Back

Whitehall Street in London photo

Whitehall Street stretches from Trafalgar Square to Westminster Palace. You will see no residential buildings there, only public institutions and the main ministries, such as the Ministry of Defense, the British Admiralty. The building of the Cabinet of Ministers is also there.

Whitehall Street got its name from Whitehall Palace. After the Palace of Westminster burned down in 1529, Whitehall Palace became the royal residence, however, and it was destroyed by fire in 1698, only the Banqueting House remained, a small part of the palace. 

The Banqueting House was constructed in 1619 by the order of King James I. The task was commissioned to the architect Indigo Jones, who, under the impression from his trip to Italy, designed the palace building in the style of Palladianism. Since then royal receptions were always held in the Banqueting House. Performances of Mask Theater, a popular modern entertainment, were also held there. The performances included music, singing and dancing in costumes and masks. Even the king and queen took part in them. 

In 1630 the ceiling of the Banqueting House was decorated with Rubens paintings. King Charles I ordered them from the famous Flemish painter. A few years later the English bourgeois revolution began and in 1649 Charles I was executed in front of the Banqueting House.

After the fire Whitehall Palace was not restored. The Ministry of Defense and the Admiralty were built on its site. The building of the Royal Mews was built in front of them, which is more like a small palace. At the entrance there are two horsemen in the full-dress uniform of cuirassiers. There are always a lot of tourists near them. 

In the center of the street there is a monument called Cenotaph. This is a war memorial dedicated to the English soldiers who died in the last two world wars. There are many more monuments in the street. 

Two equally famous streets adjoin Whitehall Street: Downing Street (it is closed for tourists), where the British Prime Minister lives at the house number 10, as well as Scotland Yard, where the headquarters of the London police is located.