Alnwick is a market town in north Northumberland, England, of which it is the traditional county town. The population at the 2011 Census was 8,116; the town is on the south bank of the River Aln, 32 miles south of Berwick-upon-Tweed and the Scottish border, 5 miles inland from the North Sea at Alnmouth and 34 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. The town dates to about AD 600, thrived as an agricultural centre. Alnwick Castle was the home of the most powerful medieval northern baronial family, the Earls of Northumberland, it was a staging post on the Great North Road between Edinburgh and London, latterly has become a dormitory town for nearby Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The town centre has changed little, but the town has seen some growth, with several housing estates covering what had been pasture, new factory and trading estate developments along the roads to the south; the name Alnwick comes from the name of the river Aln. The history of Alnwick is the history of the castle and its lords, starting with Gilbert Tyson, written variously as "Tison", "Tisson", "De Tesson", one of William the Conqueror's standard bearers, upon whom this northern estate was bestowed.
It was held by the De Vesci family for over 200 years, passed into the hands of the house of Percy in 1309. At various points in the town are memorials of the constant wars between Percys and Scots, in which so many Percys spent the greater part of their lives. A cross near Broomhouse Hill across the river from the castle marks the spot where Malcolm III of Scotland was killed during the first Battle of Alnwick. At the side of the broad shady road called Ratten Row, leading from the West Lodge to Bailiffgate, a stone tablet marks the spot where William the Lion of Scotland was captured during the second Battle of Alnwick by a party of about 400 mounted knights, led by Ranulf de Glanvill. Hulne Priory, outside the town walls in Hulne Park, the Duke of Northumberland's walled estate, was a monastery founded in the 13th century by the Carmelites. Substantial ruins remain. In 1314, Sir John Felton was governor of Alnwick. In winter 1424, much of the town was burnt by a Scottish raiding party. Again in 1448 the town was burnt by a Scottish army led by William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas and George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus.
Thomas Malory mentions Alnwick as a possible location for Lancelot's castle Joyous Garde. The Alnwick by-pass takes the A1 London–Edinburgh trunk road around the town, it was started in 1968. Alnwick lies at 55°25′00″N 01°42′00″W 1; the River Aln forms its unofficial northern boundary. The town was within the Bamburgh Ward and Coquetdale Ward and included in the East Division of Coquetdale Ward in 1832. By the time of the 2011 Census an electoral ward covering only part of Alnwick Parish name existed; the total population of this ward was 4,766. A rural and agrarian community, the town now lies within the "travel to work" radius of Morpeth and Newcastle upon Tyne and has a sizeable commuter population; some major or noteworthy employers in the town are: Metrology Software Products Ltd and suppliers of co-ordinate measuring machine and machine tool software House of Hardy, makers of fly-fishing tackle Greys of Alnwick, makers of fly-fishing tackle Northumberland Estates, which manages the Duke of Northumberland's agricultural and property interests Barter Books, one of the largest second-hand book shops in England, set in the town's former railway station Sanofi Alnwick Research Centre, a large pharmaceutical research and testing centre NFU Mutual, provider of insurance, investments DEFRA Skin Salveation manufacturers and distributors of skin care products The town's greatest building by far is Alnwick Castle, one of the homes of the Duke of Northumberland, site of The Alnwick Garden.
The castle is the hub of a number of commercial and tourism operations. From 1945 to 1975, it was the location of a teacher training college for young women and "mature students", it houses American students studying in Europe through a partnership with Saint Cloud State University. The castle is open to tourists from April to September, the Gardens all year around, it is the second largest inhabited castle in England, after Windsor Castle. Benjamin Disraeli describes Alnwick as "Montacute" in his novel Tancred; the centre of town is the market place, with its market cross, the modern Northumberland Hall, used as a meeting place. Surrounding the market place are the main shopping streets: Narrowgate, Fenkle Street, Bondgate Within; the last of these is a wide road fronted by commercial buildings. In medieval times, Alnwick was a walled town, although due to fluctuating economic conditions during the Middle Ages, the walls were never completed. Hotspur Tower, a medieval gate, is extant, dividing Bondgate Within from Bondgate Without, restricting vehicles to a single lane used alternately in each direction.
