The Palace of Westminster is celebrating its 150th birthday this year

After it was rebuilt by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin following a massive fire, to mark this significant milestone, UK Parliament is hosting a series of activities this summer.

The programme of events will include talks, competitions and social media activities which draw on fundamental societal and legislative changes from the past 150 years. Pivotal moments in Westminster’s history that will be celebrated include some women and all men winning the right to vote in 1918, the decriminalisation of homo-sexual acts in England and Wales in 1967, and the instigation of anti-discrimination laws in 1968.

Each of these vital pieces of legislation was enacted inside the Palace of Westminster.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “Not only is the Palace of Westminster one of the best-known landmarks in the world, it is a living building – a workplace for MPs, peers and staff, as well as a tourist attraction and UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

The historic building was designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin in the 1830s.

A new virtual tour of the building will be launched to allow members of the public to explore the most intriguing corners of this historic site. With a floor area of 112,476 square metres spread across four floors, at ground floor level it roughly takes up the equivalent of 112 tennis courts. The Palace contains 1,100 rooms, 100 staircases and 4.8 kilometres of passageways which runs its 300 metres in length and encircles two rows of courtyards.

The activities include a design competition for young artists aged six to 15, public talks about the building and its collections, online guided tours of the Palace of Westminster and an online art gallery.


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