Home to a lot of history and heritage, the borough of Westminster in London contains 56 conservation areas across the borough and roughly 11,000 listed buildings and structures.
The borough of Westminster is home to a number of famous buildings, including Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace, the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street.
Located in the centre of Greater London, Westminster is north of the River Thames and bordered by the borough of Camden and Kensington and Chelsea, and has a population of approximately 226,000.
The Creation of Westminster
The history of Westminster spans back to the 11th century when Edward the Confessor built a royal palace and Westminster Abbey, outside the current walls of London. William the Conqueror was the first monarch to be crowned in Westminster Abbey in December 1066. Since then, with the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII, every English monarch has been crowned at Westminster Abbey.
For centuries Westminster and the City of London were geographically quite distinct. It was not until the sixteenth century that houses began to be built over the adjoining fields, creating the vast Greater London that exists today.
Buckingham Palace was built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham. It was designed and built with the assistance of William Talman and Captain William Winde. John Fitch built the main structure by contract for £7,000. The Palace was later altered in the 19th century by John Nash. However, it wasn’t until 1837 that Queen Victoria became the first monarch to rule from Buckingham Palace.
In 1834, Westminster Palace was destroyed by fire. The Houses of Parliament was designed by Charles Barry and built to replace Westminster Palace. However, the new building was not finished until 1868. As part of the building of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben was installed in 1858.
On the 29th October 1900 a royal charter granted the borough the title City of Westminster. The borough originally consisted of multiple civil parishes which were combined into a single civil parish in 1922.
Timber Windows in Westminster, London
Today, alongside the famous historic buildings, the borough of Westminster is home to a large number of mansion blocks featuring multiple traditional timber sash windows.
Within the conservation areas, the replacement of these timber windows is controlled to help retain the historic architectural charm of the area and the heritage of the buildings.
Renovation works are currently being carried out on Big Ben and are soon set to be carried out on the Houses of Parliament to fix items such as the windows, walls and roofs. The project is thought to be the biggest and most complex renovation programme of any single building the UK has known. The project is currently expected to start in the 2020s.