Pottergate Tower, at the other side of the town stands on the site of an ancient gate, but the tower itself was rebuilt in the 18th century. Its ornate spire was destroyed in a storm in 1812. Outside the line of the walls, the old railway station building is ostentatious for such a small town, due to its fr
Keep Calm and Carry On
Keep Calm and Carry On is a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for World War II. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public, threatened with predicted mass air attacks on major cities. Although 2.45 million copies were printed, although the Blitz did in fact take place, the poster was only publicly displayed and was little known until a copy was rediscovered in 2000 at Barter Books, a bookshop in Alnwick. It has since been re-issued by a number of private companies, has been used as the decorative theme for a range of products. Evocative of the Victorian belief in British stoicism – the "stiff upper lip", self-discipline and remaining calm in adversity – the poster has become recognised around the world, it was thought that only two original copies survived until a collection of 15 was brought in to the Antiques Roadshow in 2012 by the daughter of an ex-Royal Observer Corps member. A few further examples have come to light since.
The Keep Calm and Carry On poster was designed by the Ministry of Information during the period of 27 June to 6 July 1939. It was produced as part of a series of three "Home Publicity" posters; each poster showed the slogan under a representation of a "Tudor Crown". They were intended to be distributed to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster, such as mass bombing of major cities using high explosives and poison gas, expected within hours of an outbreak of war. A career civil servant named A. P. Waterfield came up with "Your Courage" as "a rallying war-cry that will bring out the best in everyone of us and put us in an offensive mood at once". Others involved in the planning of the early posters included: John Hilton, Professor of Industrial Relations at Cambridge University, responsible overall as Director of Home Publicity. Ernest Wallcousins was the artist tasked with creating the poster designs. Detailed planning for the posters had started in April 1939 and the eventual designs were prepared after meetings between officials from the Ministry of Information and HM Treasury on 26 June 1939 and between officials from the Ministry of Information and HMSO on 27 June 1939.
Roughs of the poster were completed on 6 July 1939, the final designs were agreed by the Home Secretary Samuel Hoare, 1st Viscount Templewood on 4 August 1939. Printing began on 23 August 1939, the day that Nazi Germany and the USSR signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the posters were ready to be placed up within 24 hours of the outbreak of war; the posters were produced in 11 different sizes, ranging from 15 × 10 inches up to large 48-sheet versions. The background colour was either blue; the lettering was hand-drawn by Wallcousins: it is similar, but not identical, to humanist sans-serif typefaces such as Gill Sans and Johnston. 2,500,000 copies of Keep Calm and Carry On were printed between 23 August and 3 September 1939 but the poster was not sanctioned for immediate public display. It was instead decided. Copies of Keep Calm and Carry On were retained until April 1940, but stocks were pulped as part of the wider Paper Salvage campaign. A few copies do appear to have been displayed, but such instances were rare and unauthorised: an October 1940 edition of the Yorkshire Post reports the poster hung in a shop in Leeds.
The remainder of the Ministry of Information publicity campaign was cancelled in October 1939 following criticism of its cost and impact. Many people claimed not to have seen the posters. Design historian Susannah Walker regards the campaign as "a resounding failure" and reflective of a misjudgement by upper-class civil servants of the mood of the people. In late May and early June 1941, 14,000,000 copies of a leaflet entitled "Beating the Invader" were distributed with a message from Prime Minister Winston Churchill; the leaflet begins "If invasion comes..." and exhorts the populace to "Stand Firm" and "Carry On". The two phrases do not appear in one sentence, as they applied to different segments of the population depending on their circumstances, with those civilians finding themselves in areas of fighting ordered to stand firm and those not in areas of fighting ordered to carry on; each mandate is identified as a "great duty" should invasion come. The leaflet lists 14 questions and answers on practical measures to be taken.
