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PALACE OF WESTMINSTER

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
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Also known as the Houses of Parliament, including the House of Commons, House of Lords, Westminster Hall, associated Courts, Greens and Yards. The Palace at Westminster is sited on Thorney Island and was built close to the Abbey of Westminster from about 1040 onwards. For over 500 years it remained the principal palace of the sovereign, and housed the principal Courts of Justice, the Exchequer, and administrative offices of the kingdom. It held the King's Treasury and all legal documents created by the administration. The Medieval royal palace was also used as the Houses of Parliament from late in the 13th century. Until 1548, Parliament sat in Westminster Hall, The Abbey Chapter House or Abbey Refectory, or the Parliament Chamber in the Palace. After 1548, St Stephen's Chapel became secularised, and the Commons was allowed permanent possession. The Lords occupied the Parliament Chamber. The major periods of building work occurred under William II, John, Henry III, Edwards I-III, and Richard II. By 1529 the palace was partly demolished, being replaced by Whitehall Palace, the surviving part used for ceremonial and administrative purposes only. The next major redevelopments occurred in the late C18th and early C19th under William Kent and John Vardy, and Sir John Soane. Each was an attempt to address the problems of space imposed on the legislature by being in a Royal Palace.Of the Mediaeval Palace destroyed by fire in 1834, only Westminster Hall, St Stephen's Cloister, the crypt of the Chapel of St Mary and St Stephen, and the Jewel Tower remain. Following the 1834 fire, the foundation stone for the present complex was laid in 1839 and the bulk of the complex was completed by 1854. The design was a collaboration between Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin, and combined the Gothic style with Elizabethan. World Heritage Site area includes the Northernmost part of Victoria Tower Gardens, (TQ37NW155). Surrounding railings, and 14 lamp posts in New Palace Yard, Grade II.

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