Whitehall is a road in
Westminster in London, England.
It is the
main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards traditional Charing Cross, now at the southern end of Trafalgar
Square and marked by the statue of Charles I, which is often regarded as
the heart of London.
Recognised as the centre of HM
Government, the road is lined with government
departments/ministries; "Whitehall" is therefore also frequently
used as a metonym
for overall UK
governmental administration, as well as being a geographic name for
the surrounding district.
is taken from the vast Palace of Whitehall that used to occupy the area but which was largely
destroyed by fire in 1698.
Whitehall was originally a wide
road that ran up to the front of the palace. Trafalgar
Square was built at its northern extremity in the early
The southernmost part by Parliament Square is
, but there is no longer any
obvious distinction between the two on the ground. Combined, the
streets cover a total distance of about 0.6 mile (1 km).
Street was a small side road alongside the palace leading to the
When the palace was destroyed and its ruins
demolished, Parliament Street was widened to match Whitehall's
width. The present appearance of the street is largely the result
of 19th century redevelopment.
House, built in 1622 by Inigo
Jones, is the only surviving portion of the former
palace. Charles I
executed on 30 January 1649 on a scaffold erected outside the
building, stepping onto it from a first-floor window. Royalists
still commemorate the regicide
the anniversary of the execution.
Whitehall is often used as a metonym to refer to the government of
the United Kingdom or senior ministers (such as the prime minister and other cabinet members), in
the same way the Kremlin refers to the
House refers to the executive branch of the government of
Cenotaph, the principal war memorial of Britain, is in the
centre of the road, and is the site of the annual memorial
ceremonies on Remembrance
Sunday. In 2005 a Monument to
the Women of World War II was placed just a short distance northwards from
central portion of the street is dominated by military buildings,
including the Ministry of Defence,
with the former headquarters of the British
Army and Royal Navy, the Royal United Services
Institute, the Horse Guards building and the Admiralty, on the opposite side.
also hosts equestrian statue
of George, Duke of
, a former Army Commander-in-Chief
and Earl Haig
, Commander in Chief of the British
Armies in France 1915-1918.
Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, was originally
located in Great Scotland Yard off the north-eastern end of the
street, but relocated to New Scotland Yard on the Victoria
Embankment in 1890.
Street leads off the south-west end of Whitehall, just
above Parliament Street.
It is closed to the public at both
ends by security gates erected in 1989. These have since been
supplemented by a further gated barrier around three metres outside
the main gates.
During recent years, significant security measures have been put in
place along Whitehall for the protection of the government
buildings that line the street. This is partly due to a £25 million pound
'streetscape' scheme undertaken by the Westminster
City Council, which was agreed just months before the 2005
This has caused significant disruption
along Whitehall, but the building programme appears to be coming to
an end, with wider pavements, better lighting and hundreds of
concrete and steel security barriers now in place.
Whitehall showing the major UK
Government buildings in Whitehall (north to south)
Other notable buildings in Whitehall
- Whitehall Through The Centuries by George S Dugdale
(Assistant at the London Museum) with black and white reproductions
and plans. A foreword by Sir Edward Bridges
Image:Whitehall1799.jpg|In 1799 many of the sites now occupied by
large government buildings were covered with terraced houses and
Parliament Street had not been widened.Image:Taxi_and_Monuments_on_Whitehall.jpg|A
London cab zooms between two monuments on
Whitehall, between Horse Guards and
- John Michael Lee, George William Jones, June Burnham, At
the Centre of Whitehall: Advising the Prime Minister and
Cabinet, p. 42. St. Martin's Press, 1998. ISBN 0312177305
- First published by Phoenix House (London) in 1950 with no