Burning of Parliament is the popular name for the fire which destroyed the Palace of Westminster, the home of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, on 16 October 1834.The blaze, which started from overheated chimney flues, spread rapidly throughout the medieval complex and developed into the biggest conflagration to occur in London since the Great Fire of 1666, attracting massive crowds. [24][38] For 25 minutes the staff inside the palace initially panicked and then tried to deal with the blaze, but they did not call for assistance, or alert staff at the House of Commons, at the other end of the palace complex. [61][62] In the words of Shenton, the fire was "the most momentous blaze in London between the Great Fire of 1666 and the Blitz" of the Second World War. [16], Since medieval times the Exchequer had used tally sticks, pieces of carved, notched wood, normally willow, as part of their accounting procedures. The burning of Parliament was the most destructive fire in London since the Great Fire of 1666. [24][54], Braidwood regarded Westminster Hall as safe from destruction by 1:45 am, partly because of the actions of the floating fire engine, but also because a change in the direction of the wind kept the flames away from the Hall. [24][32][c], A strong smell of burning was present in the Lords' chambers during the afternoon of 16 October, and at 4:00 pm two gentlemen tourists visiting to see the Armada tapestries that hung there were unable to view them properly because of the thick smoke. £707,000 in 1837 equates to approximately £56 million in 2015, while £725,000 equates to approximately £57.5 million, according to calculations based on. Such exclamations seemed to be the prevailing ones. [63] Despite the size and ferocity of the fire, there were no deaths, although there were nine casualties during the night's events that were serious enough to require hospitalisation. Once it arrived it was effective in bringing under control the fire that had taken hold in the Speaker's House. He decided against giving the sticks away to parliamentary staff to use as firewood, and instead opted to burn them in the two heating furnaces of the House of Lords, directly below the peers' chambers. "—"A judgment for the Poor-Law Bill! “You must build your House of Parliament on the river: Turner. Description Fire consumed London’s famous Houses of Parliament on the night of October 16, 1834, and people gathered along the banks of the river Thames to gaze in awe at the horrifying spectacle. Although these footholds would have been repaired as the child exited on finishing the cleaning, the fabric of the chimney was still weakened by the action. [88] In 1852 the Commons was finished,[m] and both Houses sat in their new chambers for the first time; Queen Victoria first used the newly completed royal entrance. By 1332 the barons (representing the titled classes) and burgesses and citizens (representing the commons) began to meet separately, and by 1377 the two bodies were entirely detached. The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons helped pave the way for Post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, through Claude Monet. [98][99], The Palace of Westminster has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, and is classified as being of outstanding universal value. Turner was a Romantic painter, printmaker, and watercolorist, today known for his vivid coloration, imaginative landscapes, and turbulent marine paintings. ... on the whole, it was impossible for any large assemblage of people to behave better. The catastrophic fire which destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster in central London, including the Houses of Lords and Commons, broke out on the evening of 16 October 1834. The sticks were disposed of carelessly in the two furnaces under the House of Lords, which caused a chimney … ", In July that year parliament had passed the. According to The Manchester Guardian, "By half-past seven o'clock the engines were brought to play upon the building both from the river and the land side, but the flames had by this time acquired such a predominance that the quantity of water thrown upon them produced no visible effect. [85][86], Although there was a setback in progress with a stonemasons' strike between September 1841 and May 1843,[87] the House of Lords had its first sitting in the new chamber in 1847. He left over 2,000 paintings and 19,000 drawings and sketches. Once the crowd realised that the hall was safe they began to disperse,[55] and had left by around 3:00 am, by which time the fire near the Hall was nearly out, although it continued to burn towards the south of the complex. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. From Philadelphia Museum of Art, J. M. W. Turner, The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 (1834-1835) [76][77][i] Thirty-four of the competitors petitioned parliament against the selection of Barry, who was a friend of Cust, but their plea was rejected, and the former prime minister Sir Robert Peel defended Barry and the selection process. He wrote that "the crowd behaved very well; only one man was taken up for huzzaing when the flames increased. Along with thousands of other spectators, Turner himself witnessed the Burning of Parliament from the south bank of the River Thames, opposite Westminster. In September 1844 Barry invited Pugin to assist with the design of the fittings for the House of Lords. [36], Shortly after 5:00 pm, heat and sparks from a flue ignited the woodwork above. The House of Lords retained its veto power over bills passed by the Commons, however, and in 1832 the only recourse of the Liberal Party government was to threaten to flood the House of Lords with new Liberal peers in order to prevent it from rejecting that government’s Reform Bill. When viewing one of Turners paintings it is important to keep in mind that his painting technique developed overtime so we Turner, The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16th October, 1834, Oil on Canvas, With the doors of the furnaces open, more oxygen was drawn into the furnaces, which ensured the fire burned more fiercely, and the flames driven farther up the flues than they should have been. [93][o], In 1836 the Royal Commission on Public Records was formed to look into the loss of the parliamentary records, and make recommendations on the preservation of future archives. [69] Parliament still needed somewhere to meet, and the Lesser Hall and Painted Chamber were re-roofed and furnished for the Commons and Lords respectively for the State Opening of Parliament on 23 February 1835. "—"There go their hacts" (acts)! The Palace of Westminster, the medieval royal palace used as the home of the British parliament, was largely destroyed by fire on 16 October 1834. The House of Lords is the second chamber of the UK Parliament. The Act also abolished sinecure positions in the Exchequer, but a clause in the act ensured it could only take effect once the remaining sinecure-holders had died or retired. [91] The final stages of the work were overseen by his son, Edward, who continued working on the building until 1870. