Westminster Hall

February 23 2014

The enthusiastic Sir Robert RogersClerk and Chief Executive of the House of Commons. BBC Radio 4, The Westminster Hour, February 9. Podcast at iTunes or the last eleven minutes, starting at 23:40, here.

Wikipedia. 2015 will be the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta and 750th of Simon de Montfort’s parliament. Is an inspired modern reassertion, rejuvenation, reinvention of Westminster democracy too much to hope for?

2 Responses to “Westminster Hall”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    Coronation banquets honouring new monarchs were held in Westminster Hall from the twelfth century to the nineteenth. The last was that of George IV, in 1821.

    The Court of King’s Bench, Court of Common Pleas and Court of Chancery sat there. In 1875, they were amalgamated into the High Court of Justice, which continued to meet in Westminster Hall until it moved to the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand in 1882.

    The Hall is used for lyings-in-state for sovereigns and their consorts. The only non-royals who lay in state there in the twentieth century were Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts (1914) and Sir Winston Churchill (1965). The most recent lying-in-state was that of the Queen Mother (2002).

    The two Houses have presented ceremonial addresses to the Crown in Westminster Hall on jubilees and other occasions.

    Since 1939, foreign leaders and the monarch have sometimes addressed both Houses of Parliament. Obama was the first ever US President to be invited there. Aung San Suu Kyi was the first non-head of state. Complete list (but were all of these addresses in Westminster Hall?):

    State trials:

    Sir William Wallace 1305
    Cardinal John Fisher 1535
    Sir Thomas More 1535
    Guy Fawkes 1606
    Earl of Strafford 1641
    Charles I 1649
    rebel Scottish Lords of the 1715 and 1745 uprisings
    Warren Hastings 1788-95 intermittently

  2. […] only structures of the old Palace of Westminster to survive the fire were Westminster Hall (old post), the cloisters of St Stephen’s, the chapel of St Mary Undercroft and the Jewel […]

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