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image SM 51/3/39

Reference number

SM 51/3/39


Rough design for major alterations and additions to the Palace of Westminster, 1 April 1817


Rough site plan


bar scale of 1/4 inch to 10 feet


labelled: Terrace / 600 feet, Hall of Waterloo, Open Colonn[ade], Hall of / Trafalgar, Ent[rance] (twice), Court, Areas, Speakers / Gardens / &c, (pencil) House / of / Commons, (pencil) Painted / Chamber, (pencil) Court of Requests, (pencil) Westminster Hall, Court (twice)

Signed and dated

  • 1 April 1817
    April 1st 1817

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, brown pen and sepia wash, pricked for transfer on wove paper (412 x 542)


Sir John Soane (1753 - 1837)


The four drawings grouped here show designs for new offices on the east side of Westminster Hall, towards the Thames. The first drawing (SM 51/3/39) is dated 'April 1 1817' and, although the other three drawings are not dated, it is reasonable to assume that they were also made in 1817 due to their similarities in style and content. See SM 16/4/25-27.

After surveying the buildings in 1817 Soane found that 'some considerable repairs must necessarily be done to several parts of the House of Lords...to preserve them in a proper state of safety' (King's Works, VI, p. 519). This might have been what inspired Soane to make new designs for additions and alterations to the Palace in the same year. The designs seem to relate to a National Monument that Soane intended to build in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster.

These designs include two substantial ranges, each with an eight column portico on the Thames side. The south range incorporates the House of Lords, the Painted Chamber and the Court of Requests as well as a new house for the Speaker of the House of Lords. The north range, meanwhile, contains new offices for the Treasury. In two of the designs the ranges are linked by a colonnade. The extent to which these four drawings represent a serious proposal is unsure, but they were never executed in any case. In December 1817 Soane constructed a new door from the House of Lords to the Long Gallery and new doors for the use of the bishops.

In this design two large rectangular blocks are linked by a 'Hall of Waterloo', an open colonnade and a 'Hall of Trafalgar', forming a 600-foot wide front to the river.



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).