to 1999 in common usage). ...


For more information on 10 Downing Street, 1807-1876 please visit the official website.


A Precious Jewel: 1902-present

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, Prime Minister, 1868; 1874-1880
William Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister, 1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, 1892-1894
William Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister, 1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, 1892-1894

Until the early 20th century, ministers of the Crown received only minimal pay and were expected to subsidize themselves through their own private wealth. Accordingly, numbers 10 and 11 were arranged as townhouses in which government ministers lived with their own servants. But when he became Prime Minister in the early 1920s, the first Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, lacking the wealth of former 'grandee' Prime Ministers, found himself moving into an almost unfurnished house, surrounded by household staff he could not afford, some of whom even earned more than he did. Download high resolution version (500x605, 87 KB) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (500x605, 87 KB) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (December 21, 1804 - April 24, British Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and author. ... William Ewart Gladstone This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... William Ewart Gladstone This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal Party statesman and Prime Minister (1868–1874, 1880–1885, 1886 and 1892–1894). ... Leinster House, 18th century Dublin townhouse of the Duke of Leinster. ... The Labour Party has been, since its founding in the early 20th century, the principal political party of the left in England, Scotland and Wales. ... James Ramsay MacDonald (12 October 1866 – 9 November 1937) was a British politician and three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ...


For more information on 10 Downing Street, 1877-1937 please visit the official website.


By the 1940s, economic and social changes led to major change in the use of 10 Downing Street. Instead of being a large residence run by servants, it became a working office, with the Prime Minister and his office relegated to a small flat created from the old servants' rooms at the top. The cramped nature of this flat and its location above what is now a busy office-complex, has led some Prime Ministers to live elsewhere. Some 19th and 20th century Prime Ministers owned larger and more impressive townhouses with servants and in reality lived in them. Harold Wilson lived in his own private home in Lord North Street during his second term as Prime Minister in 1974-76, but, with the assistance of the media, maintained the pretence of living at Number 10, secretly exiting by a side door to return to his real home after being photographed entering the front door. Other Prime Ministers lived in Admiralty House in the 1950s while Number 10 was undergoing rebuilding work, or in the 1990s following an IRA mortar attack. Leinster House, 18th century Dublin townhouse of the Duke of Leinster. ... A servant is a person who is hired to provide regular household or other duties, and receives compensation. ... James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, PC (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was one of the most prominent British politicians of the 20th century. ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Year 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the 1976 Gregorian calendar. ... Admiralty House in London was once the home of the First Sea Lord and staff. ... This article is about the historical army of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic (1919–1922) which fought in the Irish War of Independence 1919–21, and the Irish Civil War 1922–23. ...


For more information on 10 Downing Street during the war please visit the official website.


Similarly, after the 1997 General Election in which Labour took power, a swap was carried out by the present incumbents of the two titles. Tony Blair was a married man with three children still living at home, whilst his counterpart, Gordon Brown, was unmarried at the time of taking up his post. Thus, although Number 10 continued to be the Prime Minister's official residence and contained the prime ministerial offices, Blair and his family actually lived in the more spacious Number 11, while Brown lived in the more meagre apartments of Number 10. After Brown married and the Blairs had their fourth child, Brown moved out to his own private flat nearby and the Blair family occupied both. 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are up for election. ... The Labour Party has been, since its founding in the early 20th century, the principal political party of the left in England, Scotland and Wales. ... For other people of the same name, see Tony Blair (disambiguation) Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born May 6, 1953)[1] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Leader of the Labour Party, and Member of Parliament for the constituency... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


In reality, two and a half centuries of use as government residences has led to so much interlinking between the houses that it can be hard to know where one ends and the other one begins. The walls between not only the houses on Downing Street, but also the adjacent houses behind them on Horseguards Parade, have been knocked through and the buildings integrated. Horse Guards Parade, London Horse Guards Parade is a large parade ground off Whitehall in central London, at grid reference TQ299800. ...


