Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Westminster Hall

I visited the British Parliament, which is housed in Westminster Palace, where the most famous attraction and symbol of Britain is Big Ben. After a lovely visit and a very interesting tour of the Palace, which is full of history and symbolism, we ended up in Westminster Hall. This Hall has witnessed a thousand years of British history. It was Built by William Rufus in 1097-1099 and it has served a number of purposes since then.

The Law Courts met here until the 19th century and it also functioned as a law court. The royal family used to hold magnificent banquets in this hall. The last monarch to be coronated here was George IV in 1821. It is also the place where Kings, Queens have lain in state in the hall, as has Winston Churchill.
The hammerbeam gothic style roof depicted above is the largest one of its kind in the world. It spanns the entire width and length of Westminster Hall without the need for supporting columns, hence the massive open space, making it a work of technical brilliance.
For those who are interested in history it would be interesting to point out that on the left side of this picture is the place where William Wallace was given the death penalty. Also right in the middle of the picture is where King Charles I was tried, convicted and condemned to death in 1649.

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