The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the UK Parliament or British Parliament, is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories.
The House of Lords of the United Kingdom, referred to ceremonially as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Palace of Westminster - Overview by UK Parliament
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.
The River Thames is a river that flows through southern England, most notably through London.
The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough which also holds city status.
Dan Cruickshank explores the Palace of Westminster, also ... by Dig Deeper
Its name, which is derived from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building complex destroyed by fire in 1834, and its replacement, the New Palace that stands today.
Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster.
The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence.
The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their sub-divisions, although the term is not only a metonym for the State.
The building is managed by committees appointed by both houses, which report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Speaker.
The first royal palace was built on the site in the 11th century, and Westminster was the primary residence of the Kings of England until fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512.
After that, it served as the home of the Parliament of England, which had been meeting there since the 13th century, and also as the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall.
The Royal Courts of Justice, commonly called the Law Courts, is a court building in London which houses both the High Court and Court of Appeal of England and Wales.
In 1834, an even greater fire ravaged the heavily rebuilt Houses of Parliament, and the only significant medieval structures to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, and the Jewel Tower.
A cloister is a covered walk, open gallery, or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth.
The Jewel Tower is a 14th-century surviving element of the royal Palace of Westminster, in London, England.
The subsequent competition for the reconstruction of the Palace was won by the architect Charles Barry, whose design was for new buildings in the Gothic Revival style, specifically inspired by the English Perpendicular Gothic style of the 14th–16th centuries.
Sir Charles Barry FRS RA was an English architect, best known for his role in the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster in London during the mid-19th century, but also responsible for numerous other buildings and gardens.
A spire is a tapering conical or pyramidal structure on the top of a building, often a skyscraper or a church tower.
English Gothic is an architectural style that flourished in England from about 1180 until about 1520.
The remains of the Old Palace were incorporated into its much larger replacement, which contains over 1,100 rooms organised symmetrically around two series of courtyards and has a floor area of 112,476 m2.
Part of the New Palace's area of 3.24 hectares was reclaimed from the Thames, which is the setting of its nearly 300-metre long façade, called the River Front.
Barry was assisted by Augustus Pugin, a leading authority on Gothic architecture and style, who designed the interior of the Palace.
Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was an English architect, designer, artist and critic, chiefly remembered for his pioneering role in the Gothic Revival style; his work culminated in the interior design of the Palace of Westminster.
Construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects; works for the interior decoration continued intermittently well into the 20th century.
Major conservation work has been carried out since then to reverse the effects of London's air pollution, and extensive repairs took place after the Second World War, including the reconstruction of the Commons Chamber following its bombing in 1941.
Air pollution is the introduction of particulates, biological molecules, or other harmful materials into Earth's atmosphere, causing diseases, allergies, death to humans, damage to other living organisms such as animals and food crops, or the natural or built environment.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier.
The Palace is one of the centres of political life in the United Kingdom; "Westminster" has become a metonym for the UK Parliament, and the Westminster system of government has taken its name after it.
Metonymy is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is called not by its own name, but rather by the name of something associated in meaning with that thing or concept.
The Elizabeth Tower, in particular, which is often referred to by the name of its main bell, Big Ben, is an iconic landmark of London and the United Kingdom in general, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and an emblem of parliamentary democracy.
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and is usually extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower as well.
The Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
A World Heritage Site is a landmark which has been officially recognized by the United Nations, specifically by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
A listed building or listed structure, in the United Kingdom, is one that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.