Larry the cat and the indoor garden. What is interesting about the residence of the Prime Minister, where Rishi Sunak will move

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 Larry the cat and the inner garden: what is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Already, the media are hinting that one of Westminster's richest politicians will be dissatisfied with the modest residence of the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.

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Rishi Sunak, former finance minister and one of the country's richest politicians, has become the new prime minister of Great Britain. His only remaining rival, Penny Mordaunt, has dropped out of the Conservative Party leadership race, and Boris Johnson has not entered the race for prime minister. Rishi comes from a very wealthy family, but he will have to move into the historic residence at 10 Downing Street and take over a small house, antiques and even a cat, Larry, who has been living in the residence since 2011. Focus collected the most interesting things about the residence of the Prime Minister in one article.

What is famous for the mansion number 10 on Downing Street

The mansion at 10 Downing Street in London has been the home of prime ministers since 1735. Rishi Sunak will be the 56th prime minister to live there with his wife and two daughters. Over the years, the iconic house has undergone several repairs and restorations, but its overall appearance has remained unchanged.

The building on Downing Street has three functions: it is the official residence of the Prime Minister, his official office, and also a place where the leaders of the UK receive other world figures and guests of His Majesty the King.

The residence has several rooms that constantly appear in pictures and official videos.

For example, the Terracotta Room, so named because of the color of the walls. It was renovated under Margaret Thatcher in the late 1980s and was previously the Blue Room. It is decorated with antique portraits and antique furniture.

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

In tribute to the Iron Lady, the residence even has a room named after her. Previously, Thatcher used it as an office, now it is decorated with a portrait of her above the fireplace.

The White Living Room is famous for its fireplace, where prime ministers often talk in comfortable armchairs with their guests.

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

No less famous is the Main Staircase, which is decorated with photographs of former prime ministers from Sir Robert Walpole to Leese Truss. Previously, the walls were white, but now they are bright yellow.

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. minister where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. minister where Rishi Sunak will move

There is also an inner garden in the residence, in which prime ministers arrange informal meetings, hold receptions and press conferences. There is also a small rose garden in the residence.

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the residence of the Prime Minister, where Rishi Sunak will move

However, the residence did not always have such an elegant look and was not so spacious.

In the early 18th century, when this house was first used as the Prime Minister's home and office, 10 Downing Street was actually added to another, more elegant building behind it to create the space needed for its new purpose .

In addition, few people know, but the Prime Minister's closest neighbor is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who lives at 11 Downing Street.

And the Prime Minister's living rooms occupy only a small part of the residence. For the most part, these are working offices and elegant halls and reception rooms.

However, in recent years, some prime ministers have opted to live in apartments above number 11, which were considered more spacious. Sir Tony Blair was the first to do so when he took office in 1997, and his successors Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson decided to follow suit.

Larry the Cat

Larry the Cat

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In addition to the prime ministers, who change quite often, the residence has a permanent resident who bears the title of “Chief Mouser”. The famous cat Larry appeared at 10 Downing Street thanks to the Prime Minister David Cameron, who got him for his children.

Larry was rescued from a shelter in Battersea and remained in residence in the official position of a mouser.

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Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

According to the 10 Downing Street website, Larry's duties include: “Greeting guests in the house, check the security system and check the antique furniture for sleepability.

“His day-to-day duties also include thinking about a solution to the problem that mice live in the house,” notes on the site. It also says that the fight against mice is still “at the stage of tactical planning.”

It is known that Larry did not get along with Theresa May's cat, black and white Palmerson.

History of Downing Street

The area around Downing Street was home to ancient Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Norman settlements and has already 1000 years ago it was a prestigious place to live.

After the construction of Westminster Abbey and the palace by King Canute in the 11th century, the fame of an excellent place was fixed for the area and it began to be actively built up.

It is known that the oldest building built on the site of the future Downing Street was the Ax Brewery, which belonged to Abingdon Abbey in the Middle Ages. By the beginning of the 1500s, it was destroyed.

And the first residential building on the site of number 10, not counting the palace of Henry VIII, was the building built for the favorite of Elizabeth I – Thomas Knivet. Later, his niece Lady Hampden and her descendants lived there, so the area around was named after her.

Downing Street took on its modern look under George Downing, who was in the military and diplomatic service of Oliver Cromwell and King Charles II. The able diplomat was an unusually unpleasant person, as his contemporaries described him: mean and cruel.

But he demolished the old Hampden House and built up the future Downing Street with new houses in the late 1680s. gave its name to the most famous street in the world.

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. minister where Rishi Sunak will move

The houses were cheap, on unstable foundations, so that centuries later, Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote that number 10 was “wobbly and light, built by the speculative contractor whose name they bear.”

The original numbering of houses on Downing Street was different from the modern one and the current residence was known as number 5, and other houses were called by the titles of their owners.

