Tuesday, July 14, 2015

London, England: Downing Street

You might say this is the most exclusive residential area in London.

It's Downing St., home to one of the most famous addresses in the world. The British Prime Minister traditionally lives at 10 Downing St., which ranks with 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington when it comes to fame.

Not as well known is the Prime Minster's neighbor. The Chancellor of the Exchequer lives next door at 11 Downing St. (Sometimes they trade, as the living quarters at #11 are larger. Tony Blair, who had children living with him, made such a switch.)

Sir George Downing built the street in 1680. Eventually the government took control of the area, and other buildings on the street have served in the government in one way or another. For example, 12 Downing St. hosts the press office.

Commoners used to be able to stroll down the street, but as you could guess that era is over. This picture shows the entrance to the short street, with a security checkpoint waiting for visitors. Protesters were present across the street the day we went by, which sounds as if it is pretty typical.

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