Charlotte Higgins has nailed the predicament of the Palace of Westminster (, 2 December). Politicians are the previous people who must be managing these types of a advanced and important estate on their have. All those who oversaw Augustus Pugin and Charles Barry, as they struggled to develop the issue in the 19th century, have been described as “probably the worst consumers in Britain”, and their successors have at any time considering that strived to stay up to that dictum. But the palace is nevertheless important, as a perform of art, a image and a spot with a richer, and far more enriching, historical past than any other in the British isles. We need to stimulate parliament to know that making the setting up protected, obtainable and sustainable, even though restoring and respecting its architectural heritage, is a task of worldwide importance that, completed well, would screen bravery and eyesight and gain the nation’s regard.
Sadly, proceedings in Westminster Hall are not encouraging. The roof is getting fastened, but historians and archaeologists have been excluded from the project, with a baseless argument about price tag. With no archaeologists on board, a single of the fantastic wonders of the medieval environment – and the finest treasure in this earth heritage web-site – is at threat of compromise. We have asked, but have been specified no convincing causes for this condition. It appears to be parliament lags far powering the country’s appreciation of our heritage.
Editor, British Archaeology
• In addition to the numerous difficulties elevated by Charlotte Higgins’ superb write-up, we will have to hope that classes have been learned from the regrettable experience at Westminster Hall. The best medieval roof in the earth is to be cleaned and repaired, and the erection of scaffolding offers a as soon as-in-a-life span possibility for a comprehensive archaeological investigation. This really should consist of an examination of how the roof was erected and dendrochronological courting. Additionally, the carved angels on the roof and their shields had been virtually certainly painted, and need to be expertly examined for traces of paint which could be destroyed in the cleaning approach. The corridor roof fiasco will have to make all people be concerned about what could possibly come about when the much much larger restoration and renewal task comes about.
Marketing consultant archaeologist, Salisbury
• The Palace of Westminster is not match for objective. Here’s the answer. Market the whole whole lot off to a developer just after earning ample repairs for safety it can be opened as a very rewarding tourist attraction. Establish the new Properties of Parliament at the centre of Wonderful Britain (round about Skipton, North Yorkshire, I assume). A fashionable advanced would give at ease lodging and expert services for MPs (no far more expenses for second houses). The parliament properties them selves would be circular, encouraging constructive debate. We ought to get this possibility to abolish political events. Constituents could then elect their MPs on the basis of their qualifications instead than emotion obliged to assist sleazy or corrupt persons just due to the fact they represent the favoured occasion.
Combe Martin, Devon
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