Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster

Founded in 1016 and rebuilt in the 1800s, the Palace of Westminster has housed the British Parliament since 1259. Parliamentary sessions are open to the public and tours are available regularly.

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
250172
Names
Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament; The Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster

Timeline

1512

Westminster Palace becomes the permanent home of the Houses of Parliament after King Henry VIII abandons it in favor of the nearby Palace of Whitehall.

5 Nov 1605

Failure of the Gunpowder Plot in London

1835

A Parliamentary Committee concludes that the Palace of Westminster should be rebuilt in the Gothic or Elizabethan style and opens a design competition. This is won by the architect Charles Barry, who chose the Gothic style.

1840

Construction begins on new Palace of Westminster in Gothic Revival style

1852

The Commons Chamber of the Houses of Parliament is completed and its architect, Charles Barry, is knighted.

1860

Victoria Tower is completed.

1870

Reconstruction of Palace of Westminster completed

11 May 1941

Commons Chamber Destroyed

1943

The Commons decides that its new chamber in the Houses of Parliament should have a similar design to the destroyed original. They appoint the natural choice for the job, renowned Gothic Revival architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

1981

Major restoration program begun on the Houses of Parliament.

10 more events →

National Heritage List for England Data

Palace of Westminster is listed on the National Heritage List for England with the following data. Some information may have become outdated since the date of listing. Text courtesy of Historic England. © Crown Copyright, reprinted under the Open Government License.

List Entry ID
1226284
Grade
I
Name
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER
Location
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, PARLIAMENT SQUARE SW1THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER, PARLIAMENT SQUARE SW1
District
City of Westminster
County
Greater London Authority
Grid Reference
TQ 30267 79504

TQ 3079 NW and SW CITY OF WESTMINSTER PARLIAMENT SQUARE, SW1 92/53; 101/7; (east side) Houses of Parliament, 5.2.70 The Palace of Westminster G.V. I Houses of Parliament with the surviving parts of the Palace of Westminster. Westminster Hall 1097-99, remodelled 1394-1401 by Henry Yevele with Hugh Herland, carpenter; St Stephen's Chapel "crypt", probably c.1292-97 and c.1320; St Stephen's Cloister and chantrey chapel 1526-29 (considerably restored after World War II bomb damage; Houses of Parliament (the New Palace of Westminster). 1835-60 by Sir Charles Barry with detailing, interior decoration and furnishings by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin; offices against side of Westminster Hall, 1888 by J L Pearson; House of Commons and Lobby rebuilt after World War II bombing. Stone with slate roofs and galvanised cast iron plate roofs to Barry's work which also has an internal fireproof construction of iron joists and brick jack-arches. Cruciform, axial spine plan and massing by Barry combining symmetry on the river front terrace with the asymmetry of the major vertical accents: Victoria Tower, Big Ben and the central fleche and turrets above the roof line. Pugin's 5 particular contribution the perpendicular Gothic detailing of rhythmic buttresses and bay windows, the close panelling with open and blind tracery and the wealth of sculpture, carved crockets, pinnacles and finials. Great vaulted Royal Entrance at foot of Victoria Tower; Lords entrance with buttressed, pinnacled porch in centre of Old Palace Yard range; St Stephen's Porch gatehouse across south end of Westminster Hall (giving access to cross-axis of plan); north entrance to Westminster Hall with great window above and crocketed finialed gable flanked by square battlemented towers (restored 1820); 3 gateways in E M Barry's cloister-arcade to east range of New Palace Yard terminating in virtually free-standing clock tower of Big Ben...

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Bibliography

  1. Official Website of the Houses of Parliament. Web. Accessed 1 Nov. 2016. <http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/palace/>
  2. “HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER.” The National Heritage List for England. Web. Accessed 8 Oct. 2013. <https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1226284>