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. I do not think that in any part of the building it afforded the means of so much as washing the hands. Burning of the Parliament Buildings in Montreal, Parliament Hill § Fire, rebuilding, and beyond, The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, "A Brief Chronology of the House of Commons", "Location of Parliaments in the later middle ages", "The Fire of 1834 and the Old Palace of Westminster", "The Commons Chamber in the 17th and 18th centuries", "Awful destruction by fire of houses of parliament", "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)", "Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret's Church", "Speaker John Bercow warns over Parliament repairs", "Pugin, Augustus Welby Northmore (1812–1852)", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Burning_of_Parliament&oldid=987509703, Building and structure fires in the United Kingdom, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the ODNB, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 7 November 2020, at 14:34. To the right of the painting, Westminster Bridge looms bright white from the light of the fire. 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M. W. Turner, “Crucifixion Diptych” by Rogier van der Weyden, “At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance” by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, “The Death of Sardanapalus” by Eugène Delacroix, Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge” by Mary Cassatt, Title:                         The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, Dimensions              H: 36.25 in (92.1 cm). In 1836 a competition for designs for a new palace was won by Charles Barry. He reported that parliament "suffers from flooding, contains a great deal of asbestos and has fire safety issues", which would cost £3 billion to fix. The resulting fire spread rapidly throughout the complex and developed into the biggest conflagration in London between the Great Fire of 1666 and the Blitz of the Second World War; the event attracted large crowds which included several artists who provided pictorial records of the event. [30], The committee, which met in private, heard numerous theories as to the causes of the fire, including the lax attitude of plumbers working in the Lords, carelessness of the servants at Howard's Coffee House—situated inside the palace—and a gas explosion. [17][22] The novelist Charles Dickens, in a speech to the Administrative Reform Association, described the retention of the tallies for so long as an "obstinate adherence to an obsolete custom"; he also mocked the bureaucratic steps needed to implement change from wood to paper. "The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons is the title of two oil on canvas paintings by JMW Turner, depicting the fire that broke out at the Houses of Parliament on the evening of 16 October 1834. Media in category "The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons by J. M. W. Turner (Philadelphia Museum of Art)" The following 3 files are in this category, out of 3 total. The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 - Joseph Mallord William Turner was an English Romantic landscape painter, watercolourist and printmaker. [83] Between 1836 and 1837 Pugin made more detailed drawings on which estimates were made for the palace's completion;[76][j] reports of the cost estimates vary from £707,000[77] to £725,000, with six years until completion of the project. The actions of Superintendent James Braidwood of the London Fire Engine Establishment ensured that Westminster Hall and a few other parts of the old Houses of Parliament survived the blaze. [30], Those tending the furnaces were unaware that the heat from the fires had melted the copper lining of the flues and started a chimney fire. The colors and composition of these paintings may have influenced Turner’s conception of his later depiction of “The Fighting Temeraire,” which also depicts the passing of an old order. The Palace of Westminster, the medieval royal palace used as the home of the British parliament, was largely destroyed by fire on 16 October 1834. [47] A crowd of thousands congregated in Parliament Square to witness the spectacle, including the Prime Minister—Lord Melbourne—and many of his cabinet. The fire is consuming the chamber of the House of Commons and is illuminating the towers of Westminster Abbey. [24][53], At around 1:30 am the tide had risen enough to allow the LFEE's floating fire engine to arrive on the scene. [96][97], The destruction of the standard measurements led to an overhaul of the British weights and measures system. [37]The first flames were spotted at 6:00 pm, under the door of the House of Lords, by the wife of one of the doorkeepers; she entered the chamber to see Black Rod's box alight, and flames burning the curtains and wood panels, and raised the alarm. by J.M.W. [15] Soane again warned of the dangers in 1828, when he wrote that "the want of security from fire, the narrow, gloomy and unhealthy passages, and the insufficiency of the accommodations in this building are important objections which call loudly for revision and speedy amendment." [38], At 9:00 pm three Guards regiments arrived on the scene. A strong south-westerly breeze had fanned the flames along the wood-panelled and narrow corridors into St Stephen's Chapel. The fire lasted for most of the night and destroyed a large part of the palace, including the converted St Stephen's Chapel—the meeting place of the House of Commons—the Lords Chamber, the Painted Chamber and the official residences of the Speaker and the Clerk of the House of Commons. "[11] The facilities were so poor that, in debates in 1831 and 1834, Joseph Hume, a Radical MP, called for new accommodation for the House, while his fellow MP William Cobbett asked "Why are we squeezed into so small a space that it is absolutely impossible that there should be calm and regular discussion, even from circumstance alone ... Why are 658 of us crammed into a space that allows each of us no more than a foot and a half square? The original Acts of Parliament from 1497 survived, as did the Lords' Journals, all of which were stored in the Jewel Tower at the time of the fire. The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 by Joseph Mallord William Turner - Buy The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 Canvas or Paper Art Print - Philadelphia Museum of Art - Art on Demand Store The canvas will be rolled-up in a secure postal tube. The three European revolutions of 1830—the French, Belgian and Polish actions—were still of concern, as were the unrest from the Captain Swing riots, and the recent passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, which altered the relief provided by the workhouse system. [79], Barry planned an enfilade, or what Christopher Jones, the former BBC political editor, has called "one long spine of Lords' and Commons' Chambers"[80] which enabled the Speaker of the House of Commons to look through the line of the building to see the Queen's throne in the House of Lords. [7], St Stephen's Chapel remained largely unchanged until 1692 when Sir Christopher Wren, at the time the Master of the King's Works, was instructed to make structural alterations.
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