Timeline of major works to Palace of Westminster

c.1045
Edward the Confessor rebuilds Westminster Palace on the same site by the River Thames, and also rebuilds the abbey nearby as a Benedictine foundation.

1099
Westminster Hall, now the oldest part of the Parliamentary Estate, completed by William Rufus.

1292
King Edward I begins to rebuild St. Stephen’s Chapel – completed with lavish decoration in about 1365 by his grandson, King Edward III.

1394-1401
Westminster Hall north front rebuilt by Henry Yevele and hammer-beam roof built by Hugh Herland, for King Richard II. It is the largest medieval timber roof in Northern Europe.

c.1520
King Henry VIII leaves the Palace in 1513, but the Cloister of St. Stephen’s College is rebuilt for the king, whilst the legislature gradually takes over the buildings surrounding it.

1547
King Edward VI grants the use of the former royal chapel of St. Stephen to the Commons for conversion into their first permanent chamber.

1834
Fire destroys two-thirds of the old palace on 16 October; Westminster Hall, the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft and Cloisters survived. Competition for new Palace announced 1835 – to be Gothic or Elizabethan. 97 entrants applied. Competition won by Charles Barry in 1836; Augustus Welby Pugin provided detail drawings.

1840
Foundation stone of new Palace laid by Mrs Barry in April.

1841
Royal Fine Arts Commission established for advice on decoration; under chairmanship of Prince Albert; scheme of decoration begun 1846.

1844
Augustus Welby Pugin engaged to carry out detail drawings for interior.

1852
Official opening of new Palace of Westminster including Commons Chamber; first State Opening to use Royal Entrance beneath Victoria Tower, procession through Royal Gallery and into Lords’ Chamber. Public access through Westminster Hall and St. Stephen’s Hall also ready. Augustus Pugin dies at the age of 40.

1854
Goldsworthy Gurney replaces David Boswell Reid and simplifies ventilation system, whilst also designing gas lighting.

1859
Clock mechanism set in motion and Big Ben chimes for the first time in July.

1860
Stonework completed for Victoria Tower (houses the world’s oldest Parliamentary archive); iron lantern and flagstaff completed later by Edward Barry (Charles’ son). Sir Charles Barry dies in May at the age of 65 – buried in Westminster Abbey.

1863-1868
Chapel of St Mary Undercroft decorated by Edward Barry with new stained glass, altar, pulpit and font. Royal Fine Arts Commission dissolved 1863. Further decoration of interior halted by First Commissioner of Works and EM Barry’s commission finished in 1870.

1882
Royal Courts of Justice move to Strand.

1883
First telephones introduced; first electric lighting introduced 1884; first lift installed (to Ladies Gallery, House of Commons) and House of Lords Chamber first lit by electricity 1893.

1940
Second World War bombs destroy south window of Westminster Hall in September; and south and east sides of the Cloisters of St Stephen’s in December.

1941
House of Commons Chamber destroyed by bombing on 10-11 May. The Palace was damaged by air raids on 14 occasions during the war.

1950
New House of Commons Chamber and surrounding offices opened; designed by Giles Gilbert Scott in the Tudor Gothic style as before.

1964-1974
New accommodation blocks added around some courtyards.

1974
Underground car park beneath New Palace Yard completed.

1974
Reproduction Pugin wallpaper provided for the Moses Room under the guidance of the Victoria and Albert Museum, thereby initiating the careful analysis of original schemes and their reproduction.

1990
The Ibbs Report suggests a phased works programme of improvements under the control of a single body. Parliamentary Works Directorate set up two years later following the privatisation of Property Services Agency.

2011
Speaker’s Court cast iron roof overhaul begins ongoing programme of repairs to Palace roofs.

2015
Education Centre constructed in Victoria Tower Gardens adjacent to Palace grounds.

*Date indicates year of completion of project unless otherwise stated.