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Apsley House

  • Built / Designed For: Baron Apsley, later 2nd Earl of Bathurst.

    House & Family History: Apsley House, as originally built by Robert Adam for Lord Apsley, later 3rd Earl Bathurst, was a five-bay red brick house. In 1807 the House was bought by Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington's elder brother. When Lord Wellesley began to have financial difficulties in 1817 he sold the House to his famous brother for £42,000 (approximately £32 million in 2016 inflation-adjusted values using the labour value commodity index). The 1st Duke employed Benjamin Dean Wyatt to make major additions to the House between 1827 and 1830, including adding two bays to the west, adding the great Corinthian portico on the front, and the building of the enormous Waterloo Gallery; the entire House was then encased in Bath stone. In the 18th century Apsley House was the first house seen after passing the toll gates at the top of Knightsbridge; this prominent position led to its popular nickname "No. 1 London." Beef Wellington and Wellington Boots, or Wellies, were both named after the 1st Duke of Wellington (the "Iron Duke"), victor over Napoleon at Waterloo, later prime minister, and a prominent statesman. Beef Wellington bears his name not because the duke was a great gourmet, but because the finished joint of beef was thought to resemble one of the brown shiny military boots which were named after him. On April 1, 2004 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport transferred management and ownership of Apsley House to English Heritage. For the past 50 years (since the House and its contents was left to the Nation by the 7th Duke in 1947) the House was owned by DCMS and its predecessor government agencies, who also maintained the fabric of the building, while the collections and the museum were managed by the Victoria & Albert Museum; both functions are today handled by English Heritage.

  • Architect: James Wyatt

    Date: 1807
    Designed: Repairs and redecoration for Marquess Wellesley

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    Architect: Philip William Wyatt

    Date: 1828-29
    Designed: Assisted B.D. Wyatt

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    Architect: Benjamin Dean Wyatt

    Date: 1818-30
    Designed: Dining Room in Classical style (1818). Enlarged House and remodeled interiors, including addition of the Waterloo Gallery (1827-30), all for 1st Duke of Wellington.

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    Architect: Robert Adam

    Date: 1771-78
    Designed: House for Baron Apsley

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  • Title: London Interiors from the Archives of Country Life
    Author: Cornforth, John
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pg. 119
    Publisher: London: Aurum Press
    ISBN: 1854106686
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pgs. 1105, 1120
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: No Park

  • "King Ralph" (1991 - as Buckingham Palace Picture Gallery). "A History of Britain" (2000 - TV documentary series).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington; Wellesley family here since 1807.

    Past Seat / Home of: Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst, late 18th century. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 19th century; Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, 19th century.

    Current Ownership Type: English Heritage

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

    Ownership Details: Apsley House is owned by English Heritage. The Duke of Wellington maintains apartments in perpetuity in the private part of the house, which serves as his London home.

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 02074-995-676

    Fax: 02074-936-576

    Email: customers@english-heritage.org.uk

    Website: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk

    Awards: London Tourist Board "Small Attraction of the Year" award for 2001.

    Historic Houses Member: No