The Palace of Westminster


Key Details

20 Dean's Yard, London SW1A 0AA


The Palace of Westminster in Westminster London SW1.

The Palace of Westminster owes its stunning Gothic architecture to the 19th-century architect Sir Charles Barry.

Grade I listed, and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Palace contains a fascinating mixture of both ancient and modern buildings, and houses an iconic collection of furnishings, archives and works of art.


2010 - Feilden+Mawson was appointed as Architects and Lead Consultants for all buildings on the Parliamentary Estate.

Built on the site of Edward the Confessor's ancient palace, the main residence of the Kings of England until 1511.

The present-day Palace of Westminster is built in the perpendicular Gothic style, which was popular during the 15th century and was responsible for the Gothic revival of the 19th century.

In 1836, the commissioners organised a public competition to design a new Palace in either of these styles. They received 97 entries, each identifiable only by a pseudonym or symbol. From these, the commissioners chose four, of which they were unanimous in preferring entry number 64 which bore the emblem of the Portcullis. This was the entry submitted by Charles Barry, who had proposed a Gothic-styled palace in harmony with the surviving buildings.

The construction of the new Palace began in 1840. While Barry estimated a construction time of six years, at an estimated cost of £724,986, the project in fact took more than 30 years, at a cost of over £2 million. The first stone of the building was laid by Barry's wife on 27 August 1840. The site was extended into the river by reclaiming land, to a total of about eight acres.[1]

The House of Lords first sat in their new purpose-built chamber in 1847 and the House of Commons in 1852 (at which point Charles Barry received a knighthood). Although much of the rest of the building was completed by 1860, construction was not finished until a decade afterwards.


Named after Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner of the Works when it was hung in 1858. The clock was designed by EJ Deut and the bell by George Mears of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.[2]

1. The Parliament
2. London Architecture Features and Façades by Matthew Weinreb 1993

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