Around Parliament Square, London Location map
  View of the Houses of parliament, London, England   Westminster area.

This view of the Palace of Westminster is from the west where it faces onto Parliament Square. The tower on the right is the Victoria Tower.

The first royal palace was built on this site in the 11th century, and Westminster was the primary London residence of the Kings of England until a fire destroyed much of it in 1512. After that, it served as the home of Parliament, which had been meeting there since the thirteenth century until an even greater fire ravaged the Houses of Parliament yet again in 1834. This was the replacement structure.

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  View of the Big Ben clocktower, London, England   Westminster area.

The Big Ben clock tower at the north end of the palace. Big Ben, as you may know, is the name of the largest bell although that name is now commonly applied to the whole tower.

The tower is 316 feet high and the clock strikes the hour to within a second of the time achieving standards of accuracy considered impossible by 19th-century clockmakers, and it has remained consistently reliable since it entered service in 1859.

The four dials are each 23 feet in diameter; the hour hand is 8 feet 10 inches long and the minute hand 14 feet long.


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  Photograph of St. Margaret's Church by Westminster Abbey, London, England   Westminster area.

The Church of St. Margaret sits next to Westminster Abbey on its northern side because the monks of the newly-founded monastery of St Peter in Westminster were disturbed by the people of Westminster who came to hear Mass. So the monks then built a smaller church next to the Abbey where the local people could receive all the ministrations of the Church, thus leaving the monks in the Abbey undisturbed.

St Margaret's was built in the late 11th century but towards the end of the 15th century it had fallen into such a state of dilapidation that it needed almost total reconstruction. Work to rebuild the church started in 1482 and continued over many years until 1523.

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  Photograph of  the West Front, Westminster Abbey, London, England   Westminster area.

The West Front of Westminster Abbey with a small part of the Victoria Tower (Palace of Westminster) showing on the right-hand edge of the picture. These two western towers were actually built between 1722 and 1745.

Since the coronations in 1066 of both King Harold and William the Conqueror, coronations of English and British monarchs were held in the Abbey.




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  Photograph of the approach to Westminster Cathedral, London, England   Westminster area.

The southern approach to Westminster Cathedral along Ambrosden Avenue with the cathedral campanile or bell tower showing on the left. Westminster Cathedral is at one end of Victoria Street and Westminster Abbey is at the other end.



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  Photograph of Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London, England   Westminster area.

South-East of Westminster Cathedral is the Tate Britain art gallery, opened in 1897, on the north bank of the Thames. Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art from 1500 to the present day including paintings by John Constable, William Blake and J. M. W. Turner.



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