Riches to Rags

Some properties have some very fanciful addresses. But most are based around the often pretentious naming of the property itself. The White House. Buckingham Palace. Windsor Castle. But these grand names often hide more mundane postal addresses. Such as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With Apseley House, this is quite the other way round. This rather grand property can be mailed at Number 1, London. Is there a more pompous address anywhere else in the world? I don’t know. If you do, let me know,

Number 1, London was home to Arthur Wellesley. More familiarly known as the Duke of Wellington, oft referred to as the Iron Duke. He was a general, a Prime Minister and a national hero. Never defeated on the battlefield, his exploits combined with his naval contemporary, Nelson, put Britain on the path to Imperial riches. Number 1, London is home to some of the looted riches he took and was awarded.

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They do say that the bigger you are, the harder you fall. The British Empire expanded into a vast global enterprise in the second half of the 1800s. It was always bound to end badly. A tiny island cannot forever maintain control of a third of the world’s population while fighting off the imperial ambitions of rival European powers. The French and Spanish were done for. The new Germanic state was another matter entirely. There was no great need for Britain to enter World War 1, other than to try and see off the Hun and maintain the UK’s dominance of the seas, of trade and of wealth production.

It turned out that that was reason enough, and the final consequences of Wellington’s triumphs can been seen at the Tower of London. An altogether older, more famous and grander property just down the Thames, the Tower is currently home to a growing exhibition. Ceramic red poppies are being planted in the moat. By the time they have completed the job, in November, there will be 800,000 odd poppies. In memory of the 800,000 odd Brits who perished in WW1, trying to keep the Iron Dukes ill gotten gains.

It’s already an impressive site. Click here to see the full photo set of Number 1 London and the poppies at the Tower of London. Sadly, interior photography in Apseley House is not permitted.

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