Apsley House - History and Facts | History Hit

Apsley House

London, England, United Kingdom

Apsley House was the home of one of Britain’s most heroic figures, the Duke of Wellington.

Lily Johnson

09 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Apsley House

Apsley House was the home of one of Britain’s most heroic figures, Arthur Wellesley, better known as the Duke of Wellington. In fact, Wellington lived there following his most famous victory, that over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Apsley House history

Named after the Baron Apsley, who originally built it in the 1770s, Apsley House came to be owned by the Wellesley family in 1807. The Wellesleys extended and altered Apsley House, transforming it into the building we see today.

The first Wellesley to occupy the house was Wellington’s brother Richard, however when he faced bankruptcy in 1817, Wellington anonymously purchased Apsley to resolve his brother’s dire finances.

In 1820, Wellington commissioned architect Benjamin Wyatt to design a magnificent State Dining Room at the house, holding the annual Waterloo Banquet there every 18 June until the construction of the Waterloo Gallery in the 1830s. This gallery was even grander than the previous, with vast collections of portraiture adorning the walls gifted by tsars and kings, and captured from the Spanish Royal Collection.

Apsley House today

Now managed by the English Heritage, Apsley House has a range of worthwhile things to see, such as its remarkable regency interiors and exhibits relating to the Duke of Wellington. Many things belonging to the Duke are currently on display, including memorabilia such as medals and shields, alongside his impressive art collection of paintings and sculpture.

Those taken from the Spanish Royal Collection include pieces by several famous artists such as Canova and Velazquez, while work from Rubens and Titian can also be found.

Often known by the illustrious name of ‘Number 1 London’, Apsley House is one of the greatest examples of Georgian design in the capital. Its 19th century grandeur not only allows visitors to view a stunning display of fine artwork, but also walk in the footsteps of one of Britain’s greatest military leaders.

Getting to Apsley House

Apsley House is located near Hyde Park in London. Its nearest train station is Victoria, a 20-minute walk away, while the nearest Underground is Hyde Park Corner, a 3-minute walk away. A number of buses stop nearby with the closest a 4-minute walk away at Hyde Park Corner.

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