Palace of Westminster
Following a catastrophic fire in 1834, most of the medieval building was destroyed, and a competition held to find architects for a new building. Charles Barry was appointed, and The Palace of Westminster underwent a dramatic rebuilding programme lasting 30 which was finally completed in 1870. It features more than 1000 rooms in the Gothic Revival style designed by Barry with additional work by Augustus Pugin. The building is a complete statement of this rich architectural style.
Barry’s design has a pioneering emphasis on the use of space and located the two chambers of Parliament and main rooms on the same floor –which are still in use today. It is one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, and symbolic of the UK and democracy. It is also technically still a royal palace.
The Royal Mail stamp issue in 2020 will mark 150 years since the completion of the ambitious rebuilding, with a ten-stamp set. This follows the pattern of our series of stamps on iconic buildings, with six sheet stamps exploring the iconic external appearance and the most famous chambers -the House of Lords rich in decoration with red and gold, and the House of Commons is plainer oak and greenseating –a colour scheme copied by other parliaments around the world.