For the first event of our new Chairman’s year, Martin Samuel arranged a visit to Apsley House, also known as Number One, London. This Grade I listed building is the London townhouse of the Dukes of Wellington. It stands alone at Hyde Park Corner, on the south-east corner of Hyde Park, facing south towards the roundabout and is easily accessed from Hyde Park tube station.


Apsley House is a fascinating example of Robert Adam’s work, being built originally in redbrick between 1771 and 1778 for Lord Apsley (hence the name) and was on the site of a tavern called the Hercules Pillars. In subsequent centuries, it was passed by most travellers into London to the toll-gates at Knightsbridge and became a well-known landmark, with a number of the Adam interiors still surviving behind the giant Corinthian portico added by Wellington.


Today, the house is run on behalf of the Duke by English Heritage and, although open to the public by prior arrangement, is also lived in by the family, so it maintains a very personal feel and appearance. Both the furniture and the furnishings are beautiful and appropriate to the building, as well as reflecting the current occupants. The paintings are notable – they were mainly collected by the first Duke after the battle of Waterloo and were in the baggage train which led to what is known as the “biggest loot in history”!

Monday 21st March 2016, 6pm.