An 1864 lithograph of the house from a drawing by Richard Tyrer
Built / Designed For: William Hawtrey
House & Family History: Chequers has been the official country residence of the British prime minister since 1921. There is a common misconception that President Nixon's black-and-white American Cocker Spaniel, Checkers (1952–64), was named after Chequers. The dog was named by Nixon's six-year-old daughter, Tricia, and became a celebrity after then-Senator Nixon mentioned the dog in an emotional, televised speech on September 23, 1952. Because of this, every September 23 is designated National Dogs in Politics Day, which is also known as Checkers Day, after the famous pooch, who was adored by Nixon. Checkers died five years before Nixon became president, so he never got to live in the White House. He was buried on Long Island at Bideawee Pet Memorial Park in Wantagh, where visitors continue to leave flags and flowers at the gravesite as a tribute to the dog. William Safire described a "Checkers speech" as an idiom used to refer to any emotionally charged speech by a politician. During World War I the house served as a hospital and then a convalescent home for officers.
Collections: Chequers contains an important collection of memorabilia pertaining to Oliver Cromwell formed in the 18th century by John Russell, a grandson of Cromwell. On March 21, 2023 Bonhams conducted an "attic" auction of contents from Chequers.
Garden & Outbuildings: The garden once was the home of a large elm tree that was supposedly planted by King Stephen in the 12th century.
Architect: Reginald Theodore BlomfieldDate: Circa 1890-1917
Country Life: XXVIII, 970 plan, 1910. XLII, 324 plan, 348, 372, 1917. XLII, 401 [Cromwell Relics], 1917.
Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
Author: Colvin, Howard
Year Published: 1995
Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
Book Type: Softback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Current Seat / Home of: The Prime Minister
Past Seat / Home of: William Hawtrey, 16th century. John Russell, 18th century; Robert Greenhill Russell, 19th century; Lady Anne Frankland Russell, 19th century. Bertram Astley, late 19th century; Henry Delavel Astley, until 1912. Arthur Hamilton Lee, 1st Viscount Lee of Fareham, 1912-21.
Current Ownership Type: Charity / Nonprofit
Primary Current Ownership Use: Other
Ownership Details: Owned by The Chequers Trust and used as a country house retreat for the prime minister.
House Open to Public: No
Historic Houses Member: No