Work began last summer

Newly released pictures show the result of cleaning and repair work to the ceiling of the historic St Stephen’s Hall in the heart of the Palace of Westminster.

Repair works to the hall, which was the home of the House of Commons until the mid-16th century, were part of a wider programme of work to repair and replace stonework as well as mechanical and electrical systems at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Work began in the hall in the summer of 2021 – though scaffolding was already installed as part of a project to restore the cast iron roof above – and involved carefully inspecting the ceiling, cleaning stonework and repairing loose elements.

A special latex coating was applied, dried and peeled off to remove pollution damage, reaching into the relief and porous surface of the stone without damaging it.

The team behind the project included architects Donald Insall Associates and structural engineers Alan Baxter, while conservation work was carried out by DBR Ltd, overseen by parliament’s in-house team.

The hall’s 12 marble statues of famous parliamentarians, along with eight monumental oil paintings which depict events in British history, were protected and covered while work took place.

The hall stands on the site of the former royal Chapel of St Stephen and was where the commons site between the king’s move to the Palace of Whitehall and the original chapel’s destruction by fire in 1834.

House of Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle said: “It was here that Charles I was shunned by Speaker Lenthall when in 1642 he stormed in to arrest five MPs. It was also the place where suffragettes protested over the lack of a right to vote for women.

“St Stephen’s Hall is such an important part of our parliamentary history – so I am delighted that it has been refurbished to its former glory for all those who work here or visit to enjoy once again.”