The attention of the world's media was focused on Tony Blair, on the day he made public his plans to quit as Labour leader.
Thursday began with a Cabinet meeting in Downing Street, at which Mr Blair briefed colleagues on the timing of departure.
Chancellor Gordon Brown, favourite to replace Mr Blair, reportedly paid tribute to the prime minister at the meeting.
Also attending was John Prescott (right), who would later announce his resignation as Labour's deputy leader.
Tony and Cherie Blair then left Downing Street by a rear entrance to travel to the MP's Sedgefield constituency.
Mr Blair was greeted by supporters outside the Trimdon Labour Club before going inside to make his statement.
The scenes sparked memories of the euphoria which greeted Mr Blair on his first day in Downing Street, in May 1997.
Mr Blair used his speech to confirm that he would stand down on 27 June and would stay until Labour elected a leader.
The prime minister described how it had been "an honour" to lead the country but stressed a decade was "long enough".
"The British are special. The world knows it," Mr Blair told his loyal supporters. "This is the greatest nation on Earth."
Mr Blair said his "political journey" had begun in Sedgefield, adding it was "fitting" that it should end there too.