"Early foreign diplomatic entertainment by the Foreign Secretary took place in local
taverns or at his home, but by the 1850s the London Diplomatic Corps had increased so
greatly that there were very few places sufficiently large enough to contain it.
Therefore, in 1858 the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Office Reconstruction was told
by Edmund Hammond, the Permanent Under Secretary, that in any new building it was
‘essential that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs should have the means of giving
large dinners ... and that he should have reception rooms capable of holding 1,200 or
This may be of interest for those interested in such things. I find it a very interesting