In 2000, Stuart Manley, co-owner with his wife Mary of Barter Books Ltd. in Alnwick, was sorting through a box of second-hand books bought at auction when he uncovered one of the original "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters. The couple framed it and hung it up by the cash register. In late 2005, Guardian journalist Susie Steiner featured the replica posters as a Christmas gift suggestion, raising their profile still further. Other
Alnwick branch line
The Alnwick branch line was a railway line in Northumberland, northern England. It ran from Alnmouth railway station, on the East Coast Main Line, to the town of Alnwick, a distance of 2 3⁄4 miles, it opened on 5 August 1850 to both passenger traffic. As late as 1966, some of the Alnmouth to Alnwick shuttles were operated by steam locomotives. All Newcastle-Alnwick services and some local trains were taken over by diesel multiple units from 21 April 1958, with schedules cut by up to 15 minutes. Passenger service was withdrawn in January 1968 and in October 1968 on cost grounds; the old embankment after the line had crossed the A1 road now forms the rear boundary of some of the gardens on the Royal Oak Gardens residential development. The Aln Valley Railway is a heritage railway based in Northumberland. Construction of the railway is an ongoing project with the eventual intention being to reopen the old Alnwick Branch Line from the newly completed Alnwick Lionheart terminus station in Alnwick to Alnmouth station.
At present the railway carries passengers for 0.5 miles from the new Lionheart station along a short section of the original route but work is underway to extend the line towards Edenhill Bridge in the short-term. The railway project is managed by a registered charity; the project first emerged with the foundation of the Aln Valley Railway Society in 1995 and plans were announced in 1997 to reopen the entire length of the original branch line. However this proposal would have required the construction of a costly bridge over the A1 Dual Carriageway on the edge of Alnwick and so plans were revised and it was instead decided that a new station should be built on site close to where the A1 intersected the original line. Between April 2000 and November 2014 the Aln Valley Railway had a presence at Longhoughton goods yard, where rolling stock and other items were temporarily stored and prepared for eventual movement to the Lionheart site, once it became available. Planning permission was granted by Northumberland County Council on 1 July 2010 and the lease for the site signed on 22 February 2012.
The site first opened to visitors five months on 14 July, but only to demonstrate the ongoing work alongside exhibits of rolling stock as well as an indoor exhibition area, café, souvenir shop and model railway. Passengers were first carried 28 March 2013 using the railway's Wickham trolley, a service which continued throughout the 2013 season; that year, on 10 September, the first trial steam service was operated and the railway was formally opened by the Duke of Northumberland on 30 October 2013. Following the virtual completion of the initial plans for Lionheart station, the railway began works to extend the line onto the original trackbed of the Alnwick Branch Line in October 2015. On 28 December 2017, a public passenger train from Lionheart station ran along a section of the original branch line for the first time since the line closed nearly 50 years previously; as of August 2018, passenger trains run from Lionheart station to Alndyke Farm Crossing, just beyond Bridge 6. In July 2018, the AVRT was awarded a Rural Development Programme for England grant together with 20% match funding from Sustrans which constitute a total of £146,600.
The grant is to be used to cover the costs of groundworks and track materials to extend the running line for a further 1 mile to a point just before the line passed under Edenhill Bridge where it will cover the costs of constructing a new station, Greenrigg Halt, together with a run-round loop. A railway coach - BG No. 31407 - will be purchased and converted to provide facilities for the new station. Though it remains the goal of the AVRT to reopen the rest of the line through to Alnmouth, for it to continue beyond Edenhill Bridge, it must obtain a Transport and Works Act Order. Further planning permission will be required and a lease will have to be negotiated with Network Rail for the final section of the former line into Alnmouth station, which ran alongside to the East Coast Main Line. Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T no. 9 "Richboro", built in 1917. Operational Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST no. 3799 "Penicuik", built in 1935. Stored undercover at Lionheart. Undergoing cosmetic restoration. Drewry 0-6-0DM no. 8199 "Drax", built in 1963.
Operational. Andrew Barclay 0-6-0 no. 615, built in 1977. Operational and on loan; this was the final surface locomotive to work for the National Coal Board. British Rail Class 11 0-6-0 no. 12088 "Shirley", built in 1951. Operational. Undergoing major overhaul. Requires minor body work before being repainted into BR black. Ruston and Hornsby 0-4-0 no. S518256, built in 1948. Pending major restoration. Ruston and Hornsby 0-4-0 no. L2, built in 1952. Requiring major works. On display at the entrance of the Lionheart site. "Aln Valley Railway Trust". Awdry, Christopher. Encyclopaedia of British Railwa
Alnwick railway station
Alnwick railway station was the terminus of the Alnwick branch line, which diverged from the East Coast Main Line at Alnmouth in Northumberland, Northern England. The branch opened on 1 October 1850 and closed for passengers in January 1968 and in October 1968; the station was the terminus of the Cornhill branch line to Coldstream which closed for passengers in 1930. Opened by the North Eastern Railway, it became part of the London and North Eastern Railway during the Grouping of 1923; the station passed on to the North Eastern Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948. The station was closed by the British Railways Board in 1968; the platforms have been in-filled, but the trainshed remains intact and in use, including by Barter Books. The bookshop was featured in Michael Portillo's'Great British Railway Journeys'. Butt, R. V. J.. The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt and stopping place and present. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd.
ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199. Jowett, Alan. Jowett's Nationalised Railway Atlas. Penryn, Cornwall: Atlantic Transport Publishers. ISBN 978-0-906899-99-1. OCLC 228266687. Jowett, Alan. Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137. John Scott - Morgan. British Independent Light Railways. David & Charles 1980. ISBN 0-7153-7933-X "Northumbrian Railways". "Sub Brit Page". "RAILSCOT on Alnwick Branch". "RAILSCOT on Cornhill Branch". "Aln Valley Railway Society". The station on navigable O. S. map Alnwick station on navigable 1947 O. S. map Disused Stations: Almwick Station
Northumberland is a county in North East England. The northernmost county of England, it borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham and Tyne and Wear to the south and the Scottish Borders to the north. To the east is the North Sea coastline with a 64 miles path; the county town is Alnwick. The county of Northumberland included Newcastle upon Tyne until 1400, when the city became a county of itself. Northumberland expanded in the Tudor period, annexing Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1482, Tynedale in 1495, Tynemouth in 1536, Redesdale around 1542 and Hexhamshire in 1572. Islandshire and Norhamshire were incorporated into Northumberland in 1844. Tynemouth and other settlements in North Tyneside were transferred to Tyne and Wear in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. Lying on the Anglo-Scottish border, Northumberland has been the site of a number of battles; the county is noted for its undeveloped landscape of high moorland, now protected as the Northumberland National Park. Northumberland is the least densely populated county in England, with only 62 people per square kilometre.
Northumberland meant'the land of the people living north of the River Humber'. The present county is the core of that former land, has long been a frontier zone between England and Scotland. During Roman occupation of Britain, most of the present county lay north of Hadrian's Wall, it was controlled by Rome only for the brief period of its extension of power north to the Antonine Wall. The Roman road Dere Street crosses the county from Corbridge over high moorland west of the Cheviot Hills into present Scotland to Trimontium; as evidence of its border position through medieval times, Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England, including those at Alnwick, Dunstanburgh and Warkworth. Northumberland has a rich prehistory with many instances of rock art, hillforts such as Yeavering Bell, stone circles such as the Goatstones and Duddo Five Stones. Most of the area was occupied by the Brythonic-Celtic Votadini people, with another large tribe, the Brigantes, to the south; the region of present-day Northumberland formed the core of the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia, which united with Deira to form the kingdom of Northumbria in the 7th century.
The historical boundaries of Northumbria under King Edwin stretched from the Humber in the south to the Forth in the north. After the battle of Nechtansmere its influence north of the Tweed began to decline as the Picts reclaimed the land invaded by the Saxon kingdom. In 1018 its northern part, the region between the Tweed and the Forth, was ceded to the Kingdom of Scotland. Northumberland is called the "cradle of Christianity" in England, because Christianity flourished on Lindisfarne—a tidal island north of Bamburgh called Holy Island—after King Oswald of Northumbria invited monks from Iona to come to convert the English. A monastery at Lindisfarne was the centre of production of the Lindisfarne Gospels, it became the home of St Cuthbert, buried in Durham Cathedral. Bamburgh is the historic capital of Northumberland, the royal castle from before the unification of the Kingdoms of England under the monarchs of the House of Wessex in the 10th century; the Earldom of Northumberland was held by the Scottish royal family by marriage between 1139–1157 and 1215–1217.
