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    The Victorian Palace of Science
    • Online ISBN: 9781108303873
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108303873
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Book description

The Palace of Westminster, home to Britain's Houses of Parliament, is one of the most studied buildings in the world. What is less well known is that while Parliament was primarily a political building, when built between 1834 and 1860, it was also a place of scientific activity. The construction of Britain's legislature presents an extraordinary story in which politicians and officials laboured to make their new Parliament the most radical, modern building of its time by using the very latest scientific knowledge. Experimentalists employed the House of Commons as a chemistry laboratory, geologists argued over the Palace's stone, natural philosophers hung meat around the building to measure air purity, and mathematicians schemed to make Parliament the first public space where every room would have electrically-controlled time. Through such dramatic projects, Edward J. Gillin redefines our understanding of the Palace of Westminster and explores the politically troublesome character of Victorian science.

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  • Publication is in London unless otherwise stated

I.

  • Royal Greenwich Observatory Archives, Cambridge University Library

  • RGO 6/599, Papers of George Biddell Airy, ‘Correspondence on Chronometers, 1849–1859’.

  • RGO 6/607, Papers of George Biddell Airy, ‘Correspondence on New Palace Clock, 1845–1848’.

  • RGO 6/608, Papers of George Biddell Airy, ‘Clock for New Palace Westminster, 1851–1856’.

  • RGO 6/609, Papers of George Biddell Airy, ‘Clock for New Palace Westminster, 1857–1861’.

  • RGO/6/615, Papers of George Biddell Airy, ‘Galvanic Time Balls, time signals and sympathetic clocks regulated by the Royal Observatory, 1861 Jan. to 1866 Feb.’.

  • Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University

  • P.89.16, David Boswell Reid, ‘Remarks on Dr Hope’s “Summary,” presented to the patrons of the University’.

  • P.89.19, David Boswell Reid, ‘Testimonials regarding Dr D. B. Reid’s qualifications as a lecturer on chemistry, and as a teacher of practical chemistry’ (1833).

  • P.137.25, Thomas Charles Hope, ‘Summary of a Memorial to be presented to the Right Honourable the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Council, respecting the institution of a professorship of practical chemistry in the University of Edinburgh’.

  • PS86.8, David Boswell Reid, ‘Extracts from official documents, reports, and papers, referring to the progress of Dr. Reid’s plans for ventilation’.

  • S.B.5404/2*13, David Boswell Reid, ‘The Study of Chemistry: its nature, and influence on the progress of society: importance of introducing it as an early branch of education in all schools and academies’.

  • New College Library, Edinburgh University

  • CHA4, ‘Letters to Thomas Chalmers’, 1831–1834.

  • British Geological Survey Archives

  • GSM/DC/A/C/1, Papers of Henry Thomas De la Beche, ‘Entry Book of In-and-out Letters, 1835–1842’.

  • GSM/DC/A/C/11, Papers of Henry Thomas De la Beche, ‘Correspondence to the Director General, 1836–1847’.

  • GSM/MG/C/20, Papers of Henry Thomas De la Beche, C. H. Smith, ‘Building Stones’ (5 January 1848).

  • British Library

  • British Museum, Additional. Ms. 40,413, Peel Papers, Vol. CCXXXIII, ‘General Correspondence’.

  • British Museum Additional Ms. 46,126, Murchison Papers, Vol. II.

  • Royal Institute of British Architects Archives

  • SmC/1/1, Papers of C. H. Smith, ‘Abstracts of notes made by C. H. Smith during his travels with the commissioners in search of stone for the Houses of Parliament in the autumn of the year 1838 and spring of 1839’.

  • SmC/1/2, Papers of C. H. Smith, ‘Various papers on stone for building, and on some other materials’.

  • King’s College London Archives

  • Papers of John Frederic Daniell, 5/1, ‘John Frederic Daniell – Ms Life – Lectures’ (c.1845–50).

  • National Archives

  • WORK (Records of the Board of Works), 11/17/5, ‘Stone selection: correspondence and papers’ (1836–1843).

  • Parliamentary Archives

  • ARC/PRO/WORK11/26/6, ‘Report on St Stephen’s Chapel, 1835–57’.

  • BLY/58, ‘Sketch book of Henry Bailey, 1840–52’.

  • MOU/Box7/327, ‘The clock tower’ (1836).

  • OOW/23, ‘Ground plan of Dr D. B. Reid’s premises’.

