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Westminster2
Palace of Westminster

Westminster

The Westminster Parliamentary Estate - a little history.

Situated on the banks of the River Thames in London, the Palace of Westminster is one of Britain's most well know landmarks - indeed it is one of the most of iconic buildings in the world. 

Westminster Hall is the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate, dating back to the 11th Century and is the only part of the ancient Palace of Westminster which survives in almost its original form.

As London's population grew and it became increasingly important as a trading port and business centre, William the Conqueror's son, William II, began laying the foundations of the Great Hall (Westminster Hall) in 1097, and it was completed by 1099.  At the time it was the largest of its kind in Europe - and still is today.

In recent history, severe bombing damage during World War II meant the House of Commons chamber required rebuilding in 1948. Over the years since, limited space has meant extending the Westminster campus outwith the Palace itself, to the Norman Shaw buildings in 1975, then in 1991 the opening of the first purpose-built Parliament Street accomodation, and most recently the newly constructed Portcullis House, officially opened by the Queen in 2001, has afforded all MPs and staff to have their own office facilities.

The beginnings of government at Westminster is 1000 years old, and the Great Hall itself has witnessed a 900 year full journey. For full details and interest information on all aspects of the Westminster estate link to the Parliament website.

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