Here is a recent blogpost I wrote for the excellent Virtual St Stephen’s Project, a collaborative academic project based at York University which is seeking to reconstruct the history and architecture of one of the most famous and influential buildings of the old Palace of Westminster. It describes how one of the biggest paintings of […]
The 1834 Fire
Of all the legislatures in the world which follow the Westminster model, the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa seems most familiar to British observers. It has a House of Commons, members of Parliament and a Gothic-revival Parliament building, a Hansard, an impartial Speaker (unlike the USA, for example) and procedural manuals and processes which parallel those in […]
Today is the 180th anniversary of the 1834 fire at Parliament, and I’m delighted that this year has seen the collision of political and family history in the story. When giving a talk about The Day Parliament Burned Down earlier this year in Saffron Walden, Essex, I was approached afterwards by Michael Furlong and his wife […]
When I wrote The Day Parliament Burned Down I didn’t know anything about the economics of the book trade. Now I do. What I know is a lot more about how high-street bookshops are struggling in the face of massive competition from supermarkets and Amazon, and that we should do all we can to support […]
Over 44 artists captured the terrible accidental fire which devastated the old Palace of Westminster on 16 October 1834, and its consequences. Renditions ranged from quick pen and pencil doodles to full-scale oil paintings and commercial engravings. The most frequently-painted view of the fire was from the eastern, Lambeth, bank of the river (the most […]
News has reached me from British Columbia of yet another snuff box made from the salvaged wood of the Painted Chamber. So far this is the most far-flung one I know of: taken there by someone who emigrated in 1929. Can anyone do better? Any in Australia or New Zealand, for example? Keep hunting!