Talk:10 Downing Street

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This may very well be an urban myth...[edit]

but I seem to remember reading that the ocupant of No 10 prior to it becoming the residence of the PM was a Mr Chicken or something of the sort - has anyone heard this?

I have found the site

Ten Downing Street is actually three houses combined in the early 1740's by William Kent under commission from Robert Walpole: two on Downing Street itself and Litchfiled HOuse (also known affectionately as "the house at the back) a mansion once owned and occupied by Lord Litchfield, Master of the Horse in the court of King James II. There was a small house next to Number Ten (I think it was the original Numebr Eleven). In the 1740's this house was occupied by a Mr Chicken. Walpole convinced Mr Chicken to relocate to another house in Downing Street so that he could impliment Kent's proposed fusion of this house with Numebr Ten and the House at the Back.

Please excuse my lousy spelling. This is my very first contribution to Wikipedia. I guess I was a little nervous. David

Posibly another Urban myth...[edit]

...but I read in the article on the Prime Minister that Mr Blair actually lives in NO. 11 as it is larger, while Mr. Brown occupies the residence in No 10. Any truth in this? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 11:53, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

It is true that the Blairs live in the flat above No. 11 and Gordon Brown lives at No. 10, although, of coure, the offices "downstairs" are still in the usual places. Blair needed a bigger flat to house his larger family. This is actually already in the current version of the article. It goes on to say that Blair now occupies both flats and Brown lives elsewhere, which I haven't heard before. JRawle (Talk) 18:13, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

A Question[edit]

Can anyone explain that what do the "*" and "***" indicate in the "Residents of Ten Downing Street & the House at the Back (1650-present)" section? Thanks.-- 05:55, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Oh dear...[edit]

I remember reading this article some time ago, and while it wasn't featured quality, I'm sure it was of a higher standard than the current mess. I've tagged the overview section for cleanup because it reads poorly, contains irrelevant material, and appears to be the work of someone unfamiliar with the topic who I do not feel has made sufficient efforts at research. I'm guessing from the tone and phrasing that a well-meaning American Anglophile has been at work here. Nothing wrong with that of course, but the quality is nowhere near up to the standard of Lord Emsworth's contributions, which are the Wikipedia benchmark. I'm not sure I want to read on to the rest of the article, but the other sections seem to have many problems too. For a start, it all reads like a tourist brochure. There are things that jump out at the reader, like the strangely-worded "Westminster borough of London". What's wrong with "City of Westminster", which is the usual way of referring to it? There's also an overuse of the word "British". I'm all for Wikipedia articles being written in an international context, but in this case it looks as if the article has been written by a foreign author for a foreign audience. There's no need for wording like "symbol of British executive power and the centre of the British government" or "Westminster Palace, home of the British bicameral legislature". Choice of words is odd throughout, such as "legislature" (sometimes capitalised, sometimes not), instead of just "Parliament". There are also irritating slips, such as calling Pitt the Younger "England's greatest Prime Minister". There's way too much irrelevant material, such as talk of Westminster's role as the seat of government over the centuries, which duplicates the Westminster article, and a massive over-emphasis on the monarchy. The meetings with the sovereign don't even take place in 10 Downing Street, so there's no need for a whole paragraph on this. This is only scratching the surface, I'm afraid. I don't like to undo people's efforts, but I am sorely tempted to revert to the version of 14 June which was much shorter, but much better. Any comments? 16:08, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes, the "overview" section is appalling now. Revert it. Morwen - Talk 08:32, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
This was the offending edit, someone has changed "center" to "centre" since. I guess we're just lucky it didn't proclaim it to be near the Thames River. Morwen - Talk 14:30, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I am wondering what these two armchair critics - one unsigned (of course) and the other "Morwen" - think of this article now. I can't help noticing that neither contributed anything of any real value to it either before these comments or in the two plus years since. It is always so much easier (and safer) to sit back and smugly criticize others who are trying to make a contribution than to actually "roll up your own sleeves" (so to speak) and do some real work yourself. Sir Cloudesley Shovel II (talk) 18:05, 4 January 2009 (UTC)


At the moment, the article's a bit heavy on the history of the house. This section at least should be moved further down the page. How about moving the sections under "History" to a new article, History of 10 Downing Street. The 10 Downing Street article could then be a shorter one similar to the June version, with a Main article: History of 10 Downing Street toplink in the history section. JRawle (Talk) 18:01, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

General Comments[edit]

I was going to suggest myself, as JRawle has, that the article may need to be divided into two parts or two articles: 1. 10 Downing st - the history of the house and 2. 10 Downing st - the office (inner workings etc. PM, Ministers, etc). My impression a month or so ago was that the article was about the house itself - just as there is an article about the White House and the Taj Mahal and many other buildings - describing the interior and exterior, special features, who lived there, its history etc. I have been trying lately to find non-copyrighted pictures that will support that kind of narrative - pictures of the entrance staircase (before and after 1960), the Cabinet Room at different times showing different PM's seated at the table, Soane's State Room, the Reconstruction in Progress 1960-1964, and so forth. (With no luck so far!!)

