Apsley House Site Visit

In October 2021, City Lions Westminster visited Apsley House to learn about its history and engage with its large art collection.

Apsley House was originally designed and built between 1771 and 1778 on Piccadilly in London, at the formal entrance to Hyde Park.

In the 1700s, it was next to the main tollhouse into central London, so it became known as ‘Number 1, London’ because it was was the first house you passed when entering the city. It is London’s most complete example of a stately manor home lived in the 19th century.

The House is still largely as it was during the 1st Duke of Wellington’s day, which made for a super interesting tour.

Apsley House depicted in 1816

When City Lions Westminster (a local London youth group) arrived, we learnt about the history of the building and had an introduction to its most famous inhabitant – the 1st Duke of Wellington.

After winning the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and defeating Napoleon, Arthur Wellesey (otherwise known as the Duke of Wellington), was given £700,000 by Parliament to build a new ‘Waterloo Palace’ to memorialise and celebrate the victory.

Instead of embarking on a new building, he decided to buy Apsley House from his family to solve some of his brother’s financial problems.

Apsley House is still filled with magnificent gifts from European monarchs and other powerful figures of Wellingtons day, and is home to his beautiful and impressive art collection.

We started our interactive guided tour of the building by thinking about the Duke in  todays context – would he count as an ‘influencer’? Does his Museum Room (with all his extravagant gifts) act as an equivalent to today’s branded gifts for influencers and celebrities?