The Next Occupant at No.10, Could Be You!
With so much political uncertainty surrounding Number 10, Brexit and Theresa May, why not step up and lead the UK yourself from our true-to-life Downing Street set. Perfect for a conference, an impromptu themed event, or even a satirical publicity stunt.
This head turning 12m x 3m Downing Street set consists of a fully practical (and worldly-recognised) black, number 10, door and is set against the iconic Downing Street, black, brick. The set size can be adjusted to suit your venue and is supplied with windows, net curtains, wall lights, traditional London lamp posts and black iron railings – along with a number of other supporting accessories, such as cobbled flooring, bunting, lighting and table centers.
So, now is your chance to be PM. Are you able to get this great nation back on the right track?
With the world’s attention currently firmly fixed on Number 10, let’s take a look at the house behind one of the world’s most famous front doors.
Built in 1682 it was originally three houses. Number 10 was offered to Sir Robert Walpole by King George II in 1732. Walpole accepted on the condition that the gift was to the office of First Lord of the Treasury (Prime Minister) rather than to him personally. Few early Prime Ministers lived there. It was costly to maintain, neglected, and run-down. Number 10 was close to being demolished several times but the property survived and became linked with many statesmen and events in British history. In 1985 Margaret Thatcher said Number 10 had become "one of the most precious jewels in the national heritage"
It hasn’t always been No. 10 Downing Street. The modern Downing Street was created between 1682 and 1684, after King Charles II granted the wealthy diplomat Sir George Downing, 1st Baronet, the lease to the road at the edge of the royal Whitehall Palace. No. 10 was No. 5 before the street was renumbered in 1779.
Here are 8 more surprising facts about Number 10 Downing Street....
1) The last private occupant was called Mr Chicken
The last private occupant of the 10 Downing Street terrace was a man called Mr. Chicken. He was resident of one of the three properties which comprise the current 10 Downing Street. Walpole convinced Mr. Chicken to move to another property on the street in the early 1730s.
2) The door of Downing Street was once green!
No. 10’s front door was painted a different colour in 1908. Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, who served in office from 1908 to 1916, instructed that the original black be changed to a shade of dark green. Only after the fall of Asquith and collapse of the Liberal party, was the door returned to its original colour.
3) Every Prime Minister since 1997 has lived at No. 11 Downing Street
The trend was started by Tony Blair and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown after they agreed to exchange properties: the flat of No. 11 was larger and provided more space for the Blair family of six. After the 2010 general election, David Cameron moved in to No. 11. The new approach has been continued by Prime Minister Theresa May, although soon to be calling in the removal van.
4) The letter box is just for show
The original door, made from black oak with Georgian panelling and believed to date from 1735, was replaced in 1991 following a targeted IRA mortar attack, which left four people with minor injuries. The reinforced steel replica was made to look identical to its predecessor, which is now stored at the Churchill Museum and is maintained by an official No. 10 cleaner. On Gardeners' Question Time, Head Gardener Paul Schooling says he still finds fragments of broken glass from the explosion in the flower beds.
5) There’s someone watching the entrance on a monitor 24-hours-a-day
That’s how the door seems to open for dignitaries, ambassadors, and ministers (even the pet cat) at just the right moment. The door can only be opened from the inside and there is no chance of ever losing the keys, as there’s no keyhole!
6) The Downing Street resident cat called Larry has the title "Chief Mouser"
Downing Street has a long history of resident felines, including Munich Mouser, who served under Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill. Later came Downing Street’s longest serving mouser, Wilberforce, who notched up an impressive 18 years of service between 1970 and 1988. Larry arrived from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in 2011, but has since opted to spend more time sleeping than dealing with rodents.
7) The road came close to being destroyed in the Second World War
On 14 October 1940, during the Blitz, the Luftwaffe nearly destroyed the building. Damage was sustained to the kitchen and state rooms while Winston Churchill was dining in the Garden Room. The close call prompted Churchill to move his living quarters to an underground bunker in the reinforced war rooms of Her Majesty's Treasury. However, he continued to work and eat in the rooms of No. 10 throughout the war.
8) The façade of the building is actually yellow but has been painted black
During the extensive renovation of the 1950s – aimed at repairing the damage sustained during WW2 – it was found that the dark black exterior was actually the result of pollution. The bricks were, in fact, yellow in colour. They were painted black in subsequent renovations.