Apsley House: Number 1 London

Apsley House was the home of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. It sits at Hyde Park Corner and is also known as No. 1 London. This prestigious-sounding moniker arises from the fact that Apsley House was the first private residence on the London side of the defunct Knightsbridge toll gate.


Today it's owned by English Heritage and is open for public viewing, with the interior retained much as it was in Wellington's day. The frankly bizarre centrepiece is a statue of Wellington's nemesis, the French general Napoleon. The statue, which is about twice life size and sits in the stair well, depicts a naked Napoleon in the guise of Mars, the God of War.


The name derives from its first owner, Lord Chancellor Lord Apsley, who commissioned classical architect Robert Adam to design the house in 1778. Wellington's family took over in 1807 and he became master of the house in 1817. The house was donated to English Heritage in 1947, although the Wellesley family remain in residence today, in a suite of private rooms.


It is the only property managed by English Heritage in which the owner's family still live.