The Banqueting House at Whitehall

Leonard W. Cowie visits this splendid structure, which Inigo Jones began to raise for King James I in 1619, and which is still one of London’s most perfectly proportioned buildings.

Macaulay once confessed that among his no trace remained above ground of the collection mental habits was ‘a love of castle- of buildings of all shapes and sizes that made up building’. As an example of this, he told the rambling Tudor royal palace, and those who his sister, ‘I seem to know every inch of White- go along Whitehall, and lack Macaulay’s excep-hall. I go in at Hans Holbein’s gate and come out tional range of reading and power of imagination., through the matted gallery’.By his time, of course, must find it difficult to envisage its appearance, or people it with characters. Enclosed by the blocks of government offices, however, there does survive the Banqueting House at the corner of Horse Guards Avenue, as a visible reminder of the past; and, despite its comparative smallness, it is a building that was, during its first years of existence, at the centre of English history.

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