Jack Brown

‘Jack Brown’s writing reflects his background as an academic, with some serious analysis of government and its processes. But the human element is there, too.’
Daily Mail

‘I learned a great deal I did not know about it from Jack Brown’s informative and highly readable new book on this famous constant of British politics.’
The Critic Magazine

‘… the book is indispensable to future studies…’ 
LSE Review of Books



‘The walls of Number 10 have talked to Jack Brown. He is a natural calibrator of the human flows inside what he calls a “fascinating historical mess of a building”.’
Peter Hennessy

‘A fascinating biography of one of the great political survivors: Downing Street. A must-read for anyone who has wondered what life is like behind that famous black door, and the impact the rooms and corridors of power have on the people who work there, and the country they run.’
Matt Chorley

‘This is an outstanding work of historical research, giving us a rich picture of the building at the centre of British power.’
John Rentoul

‘Jack Brown has had the benefits, not available to other academics, of having shared the life and work of Number 10 as a living house. His book catches the smell and feel of it. The book also also presents the history differently, because of the concept of its political geography. It has my total support.’
Lord Bernard Donoghue

‘[Jack Brown] the first ever researcher-in-residence at No. 10 … brings alive the workings of this extraordinary old house in a way others rarely do. On almost every page there are fascinating insights into the prime ministers and officials who have lived and worked there.’
Civil Service World

‘Where the book is strongest though is the history of the building, and is rich in anecdotes about the decades leading up to the wholesale rebuilding that took place in the 1950s…’

‘Both fascinating and extremely revealing, this is an intimate account of power and the building at its core. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the nature of British politics.’
Brit Lit Blog


Behind the world’s most iconic front door lies the core of British political power: the Prime Minister’s home and office. Designed over three centuries ago as an ordinary residence, 10 Downing Street (or ‘No. 10’) has undergone a challenging metamorphosis, with continuous adaptation and renovation allowing successive occupants to make their mark on this evolving, surprising and in some places crumbling building.

No. 10’s first-ever Researcher in Residence, Jack Brown, has used unprecedented access to people and papers to uncover intimate stories of Downing Street’s post-war residents, staff and visitors, revealing how those in power have shaped the building – and been shaped by it in return.

This is a fascinating account of unexplored corners of one of the nation’s best-known buildings, from the minutiae of decoration and diplomacy to the drama of terrorist bombs and political bombshells.

JACK BROWN is Lecturer in London Studies at King’s College London and Research Manager at Centre for London. From 2016–17, he was the first-ever Researcher in Residence at No. 10 Downing Street.

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