Musson Grumble wrote:Westminster was rebuilt after a fire, ironically, in the middle ages
A pedant objects. The fire was 1834 and it was rebuilt 1840-76 after an architectural competition in 1836. Not really Middle Ages. Architectural sidenotes:
- The competition was judged by a bunch of Tories who had no professional experience, but put themselves forward because they'd done shit like built their own country piles, and assumed that they knew what they were talking about.
- The competition was held over much too short a timescale, so all the entries were something of a half-arsed bodge.
- The competition rules stated that it had to be a Gothic / Elizabethan building, even though the predominant building style in the country at the time was neo-Classical. The reason for this was that the Capitol and White House has been built in a classical style, and Tories therefore considered it dangerously republican and insufficiently conservative.
- The winner was Charles Barry, who had only ever designed classical buildings, working with AWN Pugin who was a proponent of Gothic but without the experience to design it himself. The two of them hated each other. If you look at the river elevation it's clearly designed as a classical building but decorated in gothic tat.
In other words, it's as British a building as it's possible to be: procured by vainglorious incompetents, under unworkable conditions, according to absurd rules driven by reactionary political sentiment, and the result is a botch job driven by compromise, which isn't exactly what anyone actually wanted.