  • 8/L/10/2(10), ‘Barry/Hardman Correspondence, 1845–1860’.

  • Special Collections, Bodleian Library

  • Ms Dep. Papers of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 1, ‘Correspondence of John Phillips’.

  • Ms Dep. Papers of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 5, ‘Miscellaneous Papers, 1831–1869’.

  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History

  • Papers of William Smith, Box 44 (Ms Journal), ‘Journal of William Smith LL. D., geologist, civil engineer, and mineral surveyor, on a tour of observation on the principal freestone quarries in England and Scotland, in company with Mr Barry the architect, Mr De la Beche, and Mr C H Smith, for the purpose of finding stone best calculated for the construction of the new Houses of Parliament’ (18 August to 23 October, 1838).

  • Papers of William Smith, Box 44, Folder 1, ‘Miscellaneous notes relating to survey for building stone for Houses of Parliament in 1838’.

  • Papers of William Smith, Box 44, Folder 5, ‘Papers on economic geology’ (1837–1839).

II.

  • Report from the Select Committee on House of Commons Buildings; together with the minutes of evidence taken before them, Parliamentary Paper (PP.) 1833 (17).

  • Report from the Select Committee on the House of Commons’ Buildings; with the minutes of evidence taken before them, PP. 1833 (269).

  • Report from the Select Committee on Rebuilding Houses of Parliament; with the minutes of evidence, and an appendix, PP. 1835 (262).

  • Report from the Select Committee on the Admission of Ladies to the Strangers’ Gallery; with the minutes of evidence, PP. 1835 (437).

  • Report from Select Committee on the Ventilation of the Houses of Parliament; with the minutes of evidence, PP. 1835 (583).

  • Houses of Parliament Plans. Report of commissioners appointed to consider the plans for building the new Houses of Parliament, PP. 1836 (66).

  • Report from Select Committee on Houses of Parliament; with the minutes of evidence, PP. 1836 (245).

  • Ventilation of the House. Copy of a letter from Dr. Reid to Lord Duncannon, dated February 4th, 1837, relative to the acoustic and ventilating arrangements lately made in the House of Commons, PP. 1837 (21).

  • Report from the Select Committee on the Thames Tunnel; with the minutes of evidence, PP. 1837 (499).

  • Ventilation of the House. Copy of a letter from Sir Frederick Trench to Lord Viscount Duncannon, on the subject of ventilating the House of Commons, with Lord Duncannon’s answer, PP. 1837–38 (204).

  • Ventilation of the House. Copy of a letter from Dr. Reid to the Viscount Duncannon, in reply to observations addressed to His Lordship by Sir Frederick Trench, PP. 1837–38 (277).

  • Ventilation and lighting of the House. Letters from Sir Frederick Trench to Lord Duncannon, on the subject of ventilation and lighting the House of Commons, PP. 1837–38 (358).

  • Ventilation of the House. Return of the detailed expenses incurred in experiments for improving the ventilation, &c. of the House of Commons, in the experiment of lighting with gas, also in lighting with candles, ending with the present lustres and shades, PP. 1837–38 (725).

  • Hume, Joseph, Report from the select committee on lighting the House; together with the minutes of evidence, appendix and index, PP. 1839 (501).

  • Barry, Charles, Report of the Commissioners appointed to visit the Quarries, and to inquire into the Qualities of the Stone to be used in Building the New Houses of Parliament, PP. 1839 (574).

  • Report from Select Committee on Ventilation of the New Houses of Parliament; with the minutes of evidence, and appendix, PP. 1841 (51).

  • Lemon, Charles, Report from the select committee on lighting the House; together with the minutes of evidence, and appendix, PP. 1842 (251).

  • Report from the select committee on ventilation of the new houses of Parliament; with the minutes of evidence, PP. 1842 (536).

  • Report from the select committee on Houses of Parliament; together with the minutes of evidence taken before them, PP. 1844 (448).

  • First Reports of the Commissioners for inquiring into the state of large towns and populous districts, PP. 1844 (572).

  • Brought from the Lords, 9 August 1844. Second Report from the select committee of the House of Lords appointed to inquire into the progress of the building of the Houses of Parliament, and to report thereon to the house; with the minutes of evidence taken before the committee, PP. 1844 (629).

  • Report from the Select Committee on Westminster Bridge and new Palace, PP. 1846 (177).

  • Second report from the Select Committee on Westminster Bridge and new Palace, PP. 1846 (349).

