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Charles Barry and A.W. Pugin

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AD Classics: Palace of Westminster / Charles Barry & Augustus Pugin

04:00 - 20 June, 2016
AD Classics: Palace of Westminster / Charles Barry & Augustus Pugin, The Palace of Westminster as seen from the River Thames. Image Courtesy of Flickr user Alex Brown
The Palace of Westminster as seen from the River Thames. Image Courtesy of Flickr user Alex Brown

At 6:20pm on the evening of October 16, 1834, a fire began in the old Palace of Westminster in London – the foremost seat of parliamentary governance for both the United Kingdom and the British Empire across the seas. The inferno, which burned until the early hours of the morning, destroyed so much of the medieval complex that neither restoration nor preservation were considered viable options – a new palace would have to rise from the ashes to surround the largely undamaged Westminster Hall.[1] The fire gave the United Kingdom a chance not only to replace what was considered as an outdated, patchwork of government buildings, but to erect a Gothic Revival landmark to spiritually embody the pre-eminence of the United Kingdom across the world, and the roots of modern democracy.

Elevation. Image Courtesy of Merrell Publishers Limited Drawing of the 'Estimates' design for the House of Lords by Pugin. ImageCourtesy of Yale University Press The original, unsatisfactory design for the House of Commons. ImageCourtesy of Yale University Press Plan. Image Courtesy of Yale University Press, Ltd. + 13