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image SM (19) 51/6/29

Reference number

SM (19) 51/6/29


[19] Design for a new House of Commons, May 1826


19 Plan of Westminster Palace with proposed additions


bar scale of 1/32 inch to 1 foot


labelled: The River Thames (twice), Stables & Coach houses for / the Speaker, Stable Yard, Exchequer and Mr Ley's House, New Palace Yard, Qy [query] Wall or Iron railing, Records, Westminster Hall, The Law Courts, The Speaker's House, New House of Commons, The House of Commons, 30'0", Lobby, Mr Ley, The Long Gallery, The House of Lords and The Painted Chamber

Signed and dated

  • Lincolns Inn Fields May 1826

Medium and dimensions

Pen, sepia, blue-green, pink, blue and mauve washes, partly pricked for transfer, with quintuple ruled and sepia wash border on stout wove paper (3 sheets neatly joined) with two fold marks (457 x 832)


Soane office


J Whatman Turkey Mill 1824


At the top left-hand side of the plan (north-east) the proposed stables, Exchequer and Ley's house are blocked-in with a building labelled 'Records' blocked-in below. At the right-hand side are more detailed plans for a series of about twenty new rooms on the site that until 1801 had included the House of Lords. The proposed new House of Commons, much larger than the old, is sited close to the River Thames on an axis with the old House of Commons and its lobby. The new Commons measures about 100 x 120 feet and has a plan that is rectangular with an extension (Strangers' Gallery?) into the old building. The chamber of the House of Commons has a horseshoe plan with galleries and stairs on three sides.
In his The Palace of Westminster: surveyed on the Eve of the Conflagration 1834 (2011, p.27) M.H.Port describes the physical limitations of the existing Commons Chamber: '[it] measured 61 feet by 32 feet, and could seat some 342, allowing 2 ft per Member, in the body of the House, and a further 54 in four cramped rows under the Strangers' Gallery with another 150 in the Galleries, allowing 18 inches there, or 112 at 2 ft each.' This added up to 546 Members of Parliament out of a total of 658.



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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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