However. . . if it was never the intention to have an article about the house itself then by all means PLEASE delete everything I have contributed because it is completely inappropriate.

As for the other comments made about my contributions. . . .

1. I agree the material I have contributed is not in the appropriate style. I have written it more in a narrative style suitable for a monthly popular history magazine NOT for an encyclopedia. I realized this several weeks ago and have been thinking of ways of changing the existing narrative accordingly. The encyclopedia style is not an easy one to adopt and it is taking me a while. I am reading through other articles to get a better feel for it. Obviously, if any of you want to do that ... again by all means feel free!!

2. I also agree the material I have contributed is far to long - there is even a message from Wikipedia to that effect now. I have been reading through the narrative and thinking of how to cut it down. Perhaps doing #1 will achieve this goal as well.

3. As for the spelling and word choices . . . well what can I say? I tend to be a little split-brained about American vs British spellings, wording etc since I am half American and half British. And, spelling has never been a strong suit with me in any case - I was always the first to sit down in class spelling bees.

However, I'm not sure that the spelling and word choices should necessarily be British just because this article is about a British subject. After all, most of the people reading it are NOT likely to be British. By that agrument, anything about Canada should use Canadian spellings and idioms, anything about the United States should use . . . anything about Australia ..... etc etc There are obviously some words that MUST have British spelling/common usage such as people and place names. But other than that, it would be better to use a standard that is found throughout the English version of Wikipedia (if there is one). Given my lifelong problem with spelling I am certainly NOT the one to do that part of this project.

Perhaps I have said enough for now. (Now I will brace myself for more scathing comments from all the highly offended and indignant Brits out there.)

The guidelines on when to use British or American English are at Manual of Style#National varieties of English, the two most relevant points being:
  • Articles should use the same dialect throughout.
  • If an article's subject has a strong tie to a specific region/dialect, it should use that dialect.
As you say, place names certainly must be written according to British conventions (e.g. River Thames not Thames River) – that holds true even if writing in American English. But as you can see, the guideline also states that, indeed, you should use the variety of English that is used in the region the article refers to.
Wikipedia's servers may be based in the USA, but its contributers are from all over the world, many even from countries where English is not the first language, but where people have learnt English as a second language – often Commonwealth English. It would be impossible ever to get everyone agreeing on a standard for English throughout Wikipedia, so I think the current guidelines are sensible. JRawle (Talk) 19:24, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

That makes sense. Thanks.


§===Reversion to June 14 Version===

Both Morwen and the unidentified user suggest that all the material I have included over the past two months be deleted and that this article revert to its June 14th version because it is "better". As I said above that is fine with me if you want to do that. I would however like to make a comment about the June 14th version. I am not going to quibble about the word "better". I will only say that when I read the article for the first time back in June, my reaction was that it was completely inadequate. That is not meant as a criticism or attack on anyone. What I mean is that I really did think that it was merely a first or second rough draft and that someone was going to come back to do a lot more work on it - it ceretainly needs it. And, of course, no one has. I think it is inadequate as it is (as of June 14th) for at least two important reasons (there are a few other minor ones):

1. There is no discussion at all of the Treasury Commission. The article refers to the PM's official office as being First Lord of the Treasury Commission but never explains what that commission was historically or is today. As the article stands as of June 14th it is very inadequate on this point. The novice reader is going to be puzzled as to why the PM is actually officially the First Lord Treasury and why the British play such silly games over something as important as this. (To a foreigner, it does appear silly you know. It only begins to make sense after it is explained) To fill in the gaps, to make it complete, the reader needs to know that the Commission was a devise used more often by sovereigns in the 17th century; that Walpole and other First Lords used it to consolidate power in the 18th century; that it faded into disuse as a commission in the 19th century; and that although the Commission no longer meets formally, its members still perform functions in the government, not only the PM but also Chancellor Exchequer and the Junior Lords of the Treasury. etc etc

2. There is no discussion of the Permanent Civil Service: The title "Principle Private Secretary" is mentioned but it is meaningless to a novice reader without some discussion. There is a link, but all you get when you go there is a definition of that title and a list of its holders for the past 200 hundred years. That doesnt explain anything adequately to the novice reader. A few paragraphs explaining the history of the permament civil service and why the permanent civil service has become a vital characteristic of the government today would help the reader a lot. To give some sense of some of the discussion that is missing (and what makes it currently inadequate) here is a quote about it from Prof Fry U of Leeds:

"Britain does not have changes of political regime, because in modern times it has always been a constitutional monarchy with a system of representative government. So, the most that normally happens is that the Labour Party defeats the Conservative Party, or vice versa, at a General Election and inherits the same Civil Service as its predecessor worked with, bringing in a small number of people of its own. Thus, the British Civil Service is a classical Weberian one in the sense that the presumption would be that it would faithfully carry out the preferred policies of the Government of the day irrespective of that Government's political complexion. It is also a Civil Service which would have an independence based on the continuity that resulted from a career commitment on the part of the overwhelming majority of civil servants. The Thatcher era witnessed concerns that the Prime Minister of the day wanted to politicize the career Civil Service, although she was actually using powers over high level promotions that dated from 1920 not to advance political sympathizers, but to attempt to change the culture of the Senior Civil Service."