Scotland relinquished all claims to the region as part of the Treaty of York. The Earls of Northumberland once wielded significant power in English affairs because, as powerful and militaristic Marcher Lords, they had the task of protecting England from Scottish retaliation for English invasions. Northumberland has a history of revolt and rebellion against the government, as seen in the Rising of the North against Elizabeth I of England; these revolts were led by the Earls of Northumberland, the Percy family. Shakespeare makes one of the Percys, the dashing Harry Hotspur, the hero of his Henry IV, Part 1; the Percys were aided in conflict by other powerful Northern families, such as the Nevilles and the Patchetts. The latter were stripped of all power and titles after the English Civil War of 1642–1651. After the Restoration of 1660, the county was a centre for Roman Catholicism in England, as well as a focus of Jacobite support. Northumberland was long a wild county, where Border Reivers hid from the law.
However, the frequent cross-border skirmishes and accompanying local lawlessness subsided after the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England under King James I and VI in 1603. Northumberland played a key role in the Industrial Revolution from the 18th century on. Many coal mines operated in Northumberland until the widespread closures in the 1980s. Collieries operated at Ashington, Blyth, Netherton and Pegswood; the region's coalfields fuelled industrial expansion in other areas of Britain, the need to transport the coal from the collieries to the Tyne led to the development of the first railways. Shipbuilding and armaments manufacture were other important industries before the deindustrialisation of the 1980s. Northumberland remains rural, is the least-densely populated county in England. In recent years the county has had considerable growth in tourism. Visitors are attracted both to its historical sites. Northumberland has a diverse physical geography, it is low and flat near the North Sea coast and mountainous toward the northwest.
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality, it has been a focal point for the British people at times of national mourning. Known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site, in private ownership for at least 150 years, it was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837; the last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds.
The palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb during World War II. The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which survive, include widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle Époque gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House; the palace has 775 rooms, the garden is the largest private garden in London. The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring. In the Middle Ages, the site of the future palace formed part of the Manor of Ebury; the marshy ground was watered by the river Tyburn, which still flows below the courtyard and south wing of the palace. Where the river was fordable, the village of Eye Cross grew.
Ownership of the site changed hands many times. William gave the site to Geoffrey de Mandeville, who bequeathed it to the monks of Westminster Abbey. In 1531, Henry VIII acquired the Hospital of St James, which became St James's Palace, from Eton College, in 1536 he took the Manor of Ebury from Westminster Abbey; these transfers brought the site of Buckingham Palace back into royal hands for the first time since William the Conqueror had given it away 500 years earlier. Various owners leased it from royal landlords and the freehold was the subject of frenzied speculation during the 17th century. By the old village of Eye Cross had long since fallen into decay, the area was wasteland. Needing money, James I sold off part of the Crown freehold but retained part of the site on which he established a 4-acre mulberry garden for the production of silk. Clement Walker in Anarchia Anglicana refers to "new-erected sodoms and spintries at the Mulberry Garden at S. James's". In the late 17th century, the freehold was inherited from the property tycoon Sir Hugh Audley by the great heiress Mary Davies.
The first house erected within the site was that of a Sir William Blake, around 1624. The next owner was Lord Goring, who from 1633 extended Blake's house and developed much of today's garden known as Goring Great Garden, he did not, obtain the freehold interest in the mulberry garden. Unbeknown to Goring, in 1640 the document "failed to pass the Great Seal before King Charles I fled London, which it needed to do for legal execution", it was this critical omission that helped the British royal family regain the freehold under King George III. The improvident Goring defaulted on his rents. Arlington House rose on the site—the location of the southern wing of today's palace—the next year. In 1698, John Sheffield the first Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, acquired the lease; the house which forms the architectural core of the palace was built for the first Duke of Buckingham and Normanby in 1703 to the design of William Winde. The style chosen was of a large, three-floored central block with two smaller flanking service wings.
