The Bedroom at 10 Downing Street

If you were told that last Tuesday night David Cameron slept in the bed Gordon Brown had slept in on Monday night you were grossly misinformed.

He did not. What happened was this…

David Cameron may have arrived at No. 10 Downing Street at 8:45 GMT on Tuesday night, crossed the threshold, and shut the door behind him, but he wasn’t moving in. He and his wife, Samantha, stayed in the house for just a few minutes to greet their new personal staff. Then they spent the night in their private home in London.

Cameron probably won’t live in No. 10, anyway. The one-bedroom apartment with no kitchen was too small for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, both of whom lived in nearby No. 11. The Camerons, who have two children and one on the way, are expected to do the same.

The apartment wouldn’t have been ready for Cameron, even if he had planned to move in right away. The moving truck didn’t arrive at the prime minister’s residence until about noon on Wednesday. They moved in this weekend and are expected to complete their move over the next few weeks.

Cameron does not have to live on Downing Street at all – it just makes life easier for him. During much of the 19th century, the neighborhood was infested with prostitutes and pickpockets, and the British heads of government preferred their own private estates.

The flat was a shambles when Benjamin Disraeli decided to move there in 1877. He was too crippled by gout to walk from his residence in Whitehall Gardens to the Downing Street office. Disraeli had the place renovated and even convinced Parliament – over the vigorous objections of his rival William Gladstone – to buy the furniture for the public entrance hall and first-floor rooms. Today, even the residential furniture is paid for by the tax-payer. In 1897, the government stopped charging outgoing prime ministers for the cost of repairing or replacing the stuff they wore out.

Based on a story in Slate magazine posted on May 12.


One response to “The Bedroom at 10 Downing Street

  1. ” The moving truck didn’t arrive at the prime minister’s residence…”
    That would be ‘removal van’ I believe…