"Houses of Parliament"
Clock Tower at Houses of Parliament
GNU Free Documentation LicenseClock Tower at Houses of Parliament - Credit: Tagishimon

Located on the north bank of the Thames in the heart of London’s borough of Westminster, and also known as the Palace of Westminster, the House of Lords and the House of Commons together form the home of the UK government.

The oldest parts of the palace date from the 11th century, and throughout the late medieval period it was the principal royal residence. The first parliament met there in 1295, followed by almost all subsequent parliaments.

Major improvements were carried out in the late 18th century, and in the 1820s Sir John Soane oversaw extensive remodelling; the medieval section of the House of Lords – which Guy Fawkes had once sought to destroy – was demolished. After a fire tore through the palace in 1834, Charles Barry was hired to design the Gothic-style palace that stands today. The foundation stone was laid in 1840 and the work was fully completed 30 years later.