This discussion of the role of the Permanent Civil Service would help to explain why Tony Blair chose also to be Minister for the Civil Service as well as First Lord and PM.

It is also inadequate because there is some confusing language now about the Chief of Staff and the Principle Private Secretary. Without more historical context, it is all just so many words on the page - nothing more.

If you revert this article back to June 14th and it becomes devoted to "10 Downing Street: the Office and how it is organized and functions" then I strongly suggest that two sections be added: 1. discussion of the Treasury Commission and what all its members currently actually do and 2. discussion of the Permament Civil Service, who they are and the roles they play ensuring stability from one government to the next.

Thats just my suggestion - from a half Brit. Thought I would pass it on for what it is worth. Hope I am not causing trouble . . . Ohhhhh Dear

There are, I'm sure, already plenty pages describing the civil service and the British government as a whole. This is certainly not the article to go into that level of detail. – Smyth\talk 15:40, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, there are pages on the British Civil Service and the Treasury Commission. I am not suggesting a lot of detail only a "context" and some appropriate links to flesh out what is there now. If the reader wants more detail, he/she can go to the links.

"...King James I’s four-year-old son Prince Charles (the future King Charles II)..." James I was Charles II's grandfather.-- 03:47, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Recommended Reorganization[edit]

I have some observations.

First: There are two major topics in this article: 1. The Office and 2. The House.

Second: The article would read better if the narrative covers The Office first rather than second as it is now.

Third: Under the topic "The House", there are currently six subtopics when only five are needed. I think there should only be two sections after the section called "The First Lord's House." These would be "My Vast Awkward House 1735-1902" and "A Precious Jewel 1902 to Present". This revision would make sense historically, would clean up the narrative making it easier to follow and might shorten the article.

Forth: One or two pictures in the subsections under "The House" seem to be misplaced historically and may need to be shifted.

Given these observations, I recommend we revise the outline (and of course the narrative and picture arrangement) as follows:

1. Overview

2. 10 Downing Street: The Office

 2.1 The Prime Minister's Office
 2.2 Security
 2.3 Media Relations

3. 10 Downing Street: The House

 3.1 The "House At The Back": Before 1733
 3.2 George Downing's House:  Before 1733
 3.3 The First Lord's House: 1733-1735
 3.4 "My Vast Awkward House": 1735-1902
 3.5 A Precious Jewel: 1902 to present

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

5. References

6. See Also

7. External Links

Alternatively, we could, as has already been suggested, split this article into two basing the two new articles on the topics: "The Office" and "The House".


Tony Blair.[edit]

The article says that Tony Blair has lived at 10 Downing Street since 1997. I seem to recall that in fact Gordon Brown lived at No. 10, at least during the first few years of this period, because the private apartments were too small for the Blair family. Can anyone confirm this please. Gadsby West 21:56, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Does the Cabinet Room really have a thick metal failsafe doors?[edit]

In an episode of the 2005 season of Doctor Who (World War Three (Doctor Who)), the Cabinet Room is shown to have a several-foot-thick metal shell hidden by the woodwork, with panels that slam closed over the doors and windows on cue to protect the occupants against attack. It is explained that this was installed in 1991.

Is this for real, or did they make this up out of whole cloth?

--Nomad Of Norad 23:56, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't know about the metal work but the windows of the cabinet room are bomb proof. This is because in the early 90's while the cabinet was sitting (under PM John Major) the IRA fired a rocket at the building shattering the glass etc so they beefed up the security. I also reas somewhere that the room is soundproofed so the cabinet can converse in secrecy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:39, 18 September 2007 (UTC) it doesnt have these doors it is just a myth made up in doctor who, although there is security there is nothing so elaborate — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:08, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Late 1870s residents[edit]

This page claims Disraeli occupied Number 10, but on Downing Street#Who lives where it states it was his Chancellor, Sir Stafford Northcote - under a similar arrangement to today. Which is right? Timrollpickering 18:34, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Access to Downing St[edit]

