The House of Commons

The Churchill Arch. At Sir Winston ChurchilVs suggestion it was rebuilt with the stones which were damaged when the Chamber was bombed in 1941. On the left is the statue of Sir Winston Churchill by Oscar Nemon;  on the right the statue of Lloyd George by Uli Nimptsch

The Churchill Arch. At Sir Winston Churchil’s suggestion it was rebuilt with the stones which were damaged when the Chamber was bombed in 1941. On the left is the statue of Sir Winston Churchill by Oscar Nemon;
on the right the statue of Lloyd George by Uli Nimptsch

The floor of the present Chamber of the House of Commons is exactly the same size as that of the Chamber which was destroyed in the air raid of 10 May 1941, that is to say, 68 feet long and 45 feet 6 inches wide. But above the gallery level it has been enlarged so as to provide 171 more seats, so that there are now 939 seats in all, of which only 437 (as before) are for the 630 Members, 326 for strangers, 161 for reporters and 15 for officials.

The new Chamber was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the same general style as before, namely late Gothic, but the detail has been simplified. The furniture was given by members of the British Common­wealth of Nations. The Chamber is air-conditioned and sound amplifiers are fitted in the backs of the benches.

When the House of Commons is sitting as ‘the House’, the Speaker presides in his canopied Chair, and the Mace lies on the brackets on the Table. When the House goes into committee for the detailed con­sideration of a bill, the Speaker leaves the Chair, the Serjeant at Arms places the Mace on the brackets under the Table, and the Chairman of Ways and Means takes the Clerk’s chair at the Table, whence he presides over the committee. Members of the Government party sit on the benches at the Speaker’s right, Ministers in the front row nearest the Table. Members of the Opposition sit on the Speaker’s left, with their leaders in the front row. Ministers and leaders of Her Majesty’s official Opposition speak from the despatch boxes on either side of the Table; all other Members speak from their places.

The Bar of the House (not visible in the picture) is at the end of the Chamber opposite the Speaker’s Chair. It marks the boundary of ‘the floor’ of the House, on crossing which Members bow to the Chair. The actual Bar is only drawn across on such rare occasions as when an offender against the House is brought to the Bar by the Serjeant at Arms to receive judgment, or the sheriffs of the Corporation of the City of London present a petition.

The Chamber of the House of Commons looking towards the Reporters Gallery

The Chamber of the House of Commons looking towards the Reporters9 Gallery

Speakers Chair

Speakers Chair

One of the two Division Lobbies,  showing the desks at which Members' names are recorded when they vote

One of the two Division Lobbies,
showing the desks at which Members’ names are recorded when they vote

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