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House Of Parlament

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House Of Parlament

Parliament, Houses of, also New Palace of Westminster, seat of the British legislature, a great mass of buildings on the east bank of the Thames River in London. It was built (1840-60) after s by Sir Charles Barry, on the site of the medieval royal residence, the Palace of Westminster, which was largely destroyed by fire in 1834. The buildings cover an area of more than 3 hectares (8 acres) and contain 1100 apartments, 100 staircases, and 11 courts. The exterior, in rich late Gothic style, is impressive with its three massive towers: Victoria Tower (102 m/336 ft), Middle Tower (91 m/300 ft), and Saint Stephen's, or the Clock Tower (98 m/320 ft). The latter contains a clock with four dials, each 7 m (23 ft) in diameter, and a great bell, Big Ben, weighing 13.5 tons. Among the houses are the sumptuous House of Peers; House of Commons; Saint Stephen's Hall on the site of Saint Stephen's Chapel; the residence of the Speaker; the libraries, committee rooms, and lobbies connected with the House of Commons and the House of Peers; and offices. Westminster Hall (begun 1097) is all that remains of the original palace.

In World War II the buildings were seriously damaged during air raids. In 1974 a bomb ted by Irish nationalists slightly damaged Westminster Hall and destroyed an annex to it.


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