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House of Commons Rebuilding

Churchill's fears of Parliament being bombed were justified when the Palace of Westminster was hit in May 1941, in the last major raid of the Blitz. Parliament had previously been bombed but the greatest damage came on this occasion. The initial raid struck the Lords Chamber, the Whips' Offices and the Peers Court. The fires that blazed afterwards destroyed the Commons Chamber and Members lobby, but the heroic actions of the fire crews saved Westminster Hall. More than two years later Churchill announced to Parliament that a committee for the rebuilding of Parliament was to be appointed. He referred mainly to the debating chamber which he suggested should remain the confrontational assembly it had been before the fire. He makes idiosyncratic points that its shape should be oblong and not semi-circular; that members should not have their own seat and desk, and that a small chamber space would create the sense of urgency and intimacy that lifted the affairs of the House into a 'human sphere'.


House of Commons Rebuilding


28th October 1943

Catalogue number

Hansard, 5th Series, Volume 393, cc 405