In the 1950s, it became clear that No. 10 was in such a poor state of repair that it was in immediate danger of collapse. The pillars in the cabinet room that held the upper stories in place were themselves found to be held together by little more than two hundred years of layers of over painting and varnish, with the internal original wood having rotted away almost to dust. After considering demolishing the entire street, it was decided that, as occurred in the White House in the 1950s, the façade would be preserved while the interior would be gutted down to the foundations, and a copy of the original building erected using modern steel and concrete, over which furnishings of the original interior could be grafted. When builders examined the exterior façade, they discovered that the black colour visible even in the first photographs from the mid-nineteenth century was misleading – the bricks were actually yellow, the black look being a product of two centuries of severe pollution. It was decided to preserve the 'traditional' look of more recent times, so the newly cleaned yellow bricks were then painted black to resemble their well-known appearance. For other uses, see White House (disambiguation). ...


In a letter to Christopher Jones that he reproduced in his book No. 10 Downing Street, The Story of a House, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher summarized the feelings that she and many other British people have toward the house she lived in for eleven years from 1979 to 1990: “All Prime Ministers are intensely aware that, as tenants and stewards of No. 10 Downing Street, they have in their charge one of the most precious jewels in the nation's heritage."


For more information on 10 Downing Street, 1945 to present please visit the official website. You can also take a vitual tour of the building.


The Prime Minister's Office

The Prime Minister’s office, for which the terms "Downing Street" and "No. 10" are synonymous, lies within 10 Downing Street and is headed by a Chief of Staff and staffed by a mix of career civil servants and special advisors. It provides the Prime Minister with support and advice on policy, communications with parliament, government departments and public/media relations.

Pre-2001 organisation

  • The No. 10 Private Office (relations with parliament and Whitehall);
  • The No. 10 Press Office - The press office has grown in significance as media attention on the PM has intensified. Thatcher’s press officer Bernard Ingham was one of her most important advisors. Alastair Campbell’s influence as Blair’s press officer was even greater;
  • The No. 10 Policy Unit (advice on strategic issues and detailed questions of policy);
  • The No. 10 Political Office (liaised with the PM's party and constituency);
  • The No. 10 Appointments Office.

The office was reorganised in 2001 into 3 directories: Sir Bernard Ingham (born June 21, 1932) is a journalist best known as Margaret Thatchers former press secretary. ... Alastair Campbell Alastair John Campbell (born May 25, 1957) was the Director of Communications and Strategy for 10 Downing Street. ... The Number 10 Policy Unit was a body of political advisors and policy-makers in 10 Downing Street in the British government, until, as part of the fusion between the Cabinet Office and Number 10 after the General Election in 2001 it was merged with the Number 10 Private Office...

  • Policy and government
    Took over the functions of the Private office and policy unit. Prepares advice for the PM and coordinates development and implementation of policy across departments
  • Communication and strategy, contains 3 units:
    • Press office: responsible for relations with the media
    • Strategic communications unit
    • Research and information unit: provides factual information to No. 10
  • Government and political relations: Handles party/public relations

Changes were intended to strengthen the PM’s office. However, some commentators have suggested that Blair’s reforms have created something similar to a ‘Prime Ministers' department.’ The reorganisation brought about the fusion of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Office- a number of units within the Cabinet Office are directly responsible to the Prime Minister.


The Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister (currently Oliver Robbins) was formerly head of the Prime Minister's Office. It is now headed by the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff (Jonathan Powell). With the exception of the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, and the Director of Political Operations (John McTernan), who are political appointees, all are civil servants. The former head of the Prime Ministers Office and now subordinate to the Prime Ministers Chief of Staff (Jonathan Powell), is a senior official of the British Civil Service. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) is a junior role given to a United Kingdom Member of Parliament (MP). ... John McTernan is the Director of Political Operations at Number 10 Downing Street. ...


