Westminster Palace - London
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Westminster Palace was erected in 1840 on the site of the old houses of Parliament, which were destroyed by fire 1834. It is 900 feet long by 300 feet wide, is built of limestone from the Yorkshire quarries, and cost about $8,000,000. The palace contains the House of Lords and the house of Commons, which are separated by an octagonal hall with a diameter of 70 feet. The house of Lords is 100 feet long, 45 feet wide, and 45 feet high. The room is profusely decorated, and in niches between the windows are statues of barons who signed the Magna Charta — eighteen in number. The gorgeous gilt and canopied throne which is occupied by the Queen when she opens Parliament is in this room, as is also the wool-sack — a large, square bag of wool covered with red cloth — of the Chancellor of Great Britain. The House of Commons is not as handsome as the House of Lords in the matter of decorations, and is not so long, but is the same height and width. The palace also contains a number of other rooms, among which are the Queen's robing room, the guard room, the libraries, commit-tee rooms, etc. In the center of the edifice, above what is known as the Octagon Hall, is a tower 300 feet high. At the southwest corner is the Victoria tower, 346 feet high. At the northwest corner is the clock tower, which is surmounted by a belfry spire 320 feet high. In this tower is a clock with four faces, each. 30 feet in diameter, and the hours are struck on a bell called "Big Ben," which weighs nine tons. At the southwestern extremity of the building is the state entrance of the Queen, which communicates directly with what are known as the royal apartments. The entrance to the Octagon hall is by a passage known as Saint Stephen's Hall, which communicates also with Westminster Hall, a much older building, on the north.