Commissioned in 1825 by the ‘grand old’ Duke of York, York House – as it was then known – was a hub of social and political life throughout the 19th century.
When the Duke died, the lease was purchased by the then Marquess of Stafford (later the first Duke of Sutherland) whose family occupied the house from 1829 until 1913. The Sutherlands’ liberal politics and love of the arts attracted many distinguished guests, including factory reformer Lord Shaftesbury, anti-slavery author Harriet Beecher Stowe and Italian nationalist leader Garibaldi.
Almost as influential as the visitors was the décor, which was to set the fashion for London reception rooms for nearly a century. The mainly Louis XIV interiors created a stunning backdrop for the Sutherlands’ impressive collection of paintings and objets d’art, many of which can still be seen in the house today.
In 1913, Lord Leverhulme, a Lancastrian, bought the lease for the nation and Stafford House became Lancaster House. At one time it was home to the London Museum. The house has been associated with important conferences and the decolonisation process in particular.
On Tour - but in London! The 1957 Article