The article says that "People are still allowed access to the street, providing prior security checks are run and they adhere to certain protocol." This is incredibly vague, and appears to be unreferenced. Which people? When? What sort of protocol? Etc etc etc. 00:51, 7 June 2007 (UTC) dear sir, I would like an answer 2 2 questions 1 why r u inflicting such hardship on special needs people & incapacitated people I myself suffer with bipolar d d & I am also a carer 4 my son he also cares for me,i have bipolar because a chemist killed my father by negligence I now can not work even part time because of this she can; so I inherit my fathers estate & get 2,000 4 his life as I sued in September this year my benefits stop because I have 2 much I care 4 my son 4 nothing because one can not get 2 benefits .so in this country I was born here white British citizen I get no help but if I was a single young girl with baby or a junkie or a alcoholic I would get more help or a foreigner with no money u would house us pay all my rent council tax etc. etc. So what do I do you yourself had a special needs son or have u what do I do? Spend all my money? Go too another country in the eu oh no I forgot we are the only country that spend all our peoples hard earnd MONEY ON every body else. I can spend money most certainly if I am high. HELP ME PLEASE.K F WARWOOD. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:15, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Residence of the Prime Minister[edit]

I was just reading the opening paragraph, and it does not seem very useful that it states that '10 Downing Street is the residence of the Prime Minister etc.' and then, a few sentences later 'Actually it is the residence of the First Lord of the Secretary.' Shouldn't this be changed? MadJaxter 13:28, 28 June 2007 (UTC)


Anyone know why the zero in the number "10" on the front door looks so askew? It's been like that for as long as I can remember. 10:58, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

"there has been a cat at 10 downing street since the days of henry viii"

i call bull as the office of Prime Minister didnt exist during henry's time.

The contention that the "skewness" of the zero can be attributed to poor signwriting seems VERY doubtful, in the light of the excellent blog entry by Typefounder (31 October 2010) at -- the dubious nature of the statement in the "Number 10" entry should be highlighted, at least, and attention drawn to the far more convincing explanation offered by Typefounder. Pgunderwood (talk) 11:10, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes, The story about a "badly fixed zero" being the origin of the askew zero painted on the door is also an "urban myth." If no one else is willing to simply remove it, the passage must be expanded to explain this.----


There is currently only one picture of the house, and that is only of the front door. Couldn't we have a few more pictures of the building itself, rather then the number of portraits of former prime ministers which currently occupy the page? Rudy Breteler (talk) 14:56, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more. A picture of the Cabinet Room, especially, would be a great addition to the article. Surely there must be a free picture somewhere... And if not, a petition could be made for a picture to be released; for it to be successful, of course, the article would first have to be of a very high quality. Quite far from what it is now, that is, in spite of the great wealth of information that can be found in it. Waltham, The Duke of 20:06, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree too (although there was already an external link to a picture of the Cabinet Room). For the past week or so I have had some time on my hands so I have been looking for recent pictures of the interior but to no avail - except for those at the official Downing Street site. I did find some really great one hundred year old ones in a Google Book called No 10 Downing Street, Whitehall by Charles Pascoe, published in 1908. But it is "read only". (Maybe I should add the URL to this book as a link for further interesting reading at the end) I then found some old pictures at British History Online mostly dating from the 1930's plus a lot of really good building plans. I have added these as external links - Cabinet Room, State Dining Room, stairway and detail, building plans for different periods, etc. at appropriate places in the text and with references. I am not sure if we can bring them directly into the article - that would be great if we could - because I don't know how to go about getting permission from British History Online. Meantime, the external links add a lot to the article . . . at least I think so. I also deleted a few of the pictures of PMs and added one of Sir Gearge Downing that was in the Wiki article on Downing. By the way, there are now three pictures of the Cabinet Room: the "recent" one (1950-1960 time period would be my guess) that was already there, plus two I found at B. H. Online taken by S. Baldwin in 1927! Sir Cloudesley Shovel II (talk) 01:34, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
There are ways to get images from read-only books. In firefox, on many pages that turn off the right mouse button, you can nevertheless, click on "page info", under the "tools" menu on the top menu bar. This provides you with a brand new window, with five tabs. One tab is "media", and it should list all the images used on the html portion of that page, and you may find that unless the page relies realy heaving on a scripting language, rather than html, the unsaveable image is nevertheless available for you to save.
If that doesn't work you can always use a tool that lets you take a screenshot, and then crop the target image. Geo Swan (talk) 09:47, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling?[edit]

According to the Reuters and BBC references listed at Talk:Chief_Mouser_to_the_Cabinet_Office, Gordon Brown is now living at 11 Downing Street, and Alistair Darling at 10 Downing Street, but this article disagrees. Could someone with some actual knowledge of British government residences (or at least a better grasp of what sources are reliable in this area) please check on this and correct whichever articles need correcting? John Darrow (talk) 04:52, 23 May 2008 (UTC)