Security

Heavy security measures are present, if not always visible. A police officer traditionally stands outside the black front door of Number 10 — a door which has no keyhole on the outside; it can only be opened from the inside. A security guard is on permanent duty on the other side of the front door, so there is always someone there to open it for the Prime Minister — no matter how early or late he should return home. Gates were installed at both ends of the street during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher. People are still allowed access to the street, providing prior security checks are run and they adhere to certain protocol. The gated entrance holds a box where several uniformed heavily armed police stand guard. The Metropolitan Police Force's DPG (Diplomatic Protection Group) provides protection for ministers in London, acting on the Security Service's intelligence. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC (born October 13, 1925), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in office from 1979 to 1990. ... The Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG or SO16, from its Specialist Operations designation) is a branch of the London Metropolitan Police which provides protection and support to members of the Diplomatic Community and members of HM Government. ...


More covert security measures exist, for example plain-clothed armed police along the roofline of the street and in the vicinity of Whitehall itself. A bunker linked to other government/transport amenities has been suggested to exist under the street, but this has neither been officially confirmed nor denied.


The most serious breach of security occurred on February 7, 1991, when the Provisional IRA used a white van parked in Whitehall to launch a mortar shell. This exploded in the back garden of 10 Downing Street, blowing in all the windows of the cabinet room while then-Prime Minister John Major was leading a session of the Cabinet. Major moved to Admiralty House while repairs were completed. February 7 is the 38th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) is a paramilitary group which aimed, through the use of violence, to achieve three goals: (i) British withdrawal from Ireland, (ii) the political unification of Ireland through the merger of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland , and (iii) the creation of an all... Whitehall, London, looking south towards the Houses of Parliament. ... Sir John Major, KG, CH, PC (born 29 March 1943) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the British Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. ... In the Politics of the United Kingdom, the Cabinet is a formal body comprised of government officials chosen by the Prime Minister. ... Admiralty House in London was once the home of the First Sea Lord and staff. ...


Media relations

Daily press briefings are currently given by the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) from Number 10. These are published on the Downing Street website and amplified at DowningStreetSays.org (see external links).


Residents of Ten Downing Street and The House at the Back (1650-present)

Prime Ministers are indicated in bold.

