Marlborough House

The gates were open to Marlborough House this morning, one of the more mysterious of the grand houses flanking the Mall.   It was built for the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough with a stipulation by the Duchess that it should be ‘strong, plain, convenient and good’ (her use of language is a reflection of her detestation of Vanbrugh’s designs for Blenheim).   Designed by Christopher Wren the younger with help from his father, the Duchess ended up supervising the construction herself.   It was taken over by the Crown in 1817 and used in the 1850s for the so-called Museum of Manufactures (later the V&A) and the National Art Training School.   Adapted in the 1860s by James Pennethorne as a residence for the then Prince of Wales, it now houses the Commonwealth Secretariat:-

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