Marlborough House opens its doors to the public

05 September 2011

Visitors can view the 300-year-old building in September

Marlborough House will open its doors to the public on Saturday, 17 September 2011 as part of London’s biggest annual architecture festival.

Visitors can view the 300-year-old building - once home to Dukes of Marlborough and members of royalty, and now housing the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Foundation - for free as part of Open House London.

Last year more than 2,000 people came to see the building, which houses paintings of the first Duke's battles (Blenheim 1704, Ramillies 1706, Oudenarde 1708, Malplaquet 1709), and was built using red Dutch bricks brought to England as ballast in the troop transports that had carried soldiers for the Duke's army in Holland.

Open House is an initiative of Open-City, an independent not for profit organisation that champions the role of well-designed places in making a vibrant city. Every September over 700 buildings in London open their doors to the public for free during the Open House London weekend.

In September 1959, HM Queen Elizabeth II allowed the house to become a Commonwealth centre. In 1965 it became the Secretariat’s headquarters, which executes the mandates agreed by Commonwealth Heads of Government through technical assistance, advice and policy development; and the home of the Foundation, which helps civil society organisations promote democracy, development and cultural understanding.

It has been the venue for a number of independence negotiations and many Commonwealth conferences, including meetings of Commonwealth Heads of Government.

Click here for more information on visiting Marlborough House through Open House London