  • Third Report from the Select Committee on Westminster Bridge and new Palace; together with the minutes of evidence, appendix, and index, PP. 1846 (574).

  • Reports from the Select Committee of the House of Lords appointed to inquire into the progress of the building of the Houses of Parliament, and to report thereon to the house: together with the minutes of evidence taken before the said committee, PP. 1846 (719).

  • First report from the select committee on new House of Commons, PP. 1850 (650, 650-II).

  • Second Report from the Select Committee on Ventilation and Lighting of the House; together with the proceedings of the committee, minutes of evidence, appendix and index, PP. 1852 (402).

  • Atkins, S. Elliott, Copy of the Memorial presented to Her Majesty’s Commissioners of Works and Public Buildings by the Clockmakers’ Company of London, respecting the great clock to be erected at the new Palace at Westminster; together with the answer thereto, PP. 1852 (415).

  • Clocks (New Houses of Parliament), PP. 1852 (500).

  • Clocks (New Houses of Parliament), PP. 1852 (500-I).

  • Ventilation and lighting of the House committee. Report of the standing committee on the ventilating and lighting the House of Commons, PP. 1852–53 (570).

  • First report from the select committee on ventilation of the House; together with the proceedings of the committee, and minutes of evidence, PP. 1854 (149).

  • Second report from the select committee on ventilation of the House; with the minutes of evidence taken before them, PP. 1854 (270).

  • Report from the select committee of the House of Lords, appointed to inquire into the possibility of improving the ventilation and the lighting of the House, and the contiguous chambers, galleries and passages; and to report thereon to the House, together with the minutes of evidence, and an appendix, PP. 1854 (384).

  • Westminster New Palace. Copies of all papers and correspondence relating to the great clock and bells for the new Palace at Westminster (in continuation of Parliamentary Paper, no. 500, of session 1852), PP. 1854–5 (436).

  • The Bell (new Palace, Westminster). Copy of reports on the condition of the great bell of the new Palace of Westminster, PP. 1860 (553).

  • Cowper, William, Report of the committee on the decay of the stone of the new palace at Westminster, PP. 1861 (504).

III.

  • Architectural Magazine (1834–1838)

  • Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (1817–1905)

  • The Bude Light (1841)

  • Builder (1842–1966)

  • Building News (1855–1926)

  • Caledonian Mercury (1720–1867)

  • The Civil Engineer and Architect’s Journal (1837–1868)

  • Cornwall Royal Gazette, Falmouth Packet and Plymouth Journal (1801–1854)

  • Edinburgh Review (1802–1929)

  • The Friend of Africa; by the society for the extinction of the slave trade, and for the civilization of Africa (1841–1843)

  • Hansard (1803–2005)

  • Illustrated London News (1842–1900)

  • John Bull (1820–1892)

  • The Lady’s Newspaper (1847–1863)

  • Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c. (1817–1860)

  • Mechanics’ Magazine (1823–1872)

  • The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction (1822–1847)

  • Morning Chronicle (1770–1865)

  • Morning Post (1772–1937)

  • The Musical World: a journal and record of science, criticism, literature, & intelligence, connected with the art (1836–1890)

  • Pictorial Times (1843–1848)

  • Preston Chronicle (1812–1854)

  • Punch (1841–1992)

  • Quarterly Review (1809–1967)

  • St Paul’s Magazine (1867–1874)

  • The Scotsman (1817–)

  • The Times (1785–)

  • Westminster Review (1824–1914)

IV.
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Denison Edmund Beckett, A Rudimentary Treatise on Clocks and Watches, and the Bells; with a Full Account of the Westminster Clock and Bells, (London, 1860).
Denison Edmund Beckett, Astronomy without Mathematics, (London, 1865).
(Anon.), A Description of the New Palace of Westminster, (London, 1848).
Faraday Michael, The Chemical History of a Candle: a Course of Lectures Delivered by Michael Faraday, (London, 1904).
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Fowler Charles, On the Proposed Site of the New Houses of Parliament, (London, 1836).
Gracie John Black (ed.), The Grey Festival; Being a Narrative of the Proceedings Connected with the Dinner Given to Earl Grey, at Edinburgh, on Monday, the 15th September, 1834, and a Corrected Report of the Speeches, (Edinburgh, 1834).
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Hamilton W. R., Second letter from W. R. Hamilton, esq. to the Earl of Elgin, on the propriety of adopting the Greek style of architecture in the construction of the New Houses of Parliament, (London, 1836).
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