NAME(S) OF RESIDENT(S) OFFICE(S) HELD WHILE IN RESIDENCE (IF ANY) YEAR(S) IN RESIDENCE
The House at the Back: Before 1733
Oliver Cromwell Lord Protector 1650-1654
George Monck, Duke of Albemarle First Commissioner of the Treasury 1660-1671
William, Prince of Orange (future King William III of England) *** 1671 (probably 4 months)
George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham Member of the Cabal Ministry 1671-1676
Earl of Lichfield Master of the Horse 1677-1688
Henry Nassau, Lord Overkirk (formerly Auverquerque) Master of the Horse 1690-1708
Frances Nassau, Lady Overkirk None 1708-1720
Johann Caspar von Bothmar, Count Bothmar Envoy from Hanover; advisor to George I and George II 1720-1732
Ten Downing Street: Before 1733
The Countess of Yarmouth * 1688-1689
Lord Lansdowne * 1692-1696
Earl of Grantham * 1699-1703
Ten Downing Street, including the House at the Back: 1735 and After
Between 1733 and 1735, the architect William Kent, under a commission from Sir Robert Walpole, combined Litchfield House and Ten Downing Street into one house known since as Number Ten Downing Street, officially the residence of the First Lord of the Treasury.
Sir Robert Walpole First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1735-1742
Samuel Sandys, later Baron Sandys Chancellor of the Exchequer 1742-1743
Lord Sandys *** 1743-1744
Earl of Lincoln *** 1745-1753
Lewis Watson *** 1753-1754
Henry Bilson-Legge Chancellor of the Exchequer 1754-1761
Thomas Pelham-Holles *** 1762
Sir Francis Dashwood Chancellor of the Exchequer 1762-1763
George Grenville First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer 1763-1765
William Dowdeswell Chancellor of the Exchequer 1765-1766
During 1766, the house underwent extensive repairs and reconstruction.
Charles Townsend Chancellor of the Exchequer 1766-1767
Frederick North, Lord North Chancellor of the Exchequer 1767-1770
Frederick North, Lord North First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1770-1782
Sir John Cavendish (doubtful) Chancellor of the Exchequer 1782
William Pitt the Younger Chancellor of the Exchequer 1782-1783
William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland First Lord of the Treasury 1783
During 1783, Ten Downing Street again underwent extensive repairs and alterations.
William Pitt the Younger First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1783-1801
Henry Addington First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1801-1804
William Pitt the Younger First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1804-1806
William Pitt lived in Ten Downing Street for a total of twenty years, more than any Prime Minister before or since. This long residency helped to establish an association in the public mind between the house and the office.
William Wyndham Grenville, Lord Grenville First Lord of the Treasury 1806-1807
William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland First Lord of the Treasury 1807
Spencer Percival Chancellor of the Exchequer 1807-1809
Spencer Percival First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1809-1812
Charles Arbuthnot * 1810
Nicholas Vansittart Chancellor of the Exchequer 1812-1823
Frederick John Robinson Chancellor of the Exchequer 1823-1827
George Canning First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1827-1828
Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich First Lord of the Treasury 1827-1828
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington First Lord of the Treasury 1828-1830
For the first seven months of his ministry, Wellington refused to live in Ten Downing Street because he thought it too small. He relented and moved in only because his home, Apsley House, required extensive repairs. He returned to Apsley House eighteen months later.
Earl of Bathurst Lord President of the Council 1830
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey First Lord of the Treasury 1830-1834
Sir Thomas Freemantle Secretary to Sir Robert Peel 1835
The residential part of Ten Downing Street was vacant for three years from 1835-1838 during the Melbourne Ministry.
The Hon William Cowper and G. E. Anson Junior Lords of the Treasury (?) 1838
G. E. Anson Junior Lord of the Treasury 1839-1840
Edward Drummond * 1842
Edward Drummond and W. H. Stephenson * 1843
W. H. Stephenson and George Arbuthnot * 1844-1846
George Keppel, Charles Grey, and R.W. Grey * 1847
The residential part of Ten Downing Street was vacant for the next thirty years and the house was used only for Cabinet meetings and office space.
In 1877, Disraeli ordered extensive repairs and redecorating of Ten Downing Street so that he could live there. Gladstone, during his 1880-1885 ministry, ordered still more repairs and redecorations so that he could live there. Widely reported in the penny press and magazines like Punch, the colourful rivalry between Disraeli and Gladstone before and during these years firmly established Ten Downing Street as the symbol of British executive power.
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield First Lord of the Treasury 1877-1880
William Ewart Gladstone First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1880-1885
Sir Stafford Northcote First Lord of the Treasury 1885-1886
William Ewart Gladstone First Lord of the Treasury 1886
Lord Salisbury First Lord of the Treasury 1886-1887
William Henry Smith First Lord of the Treasury 1887-1891
Arthur Balfour First Lord of the Treasury 1891-1892
William Ewart Gladstone First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Privy Seal 1892-1894
Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery First Lord of the Treasury, Lord President of the Council 1894-1895
Arthur Balfour First Lord of the Treasury, Leader of the House of Commons 1895-1902
Since 1902, every Prime Minister has officially resided in Ten Downing Street although several actually lived elsewhere as noted below. Also, since then, all have held the official legal office of First Lord of the Treasury; none have held the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer whilst PM as was often the case previously, with the exception of Stanley Baldwin between May and August 1923.
Arthur Balfour First Lord of the Treasury 1902-1905
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman First Lord of the Treasury 1905-1907
Herbert Henry Asquith First Lord of the Treasury (and Secretary for War January-August 1914) 1907-1916
David Lloyd George First Lord of the Treasury 1916-1922
Andrew Bonar Law First Lord of the Treasury 1922-1923
Stanley Baldwin First Lord of the Treasury (and Chancellor of the Exchequer May-August 1923) 1923-1924
James Ramsay MacDonald First Lord of the Treasury and Foreign Secretary 1924
Stanley Baldwin First Lord of the Treasury 1924-1929
James Ramsay MacDonald First Lord of the Treasury 1929-1935
Stanley Baldwin First Lord of the Treasury 1935-1937
Neville Chamberlain First Lord of the Treasury 1937-1940
Winston Churchill First Lord of the Treasury, Minister of Defence 1940-1945
For his safety, Churchill lived in the heavily bunkered Annex of Number Ten during most of World War II. However, he did insist on using Number Ten for work and dining.
Clement Attlee First Lord of the Treasury 1945-1951
Sir Winston Churchill First Lord of the Treasury 1951-1955
Sir Anthony Eden First Lord of the Treasury 1955-1956
Harold Macmillan First Lord of the Treasury 1957-1960
Macmillan lived in Admiralty House from 1960-1964 while Number Ten was restored. Completely gutted and rebuilt, only the facade is now original.
Sir Alec Douglas-Home First Lord of the Treasury 1964
Harold Wilson First Lord of the Treasury 1964-1970
Edward Heath First Lord of the Treasury 1970-1974
Harold Wilson First Lord of the Treasury 1974-1976
During his second ministry, Wilson maintained the public illusion of living in Ten Downing Street even though he actually lived in his house in Lord North Street.
James Callaghan First Lord of the Treasury 1976-1979
Margaret Thatcher First Lord of the Treasury 1979-1990
John Major First Lord of the Treasury 1990-1997
In 1991, The Provisional IRA launched a mortar bomb at Ten Downing Street, blowing out windows and leaving a large crater in the back yard. Major vacated the house during repairs.
Tony Blair First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service 1997-present

