The area of Whitehall was established on the site of Whitehall Palace, the residence of court until all but the banquet hall was destroyed by fire. The ceiling of the banquet hall was painted by Rubens and is currently used as a chapel royal.
The most famous address in Whitehall is of course number 10 Downing Street the home of the Prime Minister. Downing Street was named after Sir George Downing, the second graduate from the newly formed Harvard College in America. Downing bought land near Whitehall Palace and built a number of houses in the area. Downing Street has been the official residence of the Prime minister since 1732, when George II gave the property to Robert Walpole. No. 10 is not only the home of the Prime Minister; it is also the location of the Cabinet Room and State Dining Room and official offices.
Until Margaret Thatcher was appointed Prime Minister, Downing Street was open to the public- it is now guarded by iron gates, though is visible from Whitehall.
Number 11 Downing Street is the residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and number 12 is the Whips Office. The black door of No. 10 guarded by a single policeman is one of the most enduring images of London.