The Great Palace: The Story of Parliament by Christopher Jones hits the £1 shelf in my shop.
British Broadcasting Corporation [B.B.C./BBC], 1983, Hardback in dust wrapper.
Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Facsimiles; Colour Photographs; Black & White Drawings;
From the cover: The Great Palace is the story not just of the institution of Parliament itself, but a sumptuously-illustrated guide to the buildings and architecture of historic Westminster. The author is Christopher Jones who has been the BBCs Parliamentary Correspondent for twenty years; he has made use of his unique insiders view to write of the Great Palace with verve and insight.
The book takes us right back to the very beginnings of mediaeval Westminster, when first the clergy and then the Crown settled on the site, and its importance grew so that when the first Parliaments were called, they naturally came to Westminster.
It has never lost its pre-eminence a look at the history of Westminster is a window into the principal events of Britains heritage. Westminster Hall, the only part of the original Palace to survive has, for instance, a prodigious tale to tell. The trials of Sir Thomas More, Charles I, Guy Fawkes and Warren Hastings took place there and coronation state banquets were held there until the nineteenth century. Its magnificent oak hammerbeam roof is a masterpiece of mediaeval craftsmanship.
The Houses of Commons and Lords were rebuilt after the terrible conflagration of 1834 by the Victorian architects, Barry and Pugin. The book shows, in detail, the splendid interior of the Palace and includes photographs of areas not normally seen by the public. The Palace consists of 1,160 rooms, 130 staircases, 11 courtyards and two miles of corridors and took over twenty years to build and is a supreme example of Victorian Gothic art.
Away from the grandeur, Christopher Jones examines the more everyday problems which have beset Parliament through the years: the constant difficulty of ventilation; the proximity of the River Thames known as the Great Stink; the financial difficulties; the worries of keeping order within the House and maintaining its security; what the Members of Parliament thought of the presence of women on the premises (before they got the Vote) and how the Press gallery and its reporting of Parliament was managed. He also explains the procedure of debates and how the legislative machinery works today.
Written to accompany the BBC-TV series, The Great Palace: The Story of Parliament has a wealth of archive photographs plus many specially commissioned ones in full colour.
Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Price Clipped.
Turquoise boards with Gilt titling to the Spine.
256 pages. Index. 9¾” x 7″.
This book will be listed, sooner or later, for £6.50 on my delightful website… but get 50% off buying from my blog… below…