Friday, April 10, 2020

Renovations at the Palace of Westminster

From the BBC:
Standing proud on the left bank of the River Thames, the Palace of Westminster is one of London’s most iconic landmarks. The Gothic-style building and its towers, including the famous Elizabeth Tower, the home of Big Ben, attract more than a million visitors each year and have been immortalised by many artists over the years – Monet alone worked on 19 different paintings of the place. But while the site’s history dates back more than 1,000 years, its ancient foundations are now at risk of falling apart.

Ecclesiastical and monarchical buildings have been constructed on the palace’s site since at least the Middle Ages. A palace was constructed here in the first half of the 11th Century and served as a royal residence until 1512. By 1550, the House of Commons and the House of Lords already held meetings here. In 1834, a fire consumed almost the whole building and, two years later, a Royal Commission organised a competition to design a new one.
Out of 97 submissions, the one by architects Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin prevailed. They created the Gothic-style palace that exists today, which occupies a total ground area of eight acres, including courtyards and gardens. It’s nearly 300m long with about 1,100 rooms, 100 staircases and 4.8km of passageways.
But as the Brexit voting sessions have made global headlines these past few years, images of the palace and its deteriorating conditions have travelled across the world: in 2019, a House of Commons sitting had to be suspended due to a leaky roof. The cast-iron tiled roofs have never undergone major renovation or repair in more than 160 years and the leaking can also damage the interiors of the building. However, that is not the only issue the palace faces. (Read more.)

No comments: