Foreign Office Staircase, London, 1868.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate from the Illustrated London News. The first Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was appointed in March 1782, but the first purpose-built Foreign Office was not complete until 1868. It formed part of the new block of Government Offices which included the India Office and later (1875) the Colonial and Home Offices. George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878) was responsible for the overall clasical design of these offices, which he described as 'a kind of national palace or drawing room for the nation' with the use of rich decoration to impres foreign visitors.