The Downing Street [ daʊnɪŋstɹi ː t] is the street in the center of London, for more than two hundred years, the official office and residences of two of the most important British Government members are - the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The most famous house number in Downing Street is the # 10 Here is the official office and residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, and thus the Prime Minister, as the two offices of the same person be clothed. As a result, " Downing Street" or " Number 10 " is often used as an abbreviation for the Prime Minister or his office, while " Number 11 " also is a term for the Chancellor of the Exchequer or his official residence.
The Downing Street is a side street off Whitehall in central London, just a few steps away from the Parliament building, and runs in the direction of Buckingham Palace. The road was built by the first baronet Sir George Downing ( 1632-1689 ), and therefore also bears his name. Downing was a soldier and diplomat who served under Oliver Cromwell and King Charles II. In recognition of his services to King Charles II rewarded him with a piece of land which was adjacent to the St. James 's Park, and extends beyond the Today Downing Street. Both the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Whip of the ruling party officially live on the same street. The buildings on the other side were in the 19th century by the construction of the Foreign Office ( Ministry of Foreign Affairs ') replaced. In the 1950s and 1960s was considered to demolish both the Foreign Office and the rest of the Downing Street and to build something more modern. These plans were never put into practice and are now forgotten.
Who lives where
The Downing Street No. 9 was occupied in 2001 by the Privy Council and currently houses the office of the faction leader. The 10 Downing Street is the official office and residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, whose office is perceived by the Prime Minister. The 11 Downing Street is the residence of the Second Lord of the Treasury. The Downing Street No. 12, formerly the headquarters of the faction leader, is currently home to the press office of the Prime Minister and the marketing and communications office.
Since the existence of these houses, ministers live in mutual agreement the houses that best meet their needs. So the number 11 is sometimes not inhabited by the Chancellor, but by the one who is drawn as Deputy Prime Minister in consideration; whether to accept the title, ultimately, this is unimportant. This practice was particularly common in coalition governments. Sometimes the ministers use their provided living quarters only for formal occasions and otherwise live elsewhere.
During his tenure, which began in 1881, William Gladstone claimed the homes in the numbers 10, 11 and 12 for himself and his family. This was appropriate since he was both Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister at that time.
After the general election in 1997, in which the Labour Party took over the government, a change of residence between the two incumbents was made because the married Tony Blair three residing at home had children, while his colleague Gordon Brown was unmarried when he of the Office Chancellor of the Exchequer took. Although the number 10 remained the official residence and office of the Prime Minister, Blair and his family moved into the more spacious Number 11, while Brown lived in the smaller apartment number 10.
The houses 10, 11 and 12 are connected on several floors through wall openings each other so that they are more likely to be considered together as the building complex. The plots of the three buildings form a single rear garden without enclosures.
The actual private quarters of the Prime Minister, provided they are used for these purposes, are located in the developed during a substantial refurbishment in the 1960s sloping roof of the 4th upper floor. Previously used the Prime Minister nor the garden side rooms of the 1st floor for residential purposes. These are now the representation and reception of guests.
The gates to Downing Street
In 1986, big black steel gates were erected at the entrance to Downing Street to protect the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from terrorist attacks by the IRA. Before that it was the public able to use the Downing Street as a shortcut to St James 's Park. The foundations of the gates in 2003 further strengthened.