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The history of Britain is mostly written, or rather scripted, by nobility, and it is at the House of Lords that one can truly get a deeper understanding of how Britain came to be what it is today. The House of Lords is the upper house, and constitutes over 700 members. The roots of "the Lords", as the House of Lords is referred to, can be found in the royal council given to the great Kings and Queens of England. A visit here is a must for those who are really interested in history. For more information please see the website.
Built in 1097, Westminster Hall is one of the major tourist attractions of the city. This hall is the oldest remnant part of the former Palace of Westminster and has witnessed several key social and cultural ceremonies attended by distinguished personalities. This building sports a neo-gothic style architecture and is extremely huge with very high ceilings. An architectural marvel, today this is a premier venue for parliamentary functions and events.
House of Commons Library is an integral part of the British Parliament. Founded in 1818, it serves as an information resource to the lower house of the parliament. The library cannot be accessed by general public but information pertaining the history and work of the Commons can be availed from the information Office.
Big Ben is the name of the clock inside the famous tower that also forms part of the Houses of Parliament, but also extends to the entire structure that was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012. Its impressive mechanism weighs in at over 5 tons, and the pendulum, which beats once every two seconds, weighs 203 kilograms (447.53 pounds). The clock was named Big Ben after the First Commissioner of Works, and since 1885 a light above it has been lit while the House of Commons is in session. Residents can schedule a time to climb the clock tower. Unfortunately, non-citizens are not permitted to climb the clock tower.
Westminster Abbey is regarded as a Gothic architectural masterpiece. It has been the venue for most of the country's coronations and for numerous other royal occasions. At present, it is still a church dedicated to regular worship and to the celebration of great events in the nation. Westminster Abbey features the final resting places or commemorations of a large number of famous poets, scientists, musicians, artists, authors, scientists and more. It is one of London's most visited attractions. On Sundays it is open only for worship.
Originally designed as a treasury for King Edward III, this sturdy building now serves as a museum showcasing the rich history of the British Parliament. The original structure has remained relatively unmodified since its construction in the 14th Century, and is in itself an excellent example of the period architecture. It is also of historical interest because of its status as one of the few remaining structures of the famed Palace of Westminster. Stop by on a tour of the present British Parliament buildings for a glimpse back into the establishment's past. Call for hours.
An epitome of brilliant architecture and swift legal proceedings, the Middlesex Guildhall is a late Gothic Revival masterpiece which was built in 1906-13. It was originally built to house Middlesex County Council’s main council chamber and today is the premises of the Supreme Court. It is widely popular for its architecture with intricately embellished rooms and furnishings. The interior are abounding with copious amounts of stained glass and wood-paneling. One of the attractive features here is the Middlesex Guildhall Art Collection, which has portraits of a number of former Lord Lieutenants, judges and Magistrates.
Once the headquarters of the New Scotland Yard from 1889 to 1966, the impressive Norman Shaw Buildings today serve as Parliamentary offices and have been named Norman Shaw North and South Buildings. These massive redbrick buildings located on Victoria Embankment offer office premises for Members of the Parliament. Made of white Portland stone, interspersed with red bricks, the building offers a beautiful visual to the onlooker.