Palace of Westminster

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The Palace of Westminster is the home of both Houses of Parliament in the United Kingdom. Buildings have occupied the site since at least Saxon times, though the oldest buildings still in existence date from around 1097 AD.

It was originally a Royal Palace, which led to the area becoming the centre of government in the United Kingdom as it transitioned from a monarchy to a parliamentary democracy. The House of Commons made its first permanent home at St Stephen's Chapel, a part of the palace.

Much of the complex was destroyed by fire on 16 October 1834, and rebuilt by 1870, when the Houses of Parliament moved into their current residences. The Commons Chamber was destroyed by German bombs on 10 May 1941, but was rebuilt and resumed use on 26 October 1950.

The current complex occupies approximately 3.24 hectares (8 acres), with 265.8 metres (872ft) of waterfront along the river Thames. It famously houses the bell known as Big Ben in its clock tower.