Parliament Street Buildings
1 Parliament Street
Architect – corner block: J.B. Stansby. Date: 1888. Listed Grade II
Architect – main entrance block: H. Cotton. Date: 1874. Listed Grade II
Architect – St. Stephen’s Tavern block: B.C. Ravenscroft. Date: 1873. Listed Grade II
Corner block built as offices for the London and North Western Railway Estate Office, the largest company in the world on the stock market at the time. Designed by the L&NWR company architect J.B. Stansby. Portland stone facades with original staircase and marble fireplaces inside. Formerly 34-42 Parliament Street. Incorporates the former 37 Parliament Street adjacent by Henry Cotton, dating from 1874: Romanesque, Portland Stone with colonettes of red sandstone. Formerly Lucas’s Restaurant. Incorporates also 11 and 12 Bridge Street; containing Boots and the Houses of Parliament Shop respectively.
Incorporates 10 Bridge Street by Burton C. Ravenscroft dating from 1873; Portland Stone. On the upper floors, the building is accessible inside from 1, Parliament Street. Formerly Henry Champness’ Restaurant, now St. Stephen’s Tavern. French Renaissance style; took the place of a building dating from the 1750s which was part of the approach to the first Westminster Bridge (1738-50). The earlier building had been a public house and restaurant owned by Henry Champness, and his decision to rebuild came at about the same time as the re-development of the other eighteenth-century buildings along Bridge Street, such as Palace Chambers and the St. Stephen’s Club to the East, and the slightly later offices of the London and North Western Railway to the West. The opposite side of the street had been demolished in the 1860s to enlarge New Palace Yard and clear the view of the Clock Tower. Original fittings of 1875 survive in the bar on the ground floor.
Between 1985 and 1991, a full refurbishment took place by the architects Casson Conder Partnership and Ramsay Tugwell Associates.
2 Parliament Street
Architect: probably Sir Robert Taylor. Date: c.1756. Listed Grade II*.
The houses on the east side of Parliament Street form part of an eighteenth-century development initiated by the Westminster Bridge Commissioners in 1750. Between 1741 and 1750, old buildings were cleared, and the street was laid out as part of the associated works for the new stone bridge which replaced the ferry across the Thames. Numbers 2 and 3 (formerly numbers 43 and 44) are the only buildings to survive from the Georgian terrace, and they retain many of their fine original features.
Number 2, built of brick and containing three storeys, basement and dormered mansard, displays an unassuming façade three bays wide. The major decorative accents are the classical, pedimented doorcase, and the modillion cornice similar in style to many other fashionable London town houses of the period. Subsidence was common in Westminster, and the door frame shows signs of tilting. A staircase with a fine Chippendale Chinoiserie balustrade leads up to the first and second floors of the interior of the house.
Following the expiry of its lease in the 1830s, the house was used for official purposes. From circa 1831 to 1842, during the building of the new Palace of Westminster, both numbers 2 and 3 were used as the Office of the Clerk of the House of Commons, and the Parliamentary Journal Office. Later the Liberal Party occupied the house, and in the 1890s it became the Ordnance Survey Office.
In 1991, the architects Casson Conder Partnership restored the house to residential use.
3 Parliament Street
Architect: probably Sir Robert Taylor. Date: c.1756. Listed Grade II*. (Formerly 44 Parliament Street)
The houses on the east side of Parliament Street form part of an eighteenth-century development initiated by the Westminster Bridge Commissioners. Between 1741 and 1750, old buildings were cleared, and the street was laid out as part of the associated works for the new stone bridge which replaced the ferry across the Thames. Numbers 2 and 3 are the only buildings to survive from this Georgian terrace, and they retain many of their splendid original features.
Number 3, built of brick and containing four storeys, basement and dormered mansard, forms a classical façade three bays wide. The top storey and the attic were added in the early nineteenth-century, and the white stucco and first floor cast iron balcony were also added at this time to keep up with fashionable London town houses of the period. A fine stone staircase with slender cast iron balusters leads up to the first floor front room, with its rich rococo ceiling. The plasterwork displays urns of fruit and flowers which are accompanied by ‘C’ scrolls, and the cornice frieze contains walking lions in profile.
The first occupants arrived in 1758, and since then, thanks to its proximity to the Palace of Westminster, it has attracted occupants from those in Government service. Amongst the most notable of the private residents was Sir Grey Cooper (1726-1801), First secretary of the Treasury from 1765-82, and a Lord of the Treasury in 1783. Another distinguished resident was Thomas, 3rd Earl of Effingham (1746-1791), Deputy Earl Marshal of England from 1777-1782. Effingham was the nephew of ‘Alderman’ William Beckford (bap. 1709-1770) the wealthy sugar planter and MP, first for Shaftesbury, and later for London.
Following the expiry of its lease in the 1830s, the house was used for official purposes. From about 1831 to 1842, during the early stages of the building of the new Palace of Westminster, both numbers 2 and 3 were used as the Office of the Clerk of the House of Commons, and the Parliamentary Journal Office. Thereafter, solicitors and parliamentary agents used the premises until 1870 when it became respectively the Surveyor General of Prisons Office and the Convict Prisons Board, and then the Privy Council Office, Board of Agriculture and the Royal Commission on Labour.
Throughout the early part of the twentieth-century the building housed the Transport Board and later the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries whilst the ground floor and basement were converted into a Post Office until the property fell into disuse.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the houses and the Norman Shaw buildings behind them were threatened with demolition and replacement by the construction of new parliamentary offices, but the scheme fell through, and it was decided to repair the old buildings instead. Substantial underpinning of the houses was required to correct subsidence, and, together with the rest of the terrace from Bridge Street to Derby Gate, the house was refurbished between 1985 and 1991. The consultant architects were Casson Conder Partnership, with executive architects Ramsay Tugwell Associates.
Much was preserved and restored in the latest development which now houses much of the Commons Library, offices for MPs and their staff, various catering facilities, homes for several senior officers of the house, and the parliamentary bookshop.