Dover House

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Coordinates: 51°30′15″N 0°7′37″W / 51.50417°N 0.12694°W / 51.50417; -0.12694

Dover House

Dover House is a Grade I-listed mansion in Whitehall, and the London headquarters of the Scotland Office.


Dover House was designed by James Paine for Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh, Bart., MP, in the 1750s and remodelled by Henry Flitcroft, as "Montagu House", for George Montagu, created 1st Duke of Montagu, who had removed from Bloomsbury. It was refurbished once again, by Henry Holland for HRH The Prince Frederick, Duke of York, from 1788 to 1792. The building belonged to the Melbourne family from 1793 to 1830.

It has also been home to a French ambassador and Lady Caroline, with whom the romantic poet Lord Byron famously had an affair. Its most notable feature is an entrance hall in the form of a rotunda inserted into the former forecourt by Holland, which is a unique entrance to a London mansion. The last private owners were the family of the Whig politician George James Welbore Agar-Ellis, created (1831) Baron Dover, whose title it has retained.

Government use[edit]

The Agar-Ellis heirs owned Dover House from 1830 to 1885, when it became the Scottish Office, the UK government department responsible for Scottish affairs.

Although mostly used for the Scottish Office, this building was used by the Colonial Office from several years from 1941 onwards.[1] It was still in use by the Colonial Office when Zionist terrorists planted a bomb there in April 1947.[2]

When Scotland acquired a devolved parliament, the responsibilities of the Scottish Office were reduced and, in 1999, was renamed the Scotland Office with Dover House remaining as its chief London building. The Scotland Office also has a Scottish headquarters, on Melville Crescent in Edinburgh's New Town.

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact is also based at Dover House[3]

Rear of Dover House on Horse Guards Parade
Plans of basement and ground floor as initially built for Sir Matthew Featherstonehaugh, Bart. 
Entrance to the Scotland Office


  1. ^ Accommodation for Scottish Office, Glasgow Herald, 12 October 1946, page 4
  2. ^ Terror Through Time, Part 6 – The Murderous Mandate, BBC Radio 4, 1:45 PM, 14 October 2013
  3. ^ Contact ICAI


  • Stourton, James (2012). Great Houses of London (HARDBACK). London: Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-3366-9. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Dover House at Wikimedia Commons