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  • image SM 37/1/27

Reference number

SM 37/1/27


Survey of the Speaker's House


Plan of the House of the Speaker of the House of Commons / about 1803


bar scale of 1/11 inch to 1 foot


as above, labelled: Cloister, Court, Wall of Westminster Hall

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pricked for transfer on laid paper (518 x 364)


Soane Office


fleur-de-lis within crowned cartouche and below, LVG


This drawing shows the upper level of St Stephen's Cloister and the Speaker's House in "about 1803" with Westminster Hall to the west (at the top of the sheet). The Speaker's House was substantially rebuilt for Charles Abbot between 1802-8. The initial intention had been to secure the house from damp, but later developed into a general reconstruction. The alterations, carried out by James Wyatt, were condemned as "wanton and reckless" by Britton and Brayley (op. cit.). J. T. Smith, on the other hand, was generally favourable towards the alterations carried out between 1794 and 1807 (Smith, op. cit.).

Tom Drysdale, October 2014


J. T. Smith, Antiquities of Westminster, 1807, p. 264.
E. Brayley and J. Britton, The Ancient Palace at Westminster, 1836, pp. 455-6.
J. M. Crook and M. H. Port, The History of the King's Works, VI, 1973, p. 533.



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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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