Have you ever wondered what it’s like inside number 10?
I was invited along to Number 10 Downing Street to attend an informal function.
Once I had got past security (which includes a metal detector, pat down and search of your bags), I then handed in my mobile phone and was given a quick tour of some of the communal meeting rooms.
My initial thought was about how it was laid out. Numbers 10 and 11 are actually interconnected once you get through either of the front doors. It’s as if they bought the two terrace houses, and then put some interconnecting doors between them.
I’ve been told I can’t say too much about what’s inside, or why I was invited along, so I will change the subject and just say that it was a privilege to be there. Much like when I visited Hollywood, the town that has created so many of the movies that relate the success of our lives to, visiting Number 10, was an eye-opener to the fact that it’s just normal people working hard, who run the country.
On the day of my visit, I did have the pleasure of meeting one or two of the more senior politicians. They seemed quite relaxed and spoke about the, albeit political, issues of the day in a grounded manner that even I could understand.
I’ve always felt that politicians get a hard time for what they do. A couple of years ago I spent four days as a photographer in Lagos, Nigeria with three of the best known black politicians of our age; Baroness Howells, Lord Paul Boateng and MP Diane Abbott.
I went into the project knowing little about them aside from that constant hate that the papers seemed to pour on MP Diane Abbott, I came out thinking we don’t really know our politicians. Under the skin they’re normal people, with the same worries as all of us, but we, the general public never see that, we see their thick outer skin, their brand.
Back to London
My overall impression of Number 10 (and 11) is that it’s like a private members’ club, with friends running the country! A very social place to work, with little chance for a moments peace, so I think I’d rather stick to my silent design studio.