To find out more about Prime Ministers in history, visit the official website. Oliver Cromwell (April 25, 1599–September 3, 1658) was an English military and political leader best known for making England a republic and leading the Commonwealth of England. ... George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle by Sir Peter Lely, painted 1665–1666. ... William III of England (The Hague, 14 November 1650 – Kensington Palace, 8 March 1702; also known as William II of Scotland and William III of Orange) was a Dutch aristocrat and a Protestant Prince of Orange from his birth, Stadtholder of the main provinces of the Dutch Republic from 28... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Earl of Lichfield is a title originally created in the peerage of England that has twice become extinct and was recreated in the peerage of the United Kingdom. ... Henry Nassau (1640–18 October 1708) was a second cousin of King William III of England and the Master of the Horse. ... Henry Nassau (1640–18 October 1708) was a second cousin of King William III of England and the Master of the Horse. ... George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne (1666– 1735) served as a Privy Counsellor from 1712. ... Henry Nassau dAuverquerque, 1st Earl of Grantham, PC (1673 – December 5, 1754) was second cousin, once removed of King William III of Orange. ... The Right Honourable Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745), usually known as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. ... Samuel Sandys, 1st Baron Sandys (1695-1770) was a British politician in the 18th century. ... Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, KG, PC (16 April 1720 – 22 February 1794) was born in London, the second son of the 7th Earl of Lincoln. ... Henry Bilson-Legge (29 May 1708 - 23 August 1764) was an English statesman. ... Arms of Thomas Pelham-Holles Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme (July 21, 1693 – November 17, 1768) was a British Whig statesman, whose official life extended throughout the Whig supremacy of the 18th century. ... Francis Dashwood, 15th Baron le Despencer (December, 1708 - December 11, 1781) was an English rake and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1762-1763) and founder of The Hellfire Club. ... George Grenville (14 October 1712 – 13 November 1770) was a British Whig statesman who served in government for the relatively short period of seven years, reaching the position of Prime Minister of Great Britain. ... William Dowdeswell (1721 - February 6, 1775) was an English politician. ... There are a few people with the name Charles Townsend: Charles Champlain Townsend (1841-1910), U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania Charles Elroy Townsend (1856-1924), U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Michigan This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise... Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, KG, PC (13 April 1732 – 5 August 1792), more often known by his courtesy title, Lord North, which he used from 1752 until 1790, was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782, and a major actor in the American Revolution. ... Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, KG, PC (13 April 1732 – 5 August 1792), more often known by his courtesy title, Lord North, which he used from 1752 until 1790, was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782, and a major actor in the American Revolution. ... Lord John Cavendish (1734-1796) was an English politician. ... William Pitt the Younger (28 May 1759 – 23 January 1806) was a British politician of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. ... William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, (April 14, 1738 – October 30, 1809) was a British Whig and Tory statesman and Prime Minister. ... William Pitt the Younger (28 May 1759 – 23 January 1806) was a British politician of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. ... The Right Honourable Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, PC (30 May 1757–15 February 1844) was a British statesman, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1804. ... William Pitt the Younger (28 May 1759 – 23 January 1806) was a British politician of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. ... William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville (October 25, 1759 - January 12, 1834), was a British Whig statesman and Prime Minister. ... William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, (April 14, 1738 – October 30, 1809) was a British Whig and Tory statesman and Prime Minister. ... The Right Honourable Spencer Perceval (November 1, 1762 - May 11, 1812) was a British Statesman and Prime Minister. ... The Right Honourable Spencer Perceval (November 1, 1762 - May 11, 1812) was a British Statesman and Prime Minister. ... Charles Arbuthnot (1767-1850) was a British Tory politician. ... Nicholas Vansittart, 1st Baron Bexley (29 April 1766-8 February 1851), English politician, was the fifth son of Henry Vansittart (d. ... The Right Honourable Frederick John Robinson, 1st Earl of Ripon PC (November 1, 1782 – January 28, 1859), Frederick John Robinson until 1827, The Viscount Goderich 1827–1833, and The Earl of Ripon 1833 onwards, was a British statesman and Prime Minister (when he was known as Lord Goderich). ... George Canning (11 April 1770-8 August 1827) was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and, briefly, Prime Minister. ... The Right Honourable Frederick John Robinson, 1st Earl of Ripon PC (November 1, 1782 – January 28, 1859), Frederick John Robinson until 1827, The Viscount Goderich 1827–1833, and The Earl of Ripon 1833 onwards, was a British statesman and Prime Minister (when he was known as Lord Goderich). ... Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (c. ... Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst (22 May 1762 - 27 July 1834), the elder son of the second earl. ... The Right Honourable Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, KG, PC (13 March 1764–17 July 1845), known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was a British Whig statesman and Prime Minister. ... William Francis Cowper-Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple (December 13, 1811) - (October 16, 1888) was a British Liberal politician and statesman. ... Edward Drummond (1792–25 April 1843) was a civil servant and Personal Secretary to Robert Peel, the British Prime Minister. ... Edward Drummond (1792–25 April 1843) was a civil servant and Personal Secretary to Robert Peel, the British Prime Minister. ... For other people by the same name, see George Arbuthnot. ... General George Thomas Keppel, 6th Earl of Albemarle FGS, FSA (13 June 1799 – 21 February 1891) was a British soldier and politician. ... Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, KG, PC, FRS (December 21, 1804 – April 19, 1881), born Benjamin DIsraeli was a British Conservative statesman and literary figure. ... William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal Party statesman and Prime Minister (1868–1874, 1880–1885, 1886 and 1892–1894). ... The Rt Hon. ... William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal Party statesman and Prime Minister (1868–1874, 1880–1885, 1886 and 1892–1894). ... The best-known Lord Salisbury was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (1830–1903). ... The Rt Hon. ... Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG, OM, PC, (25 July 1848-19 March 1930) was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. ... William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal Party statesman and Prime Minister (1868–1874, 1880–1885, 1886 and 1892–1894). ... Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, KG, PC (7 May 1847 – 21 May 1929) was a British Liberal statesman and Prime Minister, also known as Archibald Primrose (1847-1851) and Lord Dalmeny (1851-1868). ... Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG, OM, PC, (25 July 1848-19 March 1930) was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. ... Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867 – 14 December 1947) was a British statesman and thrice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG, OM, PC, (25 July 1848-19 March 1930) was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. ... Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (7 September 1836 – 22 April 1908) , also known as Andie McDowell, was a British Liberal statesman who served as Prime Minister from December 5, 1905 until resigning due to ill health on April 3, 1908. ... Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC (12 September 1852 – 15 February 1928) served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916. ... David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor, OM, PC (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman who guided Britain and the British Empire through World War I and the postwar settlement as the Liberal Party Prime Minister, 1916-1922. ... Andrew Bonar Law (16 September 1858 – 30 October 1923) was a Conservative Party British statesman and Prime Minister. ... Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867 – 14 December 1947) was a British statesman and thrice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... James Ramsay MacDonald (12 October 1866 – 9 November 1937) was a British politician and three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867 – 14 December 1947) was a British statesman and thrice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... James Ramsay MacDonald (12 October 1866 – 9 November 1937) was a British politician and three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867 – 14 December 1947) was a British statesman and thrice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 – 9 November 1940), known as Neville Chamberlain, was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940. ... Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was an English statesman, soldier and author. ... Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC (3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1945 to 1951. ... Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was an English statesman, soldier and author. ... Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC (12 June 1897 – 14 January 1977) was a British politician who was Foreign Secretary for three periods between 1935 and 1955, including World War II and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1955 to 1957. ... Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986), was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963. ... Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home1, Baron Home of the Hirsel, KT, PC (July 2, 1903 – October 9, 1995), 14th Earl of Home from 1951 to 1963, was a British Conservative (actually SUP) politician, and served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for a year from October 1963 to October 1964. ... James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, PC (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was one of the most prominent British politicians of the 20th century. ... Sir Edward Richard George Heath, KG, OBE (9 July 1916 – 17 July 2005) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. ... James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, PC (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was one of the most prominent British politicians of the 20th century. ... Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, KG, PC (27 March 1912 – 26 March 2005), was Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979. ... Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC (born October 13, 1925), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in office from 1979 to 1990. ... Sir John Major, KG, CH, PC (born 29 March 1943) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the British Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. ... For other people of the same name, see Tony Blair (disambiguation) Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born May 6, 1953)[1] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Leader of the Labour Party, and Member of Parliament for the constituency...


