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Monday, 3 August 2015

Houses of Parliament

Thorney Island was the eyot on the Thames, upstream of medieval London, where Westminster Palace was built in the eleventh century. It was formed by rivulets of the River Tyburn, which entered the Thames near the lowest point where it could be forded from the north bank at low tide.

The Palace of Westminster was the was the primary residence of the Kings of England in the late Medieval period. The predecessor of Parliament, the Curia Regis (Royal Council), met in Westminster Hall (although it followed the King when he moved to other palaces).

The first English parliament to include not only Lords but also representatives of the major towns held its first meeting in the Palace of Westminster, now commonly known as the "Houses of Parliament" on January 20, 1265.

A fire destroyed much of Westminster Palace in 1512. After that, it served as the home of the Parliament of England, but not the English monarchs.

Parliament before 1834 Fire[3] with Old Palace Yard in foreground[4]

After another fire destroyed the Houses of Parliament in 1834, there was a competition to design a new palace. Out of 97 entries number 64 was chosen, designed by Charles Barry with Gothic detail by Augustus Pugin.

The building estimate for the new Houses of Parliament was £724,986 over six years. It took 30 years and cost over £2 million.

Parliament's "new palace," was completed in 1850. It covers eight acres and has 1,100 rooms and two miles of passages. The House of Lords is in the southern half.


The commons Chamber was destroyed during the Blitz in 1940 and small pieces of the original wood recovered were used to make the Commons' snuff box.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

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