One of the most famous streets in London, if not the world, was named after its architect, sir George Downing. The site itself used to be known as the island of Thorns, and traces of Roman and Saxon structures were also found here. Number 10 is the official residence of the British Prime Minister since 1732, when king George II gave the residence to the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, sir Robert Walpole. From the 17th century originals Numbers 10, 11 and 12 are the only remaining, most of the other buildings date from 1868. Many Prime Ministers such as the Duke of Wellington, maintained the pretence of living at number 10, when in fact they lived at their private, usually more spacious residences. Due to the lack of space in the mid 20th century the servants quarters were converted to office areas.A policeman is traditionally stationed near the back door, at the entrance to number 10. During the 1980’s a gate was placed at both ends of Downing Street for security reasons, so that the pubic access was limited.

10 Downing Street