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Alterations to the House of Lords to increase accommodation for the trial of Queen Caroline, 1820 (16)

Soane's first project at the House of Lords following the accession of George IV to the throne in 1820 (but before his coronation) was to adapt the House for the trial of the king's estranged wife, Queen Caroline. All peers, bishops and judges were required to attend the trial and consequently Soane was directed to make alterations to increase the accommodation of the House. He designed two galleries which were to be erected over the benches on either side of the chamber, supported by iron columns and hung with crimson cloths. One drawing (SM 51/3/60) gives the capacity with the new galleries as 290 (excluding the woolsacks). The work was completed within the space of two weeks at the beginning of August at a cost of £921 11s 3d. Catalogued here are survey drawings, designs, details and record drawings of the galleries. Soane's arrangements are recorded in a painting of the trial by George Hayter (1792-1871) in the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Literature:
J. M. Crook and M. H. Port (eds), The History of the King's Works, VI, 1973, pp. 519-20; R. A. Melikan, 'Pains and penalties procedure: how the House of Lords 'tried' Queen Caroline' in R. A. Melikan (ed.), Domestic and International Trials, 1700-2000, 2003, pp. 54-75; T. Jenkins, 'The Queen Caroline Affair, 1820', <www.historyofparliamentonline.org>
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