Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament, or Palace of Westminster as it is also known, was originally laid out for Edward the Confessor more than 1,000 years ago. In 1066 it became the home of William the Conqueror and his court and remained the principal residence of English kings for the next 400 years, until Henry V111. After that time it remained the main administrative centre for the country up until the present time. The palace was added onto piecemeal, but everything except Westminster Hall was burnt in the great fire of 1834. This magnificent hall still stands at the front of the building adjacent to Parliament Square. The present building was designed specifically to house parliament and was laid out in Gothic style by Sir Charles Barry, completed in the 1840's.... continued below

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Although huge, the main and most important rooms in the building are two small chambers, The House of Commons, and the House of Lords. These two small chambers are at either ends of the buildings connected by vast grandiose corridors. The House of Commons, where parliament sits is an extraordinarily humble place. It has a series of plain green benches where the government and members sit. It is very small and there is not enough seats for all the MPs and some have to stand when there is a full house. By contrast the House of Lords (although the same size) is a very opulent chamber, in lush red with an ornate ceiling and a wall of gold where the monarchs throne is placed.

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