Hi, there's a slight problem with this page. I believe a lot of it has been copied from a book (the one by Christopher Jones in the sources). The headings for each section are the names of chapters in the book. I haven't checked the text, but if the headings are copied, the text may well be too. What should be done about this issue? --Howdoyouturnthison (talk) 18:19, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I noticed the same slight problem two weeks ago when I started editing this page. At that time, two section headings - not all of them - were identical to chapter headings in Jones' book: " 'My Vast Awkward House': 1735-1805" and " 'My Lone Rambling House:' 1806-1902". I combined these sections, edited out a lot of unnecessary material, and changed the title to "A Vast Awkward House: 1735-1902", a title that aptly describes Number Ten during that entire 167 year period, and also makes the artical far more readable.
Having made this major change, I have been carefully comparing the narrative not only with Jones' book but also the other three listed as references. There were several paragraphs remaining that were similar to wording in the referenced books. I have either deleted or paraphrased them and added citations (for all except the last section "A Precious Jewel"; I haven't done much work on that yet, except to combine it with the former last sections on the PM's Office and Security). When I started editing about 2 weeks ago, there was only one citation; there are now 69.
Deleting, paraphrasing and citing sources are the solutions to this issue (a very common one in Wiki, by the way), to the extent that it still exists. Sir Cloudesley Shovel II (talk) 10:30, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Access to Downing St - sentence removed[edit]

Under the same heading above, an anon editor (which might or might not have been me; I can't remember) complains that the sentence (in the "Security at Number 10 After the 1991 Bombing" section) saying "People are still allowed access to the street, providing prior security checks are run and they adhere to certain protocol" is vague and unreferenced. This complaint was made in June 2007. Fifteen months later, the only change is from "People" to "Tourists", and the current {{fact}} tag dates from March this year. The sentence is still incredibly vague, and still unreferenced. As such, I've taken it out entirely. Loganberry (Talk) 20:12, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Removed Chart and created new article for chart[edit]

It was suggested some time ago - about two years - that the chart (Residents of Number 10 . . . .") be removed and put in a separate article with a link in this article to it. That seemed like an excellent idea, so that is what I have done.

There is now a link to the new page in the "See Also" section of this article.

I think the change is good myself . . . it makes this article shorter and more readable. Obviously, if everyone objects, it can be reverted.

Sir Cloudesley Shovel II (talk) 13:31, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Not on Thorney Island;[edit]

The article twice suggests that Downing Street is on (the former) Thorney Island

Thorney Island is the site of the Abbey and the Palace of Westminster, not Whitehall, and I understand went no further north than Westminster Bridge. Does anyone have a reference for this, or it should be deleted?

This talk page itself contains too much out-of-date material (pre-Brown)to be useful. How should that be edited, please? Jezza (talk) 17:14, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

There are two references for the second of the "Thorney Island" comments, Sheldon and Jones, #'s 83 and 84. Sir Cloudesley Shovel II (talk) 17:38, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Security at No 10 since the 1991 Bombing[edit]

This section says this, un-cited statement; More covert security measures exist. For example, plain-clothed armed police patrol along the roof line of the street and in the vicinity of Whitehall itself.[citation needed] I know they are supposed to be covert, but I have stood at the end of Downing Street and never seen anybody on the roof line. Why would they need to be plain clothes, surely this wouldn't matter if they are being "covert" on a roof line, if they are wearing uniform or not wont affect if they are spotted?! If this can't be cited soon or verified by others, I'll delete it. KlickingKarl (talk) 01:47, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

First Lord's House 1733 - 1735[edit]

Under this section the second paragraph says "Walpole did not want to accept the gift for himself perhaps because he knew the houses would be expensive to maintain. [1]"

When reading the referenced text, it is actually a note about when he was leaving the house, nowhere does it state that he didn't want to accept the gift because it may be expensive. This seems an odd point of view for him to have, only to then expand the building taking over Mr Chickens house, and to stay for 7 years! —Preceding unsigned comment added by KlickingKarl (talkcontribs) 14:14, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Vietnam war[edit]

I find it very difficult to believe people protested in downing street over the issue of the vietnam war, especially considering britain had no part in the war. Could someone please verify the protests or edit the point out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:12, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

There have been many political protests in London over the years about international situations we're not involved in but which the protesters feel the government should be exercising its influence over. Wilson certainly faced the wrath of protesters elsewhere:
[David] Bruce [US Ambassador to London] had recorded in October [1967] that when Wilson had visited Cambridge University 'eggs and tomatoes were thrown at him, and cries of "right-wing bastard" and "Vietnam murderer" were uttered. His car was kicked, thumped and beaten upon, its roof dented, the radio aerial smashed, and he was only extricated by the efforts of the police'.
Presumably protests were also made in Downing Street. Timrollpickering (talk) 12:35, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Many anti-Vietnam protests were held in Great Britain; some started in Downing Street, ended there or passed by it on route elsewhere. One protest - in Grosvenor Square I think - recieved international attention because of the violence and injuries that occurred. The British actually started to protest the French war in Vietnam in the 1950's - years before Americans became involved. Vanessa Redgrave and other British celebrities became famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for their anti-war activites in the 1960s and 1970s. Sir Cloudesley Shovel II (talk) 11:04, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

New Image[edit]

