"watch the Houses of Parliament burn"

On the night of 16th October 1834 a fire broke out at the Houses of Parliament. It had begun earlier in the day when two workmen used the furnaces below the House of Lords to burn old accounts records. Huge crowds turned out to watch as both Houses of Parliament and much of the rest of the Palace of Westminster burned to the ground, and the scenes were captured by painter J.M.W. Turner. Construction of a new Parliament (the present building) began in 1840 and was finished in 1870.