The official home of the Prime Minister is one of the most famous addresses in the country and has become renowned worldwide. Every year, millions of visitors venture to Downing Street to snap a picture of the iconic black door.
A trip to the famous residential area is a great way to spend the morning before relaxing at The Piccadilly London West End Spa. Anyone interested in the history of London’s famous buildings and planning a trip to our West End Hotels London can learn more about 10 Downing Street by reading this in-depth guide.
The early years
The history of the famous 10 Downing Street address stretches back over 300 years and has been at the heart of political London for centuries. The address was initially three separate houses and was owned by the Royal Monarchy until King George II gifted it to Sir Robert Walpole in 1732 on the condition that it would be used from then on as the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury. It was around this time that Walpole organised the joining of the three houses into one, forming what we know today as 10 Downing Street.
Threats of demolition
Despite being such a large and conveniently located property, 10 Downing Street was not initially popular with Prime Ministers when it was first established. For long periods at a time, the property would be empty and gradually became dilapidated due to a lack of repairs and maintenance. In fact, the building was scheduled for demolition several times throughout its history but the plans were never carried out. It wasn’t until the 80s when Margret Thatcher took office that the address was established as a genuine London landmark.
A peek inside
The building itself consists of multiple floors and over 100 rooms. This is a surprising fact considering the modest appearance from the street. The third floor is where the official residence of the Prime Minister and his / her family is located. There is a large kitchen in the basement which employs a number of cooks and other staff. The majority of the rest of the house is made up of office space and conference rooms which are used to host Cabinet meetings and other important government events.
The main area associated with 10 Downing Street is the external street entrance which bears the iconic numbering but there is also a rear to the property which has a garden and internal courtyard. The specifics of the building’s layout are unknown and have been kept out of the public record for security reasons. There are many theories and myths about the exact layout with many people believing that there are secret rooms and passageways which have been added clandestinely over the years.
Some of the most iconic Prime Minister of modern history have called Number 10 home during their stint as leader of the UK including Tony Blair, Oliver Cromwell, Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson. There are centuries of history tied up in the famous house which is why so many visitors still go there on a daily basis.