Palace of Westminster treasures captured in never-before-seen photos

Remarkable treasures inside the iconic Palace of Westminster captured in a series of never-before-seen images, from the despatch boxes to angel carvings in the roof

  • The iconic building, more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament, is a Unesco World Heritage Site 
  • Originally constructed in the 11th century as a royal palace, it now houses incredible artefacts
  • READ MORE: See the world’s biggest castle, which is twice the size of Buckingham Palace

It has one of the most famous exteriors in the world, but these photographs take you up close to some of the fascinating features found inside.

Here we present photos, including some that have never been shared before, of iconic parts of the Palace of Westminster.

The iconic building, more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament, is a Unesco World Heritage Site and Grade I listed building.

Originally constructed in the 11th century as a royal palace, it now houses incredible artefacts, some gifted from as far as New Zealand.

The myriad of treasures inside ranges from fascinating glass artwork to tiles that date back to the 1840s and puriri wood despatch boxes.

Scroll down to see them in all their glory…

In the middle of the Commons Chamber in the Palace of Westminster is the table of the House, which has three chairs for the Clerks of the House

The despatch boxes are where the Prime Minister and the Leader of the main opposition, currently Sir Keir Starmer, stand to debate. Despatch boxes were originally used by Members of Parliament to carry documents into the Commons Chamber

The despatch boxes in use today were gifts from New Zealand and designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to replace the boxes destroyed in Second World War bombings. Scott was able to base his design on the despatch boxes in the Australian Parliament. The Australian boxes were gifted to Australia by King George V in 1927 and based on A W N Pugin’s original despatch boxes for the House of Commons. The boxes are made from puriri wood, which is native to New Zealand 

MPs present petitions by either giving a short statement in the debating chamber of the House of Commons or by simply placing the petition in the Petition Bag (above), which hangs on the back of the Speaker’s Chair

This image shows how the Petition Bag is locked with a tiny gold padlock

The Sovereign’s Throne (above) is one of the most important items of furniture in the Palace of Westminster. The elaborately carved woodwork is ‘gilded, inset with rock crystals and upholstered in sumptuous red velvet and intricate embroidery’, explains, which continues: ‘John Webb of Bond Street constructed the throne to A W N Pugin’s design in 1847. Pugin was most likely influenced in his design of this throne by St Edward’s Chair, popularly known as the Coronation Chair, which sits in Westminster Abbey and was first used by Edward II in 1308. The Coronation Chair is the earliest surviving example of an English throne’

Designed by Palace architect A.W.N. Pugin and originally cast by Mintons of Stoke on Trent, the floor tiles that can be found throughout the Palace of Westminster, such as the one pictured above, ‘have borne witness to some of the most important moments in the history of the United Kingdom – and have been walked upon by some of its most renowned politicians’, notes Some were removed during renovation work and put up for sale in the Houses of Parliament shop – at £150 each

Pictured above is a sculpture in Westminster Hall by Mary Branson. It’s called New Dawn and celebrates the individuals involved in the campaign for women’s votes and the contribution they made to modern democracy. The right to vote was given to all women in 1928

Westminster Hall features an incredible freestanding roof, constructed using a unique ‘hammerbeam’ construction method. The hammerbeams are horizontal beams that support the weight of the roof and jut out from the walls, culiminating in hand-carved angels 

The Westminster Hall angels hold the royal standard of Richard II and act as a visual representation that God put Richard on earth to rule

MPs can pick up messages from pigeonholes/letter boxes in the Lobby. If there is something in one of the slots, the MP’s name is automatically illuminated. On the opposite side of the Lobby is a letters board, with much the same function

The Christmas tree in New Palace Yard was gifted by Forestry England. The tree, transported from Northumberland’s Kielder Forest, is 40-feet (12.2m) tall

The Palace of Westminster, more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament, is a Unesco World Heritage site

  • UK Parliament is open to the public and tours are running throughout winter. Depending on availability, you can choose to join a tour led by an expert guide or book an audio-guided tour to explore at your own pace. Tickets are available to book most Saturdays and weekdays during parliamentary recesses. Visit:

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