Category Massachusetts Avenue

Henry Adams and Lady Lindsay in Washington

Within the intersecting circles of the story of the British Embassy, Henry Adams is the center point in its early history. His beloved home across from the White House brings together several elements of this Landscape of a Washington Place: the Embassy’s first landscape gardener (Elizabeth Sherman Hoyt, later Lady Lindsay); Beatrix Jones (later Farrand […]

The Myths of the British Embassy II: the Location with Lutyens

The previous entry in this website surveyed the District’s Gilded Age landscape with its Beaux-Arts architecture existing on Massachusetts Avenue before the British Chancery and Ambassador’s Residence arrived in the neighborhood. This was to address misinformation about and the perplexing view that the architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, designed the United Kingdom complex in rural land […]

The Myths of the British Embassy I: the Location before Lutyens

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 […]

Plan of the Embassy Gardens and Maps of the Area

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 […]

The Time of Changes and Commemorations in the Embassy Gardens

What became the tumultuous decade of the 1960s at the Washington Embassy began with landscape gardener Perry Wheeler and Lady Caccia working to revitalize the gardens while enclosing them for additional privacy and protection. At the start of 1960, plantings (magnolias, hollies, viburnum, aucuba, cherry laurel, blue spruce) were put in to provide a dense […]

The Embassy Gardens in Post-War Recovery

The Immediate Post-War Years The monarch’s birthday celebration in the gardens of British Embassy, last held in 1938, was revived in June 1947. The ambassador who greeted guests entering through the wooden Lutyens garden gate was the unconventional, if not eccentric, Archibald Clark Kerr, 1st Baron Inverchapel. Wearing white linens, he presided over a more […]

The Second World War as Seen in the Embassy Landscape

The transformation of Washington during the Second World War can be seen in structural changes at the British Embassy. Quickly assembled wartime additions to the Lutyens Chancery were erected in 1940. When those proved inadequate for the burgeoning staff’s needs, property was leased throughout the city and land bordering the Embassy’s service road and Observatory […]