Before tinkering with a prominient page I thought I'd mention that I propose to add the image below. Do investigate the image map. Victuallers (talk) 16:45, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Robert Lowe - Chancellor John Bright - Board of Trade George Campbell, Duke of Argyll - India George Villiers, Earl of Clarendon - Foreign Affairs Henry Bruce, Baron Aberdare - Home Secretary William Wood, Baron Hatherley - Lord Chancellor George Robinson, Marquess of Ripon Granville Leveson-Gower, Earl Granville - Colonies John Wodehouse, Earl of Kimberley - Privy Seal George Goschen - Poor Law Gladstone - Prime Minister Spencer Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington - Postmaster General Fortescue Chichester Parkinson-Fortescue, Baron Carlingford - Secretary for War Hugh Childers Use your cursor to explore (or Click icon to enlarge)
Prime Minister Gladstone meeting with his Cabinet in 1868[2] in the Cabinet Room with its distinctive pair of double columns in the background. Use a cursor to see who is who.[3]


  1. ^ See letter, dated, "Downing Street, June 30, 1742," from Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann: "I am writing to you in one of the charming rooms towards the Park: it is a delightful evening, and I am willing to enjoy this sweet corner while I may, for we are soon to quit it. Mrs. Sandys came yesterday to give us warning; Lord Wilmington has lent it to them. Sir Robert might have had it for his own at first: but would only take it as First Lord of the Treasury. He goes into a small house of his own in Arlington Street, opposite to where we formerly lived." (Horace Walpole's Letters, ed. Cunningham, 1857, I, p. 246.) British History Online, From: 'No. 10, Downing Street', Survey of London: volume 14: St Margaret, Westminster, part III: Whitehall II (1931), pp. 113-141. URL: Date accessed: 21 July 2008.
  2. ^ Gladstone's Cabinet of 1868, Lowes Cato Dickinson, ref. NPG 5116, National Portrait Gallery, London, accessed January 2010
  3. ^ Shannon, Richard (1984). Gladstone: 1809-1865 (p.342). p. 580. ISBN 0807815918. Retrieved January 2010.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
moved Victuallers (talk) 09:15, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Size of the house[edit]

What is the size (in square footage/square meters) of the house? How many rooms does it contain? Funnyhat (talk) 05:51, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Sun rays symbol above the front door[edit]

Does anybody have any information on the symbol directly above the door within the fanlight? ( (talk) 17:14, 11 May 2010 (UTC))

American politicians[edit]

Right now the first three of four photographs of [recent UK politician being diplomatic in some way] are with American politicians. I wouldn't suspect much of that except the lack of title or country in front of their names (with Dick Cheney, with Barack Obama, with First Lady Nancy Reagan, but with German Chancellor Angela Merkel - and also saying former PM Thatcher/Brown) implies that they the Americans are the best known figures here, moreso than the British politicians. I'm putting the titles on them right now, but I just wanted to put this out there. (talk) 16:38, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Former this and former that[edit]

What is with the word "former" littering this article (as well as others)? Is it really quite necessary to label people in the manner such as "former Prime Minister"? Isn't it quite obvious from the date and/or period of the photo? Are we to label George Washington "former President of the United States, George Washington" every time we encounter his name? The word seems superfluous, especially in light of the fact that former presidents continue to be referred to as President throughout their lives, even after leaving office. ++Arx Fortis (talk) 18:47, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

I couldn't agree with you more. The photos are generally over-captioned. I'm sure it was with good intent but as you say they have become needlessly complicated. to be honest, more of the captioning could also be removed as the definition of who someone is is only ever one click away behind their name. The current situation is horribly wordy. Thanks and best wishes DBaK (talk) 07:45, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
It is routine in the USA to refer to former holders of Prestigious offices by the title of the former office. But it is uncommon to do so in Commonwelth countries. Geo Swan (talk) 09:52, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

No government can do anything except through people[edit]

Searching for 'society' I can't immediately find any reference to the oft-misapplied extract from her speech which included. 'There is no such thing as society...'

I wonder that it might be appropriate to include the text from which this was inappropriately cut.

"I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families... And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation." Davy p (talk) 01:41, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Downing an mi5 worker?[edit]

The line about "Downing, a notorious mi5 worker for Oliver Cromwell" is confusing. mi5 was established in 1909. Does this mean he was involved in some sort of intelligence? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:09, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Primary image[edit]

I replaced the primary image (in the infobox) with the official picture of the famous door itself, without the distraction of one or more individuals. However, I was reverted and told that the people are "better", so I thought I should seek some consensus as to what best illustrates the piece. Personally I think the article covers the use and fame of the building well in both prose and pictures as it is, and that the start should be "unadorned" as much as possible. What do others think? Perhaps a cropped version of the plain picture?