Buckingham House was sold by Buckingham's natural son, Sir Charles Sheffield, in 1761 to George III for £21,000. Sheffield's leasehold on the mulberry garden site, the freehold of, still owned by the royal family, was due to expire in 1774. Under the new Crown ownership, the building was intended as a private retreat for King George III's wife, Queen Charlotte, was accordingly known as The Queen's House. Remodelling of the structure began in 1762. In 1775, an Act of Parliament settled the property on Queen Charlotte, in exchange for her rights to Somerset House, 14 of her 15 children were born there; some furnishings were transferred from Carlton House, others had been bought in France after the French Revolution of 1789. While St James's Palace remained the official and ceremonial royal residence, the name "Buckingham-palace" was used from at least 1791. After his accession to the throne in 1820, King George IV continued the renovation with the idea in mind of a small, comfort
10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street known colloquially in the United Kingdom as Number 10, is the headquarters of the Government of the United Kingdom and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, a post which, for much of the 18th and 19th centuries and invariably since 1905, has been held by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Situated in Downing Street in the City of Westminster, Number 10 is over 300 years old and contains 100 rooms. A private residence occupies the third floor and there is a kitchen in the basement; the other floors contain offices and conference, reception and dining rooms where the Prime Minister works, where government ministers, national leaders and foreign dignitaries are met and entertained. At the rear is an interior courtyard and a terrace overlooking a half-acre garden. Adjacent to St James's Park, Number 10 is near Buckingham Palace, the London residence of the British monarch, the Palace of Westminster, the meeting place of both houses of parliament.
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 rather than to him personally. Walpole commissioned William Kent to join the three houses and it is this larger house, known as Number 10 Downing Street; the arrangement was not an immediate success. Despite its size and convenient location near to Parliament, few early Prime Ministers lived there. Costly to maintain 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"; the current tenants of 10 Downing Street are: First Lord of the Treasury Spouse of the Prime Minister and Family Chief Mouser to the Cabinet OfficeIt houses the UK Cabinet Room in which Cabinet meetings in the UK take place, chaired by 10 Downing Street resident Prime Minister Theresa May.
It houses the Prime Minister's executive Office which deals with logistics and diplomacy concerning the government of the United Kingdom. Number 10 Downing Street was three properties: a mansion overlooking St James's Park called "the House at the Back", a town house behind it and a cottage; the town house, from which the modern building gets its name, was one of several built by Sir George Downing between 1682 and 1684. Downing, a notorious spy for Oliver Cromwell and Charles II, invested in property and acquired considerable wealth. In 1654, he purchased the lease on land south of St James's Park, adjacent to the House at the Back within walking distance of parliament. Downing planned to build a row of terraced town houses "for persons of good quality to inhabit in..." The street on which he built them now bears his name, the largest became part of Number 10 Downing Street. Straightforward as the investment seemed, it proved otherwise; the Hampden family had a lease on the land. Downing fought their claim, but had to wait thirty years before he could build.
When the Hampden lease expired, Downing received permission to build on land further west to take advantage of more recent property developments. The new warrant issued in 1682 reads: "Sir George Downing... to build new and more houses... subject to the proviso that it be not built any nearer than 14 feet of the wall of the said Park at the West end thereof". Between 1682 and 1684, Downing built a cul-de-sac of two-storey town houses with coach-houses and views of St James's Park. Over the years, the addresses changed several times. In 1787 Number 5 became "Number 10". Downing employed Sir Christopher Wren to design the houses. Although large, they were put up and cheaply on soft soil with shallow foundations. Winston Churchill wrote that Number 10 was "shaky and built by the profiteering contractor whose name they bear"; the upper end of the Downing Street cul-de-sac closed off the access to St James's Park, making the street quiet and private. An advertisement in 1720 described it as: "... a pretty open Place at the upper end, where are four or five large and well-built Houses, fit for Persons of Honour and Quality.
The cul-de-sac had several distinguished residents: the Countess of Yarmouth lived at Number 10 between 1688 and 1689, Lord Lansdowne from 1692 to 1696 and the Earl of Grantham from 1699 to 1703. Downing did not live in Downing Street. In 1675 he retired to Cambridge. In 1800 the wealth he had accumulated was used to found Downing College, Cambridge, as had been his wish should his descendants fail in the male line. Downing's portrait hangs in the entrance hall of Number 10; the "House at the Back", the largest of the three houses which were combined to make Number 10, was a mansion built in about 1530 next to Whitehall Palace. Rebuilt and renovated many times since, it was one of several buildings that made up the "Cockpit Lodgings", so-called because they were attached to an octagonal structure used for cock-fighting. Early in the 17th century, the Cockpit was converted to theatre. For many years, the "House at the Back" was the home of Thomas Knevett, Keeper of Whitehall Palace, famous for capturing Guy Fawkes in 1605 and foiling his plot to assassinate King James I.