10 Downing Street, as the home and office of the Prime Minister

Despite the “shakyness” in the houses on Downing Street lived a lot of nobility. King George II in the 1720s gave two houses in Downing Street to Sir Robert Walpole, who held the title of First Lord of the Treasury and actually served as the first Prime Minister. Walpole gave up the property as a personal gift. Instead, he asked the King to provide it as an official residence for him and the future First Lords of the Treasury, starting a tradition that continues today.

The houses were united and renovated. Walpole used the ground floor as an office, the current White Drawing Room was Lady Walpole's private drawing room, and the current Terracotta Room served as their dining room. The Walpoles soon hosted important guests at their posh home, including George II's wife Queen Caroline, politicians, writers, and soldiers. Number 10 became – as it is today – a place for politics and entertainment.

When Walpole left Downing Street in 1742, it was more than 20 years before another First Lord of the Treasury moved in. Others preferred to live in their own residences.

Under Lord North, the house was again renovated in the 1780s: the famous checkerboard floor was laid in the hall, a lantern was added over the front door and the famous lion-head knocker.

Larry the cat and the indoor garden What is interesting about the residence of the Prime Minister, where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

At the turn of the 19th century, Downing Street was going through hard times. Although number 10 continued to serve as the prime minister's office, prime ministers tried not to live in it.

But by the 1820s, Downing Street had become the center of government. The Prime Minister, Viscount Goderich, hired famed architect Sir John Soane, designer for the Bank of England, to make the house more suitable for his important role. Soane created the wood-paneled Grand Dining Room and the Small Dining Room for elegant receptions.

But then Downing Street fell into disrepair and the famous number 10 was even threatened with demolition.

By the time Benjamin Disraeli became prime minister in 1868, the house was in a state of disrepair. The living quarters had not been used for 30 years and Disraeli described them as “dirty and dilapidated”. The house was repaired again, and the minister himself financed part of the repair. For example, he paid for cold and hot water.

When William Gladstone first moved into the house in 1880, he insisted on another renovation, spending £1,555 on furniture, a huge amount for the time. During his stay in 1884, electric lighting was installed and the first telephones were installed.

The Marquess of Salisbury, who succeeded Gladstone, was the last prime minister who did not live at number 10. Salisbury detested the residence, calling it cramped. So he offered it to his nephew Arthur Balfour, who later became prime minister himself. Balfour was the first occupant of number 10 to come to Downing Street by car.

Over the years, more and more changes and improvements were made to the house. So Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald founded the Prime Minister's Library. The custom of donating books to the library by the Prime Minister and other ministers continues to this day. Central heating was installed in 1937 and work began to convert the labyrinth of attic rooms formerly used by servants into the prime minister's suite.

Number 10 during the wars

During During the First World War, the number of employees increased so much that offices were equipped for them in the Rose Garden. And housing for them was built nearby, so the aides of Lloyd George, then Prime Minister, were nicknamed “Garden Suburb”.

During World War II, Downing Street was once again in the spotlight. It was from here that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain traveled to Germany for the last time as Prime Minister on September 29, 1938, to negotiate with French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier, Hitler and Mussolini.

And read the Munich Agreement, saying that there would be no war. However, two years later Chamberlain resigned and Winston Churchill took over the office on Downing Street. He worked even lying in bed, so the apartment upstairs was very useful to him.

By October 1940, a period of heavy bombing known as the Blitz had begun. And at number ten, bombs often fell. Churchill later wrote in his memoirs that he constantly sent personnel to the shelter because the bombs were falling closer. The next impact destroyed the kitchen and offices.

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. minister where Rishi Sunak will move

Securing Downing Street became a priority for the Prime Minister and the War Cabinet. Steel reinforcement was added to the Garden Rooms, and heavy metal shutters were fixed over the windows to protect against bombardment. The garden rooms included a small dining room, bedroom and conference room, which were used by Churchill throughout the war. In reality, however, steel reinforcement would not have protected him from a direct hit. So Churchill had to work from a bunker opposite the Foreign Office.

As soon as the war ended, Churchill and his wife returned to room 10, where he recorded his speech dedicated to Victory in Europe Day, which was broadcast from the Cabinet of Ministers at 15.00 on May 8, 1945.

Renovation of the residenceBy the 1950s, the condition of number 10 Downing Street reached a critical point. The building was damaged by bombs, it was skewed and the walls became crooked.

As a result, repairs were postponed until the 1960s. The legendary rear was completely gutted, the foundations and old rotten columns in the hall were replaced, a room was added overlooking Downing Street and the veranda.

Larry the cat and the inner garden. What is interesting about the prime minister's residence where Rishi Sunak will move

Larry the cat and the inner garden. minister, where Rishi Sunak will move

It turned out that the black house is actually yellow, just blackened from centuries of soot, but they decided not to return the original color. As a result, the repair was delayed, but the residence took on a modern look.

However, in the 2010s, another renovation was carried out. The façade has been strengthened, the rooms have been modernized and even a rainwater harvesting plant has been installed for the garden.

Each new prime minister adds something of his own, so it is possible that Rishi Sunak will do some renovations as well.

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