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Meaning 'abbey in the west'. Edward the Confessor in 1050 founded an abbey on dry land surrounded by marsh, called Thorney Island. The Saxons had already built a church here.
Henry lll extended the abbey and rebuilt it in Early English style, Since King Harold, all the English monarchs (except Edward V and Vlll) have been crowned at Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Bridge with Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on the left.
The northern end of Westminster Bridge is marked by the most famous and magnificent Victorian tower housing the bell known as "Big Ben" (seen on left in photo above), with the Houses of Parliament next to the bridge.
The Palace of Westminster was a Royal residence until Henry Vlll's reign. Only Westminster Hall (scene of many trials, such as Guy Fawkes' and Charles I's) and St Stephen's Crypt escaped the great fire of 1834. Over 700 years of history were destroyed in that dramatic fire.
The fire gave Sir Charles Barry the opportunity of designing the Gothic Houses of Parliament we know today. The modern Palace of Westminster covers 8 acres and has nearly 1,100 rooms.
Houses of Parliament - Palace of Westminster
Westminster Bridge with Palace of Westminster and Big Ben behind
|Summary - from source to sea|
|Start of Voyage down the Thames||Contents Page||Introduction|
|Facts about the Thames||Flooding||Thames Basin|
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