Palace of Westminster gets green light to get the house in order. Ooo-rder!
A major ongoing issue at the Palace of Westminster, as well as a couple of other things, has been its restoration and this has been bubbling away for even longer than those ‘other things’… Having first been raised in 2000, a couple of weeks ago an Act received Royal Assent for the establishment of the bodies that will have overall responsibility for the refurbishment programme.
The refurbishment will be another chapter in the long history of the Palace, which began formally in 1045 when St Edward the Confessor began construction of his palace on what was then known as Thorney Island. It remained the monarch’s primary residence until a fire destroyed the residential bits in 1512. In 1547 the Commons got a chamber of its own, for the first time, and moved into St Stephen’s Chapel. This was re-designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 1600s.
More buildings were added, piecemeal, over the next hundred years or so – including a building for document storage in 1755 – until 1834 when another fire destroyed both Houses of Parliament and the majority of buildings on the complex. By 1870 it had been rebuilt.
The Palace was bombed on 14 separate occasions during the second World War, with the Commons chamber being destroyed by fire, again, on 10 May 1941. Reconstruction was completed by 1950.
Works on the planned major refurbishment are expected to start in the mid 2020s, with MPs being temporarily re-homed in Richmond House, Whitehall and the Lords in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Parliament Square.
Parliament’s archives, which look after both Houses, are currently located within the Palace complex and will need to be relocated too – either temporarily or permanently.
A refurbishment is an ideal time to take stock of your paper records. Having an effective archive system with documents tracked from desk to storage and back again can make day-to-day business tick along just that little bit more easily. If your filing system has taken on a life of its own, our lovely people on 0333 060 8804 can help you bring it to order, ooo-rder!