Monthly Archives: January 2015

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

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The Palace of Westminster, better known as the Houses of Parliament is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of Parliament of the UK.

The first royal palace was built on the site in the 11 Century and Westminster was the primary London residence of the Kings of England until a fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512.

After that, it served as the home of Parliament, which had been meeting there since the 13 Century and the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall. In 1834, an even greater fire ravaged the heavily rebuilt House of Parliament and the only structures of significance to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen’s. The Chapel of St Mary Undercroft and the Jewel Tower.

The architect Sir Charles Barry designed the building in the Gothic style.  Barry was assisted by Augustus W Pugin, a leading authority on Gothic architecture and style, who provided the designs for the decoration and furnishings of the Palace.

Construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects.

The Palace of Westminster has been a Grade 1 Listed building since 1970 and part of a Unesco World Heritage site since 1987.

St James’s Palace

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Whilst not open to the public, St James’s Palace has been the setting for some of the most important events in Royal History,

Built largely between 1531 and 1536.  St James’s Palace was a residence of kings and queens of England for over 300 years.

It remains the official residence of the Sovereign, although since Queen Victoria reign in 1837, the Sovereign has lived at Buckingham Palace.

Today, much survives of the original red-brick Tudor style building including the Chapel Royal and the gatehouse which is guarded by soldiers from the Queen’s Household Division when the Sovereign is in town.

Major Historical events have taken place at St James’s Palace

  • Henry V111’s  second wife, Anne Boleyn, stayed there the night after her Coronation.
  • In 1558 Mary Tudor  signed the treaty surrendering Calais back to the French
  • Elizabeth I was resident during the threat posed by the Spanish Armada and set out from St James’s to deliver her rousing speech to the Troops before they set sail from Tilbury on the River Thames.
  • Charles II, James II May II and Queen Anne were all born and baptised at St James’s.
  • Charles I spent his final night at the Palace.  In the morning he walked across St James’s Park to his execution at the Banqueting House in Whitehall.
  • William IV (Duke of Clarence) was the last Sovereign to use St James’s Palace as a residence.
  • Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in the Chapel Royal in 1840.
  • Princess Diana resided there for a short time and her coffin was kept in the Chapel Royal before her funeral.
  • St James’s Palace is still a working palace and the Royal Court is still formally based here.  It is also the London residence of the Princess Royal . Princess

Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York and Princess Alexandra.

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge son “Prince George” was baptised at the Chapel Royal of St James’s Palace.

Albert Memorial – Kensington Palace

The memorial was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style.  Prince Albert’s passions and interests are paramount in this Memorial. Marble figures representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America stand at each corner of the memorial. On the top are figures representing manufacture, commerce, agriculture and engineering.
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Edwardian Ladies out shopping in Belgravia..

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Fancy a chat “Edwardian Ladies out shopping in Belgravia...just one of the many sights on the Dedicated Follower of Fashion Walk