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Palace of Westminster

 
Address
Westminster,
London
SW1A 0AA
 
 
 
 

More commonly known as the Houses of Parliament, the Palace of Westminster is the site of primary governance in the United Kingdom and the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The structure is dominated by three towers, the two largest being Victoria Tower at the south west end of the building, and Elizabeth Tower at the north - the latter taking the form of the most famous clock tower in the world. Big Ben itself is the name given to the largest of five bells contained within the clock tower, but more commonly is taken to refer the tower as a whole.

The location has had a chequered past. The original seat of governance on the site, built in the middle ages, fell prey to fire in 1512, leading to heavy reconstruction. That building was subject to perhaps the most famous failed terrorist attack in history on November 5 1605, when Guy Fawkes plotted to assassinate James I by blowing up the House of Lords at the state opening of Parliament. The Gunpowder Plot, as it became known, led to the emergence of a traditional celebration in the UK on the fifth of November every year, where stuffed dummies nicknamed Guys are burnt atop bonfires, along with the suitable deployment of a large number of fireworks. This quintessentially British event forms the backbone of the plot of The Empty Hearse.

In 1834, two overheating chimneys effectively did the work that Fawkes failed to achieve, and the Houses of Parliament suffered a devastating fire that led to the demolition of the building. The Palace of Westminster was reconstructed into its current form over a period of thirty years, completing around 1870. In more recent history, the building suffered damage during the German bombing of the Second World War, with the House of Commons chamber suffering a direct hit in 1941 that led the chamber being rebuilt. As it stands today, one of the most emblematic structures that defines Britain, the Houses of Parliament is a Grade I listed building and is recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site.    

Episodes Palace of Westminster has appeared in

 
The Empty Hearse (Episode 1, Series 3)

The closest underground station is Westminster [Circle / District / Jubillee], with many exits from the station allowing you an immediate view of the the Palace of Westminster.

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