August garden (jb)

The gardens of the British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington are central in the extended narrative of the place. The setting, grounds and structures, planned by the architect of the complex, the eminent Sir Edwin Lutyens, were meant to be seen and work as a whole. The significance of the particular location within Washington and what […]

Baist's Real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia. Philadelphia: G.W. Baist, 1919-1921, pl. 25, v. 3 (Map Division, Library of Congress)

Baist’s Real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia. Philadelphia: G.W. Baist, 1919-1921, pl. 25, v. 3 (Map Division, Library of Congress)

There persists the unfortunate belief in some publications that in the 1920s the government of the United Kingdom chose a remote site with “little civilization nearby” for their new Washington Embassy. While the British with their previous diplomatic building pioneered the countryside around Connecticut Avenue—with livestock pens and crumbling Civil War barracks for neighbors—that is […]

residence-backview

All of the three British ambassadors posted to the United States during the Thatcher years had a personal, practical interest in the gardens. Sir Nicholas Henderson (1979-82), was an avid gardener, who during his previous appointment to Paris displayed gardening exhibitions in the British Ambassador’s residence (such as one promoting garden tools). He came to […]

Master Plan_8-27-11

For reference to earlier and future posts, here is a master plan of the entire grounds of the Ambassador’s Residence: And for the points of interest in the story of the landscape of the British Embassy, including Normanstone Park and Normanstone Drive, Oak Hill Cemetery, Dumbarton Oaks, the Naval Observatory, Rock Creek Park: At the […]

Clivia Sir John Thouron (Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens)

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, came to Washington during their first United States trip as a couple in November 1985. There was overwhelming media attention at each appearance in the star-struck capital, which included the opening of the National Gallery of Art’s landmark exhibition, The Treasure Houses of Britain: 500 Years of Private […]

Map of the Royal Tour in the United States (photo, FDR Presidential Library)

In Canada, the 75th anniversary of the Royal visit to North America is being honored this year with special commemorative coins and whiskey. In the United States, there has been little historical account of the jammed-packed two days in the District of Columbia and northern Virginia during the inaugural trip to North America of the […]

800px-Rose,_Queen_Elizabeth_-_Flickr_-_nekonomania

In 1976, Queen Elizabeth arrived on the HMY Britannia to visit six of the original thirteen colonies and to take part in some of the festivities for the Bicentennial of the American Revolution. In order not to appear to be “pushing it,” for “forgiveness can go so far,” according to an Embassy spokesman, the yacht […]

'Lime House' on Centre Island, New York (April 2014, S. Blakely)

The first ambassador’s wife to live in and influence the new British Embassy in Washington, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was the spirited Lady Lindsay. She has born Elizabeth Sherman Hoyt and grew up and died on Centre Island, New York. The place was formative to her character and early career, instilling a love of […]

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