James F. (talk) 15:21, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. The people, placed so prominently, are a distraction as a lead image in an article which is about a _place_. --Gmaxwell (talk) 03:07, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, a picture of the door, or building generally is timeless, one with the PM in will need changing after any change of PM. IdreamofJeanie (talk) 16:32, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Also agree. Sir Cloudesley Shovel II (talk) 00:17, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Agree also. Additionally, the official picture shows more of the actual building itself, which shows of the relatively distinctive combination of brickwork and the famous doorway itself.--Topperfalkon (talk) 01:38, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Names of staff[edit]

Adding ref to BBC story MikeBeckett (talk) 17:04, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

--JeffGBot (talk) 22:28, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Dead link 2[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

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File:Manifestacioncontralaguerrademalvinas1.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:10 Downing Street/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Tim riley (talk · contribs) 17:16, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Will review. Beginning first read-through today. Will report back soonest. Tim riley (talk) 17:16, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

This looks promising. First batch of suggestions, following initial read-through

  • General
    • Number Ten or Number 10 – you use both, and should be consistent
  • Lead
    • The Americanism "on Downing Street" is becoming increasingly common, but should IMO be resisted in so very English an article: "in Downing Street" is the idiomatic English usage.
    • British Monarch – why capitalise Monarch?
    • Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is another Americanism (or tabloid journalese). This wording recurs below and should, IMO, be corrected.
  • The original Number 10
    • There are too many stubby paragraphs in this section. The third, fourth and fifth paragraphs could usefully be combined.
  • A "vast, awkward house": 1735–1902
    • Lord Charles Townshend – was he a lord? Tim riley (talk) 21:08, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
      • Charles Townshend was the second son of a Viscount, so he would only have become a hereditary peer if his older brother died before him without leaving an heir to the title. As the son of a Viscount he was entitled to the courtesy title "The Honourable". A limited number of the sons of hereditary peers are entitled to be called "Lord" without actually being Lords, but their fathers all held the heigher ranks in the UK peerage. The article about him says he was entitled to the honorific Right Honourable, more prestigious than being an Honourable, and he wuld have earned that when he became a cabinet member, and thus a member of the Privy Council. Geo Swan (talk) 18:54, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm getting worried about this review. Is there anyone at the other end? Tim riley (talk) 19:41, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

