IHBC’s HESPR ‘Special Interest News’: Building on ‘Rebuilding the House of Commons chamber, 1945’

IHBC’s heritage business register HESPR – our Historic Environment Service Providers Recognition quality assurance scheme for heritage services – emails members weekly ‘News and Tender Alerts’, and this week features Building on ‘ Rebuilding the House of Commons chamber, 1945’.



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… the character of the building should be preserved…

Building writes:

Charles Barry’s original mid-Victorian House of Commons chamber became one of the most high-profile casualties of the Blitz when it was destroyed in May 1941. Its reconstruction after the war would be an opportunity to modernise Britain’s parliamentary system for a post-war world. As the report below shows, this opportunity was largely missed.

Published the month after the definitive end of World War Two following the surrender of Japan, it quotes a speech given by Adrian Scott, younger brother of the lead architect appointed to the reconstruction of the chamber, Giles Scott….

… A Talk By Mr. Adrian Gilbert Scott.

ON Thursday afternoon, August 30, MR. ADRIAN GILBERT SCOTT, M.C., F.R.I.B.A., lecturing before the Town and Country Planning Association… described the work in connection with the rebuilding of part of the House of Commons.

….Everyone who had worked in an assembly like the House of Commons was conscious that the traditions and character of that assembly depended to a great extent on the building in which it met, and he had been relieved to learn that the instructions of the Select Committee were that the character of the building should be preserved….

The LECTURER, reviewing the history of the House of Commons….quoted from a speech made by Mr. Winston Churchill to the Architectural Association in 1924: ‘We make our buildings, and afterwards they make us; they regulate the course of our lives….’

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