References

  • No. 10 Downing Street: 1660-1900, Hector Bolitho, Hutchinson, 1957.
  • No 10 Downing Street: The Story of a House, Christopher Jones, The Leisure Circle, 1985.
  • No. 10 Downing Street: A House in History, R.J. Minney, Little, Brown and Company, 1963.

See also

  • Chequers - the Prime Minister's official country residence
  • Humphrey - a cat employed as a mouser at 10 Downing Street

Chequers, or Chequers Court, is a large house to the south east of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, England, that sits at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. ... Humphrey (c. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Super Mario Bros. ...

External links

  • Official website
    • Prime Ministers in History
    • History of the building
      • George Downing and his Street
      • The Prime Minister Moves In, 1730-42
      • Riots and Reform, 1742-1806
      • Death and Decay, 1807-76
      • Doing up Downing Street, 1877-1937
      • Number 10 at War
      • 1945 to the present
    • Virtual Tour of 10 Downing Street

Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Downing Street (255 words)
10 Downing Street is a historic building that is also a place of work for hundreds of people.
In this section we look at the history of the building and profile the famous faces who have called Downing Street home over the last three centuries.
For more than 250 years 10 Downing Street has been the centre of UK government.
10 Downing Street - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia (369 words)
The building follows other styles of housing built of the same period; it is a two up two down terraced house, which manages to squeeze in many pointless meeting rooms and offices, but there is a useful TV room and games room too.
This is why when carousing on the streets of London at night, Londoners and Londonettes must carry eurocrat repellent in order stave off the suprising advances of 10 Downing Street, which is known to attack unsuspecting pedestrians.
Gates are required at each end of the street to prevent certain members of the community with ASBO’s from entering, and leaving.
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