I'll leave the review open for a further week, after which I'll fail it if no progress has been made. Tim riley (talk) 16:34, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks for your read-through and suggestions. I'm very sorry for the delay. I have made the changes where you have suggested except for "Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher" etc, as I'm not sure yet what would work better. Cloudbound (talk) 19:05, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
    • I'm pleased there is someone there! I'll carry on with my review. Tim riley (talk) 20:08, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Second and concluding lot of queries
  • The original Number 10
    • "Prime Minister Winston Churchill" – I think most people who read this article will know that Churchill was prime minister.
    • "They had several distinguished residents" – citation needed for this sentence.
    • "Downing probably never lived in his townhouses" – ditto
  • History of the "House at the Back" before 1733
    • "From this time, members of the royal family and the government usually lived in the "House at the Back"" – sounds rather crowded. Might be clearer in the passive: "From this time, the "House at the Back" was usually occupied by members of the royal family or the government."
    • "The Litchfield family followed James II into exile" – they were the Lee family, surely?
    • "envoy from Hanover and advisor to George I" – a pity to use the American spelling "advisor" rather than the traditional English "adviser"
  • The First Lord's House: 1733–1735 – why capitalise "House"?
    • "the London Daily Post" – no italics?
  • A "vast, awkward house": 1735–1902
    • First para has no citations
    • "He had accepted it as a gift from the Crown for future First Lords of the Treasury" – you've already said this in an earlier section
    • Third para has no citations
    • "The Morning Herald" – italics?
    • "the Tithe Commissioners, Number 20. They deteriorated from neglect" – poor Tithe Commissioners! But you probably refer to the buildings
  • Revival and recognition: 1902–1960
    • "for all of his three premierships bare briefly from 1886 to 1887" – eh?
    • "his home on Arlington Street in St. James's" – you mean "in Arlington Street" surely. No call for the Americanism "on Arlington Street"
    • "on Lord North Street - ditto
    • "because Lady Wilson wanted "a proper home"" – she was Mrs Wilson at the time and should be so referred to here.
    • "he maintained the public illusion of living in Number 10" – this is not cited and is, I think, wrong. It was public knowledge at the time that he didn't move back into Number 10, and why.
      Later – I thought so. Here is The Guardian on the matter in March 1974. (It also shows that "in" not "on" is the English idiom for streets):
      Mrs and Mrs Wilson have not yet moved across to Downing Street from their nearby adjacent home in Lord North Street, and it is being suggested that they may not move at all. Mrs Wilson never liked Number Ten, and I am given to understand that her shapely foot has been hard down against moving into the mausoleum once more. Clearly Harold will have to work from Number Ten, continue to use the place as the Prime Ministerial office and so on, but home may continue to be in Lord North Street. (Walker, Martin. "Open file", The Guardian, 8 March 1974, p. 15)
    • "Number 10 became a gathering place for protestors (and two further protestors shortly after it) but in the image caption you spell the noun as "protesters". The latter is more usual, and is preferable.
  • Rebuilding Number 10: 1960–1990
    • Second para lacks citations
    • "Admiralty House" – perhaps link to Admiralty House, London?
    • "Reconstructed exactly as in the old Number 10 included the following" – very strange phrasing
    • "and the 3rd floor extended" – "third" rather than "3rd"?
  • The front door and entrance hall
    • I don't think you need tell us in both the first and second paras that the front door is famous
    • "A Chippendale guard's chair" – Unless the guard is a male stripper I think perhaps "a guard's chair designed by Chippendale" might be a safer way of putting it.
  • The main staircase
    • "Often in films Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire has been used as a replica location due to its near identical main staircase." – This lacks a citation, and I question its relevance in any case.
    • "The table is usually surrounded by twenty-three carved, solid mahogany chairs" – surely the number of chairs depends on the size of the cabinet, which varies considerably from ministry to ministry?
    • "Former US President Ronald Reagan was the first non-Cabinet member to sit at the table during a Cabinet meeting." – That is not cited, and cannot possibly be true. Non-members of the cabinet often include the Chief Whip and the Attorney General who are frequently summoned to attend specific meetings of the cabinet.
    • "The Cabinet Room also acts as a library; outgoing Prime Ministers traditionally donate to the collection." – lacks citation.
  • The Terracotta Room
    • This section has no citations, but does have an outbreak of WP:OVERLINK. You don't need another link for Walpole, let alone one for "Prime Minister". Terry is linked earlier, and if you must link to That Woman, she is mentioned unlinked in the first para of this section, but the link is at present in the second.
  • The White Drawing Room
    • No citations.
  • The State Dining Room
    • First para lacks citations.
    • "First used on 4 April 1826, Soane was the guest of honour" – needs rewriting. Soane wasn't first used in 1826.
  • Furnishings
    • The long first para has no citations.
  • Number 10's 250th anniversary: 1985
    • "a grand dinner at Number 10 in the State Dining Room for her living predecessors —Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, and James Callaghan—and Elizabeth II. This reads very oddly. Better to say "a grand dinner at Number 10 in the State Dining Room for Elizabeth II and the surviving former prime ministers: Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, and James Callaghan.
  • Prime Minister's Office
    • "Though Number 10 is formally part of the Cabinet Office, it reports to the Cabinet Secretary" – why "though"? The Cabinet Secretary is the head of the Cabinet Office, so this is hardly surprising
    • "which is currently Sir Jeremy Heywood" – "who", not "which", surely? And on the whole it might be safer to leave the incumbent's name out: see WP:DATED.
    • "into 3 directorates … 3 units" – "three" rather than "3"?
    • Quote box" – another American "advisor" has crept in
    • "a 'Prime Ministers' department" – use of quotation marks needs attention.
    • "with a number of units … now report" – not English
    • Whoever put the cn tag on the last para was quite right.
  • Notes
    • The citation format is inconsistent. Some cites end "Date accessed xyz", and others "Retrieved xyz". The latter are not even consistent among themselves: note 81 is "Retrieved 1 June 2009" but note 82 has merely "Retrieved January 2010".
  • References
    • The books need ISBNs (or OCLC numbers for the older, pre-ISBN ones). You can find them at WorldCat

That's all from me. Some are matters of style, which it would be wrong of me to make a sticking point for promotion to GA, but the sporadic lack of citations will have to be dealt with if the article is to be promoted. Happy to discuss any point if wished. Tim riley (talk) 10:05, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for reviewing. It might take me a little while but I'll be making a go of this over the next few days. Cloudbound (talk) 23:19, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Agreed with the nominator that this article should be withdrawn and put up again in due course. Tim riley (talk) 20:13, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

Comparative size of the living areas...[edit]

I found the two floor plans the article links to quite interesting. They are of the ground floor, and the first floor (American 2nd floor). I found what llooks like a floor plan from the same series showing the second floors of number 100 and 11, and number 11's third floor.

I also found this interesting image apparently from 1949. It shows the complex from the rear, labeling many of the key rooms.

One thing that struck me was the lack of washrooms.

There are close to 20 bedrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors and one kitchen and dining room. I wonder whether that kitches serves the residents of number 11, while the main kitchen in the basement serves number 10.

The second floor living section adjacent to Downing Street has multiple staircase, the but the rear living section, and number 11's third floor, each seem to have been served by only a single staircase -- at least at the time the floorplans were made. I think that would be a violation of modern construction codes. So would the dearth of bedrooms.

Some attic space is not shown in the image I found -- which may be a sign the floorplan dates back to when the PM had servants who lived on-site, and that the missing sections were the servant's quarters.

The office space used by the PM's staff also seemed short on washrooms. Geo Swan (talk) 18:08, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

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