London Duck Tours can take you to the beating heart of the British Government! Just past the imposing black gates we see No.10 Downing Street, the official residence of our Prime Minister.
Handy location for work
In 1732, George II was looking for a modest London residence near to Westminster and Whitehall for his “First Lord of the Treasury” (aka The Prime Minister) Sir Robert Walpole. No. 10 Downing Street fitted the bill perfectly, and Sir Robert was the first PM to live at the address. Since then, the black fronted black doored townhouse been passed on from Prime Minister to Prime Minister as their official London pied a terre, although not all have chosen to actually move in. In the 1700s to 1900s several Prime Ministers shunned Downing Street and instead chose to remain in their spacious and remote county estates – far more likely when in the past the PM was often also a senior member of the aristocracy.
Roman Pottery, a Saxon era wooden hut and some remains from Whitehall Palace were discovered during extensive renovations to 10 Downing Street in the mid-1960s. What exactly they did build back then in the “lower levels” of Downing Street remains a state secret…but we’re thinking a very top secret hidden bunker with multiple secret tunnels would be a reasonable guess! Very James Bond…. London Duck Tours would love to have a tour of that location!
Love thy neighbour?
Next door, No.11 Downing Street was originally intended for The Home Secretary but since 1805 it’s always been home to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. No. 12 is home to the Party Whip. Unlike many of us, the Prime Minister can actually choose his neighbours are by hiring or firing who he or she wants to chat to over the garden wall!