Palace of Westminster is destroyed by fire

(204 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

The Palace of Westminster, a medieval complex of buildings which had in the past been a royal residence, by this point served primarily as the seat of the two Houses of Parliament, the Commons and the Lords. Before the Exchequer could rely on having literate clerks, tally-sticks were used, but by 1834 these had become redundant. Unsure of the best way to dispose of these, the Clerk of Works decided to burn them discreetly in the underfloor coal furnaces that heated the House of Lords. Unfortunately these furnaces were overloaded and a fire started that quickly consumed both chambers. The only substantial part of the Palace to survive was the historic hammerbeam building of Westminster Hall, which was protected by firefighters and …

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Editors. "Palace of Westminster is destroyed by fire". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]