©National Archives

Proposed Design for a new Houses of Parliament, 1733 Westminster has been associated with government since the time of William the Conqueror. It was William's son, William Rufus, who ordered the building of Westminster Hall, which is still standing today, over 900 years later. As government expanded, new buildings were sought to house it.

The design shown here was drawn up by Lord Burlington, a patron of literature and the arts, in 1733. It encompassed 'two new Houses of Parliament and a Public Library between them', and smacked of Roman imperial grandeur. However, on this occasion no building work took place. Nearly a century later, in 1834, a new building was needed after a fire destroyed the existing Houses of Parliament. An open competition was held, and was won by Charles Barry who designed the building we see today.