Frith photos of Westminster

1578: Plan Of Part Of The City Of Westminster, Copied From Radulphus Aggas's Map, Taken In The Reign Of Queen Elizabeth, 1578.

TAKEN IN THE REIGN OF QUEEN ELIZABETH 1578: [and copied in 1840]
A St Margarets
B Fountain
C Clock Tower
D Parliament House
Though it is ill drawn and destitute of Perspective, it serves to shew the scite of many buildings which are no longer remaining. Viz: The Cock-Pit; the Gate across the street at White Hall, (said to have been designed by Hans Holbein); the Gate across the north end of King Street; the Gates of the Old & the New Palace Yards; the Clock Tower; & the Fountain in New palace Yard. E Palace Gates
F Gates
G Cock Pit
H Queens Gardens

Note "the Queen's Bridge" and "Prevy Bridge" - further proof that piers and landing stages were referred to as "bridges" - causing confusion for later generations!

Westminster Bridge, Samuel Scott, 1746
The Thames at Westminster with barges, Samuel Scott, 1746

Power gives way to sail. However that Royal Navy vessel (flying a pennant) on the far left maybe indicating that he will tack before running across the two sixteen oar ceremonial boats ahead of him. He appears to have just fired a gun which may be demanding his right of way, or possibly saluting the (royal) occupants of the rowing vessels?
(Or there again maybe Samuel Scott just had a good imagination!)

Westminster Bridge 1802
Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, 1802, Samuel Ireland

Westminster Bridge 1810 © MOTCO
Westminster Hall and Bridge. J. Bluck aquat. Feb 1 1810.

Westminster Bridge 1828 © MOTCO
Westminster. W. Westall A.R.A. delt. R.G. Reeve sculpt. Published 1828 by R.Ackermann, 96 Strand, London.

1834: The Houses of Parliament on fire, JMW Turner. (There is another watercolour by Turner "The Burning of the House of Lords and Commons" which is far more atmospheric but with much less detail) -

Houses of Parliament on Fire, 1830, JMW Turner
The Houses of Parliament on Fire, 1830, JMW Turner.

1834: October 16th. The House of Parliament on fire, from The Gentleman's Magazine -

This evening a most lamentable event took place, which may be regarded as a national calamity, never to be forgotten. The two Houses of Parliament, with nearly all their various offices, the old Painted Chamber, associated with a thousand historical reminiscences, the libraries of the two Houses, &c- all fell a prey to a destructive fire, which broke out about half-past six o'clock in the evening.
The flames suddenly burst forth near the entrances of the two Houses, and immediately burnt with a fury almost unparalleled. In less than half an hour from the first discovery of the flames, the whole interior of the building, from the ground-floor to the roof, presented, through the numerous windows with which it was studded, one entire mass of fire. Thousands of persons instantly assembled, the engines were in attendance, the police and soldiery were on the spot, and every exertion was made to save the public papers and other important documents, vast quantities of which were conveyed to a place of safety, although many were unfortunately consumed.
All attempts to save the House of Lords proving abortive, the firemen wholly directed their attention towards the House of Commons, and to the preservation of that venerable structure, Westminster Hall, which, from the beauty of its architecture, and its close connexion with some of the most important events of our country's annals, is equally admired and estimated by the antiquary, the historian, and the citizen.
The wind, which, previous to this time, had blown from the south, ..., at near eight o'clock, veered somewhat towards the west, thus throwing the flames immediately upon the House of Commons ; the angle of which, abutting upon the House of Lords, caught fire, and, notwithstanding the utmost exertions of the firemen, assisted by the military, the roof ignited, and fell in with a tremendous crash, accompanied with an immense volume of flame and smoke, and emitting in every direction millions of sparks and flakes of fire. This appearance, combined with the sound, resembling the report of a piece of heavy ordnance, induced the assembled multitude to believe that an explosion of gunpowder had taken place.
The flames now took a different direction, but the danger to the Hall appeared to be more imminent than ever. From the House of Commons the fire appeared to retrograde as well as advance, and whilst the Speaker's house (which was partially burnt) was placed in jeopardy on the one side, the range of committee-rooms, situate immediately over the Members' entrance to the House of Commons, opposite to Henry the Seventh's Chapel, appeared to be entirely enveloped by the devouring element. A dense black column of smoke issued from the roof of this part of the building, which was almost immediately followed by a large column of flame, and the south end of the Hall was, therefore, at this time encompassed by burning edifices.
At this period several engines were introduced into the Hall, and an immense quantity of water was distributed over every part of the building. The firemen and soldiers employed on the exterior of the building also redoubled their exertions, apparently wholly regardless of the danger to which they were exposed by the falling of burning rafters and the showers of molten lead which poured down upon them on every side. Their efforts were eventually crowned with success. That venerable structure escaped comparatively uninjured ...

Houses of Parliament Fire, 1834
Ground-plan of the two Houses of Parliament and adjoining Edifices, showing the Extent of the Conflagration. 1834

1835: Competition design for the Houses of Parliament - Richard Charles Hussey / Thomas Rickman

Westminster Bridge and Parliament
Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament

1882: England, Picturesque and Descriptive, Joel Cook -

The Victoria Tower, Houses of Parliament, Joel Cook, 1882

1894: Plan of the Houses of Parliament -

Westminster Houses of Parliament 1894
Westminster Houses of Parliament, 1894

1890: Westminster Bridge, Francis Frith

Westminster Bridge 1890 © Frith
Westminster Bridge 1890, Francis Frith

Houses of Parliament, 1896 -

Houses of Parliament, 1896
Houses of Parliament, 1896

1899: 'The Riddle of the Thames' by William Watson -

AT windows that from Westminster
Look southward to the Lollard's Tower,
She sat, my lovely friend. A blur
Of gilded mist, ('twas morn's first hour,)-
Made vague the world : and in the gleam
Shivered the half-awakened stream.

Through tinted vapour looming large,
Ambiguous shapes obscurely rode.
She gazed where many a laden barge
Like some dim-moving saurian showed.
And 'midst them, lo! two swans appeared.
And proudly up the river steered.

Two stately swans! What did they there?
Whence came they? Whither would they go?
Think of them, things so faultless fair,
'Mid the black shipping down below!
On through the rose and gold they passed.
And melted in the morn at last.

Ah, can it be, that they had come
Where Thames in sullied glory flows.
Fugitive rebels, tired of some
Secluded lake's ornate repose.
Eager to taste the life that pours
Its muddier wave 'twixt mightier shores?

We ne'er shall know: our wonderment
No barren certitude shall mar.
They left behind them, as they went,
A dream than knowledge ampler far;
And from our world they sailed away
Into some visionary day.

1902: Westminster -

Westminster Bridge, 1902
Westminster, 1902

Westminster Bridge © 2000 Doug Myers
Westminster © 2000 Doug Myers