The Palace of Westminster

Here at Al Free Thought the whole point of the blog is to really discuss some of the thoughts that I have on buildings and architecture around the world. Yesterday I spoke about the Shard in London, and today there is another building in London that I want to talk a bit about that I think is amazing. If you have ever seen the White House, you will marvel just at the pure size of the gardens and the white of the walls. But if you take a look at the Houses of Parliament in the United Kingdom, you will see a true architectural marvel. In fact, what you think is the houses of parliament is actually what is called the Palace of Westminster. The Palace of Westminster is often called the Houses of Parliament as it is one of the standing bodies within the Palace. The Palace itself is the meeting place for the House of Commons and House of Lords. The name itself was also taken from the neighbouring building that is the Westminster Abbey. The whole thing is a marvel, and it is by far one of the most attractive and beautiful government buildings in the world.

The history behind the architecture!


Many people may not realise this but the Palace of Westminster was originally built all the way back in 1016. The original site of the building was actually a strategically important landing zone for boats in the 1000’s. Canute the Great originally placed a residence there during his reign because of the strategic importance of it, and Edward the Confessor was the person who decided to build the royal palace there to begin with. At the same time, he builds Westminster abbey, and then the surrounding area had then been renamed to Westminster from its original name, Thorney Island. Because in those days the whole of the United Kingdom was split into provinces with their own ruling dukes and barons, the Palace of Westminster became the meeting point for all of these lords to meet to discuss a number of things such as the unification of England and wars among their times. As you can imagine, the ruler of the main English lands at the time as the king of West Minster, and his castle became the Palace of Westminster. That is why the building to this day is known as the House of Lords.

What many people often forget also is that the majority of the Palace of Westminster burnt down in 1834. The careless disposal of the Exchequers equipment in the furnaces under the palace had started a chimney fire that engulfed the palace for a whole night and burnt the majority of the building down. It took 30 years to rebuild the entire palace which had been completed in the 1870s. Another important thing to note is that it is not the prime minister or even England as a country that owns the Palace of Westminster, but rather the Queen of England. The Palace is still a palace, meaning the Queen has official holdings of the Palace until her death, which will then be passed down to whoever succeeds her. I think that is a really important and interesting thing to note about the building, since many would consider it to be a free owned building or owned by the state.

If you found todays blog post fun and you enjoyed yesterdays, then make sure you check out tomorrows as it will be just as good!