Palace of Westminster

  • palace of westminster
    parliament at sunset.jpg
    seen from across the river thames with westminster bridge in the foreground
    locationwestminster
    london
    sw1a 0aa
    united kingdom
    coordinates51°29′57″n 00°07′29″w / 51°29′57″n 00°07′29″w / 51.49917; -0.12472
    demolished1834 (due to fire)
    rebuilt1840–76
    architectscharles barry and augustus pugin
    architectural style(s)perpendicular gothic revival
    ownerqueen elizabeth ii in right of the crown[2]
    unesco world heritage site
    official name: palace of westminster, westminster abbey, and st margaret's church
    typecultural
    criteriai, ii, iv
    designated1987 (11th 426
    countryunited kingdom
    regioneurope
    extensions2008
    listed building – grade i
    official name: houses of parliament / the palace of westminster
    designated5 february 1970
    reference no.1226284[3]
    palace of westminster is located in central london
    palace of westminster
    location of the palace of westminster in central london

    the palace of westminster serves as the meeting place for both the house of commons and the house of lords, the two houses of the parliament of the united kingdom. commonly known as the houses of parliament after its occupants, the palace lies on the north bank of the river thames in the city of westminster, in central london, england.

    its name, which derives from the neighbouring westminster abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the old palace, a medieval building-complex destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the new palace that stands today. the palace is owned by the monarch in right of the crown and, for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. committees appointed by both houses manage the building and report to the speaker of the house of commons and to the lord speaker.

    the first royal palace constructed on the site dated from the 11th century, and westminster became the primary residence of the kings of england until fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512. after that, it served as the home of the parliament of england, which had met there since the 13th century, and also as the seat of the royal courts of justice, based in and around westminster hall. in 1834 an even greater fire ravaged the heavily rebuilt houses of parliament, and the only significant medieval structures to survive were westminster hall, the cloisters of st stephen's, the chapel of st mary undercroft, and the jewel tower.

    in the subsequent competition for the reconstruction of the palace, the architect charles barry won with a design for new buildings in the gothic revival style, specifically inspired by the english perpendicular gothic style of the 14th–16th centuries. the remains of the old palace (except the detached jewel tower) were incorporated into its much larger replacement, which contains over 1,100 rooms organised symmetrically around two series of courtyards and which has a floor area of 112,476 m2 (1,210,680 sq ft).[1] part of the new palace's area of 3.24 hectares (8 acres) was reclaimed from the river thames, which is the setting of its nearly 300-metre long (980 ft) façade,[1] called the river front. augustus pugin, a leading authority on gothic architecture and style, assisted barry and designed the interior of the palace. construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects; works for the interior decoration continued intermittently well into the 20th century. major conservation work has taken place since then to reverse the effects of london's air pollution, and extensive repairs followed the second world war, including the reconstruction of the commons chamber following its bombing in 1941.

    the palace is one of the centres of political life in the united kingdom; "westminster" has become a metonym for the uk parliament and the british government, and the westminster system of government commemorates the name of the palace. the elizabeth tower, in particular, often referred to by the name of its main bell, big ben, has become an iconic landmark of london and of the united kingdom in general, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and an emblem of parliamentary democracy. tsar nicholas i of russia called the new palace "a dream in stone".[4][5] the palace of westminster has been a grade i listed building since 1970 and part of a unesco world heritage site since 1987.

  • history
  • exterior
  • interior
  • security
  • rules and traditions
  • culture and tourism
  • see also
  • notes
  • references
  • further reading
  • external links

Palace of Westminster
Parliament at Sunset.JPG
Seen from across the River Thames with Westminster Bridge in the foreground
LocationWestminster
London
SW1A 0AA
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°29′57″N 00°07′29″W / 51°29′57″N 00°07′29″W / 51.49917; -0.12472
Demolished1834 (due to fire)
Rebuilt1840–76
ArchitectsCharles Barry and Augustus Pugin
Architectural style(s)Perpendicular Gothic Revival
OwnerQueen Elizabeth II in right of the Crown[2]
Official name: Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church
TypeCultural
Criteriai, ii, iv
Designated1987 (11th 426
CountryUnited Kingdom
RegionEurope
Extensions2008
Listed Building – Grade I
Official name: Houses of Parliament / The Palace of Westminster
Designated5 February 1970
Reference no.1226284[3]
Palace of Westminster is located in Central London
Palace of Westminster
Location of the Palace of Westminster in central London

The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.

Its name, which derives from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building-complex destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the New Palace that stands today. The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and, for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. Committees appointed by both houses manage the building and report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and to the Lord Speaker.

The first royal palace constructed on the site dated from the 11th century, and Westminster became the primary residence of the Kings of England until fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512. After that, it served as the home of the Parliament of England, which had met there since the 13th century, and also as the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall. In 1834 an even greater fire ravaged the heavily rebuilt Houses of Parliament, and the only significant medieval structures to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, and the Jewel Tower.

In the subsequent competition for the reconstruction of the Palace, the architect Charles Barry won with a design for new buildings in the Gothic Revival style, specifically inspired by the English Perpendicular Gothic style of the 14th–16th centuries. The remains of the Old Palace (except the detached Jewel Tower) were incorporated into its much larger replacement, which contains over 1,100 rooms organised symmetrically around two series of courtyards and which has a floor area of 112,476 m2 (1,210,680 sq ft).[1] Part of the New Palace's area of 3.24 hectares (8 acres) was reclaimed from the River Thames, which is the setting of its nearly 300-metre long (980 ft) façade,[1] called the River Front. Augustus Pugin, a leading authority on Gothic architecture and style, assisted Barry and designed the interior of the Palace. Construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects; works for the interior decoration continued intermittently well into the 20th century. Major conservation work has taken place since then to reverse the effects of London's air pollution, and extensive repairs followed the Second World War, including the reconstruction of the Commons Chamber following its bombing in 1941.

The Palace is one of the centres of political life in the United Kingdom; "Westminster" has become a metonym for the UK Parliament and the British Government, and the Westminster system of government commemorates the name of the palace. The Elizabeth Tower, in particular, often referred to by the name of its main bell, Big Ben, has become an iconic landmark of London and of the United Kingdom in general, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and an emblem of parliamentary democracy. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia called the new palace "a dream in stone".[4][5] The Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.