During the early twentieth century, the British government procured a large tract of land off of Massachusetts Avenue in order to establish their new embassy. The area was underdeveloped compared to other neighborhoods in the Washington DC area.
Wall exam surveys, survey papers, subdivision books in the District Government’s Office of the Surveyor, reveal the progression of the combining and slicing up of lots that ended with such a site that so significantly influenced the architectural design of the Embassy. The embassy is situated in a compound that is home to the ambassador's residence and the old and new chanceries. The residence was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens to resemble an English country manor, with the old chancery facing the street. By the 1950s, the old chancery was deemed too cramped, and the new chancery, designed by chief architect Eric Bedford was constructed from 1955–1961, with Queen Elizabeth II laying the foundation stone on 19 October 1957. Part of the old chancery was converted into staff quarters, and the rest is currently occupied by the offices of the British Council. The British government was the first nation to build an embassy in the area that would later become known as Embassy Row.
US Historic District Contributing Property: November 26, 1973