Visit: Parliamentary Archives

Today was my third and final visit to the Palace of Westminster and Whitehall before I move on to visit other parliaments and assemblies in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Brussels, and Berlin as my fieldwork continues.

Most of the day was spent taking photographs around the Palace and in Whitehall to get a better understanding of the public spaces, the walking distances that officials are making around this area of central London and witnessing the day-to-day movement between the departments and Parliament. The day concluded at the Parliamentary Archives which are located 8 floors up inside Victoria Tower. The Parliamentary Archives contain over 3 million records which are held on over 5.5 miles of shelving.

Primarily my visit was to gain an understanding of how much space is required for the Parliamentary Archives but I was also interested to see the drawings of alternative proposals for the House of Commons chamber. The ones I came across were not just by architects, but proposals were also made by MP's for Octagonal and Square layouts. The designs all kept the opposing bench style we have come to know well in the UK Parliament, but the shapes of the opposing benches were varied. These designs could have completely altered the theatrics of debate within the House of Commons had they been executed. These will be particularly useful references when considering the design of the relocated chambers within my design thesis.

 Ascending the 8 storey spiral staircase in Victoria Tower to access the Parliamentary Archives

Ascending the 8 storey spiral staircase in Victoria Tower to access the Parliamentary Archives

 A couple of metres of the 5.5 miles of shelving

A couple of metres of the 5.5 miles of shelving

  Alternate plans for an octagonal new chamber by T. Bazley MP

Alternate plans for an octagonal new chamber by T. Bazley MP

Tom Ardron