Parliament’s Victorian walls and ceilings are crumbling

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Parliament’s walls and ceilings are crumbling so badly that experts spent thousands of hours surveying the cracks and faults around the dilapidated Victorian stonework.

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Engineers planning the restoration of the Palace of Westminster are examining its crumbling stones, cracked roofs and deformed windows.

More than 50 architectural surveyors, ecologists, acoustics and lighting experts spent a combined 4,700 hours examining the Parliament’s recent building.


Many historic features revealed problems, including the original Victorian stained glass windows, which were deforming and sagging due to age.

Surveyors also studied vast basements and miles of old and intertwining gas, electricity, water, sewage, and heating pipes to get a record of problems that needed to be fixed.

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The building is at high risk of sudden failure from major fires, floods or stone falls, heating, ventilation, water and electrical systems are outdated and steam pipes run along electrical cables throughout the building, experts warned.

The Palace of Westminster is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most recognized buildings in the world, but despite a program of maintenance works, it is rapidly falling apart, needs to be fixed and needs restoration. The program is urgently needed.

Problems were uncovered in several historic features, including the original Victorian stained glass windows.

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Problems were uncovered in several historic features, including the original Victorian stained glass windows.

Experts said thousands of ventilation shafts spread across the length and breadth of the building needed to be upgraded to prevent a massive fire.

Because of this high risk, with a new water misting system installed over the years, a team of fire wardens patrol the building 24 hours a day and manage fires or incidents that could lead to a fire.

It costs £2m per week to keep the building running, doubling the annual cost of maintenance and recent ongoing projects – from £62m in 2016 to £127m in 2019, over a period of four years In total £369m.

According to surveyors, more than 40,000 problems have been reported with the building since 2017.

A total of 2,343 rooms and locations were examined by engineers over the summer, with experts recording thousands of problems including cracks in stonework, extensive water damage, and analyzing complex networks of old electrical and mechanical systems.

This meant that experts created the most detailed record of the 150-year-old Houses of Parliament ever created.

The investigation into the restoration and renovation of the Palace of Westminster is an essential step that Parliament will be invited to approve in 2023.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, said: “The Houses of Parliament Building is recognized around the world as a symbol of our nation, but this building has required a considerable level of care to function and an essential Requires a program of restoration work.

“We need to be able to justify this project to taxpayers. It is therefore very important to understand and map out the restoration work needed to protect the building – in order to focus on those essential works needed to preserve the palace for future generations.” to be focused.”

The basement has 128 plant rooms and 98 risers, of which only one has been completely restored to modern standards and the sewage ejector system installed in 1888 is still in use today, engineers said.

There are also seven miles of steam pipes and 250 miles of cabling, all of which needed to be stripped.

Work was also done to understand the origins of bizarre candle and gas light fittings, some of which were turned upside down when they were converted to electrical power over 100 years ago.

Further investigation is ongoing, but it is believed the Palace may have the world’s oldest gas lighting system, a spokesperson for the Commons said.

Several notable candle chandeliers that survived the Great Fire of 1834, which destroyed the original palace, were also studied and recorded.

There are more than 11,000 historic objects, including historic furniture, clocks, silver and ceramics, all of which will need to be temporarily removed and taken care of during restoration.

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