Parliament and the Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster is one of the most iconic and significant buildings in the world. It is home to one of the busiest parliaments, with more than a million people, including 100,000 school children, passing through its doors each year.

Following the destruction by fire of the old royal palace in 1834, the government of the day was obliged to return to first principles and think about the Palace’s function, planning and symbolism. A competition for the design of the new Palace of Westminster was launched and the winner was Charles Barry, assisted by Augustus Welby Pugin. The building is now considered to be one of the finest examples of 19th century neo-gothic Victorian architecture in the world.

Although designed specifically for Parliament the building remains a Royal Palace. In 1965 the Queen confirmed that its use should be permanently enjoyed by Parliament. In 1992 responsibility for maintaining the Palace was transferred from the government to Parliament.

Find out more about the history and architecture of the Palace of Westminster on the UK Parliament website.