The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.
Its name, which derives from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building-complex destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the New Palace that stands today. The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and, for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. Committees appointed by both houses manage the building and report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and to the Lord Speaker.
In the middle of the eleventh century, King Edward the Confessor had moved his court to the Palace of Westminster, situated on a central site near the river Thames. In 1265 a parliament was created with two houses: the Lords and the Commons. The House of Lords met at the Palace of Westminster while the House of Commons did not have a permanent location. After King Henry VIII moved his court to Whitehall Palace in 1530, the House of Lords continued to meet in Westminster. In 1547 the House of Commons also moved here, confirming Westminster as the central seat of government, a position it still holds today.
In 1834 a fire destroyed the Palace of Westminster, leaving only the Jewel Tower, the crypt and cloister of St. Stephens and Westminster Hall intact. After the fire, a competition was organized to create a new building for the two houses of parliament. A design by Sir Charles Barry and his assistant Augustus Welby Pugin was chosen from ninety-seven entries. They created a large but balanced complex in neo-Gothic style and incorporated the buildings that survived the fire. The whole complex was finished in 1870, more than thirty years after construction started. It includes the Clock Tower, Victoria Tower, House of Commons, House of Lords, Westminster Hall and the Lobbies.
A View on Cities
The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as “a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste”. Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George’s Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be “one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic” design.
Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons’ War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become “the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England”. Edward’s core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.
Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II’s palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign.
On the back: The Fountain, Trafalgar Square, London.–In the centre of the picture is one of the two Fountains in Trafalgar Square. The National Art Gallery and the Church of At. Martin-in-the-Fields can be seen in the background
On the back: Nelson’s Monument, celebrating the Battle of Trafalgar of 1805. The National Gallery is open to the public daily and here the Art Treasures of the Nation are house.
This is a postcard of a painting, The Pool of London by George Vicat Cole (1888) in the Tate Gallery. The card is about 25 years later.
This view seems to be just west of London Bridge (rougly here), because if it was east, you’d be able to see a bridge. (I think the Southwark Bridge predecessor is hidden by ships.)
A pool (in this context) is a deep and still place in a river – and thus a good place to moor a boat. London’s pool is divided into upper and lower parts, which are respectively west and east of Tower Bridge. For centuries, cargo vessels traded at riverside wharves in and around the City of London. When these quays grew increasingly overcrowded many boats took to mooring in midstream and loading or unloading with the assistance of barges. The Pool was a perennial forest of bobbing masts. As early as 1586 William Camden boasted: “A man would say, that seeth the shipping there, that it is, as it were, a very wood of trees disbranched to make glades and let in light, so shaded it is with masts and sails.”
As Britain’s empire expanded and the industrial revolution took hold, the Pool became the busiest section of river in the world, crammed not just with ocean-going ships bearing exotic produce from foreign lands, but boats full of immigrants and emigrants, skiffs bringing oysters and fish from the Thames estuary or North Sea, and colliers transporting coal from Tyneside. The first police force was formed at the end of the 18th century to prevent theft and fraud in the Pool of London. Around this time the riverbanks began to fill with imposing warehouses, several of which survive, notably at Butler’s Wharf and Hay’s Wharf on the south shore of the Upper Pool. With the construction of inland docks such as West India and East India, and later Royal Victoria and Royal Albert, the largest ships found new berths but the Pool remained a hive of activity until the ineluctable decline of London as a port in the mid-20th century.
(According to MetroPostcards, Gottschalk, Dreyfuss & Davis Co., Ltd. (G. D & D. L.) were in operation 1909 to 1915.)
Bridge built 1831, widened 1902, removed 1968
On back: M. & D., Excellent series, Paternoster Row
The North Hall, or that portion of the building situated to northward of the principal staircase, is intended for the Domesticated Animals, as well as examples of Hybrids and other Abnormalities.
The chief exhibits comprise Horses, Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Dogs, and Rabbits. One of the main objects of this series is to show the leading characteristics of the well-established breeds, both British and foreign. In addition to Domesticated Animals properly so called, there are also exhibited examples of what may be termed Semi-Domesticated Animals, such as white or parti-coloured Rats and Mice.
Among the Sheep, attention may be directed to the four-homed and fat-tailed breeds, and also to the small breed from the island of Soa, as well as the curious spiral-homed Wallachian Sheep. The so-called wild cattle of Chillingham Park are included in this series, since they are not truly wild animals, but are descended from a domesticated breed. The celebrated greyhound “Fullerton” is shown among the series of Dogs, which also comprises two fine examples of the Afghan Greyhound. Small-sized models of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, and Pigs also form a feature of the series. A hybrid between the Zebra and the Ass is shown in one of the cases
A general guide to the British museum (Natural history) (1908)