Houses of Parliament (UK) Quick Facts

Security technology such as security cameras and alarms are used throughout the estate.

In addition to unarmed security personnel, there are also armed police officers on the premises.

Timeline (Selected)

11th century – The original palace was built.

1604-1605 – A group of English Catholics, including Guy Fawkes, plot to blow up Parliament to protest their treatment by Protestants. However, the plot was uncovered, and the conspirators were hanged. November 5th is still celebrated in England as “Guy Fawkes Day” when people celebrate with bonfires, fireworks and burning effigies of Fox.

October 16, 1834 – The fire destroyed most of the building.

1840 – Construction of the current parliament building begins.

1852 – The House of Commons is used for the first time.

1870- Construction completed.

May 11, 1941 – The House of Commons Hall was destroyed by explosions during The Second World War. It was rebuilt by the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

1950- The renovation of the House of Commons is complete.

1987- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has listed this building as a World Heritage Site.

2000- Portcullis House, the new parliament building, completed.

February 2001 – Portcullis House officially opens.

June 18, 2015 – An independent committee issues report emphasizing the need for a major overhaul of the entire historical complex. Issues requiring attention include wiring problems, loose asbestos, and rats. Chief Architect of the Houses of Parliament tells the BBC“Some of the facades are actually sinking and we’re going to find out very soon.”
March 22, 2017 – Khalid Massoud pushes his way through the crowd on Westminster Bridge in central London before attempting to storm the Houses of Parliament. in what the police thought was Islamist-inspired terrorist attack. Four people, including a police officer, were killed and dozens injured before he was shot dead by police.
August 14, 2018 – Several people were injured after a car crashed into a security barrier near Parliament House during rush hour. The driver was arrested on suspicion of terrorist activity. He was later identified as Salih Khater, a 29-year-old British citizen who emigrated from Sudan. Hater was later found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years.

April 24, 2020 – Parliament publishes a report outlining each stage of work to be carried out as part of the restoration and renewal program for the Palace of Westminster. This follows the October 8 approval of the Parliament Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019.

April 21, 2020 – July 22, 2021 – In response to coronavirus Pandemic, Houses of Parliament introduced social distancing and other temporary measures in practice as needed. The measures have been extended until July 22, the start of the summer holidays for the Houses of Parliament.

Characteristics

The designers/architects are Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin. Barry won the competition for the title of architect.

There are four floors:
– Ground floor – Offices, houses overlooking the river, conference rooms and dining rooms.
– First floor – more dining rooms, chambers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and libraries.
– Second floor and Third floor – Committee rooms.

At one end of the palace is the speaker’s private area, and at the other end is the Lord Chancellor’s area.

Made of limestone with an iron roof.

Three large towers, Elizabeth Tower (316 feet high, holding a bell Big Ben), Victoria Tower (323 ft) and Central Tower (300 ft)

The main entrance is called St. St. Stephen’s Hall, which leads directly to the Central Lobby or Octagon Hall. This area is open to the public.

Parliament occupied nearby buildings as needed, including the Parliament Street Buildings and the North and South Norman Shaw Buildings.