An important street in London, Whitehall runs in a roughly north-south direction from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square. At the northern end where it emerges from Trafalgar Square by Charing Cross there are a number of minor buildings, and also the McDonald's branch which got totally trashed during the Reclaim The Streets demonstration earlier this year (pictures available on request *grin*).

Further down the street however Whitehall evidently becomes the road that encompasses the seat of power in Britain. One of the first side-roads off from Whitehall is Great Scotland Yard, which used to be the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police until they moved to New Scotland Yard in the 1960s. Opposite that is the Admiralty, the home of the navy and a little further down is the Banqueting House, originally part of a royal palace and now an extremely opulent building in which visiting presidents and monarchs are entertained by the Prime Minister.

Beyond this are more Government buildings, including the Ministry of Defence which is opposite the Cenotaph where there are permanent poppy wreaths laid in memory of the millions of British servicemen and women who have died in battle. On the other side of Whitehall is Downing Street, where the Prime Minister lives (at number 10) and the Chancellor of the Exchequer (at number 11). The enormous 10-foot tall wrought iron gates that guard this street were installed by Margaret Thatcher when she lapsed into a temporary moment of sanity and, realising she was one of the most despised rulers of Britain, feared for her safety.

Beyond this is the Foreign Office and the Treasury buildings before you finally emerge onto Parliament Square in front of the Houses of Parliament dominated by the clock tower most people know (incorrectly) as Big Ben.

One of a series of occasional writeups of well-known / interesting streets and walks through London.

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