Wellington's home warms up

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The Independent Culture
Wellington's home warms up

Apsley House, home of the first Duke of Wellington from 1817 until his death in 1852, reopens today after three years, following a pounds 6m restoration. While attention will no doubt be focused on the re-creation of original wallhangings, curtains and banquettes, more important to the long-term future of the building are major structural repairs including the discreet installation of heating, ventilation, fire and security systems. Known as Number One, London, because it was the first house encountered entering London from the west in the Duke's day, the house, orginally designed by Robert Adam, was once part of a terrace. Rebuilt inside and out at the Duke's expense by Benjamin Wyatt in the 1820s, the house has since been isolated on the massive Hyde Park Corner roundabout. The restoration was commissioned by the Department of National Heritage and carried out by Unicorn Consultancy and the Victoria & Albert Museum, specialists in historic interiors and conservation. Apsley House is open every day except Mondays, 11am-5pm; 0171-499 5675.