Palace of Westminster: Facts About the Houses of Parliament

Here are some facts about the Palace of Westminster.

  • The Palace of Westminster, usually called the Houses of Parliament, is situated alongside the River Thames in Westminster, London. Britain’s Members of Parliament meet here.

  • The building was designed by architect Charles Barry and built in the 1840s, replacing an earlier building destroyed by fire. The complex of buildings covers 8 acres and has over 1,100 rooms.
  • Big Ben is the name of the huge bell in the Elizabeth Clock Tower. The clock’s mechanism is regulated by adding pennies for weight, and the 4 clock faces are each 23 feet across.
  • No animals are allowed into the Palace of Westminster, other than seeing eye dogs. However, the huge building is said to be overrun with mice.
  • The Hall of Westminster is the oldest surviving part of the original building and has the largest Medieval roof in England. At one time, Britain’s kings and queens lived here.
  • The building contains over 100 staircases and 3 miles of corridor. It has its own gymnasium, shooting range and hair salon.
  • The Palace of Westminster is known for its centuries old traditions. In the lifts are hooks designed for hanging swords on and some floor markings are designed to be 2 sword lengths apart.
  • The Royal Gallery is one of the largest rooms. It is used for important dinners, receptions and ceremonies. In the past, it was used for trials.
  • The Lord’s Chamber where the House of Lords meets is the palace’s most lavishly decorated room. However, the Lord Speaker sits on a large sack of wool, representing Britain’s wool trade.
  • The Commons Chamber, where members of Parliament meet, is decorated in green, according to an old tradition. It also contains furnishings from Commonwealth countries including Canada and Australia.

5 thoughts to “Palace of Westminster: Facts About the Houses of Parliament”

  1. I am 70 years old have driven past these buildings many times, have often thought how deep are the foundations more so on the River Thames side, the information I have just read is excellent, I like how many rooms and staircases, how many mice there are, the wool seat cushion the speaker has, now I have finally retired perhaps I can get up there for a walking visit into the actual building.

    Well done to the people that have put all this information together.
    Kind regards from kelvain Curtis

  2. Thank you for making this website and it helped me a lot with my homework! 😀

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